Saturday, January 24, 2015

Wrestling Road Diaries Too

Most of the wrestling documentaries I own are made by WWE, but every now and again an indy made documentary gathers some good buzz and catches my eye. Some past prime examples I recommend are Heroes of World Class and Forever Hardcore. A few years ago Colt Cabana, Bryan Danielson and Sal Rinauro documented a couple weeks on the indy wrestling road circuit and titled it The Wrestling Road Diaries. Its innovative concept made it one of my favorite wrestling documentaries yet, and I was delighted the sequel, Wrestling Road Diaries Too (trailer) came out in 2014 featuring a week on tour with Colt Cabana (former WWE star Scotty Goldman), Cliff Compton (former WWE Tag Team champ, Domino) and Big LG (former WWE star Festus/Luke Gallows).

I absolutely loved the first film since it was three rather jovial and upbeat fellows you can tell loved their craft no matter what rinky-dink small town or gymnasium they were performing in. This cast for the sequel still loves their craft, but as Cliff Compton put it in one of the extra features, this is more of an "outlaw" version of the first film when the first had the cast in primarily high spirits.

The film starts off in Colt's native Chicago where he meets up with Cliff and LG, and right away you can tell this is going to be an interesting journey because LG just suffered a groin tear in his last match and is determined to make his dates and film the rest of the documentary. LG and Cliff bring a more wild card dynamic to the mix compared to Sal and Bryan in the last film. These two are a bit more rowdy and pull no punches in vile ribs on each other and making it seem you need a high tolerance of good natured clowning around to hang with.

For the audience that does not keep up with the indy wrestling scene, but are curious on what these three guys made of their WWE careers, the film answers that every few scenes by jumping to a random cut with one of the three who pauses to reflect back on their short WWE runs on what did and did not work and how their love for the business keeps them going on the indy circuit. These were really fascinating parts of the documentary as all three show huge amounts of introspection on what they made of their careers thus far and sound genuinely passionate that they keep doing this for as long as their bodies will let them.

The film still gives plenty of time to what I loved about the first film, and that is the lifestyle of traveling to all these small towns and venues. The trio meets plenty of unique characters throughout their travels, and I applaud them for dedicating the movie to a man named Tex that they meet in the middle of the street. I will not even spoil a detail about the mesmerizing Tex, you will have to watch for yourselves to find out all about him! The three get across that one of the highs being on the indy circuit is more time hanging with the fans before and after the show. The fans they interact with are nearly as entertaining as the wrestlers and you can never tell what kind of reaction they would greet them with, which only made the film more spontaneous and enjoyable.

As I alluded to in the intro though, not all is well this time around as the film periodically checks in with LG's groin tear to see it getting worse and worse. I could not help but feel for the guy, and was finally elated to see him get medical attention towards the end of the tour. As unfortunate as this journey was for LG, a little part of me was glad we got to see a glimpse into the dark side of life on the road as a wrestler just so everyone knows that there are the good and bad days to the sport.

You can buy both Wrestling Road Diaries films on their official website for $20, but I highly suggest you shell out an extra $5 for the bonus disc that is available for both films. On the sequel's bonus disc, there is just under an hour of deleted scenes that were highly entertaining and range from random BS sessions on the road to more one-on-one sit down sessions with the three talking about their early days in the industry. In addition to that, there is a bonus video version of Colt's podcast, The Art of Wrestling, recorded in a local Chicago comic book shop with the three where they shed some behind-the-scenes wisdom and do a little Q&A with fans in the shop that lasts a little over an hour. Add it up and is nearly an extra two hours and fifteen minutes of quality content for only an extra $5.

As much as I enjoy most of WWE's documentaries, it is refreshing to step outside their perspective to get an outsider's look at the industry. Wrestling Road Diaries Too is the perfect version of that perspective! If you do not own either installments, I highly recommend getting both to see what life is like for the stars that could not quite make it in the WWE.

Past Wrestling Blogs

Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume 2
Biggest Knuckleheads
Bobby The Brain Heenan
For All Mankind
Goldberg: The Ultimate Collection
Ladies and Gentlemen My Name is Paul Heyman
Legends of Mid South Wrestling
OMG Vol 2: Top 50 Incidents in WCW History
RoH Supercard of Honor V
RoH Supercard of Honor VI
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
Superstar Collection: Zach Ryder
Warrior Week on WWE Network
WWE Wrestlemania 3: Championship Edition
WWE Wrestlemania 28
WWE Wrestlemania 29

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