Last updated on May 8th, 2022 at 11:12 am
While many wrestling fans already know that pro-wrestling is kayfabe, very few have a clear understanding of what actually goes on behind the scenes. Even though wrestling may be scripted, pro wrestlers tend to put their health and bodies on the line during training and inside the squared circle.
The dangers involved with lack of preparation or accidents are real and thus, pro-wrestlers have to be both mentally and physically prepared for their matches.
Moreover, there are also those wrestlers who find it difficult to handle the pressure that comes with wrestling and end up using drugs. Over the years, many wrestling promotions and pro wrestlers have released documentaries about their personal lives, struggles, relationships and so much more.
Although many of these documentaries were great, there are those few that actually stood out. Whether it was the storytelling or great production, these 10 documentaries definitely got us hooked from the moment they started to the end.
That said, these are the 10 best wrestling documentaries of all time.
10. Twist of Fate-The Matt and Jeff Hardy Story
Twist of Fate is a two-part documentary that looks into the story of Matt and Jeff Hardy. The first part of the documentary examines Matt Hardy’s story, his personal life and his relationship with Lita.
In the second part of the series, the producer focuses on Jeff Hardy, his personal life beyond the squared circle and his constant struggle with drug and substance abuse.
In this highly entertaining documentary, we also get to learn about the death of the twin’s mother and the impact it had on them considering they were still young when she passed. We also get to learn about their love of wrestling and how they managed to build their own ring in their backyard using chopped trees and ropes.
We also get to learn about Matt Hardy’s own federation as a teenager, the Teens Wrestling Federation and how he began to “promote” it. From the get-go, we learn that the teens were hell-bent to get into the WWE, despite the fact that at the time it did not seem possible.
The documentary also looks at their earlier years in the WWE, when they worked as jobbers. From the various clips in the documentary, we get to see Matt and Jeff Hardy get destroyed by King Kong Bundy, Rob Van Dam, Razor Ramon and Waylon Mercy.
That said, the Twist of Fate: The Matt and Jeff Hardy Story is a highly entertaining and informative documentary that will definitely get you hooked from the get-go. The documentary gives the viewers an in-depth look into the early lives of one of the greatest WWE tag team wrestlers of all time.
Check out the Twist of Fate-The Matt and Jeff Hardy Story on Amazon here.
9. For All Mankind: The Life and Career of Mick Foley
Even though the WWE took rather long to release a Mick Foley documentary, it was definitely worth the wait. A few months after his Hall of Fame induction, For All Mankind: The Life and Career of Mick Foley was finally available to the masses.
With a running time of 8 hours 30 minutes in blue ray, For All of Mankind is a highly intriguing documentary that looks into the life of one of the greatest WWE wrestlers of all time. Despite having plenty of in-ring gimmicks, Mick Foley’s sadistic tendencies and love for hardcore match definitely separated him from the crowd.
Once the film begins rolling, Mick Foley’s great storytelling ability gets you hooked on the documentary as he shares his wrestling experiences and personal life. Even for those who know Mick Foley well, there is still plenty to learn from in this documentary.
It’s important to note that the documentary itself has a running time of 2 hours 14 minutes, while the extras run for about 4 hours. Just like the documentary itself, the extras are amazing.
Get the full documentary directly from Amazon here.
8. Beyond the Mat
While many wrestling fans already know that wrestling is kayfabe, very few of them actually know what the wrestlers actually go through. While the matches might be scripted, Beyond the Mat examines the outcomes and pain that wrestlers have to go through each day.
Whether it’s being thrown off the ring, bouncing on a table or falling more than 20 feet onto the mat, this documentary sheds insight into the other side of pro-wrestling. Apart from Mick Foley, the documentary also briefly looks at the death of Owen Hart who passed on after his harness broke while making an entrance into the ring.
Widely known for his unorthodox wrestling style and love for hardcore matches, Beyond the Mat, also looks at how the family reacts at ringside, while Foley is out wrestling. At one point, it becomes hard for Foley’s toddlers to watch their father bleed after being handcuffed and beaten up with the chair.
In the long run, their mother decides to take them out of the stands. Apart from Foley, Beyond the Mat also follows the stories of other wrestlers such as Jake the Snake Roberts, Bam Bam Bigelow, Chyna and The Rock.
You can buy or rent the full documentary on Amazon here.
7. Andre the Giant
A highly entertaining and poignant documentary, Andre the Giant looks at the story of a man whose entire wrestling career revolved around the giant persona that saw him become “The Eighth Wonder of the World.”
A public figure, cultural icon and one of the tallest pro-wrestlers of all time, Andre the Giant documentary looks at Roussimoff’s early life and also brings into context his life beyond the squared circle.
The documentary begins with Roussimoff’s early teenage years in a small rural town in Northern France. It also looks at his first steps into the world of pro-wrestling and his decision to make full use of his massive size in the pro-wrestling world.
From this point onwards, the documentary follows Roussimoff in his independent circuit years, as he worked through the ranks before ultimately becoming one of the most celebrated wrestlers on the planet.
This documentary also highlights the major role that cable television played in turning many professional wrestlers into global superstars.
Learn more about Andre the Giant by getting this documentary directly from Amazon here.
6. Nature Boy: 30 for 30
Although the Nature: 30 for 30 documentaries is a celebration for one of the biggest wrestling stars of all time, it also serves as a warning for aspirants and would-be wrestlers. This brilliantly produced documentary highlights Nature Boy’s brilliant moments as well as a constant struggle when distinguishing reality from fiction.
Moreover, the great thing about this documentary is that it would appeal to both wrestling and non-wrestling fans. Apart from showing the physical and mental preparation needed to be a top performer, this documentary series also shows the effort needed to remain at the top level.
Like most wrestling documentaries and biographies, Nature Boy: 30 for 30 details Ric Flair’s meteoric rise through the ranks of pro wrestling. It also looks at the circumstances that led him to become a mainstay at WCW.
While looking into his rise, the documentary also highlights Ric Flair’s dark side including his ego and constant obsession with his gimmick. This documentary also sheds light on how Ric Flair survived a plane crash earlier on in his professional wrestling career.
Because of the plane crash, Ric Flair ended up breaking three vertebrae in his back. Upon coming out of the hospital, Flair transformed his gimmick to the trash-talking, robe-wearing and luxury-bent wrestler that we all came to know.
Even though there is a little bit of emphasis on Ric Flair’s life before the crash, a bigger chunk of this documentary revolves around Flair’s life after the plane crash.
If you are looking for a highly engaging wrestling documentary that will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat, then you should definitely watch Ric Flair: 30 for 30.
Buy the Nature Boy: 30 for 30 wrestling documentary from Amazon here.
5. Rise and Fall of ECW
Forget about the WWE, forget about TNA, forget about AEW, in the yesteryears we had ECW. While ECW never got the exposure that it desperately needed, it was still a big deal for many wrestling fans.
Apart from Steve Austin, ECW also had other household names such as RVD, Dusty Rhodes, Bam Bam Bigelow, Dudley Boyz, Raven, Terry Funk, Sabu and many others. Unlike TNA and the WWF, ECW was largely localized and thus due to poor accessibility, ECW never really took off.
The Rise and Fall of ECW was officially released in 2004. In 2005, the Rise and Fall of ECW won the DVD of the Year Award by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. With a running time of three hours, this documentary covers everything from personal things to emotional moments as well as the careers and feuds for the wrestlers who worked under the brand.
It’s clear to see why it’s considered to be one of the best wrestling documentaries of all time.
Just like many documentaries on this list, the Rise and Fall of ECW lays emphasis on the story instead of the matches. The Rise and Fall of ECW also look at Paul Heyman’s contribution and ingenuity that led to the explosion and wide acceptance of ECW as one of the top dogs.
Unlike most wrestling promotions at the time, ECW took a rather different approach to pro-wrestling. Hardcore matches became the main emphasis and in the process, wrestlers such as Sabu and Taz became the focal point and frontmen for the promotion, as they represented the values that the company stood for.
You can buy or watch the Rise and Fall of ECW on Amazon here.
4. The Resurrection of Jake the Snake
Just like the Dark Side of the Ring, The Resurrection of Jake the Snake Roberts is another highly entertaining and jaw-dropping documentary. For any ardent wrestling fan, Jake the Snake Roberts is not any other wrestling.
Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, Jake the Snake Roberts was arguably one of the biggest draws in the WWE. However, unknown to many, Jake the Snake Roberts struggled heavily with alcoholism and substance abuse which ultimately resulted in the downfall of his wrestling career.
Steve Yu, the director of this documentary focuses on Jake the Snake Roberts’ long road to recovery. At the center of the recovery, the journey is none other than Diamond Dallas Page, Robert’s one-time in-ring protege, who also doubles up as the film’s producer.
While many might argue that this documentary film is nothing short of a glorified infomercial about Diamond’s wellness program, the Resurrection of Jake the Snake Roberts gives the viewers a clear view of what many wrestlers go through behind the camera.
That said, The Resurrection of Jake the Snake Roberts is a highly engaging roller-coaster film that highlights Robert’s constant struggles with his inner demons and his long road to recovery.
If you want to learn more about Jake The Snakes come back then you can get this documentary on Amazon here.
3. Lucha México: Lucha Libre Official Documentary
Intriguing, captivating and jaw-dropping. If you are looking for a documentary that’s guaranteed to keep you hooked from the get-go, then you should definitely watch Lucha Mexico
Lucha Mexico is a thorough examination of the stunt work and the work that goes on behind the scenes prior to matches. It looks at the training and the lives of already established as well as upcoming luchadores.
For a luchador fan, this documentary should already be on their to-watch list. One thing that I got to learn from this documentary is that luchadors are not only adored in Mexico but their costumes can be compared to the equivalence of superheroes’ costumes in the United States.
Simply put, the popularity of luchadors in Mexico is way more than we could have imagined. Apart from highlighting the positives of Lucha libre, the documentary also looks at the misfortunes involved with Lucha libre.
Some of the topics highlighted in this documentary include depression, miscommunication between wrestlers, accidents in the ring and so forth.
Check out this highly intriguing documentary that examines the highly secretive world of luchadores on Amazon here.
2. Hitman Hart: Wrestling with The Shadows
Hitman Hart: Wrestling with The Shadows is a solid documentary that was shot right about the time the Montreal Screwjob took place. As Bret Hart’s WWE career was coming to an end, he gave exclusive rights to Paul Jay, a Canadian filmmaker to document Bret’s career.
A highly detailed documentary, Hitman Hart: Wrestling with The Shadows delves deep into Bret Hart’s personal life. The documentary also gives the viewers an inside view into one of the most highly controversial moments in the history of professional wrestling.
While Paul Jay captures the circumstances that led to the Montreal Screwjob, he also does an excellent job of keeping Bret Hart as the subject of the film. The documentary looks at Bret Hart’s family including the patriarch of the Hart family, Stu Hart and his role in turning Bret Hart into one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.
The documentary also features Stu Hart putting some students through intense training, just to give the viewers a glimpse into the type of training the Harts were subjected to. One of the greatest trainers of all time, some of the wrestlers who went through the Hart Dungeon includes Chris Jericho, Davey Boy Smith, Tyson Kidd, Brain Pillman, Superstar Billy Graham, Jushin Liger and DH Smith.
Catch the full documentary directly on Amazon Prime here.
1. Dark Side of the Ring
While the Dark Side of the Ring docu-series has only been on the market for only two years, it’s arguably the best wrestling documentary series of all time. A highly entertaining documentary series, the Dark Side of the Ring brings to light the darkest stories in pro-wrestling from the golden ages all the way to the current era.
The first season of the series was critically acclaimed with Rotten Tomatoes giving the series a 100% rating. Viceland were clearly spot-on with this 6 part series that zooms into the shadowy happenings within the somewhat secretive world of sports entertainment and kayfabe.
Taking an investigative approach, Viceland examines some of pro-wrestling’s well-kept secrets and some of the most talked-about tragedies and scandals.
Some of the scandals and tragedies highlighted by Viceland include the Montreal Screwjob, Randy Savage’s troubled relationship with Miss Elizabeth to the mysterious death of Gorgeous Gino.
That said, if you are looking for a documentary series that will not only get you hooked but also reveals the ambiguities and well-kept secrets in pro wrestling, then the Dark Side of the Ring is a must-watch.
Watch all Dark of the Ring seasons on Amazon prime here.