Saturday, January 9, 2016

Wrestling with Satan

Director(s) - Paul Aldridge and Tom Borden (Paris is Frying)
Starring - Dennis Dobson, John Ernst, and Jeremy Jett
Release Date - 2009
Genre - Documentary
Tagline - "The rise, fall, and resurrection of the Christian Wrestling Federation"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     When I was elementary school, around 4th or 5th grade, all my friends loved wrestling.  All they did was talk about it.  WWF this and WWF that.  All they talked about was WWF.  I tried to give it a go but it just wasn't my thing.  One evening I was flipping through the channels and discovered ECW late one night and was hooked by the insane stunts I was seeing.  I broadened my horizons and checked out WCW next and was hooked especially when the whole NWO gimmick rolled out.  These two were leagues better in my opinion at the time until Stone Cold appeared and changed the game.  A few years later, middle school roughly, wrestling started to fade in quality and I turned my back on it.  I've tried to watch it now but they are just too cookie cutter and fake.  I missed a time when wrestlers looked like truckers and not underwear models.  Anyway, a few months ago Wild Eye sent over the documentary Wrestling with Satan.  I knew I would be doing my month long hiatus from horror and put it off until now to check out.  
     The film follows a small stint in the lives of several Christian Wrestling Federation performers.  The league is owned by a christian wrestler who wants to use the sport as a way to spread the word of God to as many people as possible turning it into a type of ministry.  However, things don't go as smoothly as one would think.  The doc then goes further into several members leaving the league to go to a bigger and better one in hopes of advancing their careers, as well as, several members retiring from the business or fired for living with their loved ones out of wedlock.  The doc then ends by showing just how two faced the league's owner really is and how he is after profit and fame.
     The other night I was in a documentary mood.  After watching the the almost near perfect doc on Joe Redner I had to follow it up with another doc and I'm glad I picked Wrestling with Satan.  As I stated earlier, I am not a fan of wrestling anymore and have no interest in it but I do love a good documentary.  With that being said, this film shattered any and all expectations I had for it.  The interviews in this one are great and very entertaining.  They all go very in depth about their time with CWF and their interactions with the owner/dictator.  With that being said, the interviews are surprisingly split.  We get several people who are against CWF and who were done wrong and we also get people who praise it for what it does to the sport and Christianity.  The film flows very well.  In fact, it flows way too well and the ending comes way too fast.  I have seen so many documentaries that spend way too much time on one subject and I begged for someone to put me out of my misery.  This documentary is not like that at all.  It goes from topic to topic quickly and is able to hold the viewer's attention perfectly.  Finally, the film is put together very well.  We get some nice footage of the group wrestling, perfectly shot interviews, and editing.  Overall, Wresting with Satan is a great documentary.  It takes the viewer inside the world of religion and wrestling to show hypocrisy and raw talent going to waste on the indie circuit.  This is one documentary I will recommend to anyone, wrestling fan or not so check it out!

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