7. 30 for 30: Nature Boy (2017)
An ESPN made-for-tv documentary, the channel’s ’30 for 30′ series chronicled the life, success and tragedy of one of the wrestling industry’s greatest ever wrestlers in their documentary Nature Boy.
Discussing everything from the 16-time world champion’s childhood to his sleeping with over 1,000 women, right through to his many marriages and the death of his son, Nature Boy pulled no punches in presenting everything about the wrestling icon in an honest and heartbreaking fashion.
This is one of those documentaries where, if you know the man or the character, you can’t help but to be enthralled as his truth unravels in front of you.
6. Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows (1998)
If ever there was a wrestling version of “who shot JFK”, Hitman Hart: Wrestling With Shadows was the hard-hitting documentary that revealed the truth… or at least the most accurate version of events we’re ever likely to see.
Originally taken inside the walls of the then WWF to film Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart’s day-to-day wrestling life, the documentary crew behind Wrestling With Shadows soon became embroiled in one of the most controversial wrestling moments of all time, the Montreal Screwjob, an event in which Bret Hart was told he would win his hometown WWF Championship match but was wrongfully judged by WWF referee Earl Hebner to have tapped out to his own move in a political manoeuvre by backstage officials to ensure rival Shawn Michaels would end the night as champion ahead of Hart’s departure to rivals WCW.
Being to date the only evidence of any of the backstage goings on at the fateful Survivor Series event, Wrestling With Shadows documents everything from the Hitman’s pre-match nerves to his post-match fury, offering an unrivaled insight into a moment in time that is likely to never be replicated again.
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5. The Resurrection of Jake the Snake (2015)
Jake “The Snake” Roberts was, at one time, one of the most iconic wrestlers in the world, but once the documentary crew behind The Resurrection of Jake the Snake caught up with him, he was a middle aged man with a cacophony of health, drug and family related problems who wasn’t likely to live much longer should he continue down the path he’d trodden for the past 15-20 years.
In the build-up to the life changing series of events the documentary captured, Jake Roberts had been caught on video wrestling while hardly able to stand because of the mixture of drugs and alcohol in his system, issues brought on by the harrowing and simply disgusting behaviour of his father in his adolescence. During The Resurrection, Roberts finds a new inner strength, managing to inch away from drugs and alcohol while forming new bonds with loved ones and finding a new appreciation for himself. It is an undoubtedly moving experience.
The icing on the cake comes when Roberts, who needs surgery to fix long-lasting issues during his early steps towards recovery, finds out that a kickstarter campaign has reached its target. To Jake, it proves that he’s loved and adored, even after all these years, and to fans of the evil character he played, it offers an insight into the insecurities and complete lack of self worth the real man had ever felt, Roberts breaking down into tears and saying “I guess all that hard work really did mean something to some people”. It’s one of the most human moments in all of the films on this list and the perfect encapsulation of The Resurrection of Jake the Snake as a film overall.
4. Andre the Giant (2018)
One of the best documentaries ever put together about a wrestler, HBO’s Andre the Giant took the legend of deceased wrestling and pop culture legend Andre the Giant and grounded his aura in a much more human place, really driving home the pain and inconvenience of his ultimately fatal Giantism and the alcoholism that accompanied it.
Chronicling his life from national sensation in France due to his size, through to WWF Wrestlemania main eventer and right through to his acting career (in the likes of The Princess Bride), Andre the Giant was a star-studded documentary featuring icons of wrestling and cinema recounting their experiences with the otherworldly entity that Andre ultimately became.
For fans of wrestling, this is a must-watch, but for people even with a general knowledge of Andre the Giant, this is an immensely interesting character presentation and one of the very best wrestling movies of all time.