7.6/10
7,790
84 user 71 critic

Beyond the Mat (1999)

A heartfelt documentary focusing on the day-to-day lives of professional wrestlers, some on the rise, some on the wane, and others fighting for their lives.

Director:

Barry W. Blaustein

Writer:

Barry W. Blaustein (narrative written by)
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Documentary | Biography | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Documentary focusing on the career of pro wrestler Bret Hart & his controversial exit from the WWF.

Director: Paul Jay
Stars: Bret Hart, Owen Hart, Brian Pillman
Documentary | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A fallen professional wrestling superstar battles his past demons in a struggle to reclaim his life and the family that has given up on him.

Director: Steve Yu
Stars: Steve Austin, Louie Benson, Joe Case
The Rise & Fall of ECW (Video 2004)
Documentary | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A documentary on the rise and fall of cult wrestling federation ECW

Director: Kevin Dunn
Stars: Abdullah the Butcher, Donna Adamo, Bill Alfonso
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A tale about two best friends, an uncensored look into the perilous world of high school wrestling, and the story of a teen who overcomes self doubt to find his true place.

Director: Van M. Pham
Stars: John Wynn, Mark Hapka, Sara Fletcher
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The Ultimate Warrior's meteoric rise to fame and fortune following his defeat of Hulk Hogan, his rivalries with other wrestlers such as Randy Savage and Rick Rude, and his rapid burn-out when the pressures of fame got too much for him.

Director: Kevin Dunn
Stars: Jim Hellwig, Adnan Al-Kaissy, André the Giant
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Now it can be told. In 1995, two wrestling companies squared off on Monday night television to compete head to head in an unprecedented confrontation. On one side, Vince McMahon, the ... See full summary »

Director: Kevin Dunn
Stars: Charles Ashenoff, Steve Austin, Chris Benoit
Action | Biography | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The Rise & Fall of WCW examines the storied history of World Championship Wrestling, from its beginnings in the territory system through Ted Turner's acquisition and the savage battles with... See full summary »

Director: Kevin Dunn
Stars: David Abbott, Abdullah the Butcher, Terry Allen
Documentary | Biography | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Bret portrays in his own words, how he became: The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.

Director: Kevin Dunn
Stars: Bret Hart, Abdullah the Butcher, Brian Adams
Action | Biography | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

For the first time ever, experience the rise of CM Punk with CM Punk: Best in the World! From his early days in the Indy circuit to his explosive transformation into the most unabashed, ... See full summary »

Director: Kevin Dunn
Stars: C.M. Punk, Mike Adamle, Brent Albright
Documentary | Biography | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Scott Hall tells his life-story, from his rise to super-stardom in the world of professional wrestling to his downfall from it, due to alcohol abuse to his redemption to stay clean and reclaim his life and his family.

Director: Kevin Dunn
Stars: Scott Hall, Bam Bam Bigelow, Michael Coulthard
Biography | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

He is one of the most charismatic showmen ever to grace a WWE ring. He is HBK: The Heartbreak Kid - the most resilient champion in WWE. And pound for pound, he may well be the toughest. He ... See full summary »

Stars: Shawn Michaels, Marty Jannetty, Paul Levesque
Action | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Stars: Mick Foley, Jonathan Coachman, Lou Albano
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Barry W. Blaustein Barry W. Blaustein ... Self - Narrator
Vince McMahon ... Self
Jim Ross ... Self - Sr. VP of Talent
Jim Bell Jim Bell ... Self - Sr. VP of Merchandising
Darren Drozdov ... Self
Roland Alexander Roland Alexander ... Self
Tony Jones Tony Jones ... Self - XPW Wrestler
Michael Modest ... Self
Terry Funk ... Self
Mick Foley ... Self
Danny Zucker Danny Zucker ... Self - Childhood Friend
Dave Meltzer Dave Meltzer ... Self - Journalist
Jake Roberts ... Self
Ed Beckley Ed Beckley ... Self - Promoter
Chyna ... Self
Edit

Storyline

This documentary focuses on the lives of professional wrestlers Terry Funk, Mick Foley (Mankind), Jake Roberts (Jake the Snake) and Darren Drozdov (Droz). As the film progresses, the story of their lives unfolds, as we also learn how the wrestling industry is not the plastic-weapons fake-slap sideshow that many have perceived it as. We are shown how moves, although not actually injuring anyone, are not fake, and extreme training is required to be able to perform the stunts without being harmed. We are also treated to interviews with the family of Mick Foley and what it is like for them to know their father literally puts his life on the line every week and how it feels to have other children call their father a "fake". Vince McMahon, owner of World Wrestling Entertainment, also makes a few appearances, responding to criticism on various wrestling situations, including, once again, his real athletes, very real organization being called fake by sources such as USA Today and various news... Written by JoJo Mac

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

There's no script for what happens outside the ring. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and violent content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Lions Gate Films

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 March 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Beyond the Mat: Unrated Director's Cut See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,532, 24 October 1999

Gross USA:

$2,053,648

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,053,648
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Since the release of the film, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) lost a lawsuit to the World Wildlife Fund and was forced to change their name from WWF to World Wrestling Entertainment. See more »

Quotes

New Jack: I ain't a forty-hour motherfucker, man.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing dedication: This film is dedicated to my wife, Lorrie and our children, Kasey and Corey, who have stood by patiently with love and support as I blabbed about wrestling for the last five years. See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD edition of Beyond the Mat has several minutes of deleted footage, plus audio commentaries by Mick Foley & Terry Funk See more »

Connections

References South Park (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Stand By Me
Written by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, Ben E. King
Vocals: Carl Graves
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Superb documentary
23 October 2005 | by Ricky_Roma__See all my reviews

You've got to wonder about wrestlers. They're always on the road, they're always carrying knocks and injuries, they don't get paid much (except the few at the absolute top), they get no respect from the public at large, they don't actually compete in the legitimate sense of the word and the vast majority of them are quickly forgotten. Yet nearly all of the wrestlers in Beyond the Mat continue to seek the spotlight. Why? I guess Terry Funk sums it up best: "It's fun."

However, it's a strange type of fun. After all, I'm not sure that most people would class being hit over the head with steel chairs as 'fun'. Nor would most people relish the thought of being thrown off a steel cage. But as the film points out, wrestlers are hardly normal. At the same time, though, they're still people. They have the same problems as all of us. It's just that they earn their living by running around in spandex and by beating the crap out of one another.

Of all the different strands in Beyond the Mat, I like the Terry Funk section the most. It just shows how bizarre wrestling is. Here you have a man in his fifties who has degenerative arthritis and who wakes up in the morning, like many old men, in his y-fronts. Yet in the ring he's a bloodthirsty maniac. But at the same time he's a loving father who cries at his daughter's wedding and he has an excellent rapport with the man who he has his most brutal matches with. As dim-witted as wrestling is, nothing out of the ring is simple.

And the Funk section illustrates the problem that most wrestler face: they can't give up the spotlight. I mean, just take one of Funk's friends, Dennis Stamp. He hasn't wrestled in years but he still trains (by jumping up and down on a trampoline in his underwear) in the vain hope of getting another match. And when he's finally made the referee in Funk's 'retirement' match, he's beside himself with excitement at the prospect of being part of the main event. It seems like when you don't get paid much, when you're forced to do lousy jobs and when no one really knows who you are, the only compensation for such a depressing existence is a few cheers.

But although the film touches upon the dark side of wrestling, it's quite touching seeing Funk trying to persuade his friend Stamp to be part of his match. The man may be vicious in the ring, but outside it he's warm-hearted. And I like the way that when he persuades his friend to be part of his match, and when he walks away, he nearly trips over. Despite everything, he's just a lovable old guy. However, I also like the scene because Stamp is such a fool. He's so desperate to be someone and so desperate to be recognised, that he cuts a promo when he's explaining why he can't make the event ("I'm not booked!). It's as if reality and wrestling are blurred. He can't tell them apart.

Another wrestler who's been messed up by the business is Jake Roberts. He doesn't get on with his daughter and he's forced to pay for his drug habit by wrestling in fourth-rate events in backwater towns. He's even filmed urinating into a bucket and then falling asleep backstage. It really does give a depressing picture of what it is to be a professional wrestler – your existence revolves around the road, run down hotels and small towns. No wonder so many of them are screwed up. But Roberts has even more reason to be screwed up than most. He's the product of a rape and his sister was kidnapped and murdered. And he has a terrible relationship with his father. They can barely look at one another. There's no connection there at all. And it's quite shocking hearing Roberts describe how he gave up his dreams just to shove wrestling down his father's throat (his dad was a wrestler and Robert's resolved to be better than him). Suddenly you can see why Robert's created such a compelling character. He was just drawing on his own life. Again reality and wrestling is blurred.

Perhaps the only one in the film that has a decent handle on things is Mick Foley. He has a clear plan (he wants to retire by the age of 35) and he has a solid family to support him. Somehow you know that he's going to be fine. Not that there aren't a few bumps on the way. In one scene he's forced to watch footage of his wife and kids screaming when he's repeatedly hit over the head with a steel chair. It's a real wake-up call. I mean, as entertaining as it is for sadistic bastards like myself, you just can't make you family endure that time after time. But it's his family that will keep Foley on the straight and narrow. However, for the other wrestlers who don't have stable personal lives, they'll have to seek love in cheers and applause. It seems like wrestling is a drug that most wrestlers can't crack.

Not that a few don't try. There's an amusing scene when a wrestler called New Jack, who has four justifiable homicides, auditions for a Hollywood casting agent. The people there are slimy beyond belief. They make the carnies in wrestling look honest in comparison.

But why the film succeeds so emphatically is because everything is just presented as it is. No judgements are made and nobody is looked down upon. Yeah, wrestling may be something on the fringes of society, but the film shows that as weird as it is, the people aren't really that weird after all. They're just people with the same problems we all have.


32 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 84 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed