So this is a new feature I’m going to be doing every week here on The Real Mid Card, to freshen things up a bit. There is nothing I love more than wrestling documentaries, books and pay-per-views. I’ve already reviewed a few classic PPVs, but now I want to take a look at some other stuff. I’d say watching the cutting edge documentaries that are out these days is probably my favourite thing to do as far as wrestling goes, as bad as that is. WWE in particular have done a great job putting out some slick, in-depth movies on superstars and promotions over the last few years. I always love to get that insider perspective and see the guys shoot and tell the facts. There are also a lot of great independent filmmakers out there putting a lens on the business, and they do a great job too.
I’ll be looking at some books and shows in the future, but for today I’d like to open up The Wrestling Review Corner with a few words on Best in the World, the WWE made documentary about the career of CM Punk. I, like many of you I’m sure, am a huge mark for Punk. I’ve loved his whole run in WWE, and since the legendary promo in 2011, he has always remained in the top three for me. I’ve learned a lot about his journey to the top, and all the shit he had to go through to get there, but what I thought I knew, wasn’t the half of it. Watching this movie opened my eyes to a lot of stuff I had no idea about. Similarly to For All Mankind, the Mick Foley movie, it’s an excellent summary of a great career.
The movie is candid and truthful, yet not bitter or too dark. It shows the highs and the lows, but most importantly it’s gives us the hard hitting, real opinions of Punk himself (if we hadn’t heard them all already on Raw every week) – The man makes the open, kayfabe breaking character we know and love seem like a question ducking US president. He shoots on being held back, the moronic ignorance of many of the top executive decision makers in the business, and serves up a refreshing dose of reality to anyone who thinks that the WWE is a place where people are fairly judged and pushed on their talent and commitment. He also heaps praise where it’s due, on people who helped influence and encourage his career (especially one Paul Heyman)
I’ve since come to know that Punk actually had a lot of creative control over the production of the film, something which isn’t afforded to many people with these films. No doubt that has had a great impact on it’s content, delivery and all round end product entertainment value. It looks at his time in backyard wrestling, working his ass off through the independents and climbing the steep and slippery mountain that is the WWE. It paints a picture of a worker who dedicated his life to owning and developing his craft, refused to pander to top brass fans of the generic model wrestler, and cut his own path, both as a performer and a human being.
We get an insight into the man’s personal life, his core values and beliefs (the straight edge movement in particular), and his hardships. We learn about his upbringing and family, and see just how closely they blurred the lines with the whole Chris Jericho feud. It touches on great matches with guys all across the country and even the world, and leaves you feeling emotionally invested in the character and the human being portraying him. The DVD is also jam-packed with excellent bouts, but I’d like to just focus on the documentary side of things.
I recommend it highly. It’s essential viewing for any true CM Punk fan, and especially anyone who was with him on his journey from companies like IWA Mid South and Ring of Honor to the WWE. For those people (which I am not one of) it must be an even better thrill ride. Check it out!