The Wrestling Review Corner
VICE: The British Wrestler
Expect “The British Wrestler” to be very gritty and raw, in true Vice fashion. It follows a hugely obsessive childhood WWF fan, on his quest to reach the top of Scottish promotion Insane Championship Wrestling. It’s like watching yourself on the screen, living out your dreams. The film mostly consists of wrestling fanatics with awesome Scottish accents.
The former fanboy in question launched a huge online and social media campaign to try to get himself booked. Under the name Grado (which he got from a random tattoo he had done on a Magaluf weekender), he went from being an outsider trying to meet the wrestlers, to one of the most over guys in the organisation. He utilised Twitter and YouTube to his advantage, developed catchphrases (like “It’s yourself!”) and got some excellent tights. The film kind of reminds me of Pinfall (see review here), except the guy in question actually became a regular competitor and has officially “done it” so to speak, before the film was made.
We get to see some great in-ring work, and also some excellent promos. They are pretty intense, and laden with profanity, for all of you Attitude Era fans out there. The Grado character fits into this world as a unique, funny guy who is honestly quite enigmatic. UK Dominator (also seen in Pinfall) gave an amazing lesson on how to easily get heel heat. I never get sick of listening to that guy. They paid him a visit at his gym in Devon, while touching on training schools.
There were more comparisons with the film “The Wrestler”, justifiably so. On a lighter note, Vice even managed to make British Wrestling raunchy and outrageous. We got to see some of an all woman twins v twins match, and let me tell you, none of those girls look like Chyna. Check it out. While touching on the dark and the light, the film manages to strike a good balance and paint Scotland and British wrestling very well.
Grado is a likeable main guy, but he isn’t the only draw in the company, and he isn’t the only star of the film. The “Bucky Boys” are a stable of Devvo lookalikes, who drink cheap wine in the ring. They also pull off some pretty entertaining high-flying moves. One thing you can definitely say for them is that they are a funny bunch of lads, who give this film added light. One of them actually made a really poignant statement about how the business had actually saved him from a life of drugs and alcohol, contradicting popular opinion, and contradicting his on-screen character.
I really want to check out the ICW now. It looks amazing. I might even travel to Scotland for a show. The roster is pretty stacked with cool guys, as far as I saw in this film anyway. The whole film builds up to the crescendo when Grado faces Red Lightning for the Heavyweight Title, the culmination of his journey. I won’t give away the ending. Check it out and see. The whole film is only forty minutes long. They built the match up with an epic, emotional storyline. Grado was so over when he came out. “Grado loses, we riot” signs were out! It was certainly a good ending.
On the whole, it was the ultimate underdog story, both as a work, and as a reality. I really can’t recommend the movie enough. It’s another good example of British wrestling in the modern era. There are a lot of these gems out there, and this is one of the better ones.
Thanks for reading, and check it out.