GOOD DOCUMENTARY 80/100
Director: Barry W. Blaustein
PRODUCERS: Barry W. Blaustein
WritER: Barry W. Blaustein
Narrator: Barry W. Blaustein
Lions Gate EntertainmenT,
Universal Family & Home Entertainment
DistributOR: Universal Pictures
Release date: October 22, 1999
Running time: 102 minutes
Country: United States
Box officE: $2,053,648
Beyond the Mat is an eye-opening documentary from 1999, about Professional Wrestling in the late nineties. I had been a fan of this film since it's release on video and shared it with all of my high-school friends. It's an awesome documentary that can help turn people into wrestling fans by giving them a backstage look at the WWE, then the WWF (World Wrestling Federation), and how the product is brought to world every week.
This film leaves nothing in the dark. We get an intimate look at the inner workings of promotions like the WWF, ECW and independent bay-area promotion, APW. It's a chance to see how wrestlers become superstars by the hand of the almighty Vince McMahon. We look at these performers and how their lives are affected, both negatively and positively, in this very secretive business. It's worth the time just to see Vince McMahon critiquing wrestlers with commentator, Jim Ross. It's worth it to watch ECW promoter, Paul Heyman creating the Extreme Championship Wrestling product in his mother's basement! It's an emotional look at the lives of legends like Terry Funk, Mick Foley, Jake Roberts and many more, as they balance their lives both in the squared circle and out of it.
Most wrestling fans agree that this is one of the most important documentaries for fans of wrestling. They get some amazing footage and interviews with WWF/ECW wrestlers like Mick Foley, Terry Funk, Vince McMahon, Jake Roberts, Dave Meltzer and APW's promoter, Roland Alexander. We also get an intimate look at the family lives of most of these names. Beyond the Mat is a phenomenal look at the wrestling business. A documentary that cannot be replicated today.