Documentary filmmaker Jeremy Norrie’s latest piece of work, The Other Side Of The Ring, begins in just the way that you’d hope if you were anyone who loves wrestling: An opening shot of Keta Meggett (a.k.a. Keta Rush) throwing a Hurricanrana to a roaring crowd of WOW wrestling fans.
Meggett is one of four subjects introduced in the documentary, spotlighting the seperate lives and trajectories taken by several woman who’ve each had their own moments of inspiration driving them to become professional wrestlers. Such include Katrina Waters who began her wrestling career London, whereas the bubbly Sarah Jean Greaves who launched her career in 2014, and we also meet retired wrestler Shelly Martinez who grew up around wrestling in her family and debuted in 2000.
Each interviewee dives into their own motivations for getting into the profession, respectively pointing to things from certain staples like legendary WWF/WWE prospect, Chyna and even pop culture icons like Cyndi Lauper and the legendary women of GLOW, to much more personal moments and inflection points. One of the more compelling stories I liked was Meggett’s own reprisal from an upbringing that routinely dealt with childhood bullying and how it led to her prospective athletic training and eventually stumbling onto an opportinity to become a wrestler, taking on her own moniker as “The Bullybuster”.
Martinez dug into some pretty interesting watercooler talk regarding how oftentimes she would have to walk a highwire between knowing her shit and answering questions since the latter would frequently put her in hot water. She also talks about the Attitude Era back in the late 1990s and the rivaling brands as they battled for the Nielsen ratings. I was never too into wrestling but I grew up with it at least partly cultivating my own childhood some and wasn’t at all versed about some of the aspects of being a wrestling fan and the business, so it was interesting to learn a new term.
The ladies also go into the stunt performance aspects of what their careers entail, and some of the controversy with the all too familiar attitudes pertaining to “realness” and “fakeness”, and it’s a notable highlight that all the more conveys why it is females are just as qualified to partake in the sport as men, and furthermore, the fact that they all deserve a place at the table when it comes to the sport and the business altogether, inside the ring and out.
Superb throwback footage and other training and performance highlights in their scantily clad, staged, sexy and characterized allure, embody a fun, eighty minute mix of first-hand, in-depth anecdotal goodness from the purveyors of a sport that continues to captivate audiences today. For the most part, they are stories of inspiration, survival, love and emancipation. If you grew up with wrestling and wish to dive deeper with another addition to your wrestling library, Norrie’s The Other Side Of The Ring is proudly calling your candy ass out!
The Other Side of the Ringwill be available on Tubi TV (Where Available), Vimeo on Demand and Google Play on May 20, with other platforms to follow, courtesy of Indie Rights Movies.