Throw Back Thursday – This Wrestling Life
This Wrestling Life follows the trials and tribulations of the next generation of wannabe wrestlers as they pursue their dream of becoming global superstars. Audiences get an unprecedented all access pass into the bizarre lives of Travis, Bill, Natalie and Scotty Mac as they take us inside the SLAM ACADEMY. Their stories are unscripted and far from fake.
In the down and out suburbs of Surrey we find North America’s next hotbed of WWE- style pro wrestling. Our emerging wrestlers get down and dirty at the SLAM ACADEMY as veteran wrestler Scotty Mac puts them to the test.
Meet Travis aka Volt Vegas, Natalie aka KC Spinelli and Bill Taylor, an up and coming referee as this group of loveable misfits negotiate their way through a world full of rituals and rules. Over the course of a year we join the ranks and ride the many ups and downs at one of the top independent wrestling schools in the world.
From a young age he has aspired to be a pro wrestler. For several years now Travis has sat in the front row holding Scotty Mac’s belt. Finally, Travis takes the leap at his dream of being a professional wrestler and joins SLAM to begin training. Follow Travis as he truly experiences what it takes to be a pro wrestler for the first time.
Travis stands 6 foot 4 and weighs an unhealthy 255 lbs at the young age of 18. We follow Travis as he makes the transition from outside to inside the ring. Will he be able to withstand the amount of physical, mental, and emotional struggle and stamina it takes? Will Travis join his idol inside this world or go back to sitting in the front row?
Growing up in a broken home Travis’s life hasn’t been easy. At the tender age of nine, Travis’s mother dropped him off on his father’s doorstep so she could check into rehab for cocaine addiction. His fathers’ house wasn’t much better; an old office renovated into a semblance of a house and attached to the steel fabrication plant where his father works. Growing up, Travis’s backyard was full of cranes, Mac trucks and rusted steel in an industrial area of Coquitlam BC where, for most, the constant noise and air pollution would be unlivable. His father now battles his own demon, alcoholism, and Travis has had enough.
With little to no financial or emotional support throughout most of his life, he now feels the need to make a full escape. Earning minimum wage washing dishes part-time and unable to purchase the necessary equipment for wrestling, how will he be able to afford to make it on his own? Will the financial pressure prevent him from escaping his current life circumstances, which he otherwise refers to as “hell”? Will he be forced to drop out of wrestling, which in his own eyes is the only hope he has for a good life? When living on the streets is a very real possibility, will his new wrestling family give him the support he needs, the support he never had?
Natalie is a young, attractive, doe-eyed Italian girl from Toronto who, from childhood, always believed she would be famous. But her family and friends kept telling her that she wasn’t that typical tall, blonde, blue eyed beauty that she’d have to be to become a star. And eventually that dream faded.
Scotty Mac saw Natalie at a few wrestling events and loved her passion and knowledge of wrestling, a knowledge gained from growing up in a male dominated house hold. Recognizing the need for more female wrestlers, Scotty convinced Natalie to join SLAM. Could this be Natalie’s big break? Will her childhood dream of fame become reality? Will she prove the naysayers wrong?
Natalie’s home environment growing up shares many parallels with the testosterone-driven, macho world of professional wrestling. Will she immediately feel comfortable in this male dominated industry where chauvinism runs rampant? Or will it bring back bad memories of the physical and mental abuse she received from her father and brother? Will the veteran wrestlers see her lack of confidence and bring her under their wings? Or will they push her further away, letting the “survival of the fittest” rule stand?
Bill Taylors’ reasons for joining SLAM are very different from Travis and Natalie’s. Although he was a huge fan watching wrestling growing up in Calgary AB, he’s not your typical student. Bill is training as a ref but has no interest of making it to the big time. He lives in urban downtown Vancouver and at 40 he’s much older than the other wrestlers. Most importantly, Bill’s personal lifestyle is a huge no-no in the wrestling world. He’s openly gay.
Bill, who has performed improv on stage for years wanted to bring his love of performing and wrestling together. Is Scotty’s plan to exploit Bill’s sexual preference what Bill had in mind when he signed up?
In a hetero, male dominated industry which hasn’t seen much cultural innovation since its inception in carnivals in the late 19th century how will Bill react to infusing his real life persona with his in-the-ring persona? How will Bill’s gay friends react when they see that first show and “fag” chants start in the crowd?
Scotty Mac is currently one of Canada’s top independent wrestlers, holding both the ECCW and NWA heavyweight belts. Good looking, chiseled physique, pearly white teeth, tons of charisma and the talent and ego that could take him all the way to the top. One problem… he’s only 5 foot 9 in a world of giants.
Originally from Kelowna BC and now living at “The Mac Mansion” in Surrey, Scotty is a bartender by trade, a partner and creative force behind the ECCW (Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling) and the lead trainer at the SLAM ACADEMY.
Turning 30 and having already been a professional wrestler for over 8 years now, the promise of the big lights is fading. Will a call to work a WWE show change his fortunes or will his height disadvantage leave him out in the cold? Will being a mentor to the next generation of wrestlers be enough to keep him in the ring? Is it time for “the big fish in the small pond” to join the ranks of what most consider to be a normal life?
This Wrestling Life is available on iTunes for $12.99 – Click HERE
Nice little documentary about an odd little subculture.
This wrestling life
Great !!! Must watch. It feels Luke u no em by the end. Highly recommend.
I’m putting this film over
Awesome storytelling. The editing and pacing flowed really well. Compelling cast. I am amazed that this is Stephen Gillis’ first feature. With prowrestling, I am more intrigued with what goes on outside the ring than inside. I am constantly fascinated by people who choose to go into the wrestling industry. What kind of people they are, where they come from and what drives them. This film has three things I love: Canadians, Wrestling and great storytelling.
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