Beyond the Mat - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Beyond the Mat Reviews

Page 1 of 24
Super Reviewer
August 4, 2007
A gritty and interesting look at life behind the wrestling scenes.
Super Reviewer
½ September 6, 2007
Adult professional wrestling fans aren't stupid, we know wrestling is fake and the outcomes are pre-determined. What none fans don't realize is why we like it. It's the drama, the pageantry, the cheesy stories, the costumes, and most of all the action. Yes, it's pre-determined and choreographed, but you still need to be charismatic and athletic, and night after night these guys put their bodies on the line just for our entertainment. People have been killed and paralyzed doing this, so to anyone who says it's not real and takes no skill, I point to this documentary. Beyond The Mat looks into the lives of these guys outside the ring and show the ancient Terry Funk, whose body has been ravaged from years in the ring. He can barely walk anymore, but still has to get in there and has to do this because it's all he knows and what he loves. Jake "The Snake" Roberts is also featured and he talks about how eight years on the road with WWE and how it made him a neglectful father, a bad husband, and a drug addict. Roberts says between the pain and the constant moving around he could never have done it without drugs! Finally, they look at Mick Foley AKA Mankind, Dude Love, Cactus Jack and show how he's this normal family man and while his family knows it's for show, how much they worry. In the last 30 years, hundreds of pro-wrestlers have died under the age of 45, most of them due to the physical trauma they've put their bodies through or the dependence on drugs that has resulted from it. If those were NFL or MLB stars instead, there would be massive reform and congressional intervention, but the truth is no one cares about these guys, except of course their families, friends, and fans. Beyond The Mat is important because it shows just what these guys put on the line and just how little the people at the top care.
Super Reviewer
September 9, 2007
The best documentary that I have ever seen on professional wrestling. Those who were fans of the sport in the 80s will be appalled at the current state of the wrestlers of that era.
Super Reviewer
½ January 3, 2010
If you liked The Wrestler, you'll like this documentary because its the same story yet its all true. And if you like wrestling, you'll like this documentary because its got lots of wrestlers and lots of wrestling in it. And if you hate wrestling, you'll like this documentary because it shows you exactly why you hate wrestling so very much.
Super Reviewer
May 21, 2006
There's something here for both fans and non-fans. Both a study of the wrestling business and an intriguing human character protrayal.
Super Reviewer
February 8, 2008
As a fan of wrestling, I found this doc incredible. It's a fascinating look into the folks who chose to wrestle for a living and their trials and tribulations. I've recommended this to people who hate wrestling and they've enjoyed it as well.
Super Reviewer
July 5, 2006
after seeing this I REALLLY wish Mick would stay retired. Not because I dont enjoy his entertainment, but becaus eI truly believe it would bebest for HIM.
December 3, 2015
Being a wrestling fan my entire life as you get older and realize there is more that meets the eye you become interested in the behind the scenes stuff than you do the actual action in the ring. So needless to say when Beyond the Mat came out in theatres, I was there the first day. This documentary really takes you behind the scenes of the wrestling business and how it effects the people involved. Not just the wrestlers, but their families as well. The one story that obviously sticks out to everyone who has seen this movie is Jake the Snake Roberts. His battle with addiction is documented here and his fall from grace to where he is in this film, actually makes me who is a fan of Jake, very sad. It was actually heart wrenching to see him like this. Since this movie he has cleaned up and stayed sober, but wow. This is a really close and personal devastating look at a former superstar that has just lost everything but still trying to retain some of that old glory wrestling in front of 30 people in a bingo hall. Taking his earnings from the nights match and spending it on crack in a motel room. Very sad. But a very true look at what a lot of these former wrestlers end up like and deal with after their time in the spotlight is over and done with.
½ March 6, 2013
This shows just what it takes to be a professional wrestler, and what they go through to entertain the fans.
June 5, 2007
Great wrestling documentary. Great insight into the life of Terry Funk, Mick Foley, and Jack "The Snake" Roberts. Jake's story is the saddest of the bunch, by far. This would be a great movie to watch alongside The Wrestler. Terry Funk and Jake Roberts reminded me of the main character in The Wrestler.
June 2, 2011
It's an interesting look into the world of professional wrestling. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of promoter and wrestler and see the different view they had. The Jake the Snake bits were intense. One problem I had was misplacement of "Stand By Me" music. It felt awkward. Also, the documentary didn't feel like it had a strong conclusion, bit of a problem on the narrators part. Overall, good watch.
½ April 17, 2010
A nice documentary following some wrestlers and seeing what wrestling has done for their lives. There are some seriously heartbreaking parts and a very disturbing part with Jake the Snake. This is a very revealing doc.
½ January 3, 2007
Great documentary with an inside look at the world of professional wrestling and the hardships these men face.
½ June 9, 2008
I found Dwayne Johnson calling "The Rock" an asshole (or whatever he calls him) entertaining. This is an decent documentary for professional wrestling, I thought.
½ March 9, 2008
Somewhat disappointing doc has some true moments of greatness, mostly when focusing on Mick Foley (Mankind), but much of this unfocused mess tends to sidetrack a bit too often. Still, some great moments make it worth a look if you have any interest in wrestling.
January 1, 2008
Awesome look at the toll wrestling takes on it's stars. Being on the road can really mess you up. Just ask Jake Roberts or Terry Funk and it can take a toll on your family. Just ask those two guys again and Mick Foley. Great documentary and it also offers a really good look at wrestling in the 1990s.
November 22, 2007
A very interesting and good documentary about Pro Wrestling.....not perfect, but it has its GREAT points.
½ April 16, 2007
A great look into the "boom" period of professional wrestling. Great looks at the rising WWF Attitude era and the revolution that ECW produced. Also looks into Terry Funk, Mick Foley, Jake The Snake Roberts, and others. Great for any wrestling fan.
August 13, 2007
Very interesting look into a world I thought was very fake. I'll bite my tongue in the future now. The "Rock" is kind of a dick to.
July 24, 2007
It's a directorial debut for acclaimed writer Barry Blaustein ("Saturday Night Live", "Coming to America", "Boomerang", "The Nutty Professor"), and it's a subject matter close to his heart - professional wrestling.

Blaustein tells it from the off that he was a huge fan of wrestling as a child and still watches to this day. He also explains that while wrestling matches are pre-determined and major parts of a match are worked out between the wrestlers and the writers, the better wrestlers are the ones who can work together and put together a good match on the fly, calling spots during the action.

if his aim is to investigate what life is like for American wrestlers - hard-working professionals who are dismissed by many as nothing more than pumped-up stunt men - he may succeed in changing that view for a lot of people.

The main drive of his vision is to study some of the legends of the sport. Terry Funk, a 53-year old Texan with shot knees; Mick Foley, 33, minus half his left ear and a few front teeth; Jake Roberts, 40-something with a cocaine addiction and a dysfunctional family. He also spends some time with the industries revolutionary, Vince McMahon, and independent promoter, Paul Heyman.

The footage is incredible at times. Foley, a good man with a beautiful wife and young kids, balances his love for the sport with his love for his family. We see his kids crying, watching Daddy getting hit with a chair continuously. His wife, clearly unhappy with her husband's career, knows that it is what he loves and reluctantly lets him get on with it, dropping hints that enough is enough from time to time.

Terry Funk has been wrestling 32 years. His knee needs to be totally replaced. He struggles to walk but still is able to perform admirably in the ring. His family all want him to retire and despite continuously doing so, he is always lured back to the sport.

Jake Roberts is by far the most intriguing of the three (and that's saying something). Lauded during the documentary as one of the all-time greats by the likes of Vince McMahon and his head of talent recruitment Jim Ross, Roberts has sunk into a degrading life of drugs and alcohol. His relationship with his family is non-existent and he tells the disturbing tale of how his mother gave birth to him at thirteen after being raped by her mother's boyfriend.

He also speaks of his loveless relationship with his father and describes his psychology-studying daughter (whom he is reunited with temporarily on camera) as a 'freak'.

If ever there was evidence that wrestling is "real", that was it. A stunning examination of a perceived "pretend" industry, "Beyond the Mat" should be seen by cynics. After seeing it, you'll understand why you owed these men that much.
Page 1 of 24