This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
VICE TV’s series Dark Side of the Ring dives deep into an era of professional wrestling where the lines between stage and reality were blurred. We investigate the most controversial stories that surrounded some of wrestling's greatest legends. Here, we round up some of the strangest and most heart-wrenching moments in the show's first series ahead of the new season dropping on All 4 and VICE TV this month.
The Backstory to Bruiser Brody's Murder
"The Killing of Bruiser Brody" dives into the mysterious locker room stabbing of Frank Donald Goodish, who played Bruiser Brody, a notorious villain character, in the 1970s. People confused Goodish with his intensely mean-spirited character, who was known for charging into the audience and swinging a metal chain to hit fans. This may well be why no one was ever jailed for his murder, explains director Jason Eisner. In reality, he was a former sports journalist who liked to direct wrestling shots in his spare time. In this clip, his peers talk about his final moments.
The Wrestling Love Story That Had Tragic Consequences
Art collides with real-life when the love story between a wrestling couple explodes beyond the ring with tragic consequences. We learn the story of SummerSlam 1991, where "Macho Man" Randy Savage was set to marry his wrestling partner Miss Elizabeth in the ring for a "Match Made in Heaven". We see their relationship unfold to reveal scenes of Savage’s paranoid, overprotective tendencies, as he would threaten anyone who even looked at her.
During their time together onscreen, Miss Elizabeth was the object of affection for many other wrestlers, which caused feuds – including a famous one with Hulk Hogan. In this clip, we seek the truth behind the story from Hulk Hogan's ex-wife, who was close friends with Elizabeth.
Lifting the Lid on Wrestling's 'Sacred Brotherhood'
The "Montreal Screwjob" was a story of deceit and violence that became one of professional wrestling's most infamous off-script moments. When Bret Hart was stripped of his championship title in a backstage plot, it changed the sport of wrestling forever. In this clip, we see just how easily violence used to escalate between wrestlers behind closed doors.
A Wrestling Family Tragedy
"The Last of the Von Erichs" grapples with the lessons in wrestler Kerry Von Erich's tragic story. He was one of the stars of the picture-perfect Von Erich wrestling family, until he was found dead in a hotel room. In this clip, Kerry's last surviving brother revisits the horror that plagued his once iconic family.
Gino Hernandez's Paranoia Leading Up to His Mysterious Death
In 1986, 28-year-old championship wrestler Gino Hernandez died of a mysterious drug overdose. Some believe his "tough crowd" contacts knew more than they let on.
The Dark Allegations Tarnishing the Fabulous Moolah’s Legacy
Wrestling royalty The Fabulous Moolah was once the sport’s most beloved female star. Not only did she manage to retain the WWE Women's Championship for a whole 379 days (the sixth longest reign ever), but she paved the way for what women's wrestling became.
Following her death in 2007, controversial allegations relating to sex trafficking began to surface. We examine the claims through the accounts of both those accusing her of wrongdoings (such as the children of Sweet Georgia Brown, the first black professional female wrestler, and the former pro-champ Wendy Richter) and those defending the iconic figure (including her daughter, and wrestlers such as Selina Majors).
Season 2 returns weekly from Monday the 8th June, at 10PM on VICE TV, venturing deeper into wrestling's shrouded past. The series tackles the biggest stories from the last 40 years, with unprecedented access to a new cast of insiders who reveal the brutal and often tragic consequences of a life lived in the squared circle.
Catch up on Season 1 for free on All 4 here, and tune into Season 2 every Monday from June 8th on VICE TV, Sky 183 // Virgin 219 // BT 338 // TalkTalk 338 // Now TV.