VICELAND’s series Dark Side of the Ring is back with a new season and an upcoming episode will center on WWE’s “Brawl for All” tournament in the late 90s.
The show’s executive producer and writer, Evan Husney, and executive producer and director, Jason Eisner, discussed the “Brawl for All” concept when they joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
“I remember watching Raw in ’98 and being completely confused as a kid,” said Evan. “One of the reasons why we wanted to do it because one of the key themes in Dark Side of the Ring has been examining the line between reality and wrestling fiction. So the idea of putting in a real, shoot-fight tournament inside the scripted world of wrestling fit that box. We set it out to be was a fun episode to explode this, but it ended up being a dark story. Wrestlers already risk so much by being in the ring and then being put in harm’s way ? whether or not they agreed to it ? being in over their heads on live TV for entertainment value.
“It has a disturbing quality to it when you see how many people were injured and how many careers were cut short because of it. Then to have Bart Gunn take it all down and be semi-rewarded with one of the most brutal knockout punches I’ve seen in my entire life. It kinda makes it this tragic hero’s journey story.”
The producers shoot hours of interview and also review hours of wrestling footage before settling on what to include in an episode. Jason discussed the process that goes into that.
“We’re lucky to have a dedicated team of story editors and show producers who help us dive into it. But a lot of times it’s literally sitting through and watching the footage. You’ve got to watch it all because you don’t wanna miss out on finding those little gems that you can sometimes forget after a 20 day shoot,” said Jason.
Evan then gave an example of one of those those little gems that they find.
“We were working on finishing up the Road Warriors episode yesterday. I had forgotten this really emotional, touching story that Scott Norton had told about colliding with Hawk in the ring. They both double clotheslined each other, fell onto the ground and just looked at each other,” recalled Evan. “They’re in the Tokyo Dome and staring up into the lights and while looking at each other after knocking the crap out of each other, they’re like, ‘Can you believe two guys from Minneapolis made it all the way here?’
“It was really a great touching moment and I forgot about it because there were 86 other interviews that we did.”
Dark Side of The Ring’s “Brawl For All” episode airs tonight, 10/9c, on VICELAND. Evan and Jason’s full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get ever episode as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.