Faces and Heels: Inside Independent Wrestling
In most cities in America there is a group of wrestlers who call themselves the “independents”. Compared to the WWE seen on television, these are the most minor of the minor leagues. They are predominately young, white, and male, but there are a few notable exceptions to this rule. Their backgrounds and apparent suitability for wrestling are much more varied than one might imagine. Some have the look of the steroid fueled maniacs one sees on TV, while others are remarkably over or under weight. Some are students, some unemployed. There are systems analysts for Xerox and McDonalds counter workers. They are united by their love of a pastime that many feel is ridiculous at best. Most of them work regularly and diligently to improve their skills in the ring.
Faces and Heels takes a look at these wrestlers and tries to help the viewer understand what it is that they do and why they do it. Their bizarre world of “male melodrama”, “testosterone filled circus”, and “ballet with violence” at times has left me laughing and at others scratching my head in confusion, but it has rarely bored me. Many have dreams (or fantasies) of making it in the “big time”, but it’s very unlikely any of them ever will.
They see themselves as athletes, but just as important to them is their performance as entertainers, performers, and storytellers. They deal with classic tales of the struggle between good and evil as they bash each other with folding chairs and grapple sweaty bodies.