The Two Man Power Trip Of Wrestling Podcast recently interviewed longtime movie director Barry Blaustein, who is best known to wrestling fans as the director of the “Beyond The Mat” documentary which features a look at independent talents getting a WWE tryout during the Monday Night Wars, Droz getting his WWE character, Terry Funk’s retirement, Jake Roberts’ battle with drug addiction, the first ever ECW pay-per-view event and Mick Foley dealing with his children’s reaction to the punishment he puts himself through in WWE.
Below are some of the highlights from the interview, where Blaustein talks about portions of the infamous documentary, as well as his thoughts on the current WWE product and more.
On people in the pro wrestling business rejecting the movie:
“I do find it funny and as I was listening to your intro that it’s stuff they didn’t want you to see and after the movie they showed everything and went much further than I would go in showing stuff. I don’t know what I brought is a good thing or a bad thing. People would go; “It’s fake” and I’d say well it’s predetermined but the fans know that and it’s a suspension of disbelief. Wrestling fans are a lot smarter than people give them credit for. I go to watch an Action movie or a James Bond movie and I know a car can’t fly off a building and someones survives but I suspend my [dis]belief so I can enjoy it. I know that a lot of what I am seeing is planned, pre determined and everything but I know how much these guys get hurt and also the psychological implications of pretending to be somebody you are not and sometimes becoming that person.”
On seeing “the real Vince McMahon” and Vince turning on the movie:
“We were done shooting and the cameras had gone away, we were shooting in Sacramento and it was at a RAW taping and Vince came back and it was after he started his feud with Steve Austin and had been beaten up. He was battered and they were taking down the ring and he had a beer and was wearing a sweatshirt and he said “I LOVE this business”. That’s the Vince that I wanted to capture on camera because he does love this business. He has an incredible passion for it and I think Vince is great.
“When the movie came out Vince had called me a couple months before and said this is nothing personal, I like you but I am going to do everything to stop this movie from being seen. It was simply because he wanted a piece of the movie and Universal didn’t want to give him a piece of the movie. He hated that a film company was profiting off his characters he created and I understood that and he kept saying he didn’t care and I could make as much money as I want and I said Vince you can say whatever you want and I’ll come back at you and none of it is personal.”
On scouting for which younger wrestlers to feature:
“I knew Droz’s history before hand. I was given a bunch of wrestlers and I said I wanted to follow a young wrestler as he was given his break. I was given him (Droz), Matt Bloom, who is now a trainer at NXT, and Edge. I remember talking to Edge and he was uncomfortable with being in it. People who were uncomfortable and I would always tell the wrestlers if you don’t want to be in it please tell me and I am not going to put you in it and Darren seemed the most comfortable.
“Did I expect Vince to ask him to show up and throw up, NO. Was I surprised? No, because Vince is a performer. Like most actors who are performers you have a hard time telling the difference and the showman in him made him want to teach him to throw up. Sometimes I say, I should have gone with Edge but he was uncomfortable and I don’t know how good he would have been on camera at that point.”
On still watching WWE in 2016:
“Wrestling is this weird hybrid of entertainment and athleticism and that’s why I really like it. I still watch it, still watch it avidly and most of the time I can’t believe I am watching it and I can’t believe I like it but there is that 10% of me that says I can’t believe everyone doesn’t see what I see in this. I was watching RAW the other week that Vince came back to confront Roman Reigns and I thought this is great and he is such a great hammy performer. How do people not love this?
“I think they lost a lot of people to the Network. People feel like it’s not that important to watch RAW. But every TV show has gone down and down and down. With internet, video games and all different sources of communication I don’t know if the wrestling ratings have gone down more proportionally compared to other TV shows proportionally. When I started at Saturday Night Live if we had the ratings that the show has now we would have been cancelled. You can’t judge (ratings) on what they were ten years ago because it’s changed and the different media available to watch is just so much more.”
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