“It’s true, it’s damn true!“
The world of professional wrestling has had countless characters that have transcended pop culture in general. From Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Hulk Hogan and John Cena (just to name a few), these are figures that anyone who is not a fan of sports entertainment, can recognize. But there is a figure, who before reaching the highest peak of World Wrestling Entertainment, had won the attention and heart of an entire nation. His name? Kurt Angle. Ever since I started watching wrestling in 2005, Angle immediately became one of my favorite wrestlers. Over the years, I thought I knew everything about his story, but at the end of his new documentary, Angle, I discovered that I was wrong.
Several weeks ago, the documentary Angle, masterfully directed and produced by Alex Perry, premiered on the Peacock streaming platform. The documentary touches in-depth Angle’s historic Olympic career, his time and success in WWE, as well as all of his injuries and drug addiction problems. Without going into much detail of who Angle is, he was an Olympic Gold medalist in the sport of wrestling, who achieved success in WWE in an era dominated by Stone Cold and The Rock. I leave the rest of his story for you to discover without spoilers, throughout the documentary that contains a runtime of 1 hour and 47 minutes. What you find here is a story that goes beyond wrestling itself. For instance, I was very engaged with really learning about what he had to go through to get to the 1996 Olympics with a broken neck.
The documentary pulls back the curtain for the public to know the nightmares and turbulences in which the wrestlers, who provide us with so much entertainment, have to go through on a daily basis. Angle shows that side of Kurt that perhaps his dressing room peers knew, but he hid very well from his loyal fans and followers. The documentary gives the viewer an alternate version and further expansion on the triumph, tragedy and redemption of Kurt Angle. The Olympic gold medalist has always been a ‘well-oiled machine’ running on a whole different level in the wrestling ring, and the coverage shown in Angle gives an excellent representation of his personal life and career.
Director Alex Perry, who makes his feature film debut with this documentary, does an excellent job of telling the life and career of Angle with archived footage of his Olympic wrestling matches, interviews with friends, family, and WWE legends, as well as plenty of insight by Kurt himself. The way Perry intertwines the story and dedicates all the necessary time to the different stages of Angle’s life without slowing down the rhythm of the documentary, is magnificent and keeps the audience engaged with a good mix of raw emotions and stories. I would like to see Perry tackle future WWE documentaries, because Angle shows his love and passion for the legacy of the sport and its legends. He definitely knows how to hit on all the right emotional points throughout some great storytelling.
Angle appeals to both the wrestling fan and the casual viewer who can relate to Kurt’s story. In life we have triumphs and downfalls, but it’s how you overcome those downfalls that defines a person, and the way Kurt Angle rose from his downfalls is worthy of admiration and inspiration for anyone, regardless of their situation in life.
Angle is one of the best wrestling documentaries ever produced, and tells the story of an American hero who went far and beyond to become a legend in and out of the ring. It’s great having wrestling legends share their stories, which serve as a form of motivation for future stars of the beloved sport. (4.5/5 stars)
Available now on PEACOCK