We don’t learn the meaning of the film’s name until the end credits, but that’s fine as the newest documentary from Iron River Films, Card Subject To Change, is fantastic for the 90 minutes plus credits.
This film takes the viewer behind the scenes of an independent promotion (National Wrestling Superstars) in New Jersey run by longtime promoter Johnny Falco, a man who has been in the business for more than 30 years and even wrestled for a couple years as the masked Scarface Nelson back in the 1970s.
In this film, behind the scenes literally means just that as we see Falco going up and down a business strip in New Jersey taping posters to windows to promote an upcoming NWS show. We also see him counting the gate, on the phone with wrestlers and going over events with that night’s talent.
One wrestler that is keyed on throughout the film is the late Trent Acid, a wrestler Falco eerily hopes won’t one day become a statistic as his substance abuse issues are well documented, even by Acid himself. Falco wishes he could be coherent for a number of his shows, but even when he’s in the bag, Acid is definitely a talent. Included in the DVD is a match between Acid and Billy Kidman.
This DVD came out before Acid’s death this past June. Another spooky moment is when Acid states at one point that wrestling is his life and he’ll be around as long as he wants to be. Geez, goosebumps.
Kevin Sullivan, still in great shape at age 60, makes an occasional appearance for NWS and shows he still has it. Bill Apter, Superstar Billy Graham and JJ Dillon all comment on Sullivan, who gets a good deal of pub on this DVD. And that’s a good thing.
Kamala and Sabu are other bygones who still wrestle on the indy scene for Falco, while up-and-comers like current Ring Of Honor star Rhett Titus and the stunning Lacey Von Erich get significant air time. An interview with Sherri Martel is part of this documentary and the end of the DVD informs the viewer that the interview was her last before she died in June 2007.
There is a segment with Titus that, as a parent, really tugged at my heartstrings. He’s getting ready to head out to get to a match and his son asks why he’s leaving again. Titus tells his boy that wrestling is what he does and maybe his mother will bring him to the matches.
The lifestyle of a wrestler has been bandied about time and time again, but I just can’t imagine missing out on seeing my kids grow up and when you do see them, it’s for a short while and then you’re back on the road.
This DVD also shows how pro wrestling isn’t for everyone. One prospect, Sgt. Jimmy Storm, is a 33-year-old tow truck driver who served the U.S. in Desert Storm in Iraq. We see him prepping for his debut match and while the match isn’t bad, we learn later than Storm didn’t quit his day job, so to speak, but has stayed on as a referee.
Corvis Fear, another indy vet, takes on the task of steroids and their presence in the industry. It’s interesting in what he says, but what it boils down to is that he’s stayed away — for the most part — until we get footage of him actually injecting. He then goes on to say that looking good makes him feel good and that’s why it’s not necessarily wrong.
And what indy DVD wouldn’t be complete without an appearance from The Necro Butcher? The current ROH star makes his showing late in the DVD and we get some gory footage of Necro post-match. Let’s just say the blood is flowing and skin is missing. Typical Necro, so nothing new here. His interview looks like it’s conducted in a basement someplace as a hot water heater is next to him.
An outdoor show in Norwich, Conn., highlighted by an appearance by the New Age Outlaws, or whatever they’re called now, wraps the DVD.
This DVD is one that really takes you behind the workings of a wrestling promotion and that’s what I liked the most about it. The interviews were genuine and up-front and you really get the sense that individuals involved with wrestling at any level do it for the passion and end result and not for the payout.
Falco makes this DVD what it is. As a promoter, he lets the viewer into the sometimes brutal world of being a promoter. It’s not easy and there can be shortcomings, but at the end of the day, when one of his 60 shows a year ends and everyone is in the back talking about the positives of the show, that’s when everything seems to have been worth it.
Not your average wrestling documentary, the 90 minutes or so you’ll spend watching this will also be worth it.