Detractors usually cite professional wrestling’s inherent illegitimacy when performing a takedown of the “sport.” Fans argue that it’s no more or less fake than other types of scripted entertainment, and counter that boxing is just as predetermined. That’s the stance that director Max Landis is taking in his new homemade documentary about the WWE, Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling.
To make his case about the power of wrestling’s melodrama, Landis uses his film to narrate the rise of Hunter Hearst Helmsley, a.k.a. Triple H. Drunk History-style, he pieces together the events that form one of wrestling’s greatest story arcs. All of the male wrestlers are portrayed by women, and the supporting cast is a smorgasbord of cameos, including Seth Green, David Arquette, Macaulay Culkin, and plenty of wrestling vets. At close to a half-hour, Wrestling isn’t a detached, ironic examination of professional wrestling; it’s a passionate love letter that has Landis literally screaming at points. You might not agree with Landis, but you can’t deny he makes some good points, including his conclusion, “the only thing wrestling isn’t… is wrestling.”