Professional wrestling is the bastard child of combat sports and soap operas. And within that world, it’s only recently that women’s wrestling has been seen as something to be taken more seriously than a midget tag team match. The Other Side of the Ring takes a look at four female wrestlers who talk about their careers and how they perceive the industry and the changes in it.
Documentary filmmaker Jeremy Norrie (Don’t Call Me Bigfoot, Is Mindfulness Right for You?) just points his camera and lets his subjects, Katarina Leigh Waters, Keta Meggett, Delilah Doom and Shelly Martine do the talking. There are no experts, historians or other wrestlers heard from in The Other Side of the Ring, just the four of them talking about their experiences.
While this may seem a bit limiting, Norrie offsets it by picking women who have very different experiences in the field. From someone who had just gotten into wrestling and an up-and-coming indie wrestler to a pair of seasoned veterans who wrestled at the industry’s highest levels. Even without any other interviewees, The Other Side of the Ring does cover a lot of ground.
There’s Shelly Martinez, the one most viewers will recognize from her time in ECW, WWE and TNA. She talks about the pros and cons of working for major federations. She also discusses transitioning to the indies after her time in the big leagues. Although the film’s IMDB page references some of her softcore work there’s no mention of her work with Women’s Erotic Wrestling. That could have been an interesting look at yet another side of the industry.
Katarina Leigh Waters will also probably be recognizable from her run as Katie Lea Burchill in ECW and WWE as well as Katarina Leigh in TNA. She’s also been in numerous films including REDCON-1 and one of my favourite action films, Karate Kill. She talks about getting into wrestling while living on the other side of the Atlantic, and how much more complex, and dangerous, the moves in the ring have gotten. And how many more women she sees in the business now.
Indie wrestler Delilah Doom (Sarah Jean Greaves) gives her perspective on life in the indies and working the different federations. It’s a look at literally The Other Side of the Ring, the kind of career most professional wrestlers can aspire to, as opposed to fame and fortune in the WWE.
And there’s Keta Meggett, an actress who wrestled as part of the reboot of Women of Wrestling from 2016 to 2019. She talks about getting into the field by accident and the crash course in training that came with it. She also reflects on how it’s affected her life outside of wrestling.
Like many indie documentaries, The Other Side of the Ring seems to have been filmed over a few years. Meggett talks about WoW which last aired in 2019 in the present tense while Ms. Doom references the pandemic and much more recent events. A brief update on what they’re all doing now would have been nice.
All four of them talk about some things such as how they got into wrestling and how the women’s role in it has changed. They all seem optimistic about it, and the future of female wrestling. Martinez, the most experienced of them, is a little more cautious in that optimism based on her experiences in the WWE however.
It’s been a long time since I’ve followed professional wrestling, but like Nail in the Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro I found The Other Side of the Ring to be fairly interesting. I’m not sure how much of what’s covered here would be new to a current hardcore fan though.
Indie Rights is releasing The Other Side of the Ring to Tubi TV (where available), Vimeo on Demand and Google Play on May 20th, with other platforms to follow. You can check their Facebook page for updates.