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Dropkick from the darkness: Another review of ‘Dark Side of the Ring’ season 3

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A column header designed for Night Light by Jamie Miller, a culmination of reviews opinion from a night owl (Abby Haywood/The Collegiate).

By Jamie Miller

Greetings dear Nightlighters, it is I, “superstar” Jamie Miller here with another issue of Nightlight. Now as you may recall I did a review of season three of VICE TV’s “Dark Side of the Ring” back in June. Well, as it would turn out that was part one of season three, and VICE just now dropped the first episode of part two of the series that attempts to shine light on the seedy darkside of professional wrestling.

Now, while I would normally write a review once the rest of the episodes dropped, the first episode has caused too much fallout to wait. So sit back and read on. Though fair warning, if you come into this looking for a light hearted tale from pro wrestling’s past, look elsewhere, for this tale will likely turn your stomach.

The premiere of the second part of season three dealt with the infamous “Plane Ride from Hell,” and I will warn you right away, readers, this is as complicated as it is disgusting with a lot of hearsay and denials. So I will go with what was said in the documentary.

The plane ride in question occurred when a plane full of WWE wrestlers were flying back from England to the U.S. on a private jet after a European tour in 2002. As stated in the documentary, things began to go wrong almost immediately. Takeoff was delayed for a full seven hours. In order to pass the time, the wrestlers allegedly went through three carts of booze before the plane left the runway, and things just got crazier from there. From two large 6-foot-3 wrestlers wrestling in the aisles and hitting the emergency door so hard people thought it was going to fly off, to a very drunken wrestler seizing the plane’s PA system from a flight attendant in order to serenade his ex-wife, the flight was reportedly slipping into chaos and the poor crew members were just along with the ride so to speak. The documentary also highlights how a former wrestler’s ponytail got snipped off with scissors when he was knocked unconscious by another wrestler after starting an altercation. However, the icing on the demented cake was reports of legendary pro wrestler Ric Flair parading around in nothing but his entrance robe, and allegedly sexually assaulting a flight attendant. It’s times like these that I question my love of the sport. To think this man is a two-time WWE hall of famer and he’s conducting himself in this way.

Speaking on the episode, along with the aforementioned flight attendant were pro wrestlers Robert Szatkowski, better known as Rob Van Dam, Thomas Laughlin or Tommy Dreamer and Peter Polaco, better known as Justin Credible and legendary pro wrestling commentator, and at the time authority figure, Jim Ross.

This episode appears to be well-reported and documents a wide range of takes on what happened. What’s most interesting is the effect it has already had. Since airing on Sept. 16, Flair has had commercials for Car Shield pulled, and Dreamer has been suspended from his jobs both as a member of the creative team at Impact Wrestling and co-host of the pro wrestling radio show “Busted Open” after making comments to the effect that Flair did nothing wrong. Initially, Flair went on the offensive on Twitter before issuing a ridiculous apology and Van Dam has also said his statements were taken out of context. So expect more drama to follow.

Like I said, all in all, a well done episode though difficult to watch. I give it a solid 7 torches out of 10. It’s… interesting to say the least, though as a pro wrestling fan, it’s anger inducing. To once view Flair as a childhood hero only to learn that he was far from it, it’s just sad. And as I said, it seriously makes me question my love of this very strange sport which employs even stranger people.

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