It starts on a bizarre note. A man and a woman are running for their lives through the woods, pursued by a killer wearing wrestling boots. The man is dressed in black shorts and a black t-shirt, like a pale goth guy heading to the beach. The woman is naked, except for her combat boots.
Along with the usual questions of who the killer is, why he’s chasing them, and what will happen when he catches up, Wrestlemassacre gives you the added pressure of wondering about the costume — or lack of costume — choices director Brad Twig has made to start his movie. But don’t get too hung up on the details. Things end badly, very badly, for the couple as the killer catches up with them and kills them in a very grizzly fashion. And that’s that. End of their story. The film just jumps back in time, to four days earlier, to tell us the origin story of the murderous wrestler.
Wrestlemassacre tells the story of Randy (professional wrestler Richie The Cuban Assassin Acevedo), a lonely, lost soul who spends his days as a landscaper and his nights drinking beer and watching evangelical TV. He yearns for a romance with the beautiful Becky (Rosanna Nelson), but she’s in love, or at least living with, a sketchy scam artist named Owen (Julio Bana Fernandez). One night, Randy receives a message from his favorite TV Preacher, the Reverend Nathan Ashberry (James L. Edwards) that he should go to wrestling school and become a professional wrestler, just like his dad.
Unfortunately, when it comes to natural talent, Randy is a far better landscaper than a wrestler. And he’s a pretty crap landscaper. While he doesn’t make the cut for the school, he at least gets some boots, a wrestling speedo and just enough skills to start stomping around killing everybody who gets in his way. It’s not much of a story, but it doesn’t have to be. Once Twig sets up the basic plot he concentrates on cramming as much gore and guts as he can into the remaining 45 minutes of Wrestlemassacre and he does it with a certain amount of style. Having a protagonist who at least tried to go to wrestling school, played by a man who is an actual pro wrestler, gives Twig plenty of cool ways to stage the fight between Randy and his victims. Sure, some of them look about as ‘real’ as a real professional wrestling match, but that only adds to the fun.
In terms of acting, the cast of Wrestlemassacre isn’t going to win any Oscars, but they won’t get any Razzies either. Acevedo is good enough as the bad guy, all hefty and hairy, but there is a puppy dog quality to his performance when he’s not beating the crap out of people that is also quite endearing. Fernandez makes Owen a great slimeball, the kind of character that makes you root for his bloody demise seconds after he first shows up on the screen. (It’s worth the wait when it happens.) Nelson is not only beautiful but believable in her role as Becky, giving a naturalistic performance that is compelling to watch because it makes everyone else in the movie ‘look’ like they are acting,
Fans will appreciate that there are a number of cameo appearances in Wrestlemassacre by other professional wrestlers besides Acevedo, like the appearance of Tony Atlas as the mob strongman Hercules. Non-fans won’t even notice.
While a lot of Wrestlemassacre is a lot of fun, the film stumbles a bit at the very end when Twigg adds a supernatural element to the mix that supposedly connects Rady’s killings with the religious group that inspired him in the beginning. It feels like a clumsy afterthought rather than a strong part of the story. Maybe it’s there to ensure a Wrestlemassacre II. That wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Maybe in Part II Twigg can answer those questions about the couple at the start of Wrestlemassacre.
Wrestlemassacre will be available On Demand + DVD June 16, 2020, from Wild Eye Releasing.
- John Black, Wrestlemassacre