Wrestling Isn't Wrestling

Wrestling Isn't Wrestling is a 2015 short film written and directed by Max Landis. Released for free on YouTube, the film retells the story of WWE professional wrestler Triple H. Like Landis's 2012 short The Death and Return of Superman, it consists of an unscripted monologue by Landis on the subject matter, accompanied by sequences with actors performing the parts in the story.

Wrestling Isn't Wrestling
Wrestling Isn't Wrestling.jpg
Promotional poster parodying The Social Network
Directed byMax Landis
Produced by
  • Shyam Sengupta
  • Dave Holton
  • Matt Cohen
Written byMax Landis
StarringMax Landis
Chloe Dykstra
Ana Walczak
Lola Blanc
Andi Layne
Music byEvan Goldman
CinematographyStephen Sorace
Edited byAndy Holton
Production
company
Adjacent LA
Release date
March 16, 2015
Running time
24 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

PlotEdit

In response to the common criticism that professional wrestling is "fake," Max Landis attempts to defend the sport as a legitimately compelling form of fiction. To make this point, he points out that modern professional wrestling contains multiple overtly unrealistic elements that hinge on willing suspension of disbelief, and notes that the scripted nature of wrestling matches doesn't make their stunt-work and choreography any less spectacular.

In an effort to prove that wrestling can be as entertaining as any other form of fiction, Landis recounts the story of his favorite wrestler Paul Levesque, better known by his ring name "Triple H." His retelling of Triple H's wrestling career starts with his early days as the wealthy and snobbish "Hunter Hearst Helmsley," continues with his friendship with Shawn Michaels and his co-founding of the rebellious and rambunctious "D-Generation X," and ultimately recounts his reign as World Heavyweight Champion, his time as the brutal and paranoid leader of "Evolution," and his reinvention as a powerful corporate strongman.

In recounting the evolution of Triple H's in-ring persona, Landis presents the interpretation that all of the wrestler's various gimmicks are different facets of the same character: an arrogant but deeply insecure man with an inferiority complex, who never got over the pain of being overshadowed by better wrestlers. The retelling ends with Triple H's ascension to Chief Operating Officer of the WWE following his marriage to Stephanie McMahon; Landis suggests that Triple H sought power behind the scenes of the company because he could never achieve the glory that he truly desired in the ring.

CastEdit

MainEdit

CameosEdit

ProductionEdit

Funded entirely by Landis, the film was shot at thirty locations throughout Los Angeles over the course of three weeks. It features a cast of close to a hundred extras, with most people involved working for free.[4] Ron Howard was intended to make a cameo appearance, as he did in The Death and Return of Superman, but was unavailable for filming.[1] In a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" Landis mentioned that his father John Landis was initially hesitant to appear in the short due to an aversion to being involved in his sons work, but ultimately agreed once he saw the finished product.[5]

ReceptionEdit

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Michael Calia said that Landis's characterization of wrestling as "packed with the stuff of fiction, both good and terrible" was "not exactly a new insight", but said that Landis "defends wrestling in a fun, inventive way".[6] Writing for Progressive Boink, Bill Hanstock praised the short for not only serving as a comprehensive history of the Triple H character, but for delving into the "subtext, motive and narrative arc for a character that didn't really occur to me in precisely this way before."[7] Users on Letterboxd currently rate the film 3.7 out of 5.[8]

Initially, it was reported by Bryan Alvarez that employees of the WWE were told not to publicly comment on the video.[9] Max Landis himself, however, responded to this on Twitter and clarified that this was simply due to the videos non family friendly content.[10] The video was eventually praised by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, both of whom it depicts as characters.[11] The short earned Landis a position as a creative consultant on WWE Raw.[12]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap Lussier, Germain (2015-03-17). "VOTD: Wrestling Isn't Wrestling". /Film. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  2. ^ HeibergTwitter, Austin (2015-03-16). "Max Landis Packs Triple H's Entire Career Into 'Wrestling Isn't Wrestling'". UPROXX. Retrieved 2020-05-11.
  3. ^ "Mike Diva". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-05-11.
  4. ^ Landis, Max (2015). "Wrestling Isn't Wrestling". Max Landis Writes. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  5. ^ "r/SquaredCircle - Hi, I'm Max Landis. AMA". reddit. Retrieved 2020-05-11.
  6. ^ Calia, Michael (March 17, 2015). "Max Landis Defends the Power of WWE Storytelling in 'Wrestling Isn't Wrestling'". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  7. ^ Hanstock, Bill (2015-03-17). "'Wrestling Isn't Wrestling' is terrific". Progressive Boink. Retrieved 2020-05-11.
  8. ^ Wrestling Isn't Wrestling (2015), retrieved 2020-05-11
  9. ^ "WWE Tells Wrestlers Not To Tweet About Triple H Biopic Parody, Director Comments". Wrestling Inc. 2015-03-20. Retrieved 2020-05-11.
  10. ^ "WWE: Backstage Reaction to "Wrestling Isn't Wrestling"". Daily DDT. 2015-03-21. Retrieved 2020-05-11.
  11. ^ Killam, Mike (March 22, 2015). "Triple H & Stephanie Respond to "Wrestling Isn't Wrestling" Video, New WWE Creative Member on Ring of Honor TV This Weekend". wrestlezone.com. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  12. ^ Sapp, Sean Ross (February 21, 2016). "'Wrestling Isn't Wrestling' Creator Says He's Been A Consultant For WWE For The Past Year". Wrestling Inc.

External linksEdit