Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 23
  2. Negative: 1 out of 23
  1. Stay far, far away unless you can handle the copious amounts of blood--and agonizing psychological problems-- that its participants face on what seems like a daily basis.
  2. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    90
    A gently and genuinely observed film whose subject is a garish, artificial display of mayhem.
  3. Reviewed by: Milton Kent
    88
    What the film does, brilliantly, is provoke the intelligent fan to wonder if there's a limit to how far the proceedings can go.
  4. Reviewed by: Chad Damiani
    85
    Professional wrestling might not be real, folks -- but, after watching this poignant and simple documentary, you might start questioning where the make-believe begins.
  5. 83
    Frighteningly, grippingly real.
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Feb 22, 2013
    7
    Adult professional wrestling fans aren't stupid, we know wrestling is fake and the outcomes are pre-determined. What none fans don't realize is why we like it. It's the drama, the pageantry, the cheesy stories, the costumes, and most of all the action. Yes, it's pre-determined and choreographed, but you still need to be charismatic and athletic, and night after night these guys put their bodies on the line just for our entertainment. People have been killed and paralyzed doing this, so to anyone who says it's not real and takes no skill, I point to this documentary. Beyond The Mat looks into the lives of these guys outside the ring and show the ancient Terry Funk, whose body has been ravaged from years in the ring. He can barely walk anymore, but still has to get in there and has to do this because it's all he knows and what he loves. Jake "The Snake" Roberts is also featured and he talks about how eight years on the road with WWE made him a neglectful father, a bad husband, and a drug addict. Roberts says between the pain and the constant moving around he could never have done it without drugs! Finally, they look at Mick Foley AKA Mankind, Dude Love, Cactus Jack and show how he's this normal family man and while his family knows it's for show, how much they worry. In the last 30 years, hundreds of pro-wrestlers have died under the age of 45, most of them due to the physical trauma they've put their bodies through or the dependence on drugs that has resulted from it. If those were NFL or MLB stars instead, there would be massive reform and congressional intervention, but the truth is no one cares about these guys, except of course their families, friends, and fans. Beyond The Mat is important because it shows just what these guys put on the line and just how little the people at the top care. Full Review »
  2. AzF.
    Apr 6, 2006
    10
    A real inside look at pro-wrestling.