8:30pm – Monday, March 19 on ABC2
Louis Theroux investigates the world of extreme professional wrestlers in the southern United States where wrestling is more like avant-garde theatre than an Olympic bout. The participants are very athletic, the outcome is predetermined and it’s very big business with millions of fans.
Most of the wrestlers are well paid and the world surrounding this sort of wrestling radiates good energy. Louis explains: “There’s an atmosphere of Am-Dram weekends; the audience is mainly male, but of all ages, including lots of kids, like a pantomime crowd… there is a warm, fuzzy feeling to the people involved.” However, as Louis confesses: “I’m a physical coward and didn’t fancy being thrown around in the ring.” So it was a mistake to ask his trainer, ‘Sarge’, how they faked the bouts – he found himself being manhandled by angry wrestlers and forced to exercise until he threw up.
“It’s not something I’d choose to do if the camera wasn’t there, but I have a job as a journalist,” he says.