Hey everyone! It's The Wrestling Classic here with another list for ONE37pm. So a quality wrestling docu-series called The Wrestlers was released on Netflix, which focuses on the modern-day iteration of Ohio Valley Wrestling in Louisville, Kentucky. Watching that show inspired me to rank the 21 best WWE documentaries. I realize that I’ll be missing a whole bunch of valid selections by the time I finish this list that people will call me out for, but you should still go ahead and use this as a catalog of wrestling documentaries/docu-series you should check out. The first wrestling documentaries were originally released on VHS. However, during the peak of the DVD/Blu-Ray era, there were one or two new documentaries being released a month. Soon enough, the documentaries would become exclusive to the WWE Network (now they're featured on Peacock in the United States), television networks like A&E, and other streaming platforms. Now let’s get down to my list.
The 21 Best WWE Documentaries, Ranked
Best WWE Documentaries
21. 'Holy Grail - The Search for WWE’s Most Infamous Lost Match'
In Bret "The Hitman" Hart’s autobiography My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling he mentioned an infamous dark match he had with a wrestler named Tom McGee. At the time before the match, both Vince McMahon and Pat Patterson saw the next Hulk Hogan in McGee. He would wrestle Hart in an untelevised match in Rochester, NY during the Wrestling Challenge tapings. Bret went on to talk about how McGee was as green as it gets in the match and how the match in full became a holy grail for tape traders. Finally, in 2019, the WWE produced a documentary for the WWE Network called The Holy Grail: The Search for WWE's Most Infamous Lost Match, which consists of the bout's backstory, some exclusive interviews, and showcasing the match in its entirety.
20. 'WWE Icons'
WWE Icons is a docuseries featured on the WWE Network/Peacock that was sadly a short-lived series that celebrated the careers of specific superstars with in-depth retrospectives of their careers. The main thing that stands out about this particular series is that it featured iconic wrestlers who never really got their very own DVD/Blu-Ray sets or were primarily featured on other docu-series. Legends such as Yokozuna, Lex Luger, Beth Phoenix, and Rob Van Dam got their time to shine in a slew of amazing episodes. They were very well-produced and highly entertaining. Unfortunately, they never released the one on "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith (WE NEED THAT ONE ASAP, WWE!).
19. 'Liv Forever'
There is something about Liv Morgan that little girls around the globe instantly relate to. Morgan quickly became a fan favorite once she hit the scene and quickly had a lot of young women look up to her. I know of some personally who are now wrestling on the independents who consider Liv a mentor to them. In 2020, the WWE released a documentary called Liv Forever - if she wasn’t already one of the most admired underdogs of her division, this documentary certainly made her even more so. It tells the story of Liv growing up a wrestling fan, the hardships she dealt with before breaking into the business, and why she is such a relatable character. A lot of documentaries of this kind allow us to see WWE Superstars in ways we never would have otherwise, which makes them great. This one in particular is definitely one of the very best.
18. '"Stone Cold" Steve Austin - The Bottom Line on the Most Popular Superstar of All Time'
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin is arguably the most popular WWE Superstar of all time. He also had one of the most controversial careers while simultaneously enjoying one of the hottest runs any wrestler has ever had. There have been various releases dedicated to Austin since the late 90s on VHS tapes. But for the most part, they were in-character or simply match compilations. This DVD set came out in 2011 long after Austin officially retired and was away from the WWE scene. The first disc is a quality documentary about his career that goes from his childhood through his entire wrestling career. It's the most in-depth release of "Stone Cold's" legendary career. It's a top-quality documentary and very re-watchable. Although it might run a little long, it never gets boring to watch.
17. 'Macho Man - The Randy Savage Story'
It is no secret that the "Macho Man" Randy Savage is my favorite wrestler of all time. When he left the WWF for WCW in the Fall of 1994, it seemed as if he forever severed his ties with Vince McMahon and his company as a whole. Randy was rarely mentioned on their program outside of those scathing "Billionaire Ted" skits during the peak of the "Monday Night Wars." Even when WWE bought WCW in 2001, it was as if Randy was still blacklisted from the company. Year after year, wrestling fans yearned for a Hall of Fame induction for Savage but it sadly never happened before his unfortunate passing in 2011. Although they released a match compilation in 2009, it wasn’t until 2014 that we got an in-depth Randy Savage documentary. Simply put, it's an incredible deep dive into his epic career and one of the finest introspective on a mainstream icon.
16. 'A Future WWE: The FCW Story'
Right before they built a performance center and the world was introduced to NXT as the development brand for WWE, there was Florida Championship Wrestling. FCW was set up to be the training facility led by Steve Keirn focused on preparing the future stars of WWE. Leaving OVW and Deep South, the WWE would eventually move their training facility over to Florida in 2008. Major modern-day WWE Superstars such as the Bella Twins, Sheamus, Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Big E Langston, Bayley, Natalya, and so many more of your favorites from this generation came from FCW. This doc is filled with great stories about the experiences of the last class of FCW Superstars before the Performance Center dealt with doing things the old-school way. There is no doubt in my mind that A Future WWE: The FCW Story is one of the best WWE documentaries.
15. 'The Triumph and Tragedy of World Class Championship Wrestling'
There is a feature film coming out on the Von Erich family from Texas because the tragic story of their family is one that even non-wrestling fans would be intrigued by. Before you go see that feature-length movie, make sure you check out the 2007 documentary release of The Triumph and Tragedy of World Class Championship Wrestling. This pick on my list does a great job of shining a spotlight on the rise and fall of Texas' most successful and popular territory, which was promoted by the legendary Fritz Von Erich and headlined many times by his sons during its peak. The Von Erich rivalry with The Fabulous Freebirds, the rise of Gino Hernandez, the Chris Adams story, and the tragic curse that plagued the Von Erich family are all covered here. This doc is an engrossing watch, even if you’re not the biggest pro wrestling or WCCW fan.
14. 'Breaking Ground'
Breaking Ground spotlights the stars of the WWE Performance and the early days of NXT at the peak of its initial boom in 2015. William Shatner is the voice-over for the reality-based program that follows a select few wrestlers in their early days of becoming a WWE Superstar. It's a captivating behind-the-scenes look at WWE's state-of-the-art training facility and gives an insight into what it would take to make it WWE. As this series unfolds, we see people get signed, called up to the main roster, let go by the company, and so much more.
The lineup of talent put on display here includes Sasha Banks, Bayley, Otis, Corey Graves, Carmella, Jason Jordan, Tyler Breeze, Triple H (in NXT boss mode), and more. I think I can speak on behalf of wrestlers everywhere when I say that we all wanted a season two that we sadly never got. Nevertheless, Breaking Ground will forever be immortalized as one of the best WWE documentaries.
13. 'American Nightmare - Becoming Cody Rhodes'
"American Nightmare" Cody Rhodes is one of the most popular superstars of the modern era. The story of his career is undoubtedly that's the type to be shared to inspire others. Cody was signed to WWE at a very young age, partially due to being the son of the legendary "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes. Plus he impressed the top brass in WWE with his induction speech at the Hall of Fame 2007 for his father. He reached many levels of success within the company until he felt like he plateaued. Cody eventually left WWE to take over the independent wrestling scene by storm. He was even one of the founders of AEW. This quality documentary follows his life-changing decision to journey back to WWE to "finish the story" by winning the WWE Championship that his father never won and taking his rightful spot on the throne.
12. 'Woooooo! Becoming Ric Flair'
There have been numerous documentaries dedicated to the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair and his illustrious career. In this current chapter of his life, he exists as one of the most charismatic mainstream personalities. Woooooo! Becoming Ric Flair is the most recent documentary on his career that's been released by Peacock. Ric's career isn’t without ups and downs - he is one of the most prolific and controversial wrestlers of all time after all.
This documentary goes all the way back to his childhood, delves into his entire wrestling career, details the devastating loss of his son Reid Flair, his escaping the throes of death multiple times, and provides extra insight into his last WWE match. Considering we almost lost Ric in 2017, anytime we can get a documentary with him featured on it, it means a lot. He isn’t perfect but none of us are. There will only ever be one "Slick Ric." You definitely can't go wrong with this one when you're out searching for the best WWE documentaries.
11. 'CM Punk: Best in the World'
CM Punk is one of the most polarizing and controversial characters in professional wrestling. He always finds a way to get the fans talking, whether he means to or not. When he made his exit from WWE, the fans chanted his name at every turn. Ever since he made his return to wrestling in 2021, Punk has consistently been a topic of conversation. Punk is "Straight-Edge," he’s passionate about everything he does in & outside the ring, and truly is a "Cult of Personality." Punk’s popularity skyrocketed after his famous "Pipebomb" promo in 2011. In 2012, WWE released this CM Punk: Best in the World documentary that gave everyone a closer look into who CM Punk is really all about. It was really well done and let us get to see Punk in a way we have never seen him before. It was the first in a string of great WWE Superstar-focused documentaries that didn't just stay in character from start to finish.
10. 'The Rise and Fall of ECW'
Extreme Championship Wrestling was a massive cultural in wrestling movement and was the brainchild of Paul Heyman. ECW’s influence in the industry was felt on a major scale as both major wrestling companies at the time - WWF and WCW - adopted some of the ECW's unique values and trends. This documentary highlights the entire history of ECW via an amazing DVD set that's mandatory for every wrestling fan to have in their physical collection. When I was younger, the only ECW most fans my age were able to see were short video clips posted online through file-sharing programs such as Limewire.
The grand ECW lore explored in this doc and the description of how great the company was from the viewpoint of its hardcore fans made you feel as if you missed out on the greatest wrestling company ever. This release was so popular that it led to the WWE producing two ECW One Night Stand PPV events and eventually launching their own ECW brand. This introspective piece on ECW will forever be remembered as one of the best WWE documentaries.
9. 'Undertaker: The Last Ride'
The Undertaker is the WWE’s greatest character of all time and is beloved by fans all around the world. "Undertaker: The Last Ride" is a six-part series that offers a comprehensive look into 'Taker’s storied career. The name of the series is actually a play on Michael Jordan's The Last Dance documentary and one of 'Taker's finishing moves, the Elevated Powerbomb known as "The Last Ride" For so many years, 'Taker would not break character and his real-life personality was hidden from the world. Back in the day, the wrestling world didn't know much about the real person behind the "Deadman" gimmick known as Mark Calaway. In this must-see series, we got to see the real-life Calaway talk about his career in-depth and his battle to finally hang up his boots to ride out into the sunset by finally retiring. It's really well put together and a great tribute to WWE's "Phenom."
8. 'Beyond the Mat'
Beyond the Mat is a documentary that came out during the wrestling boom back in 1999. It primarily centered on the sometimes tumultuous lives of professional wrestlers outside of the ring. The celebrated legends it followed are Mick Foley, Terry Funk, and Jake "The Snake" Roberts. The feds that were given onscreen time here are WWE, ECW, and a few independent wrestling companies. Surprisingly, Beyond the Mat was initially made with Vince McMahon's blessing but he had a change of heart once it was finally released.
It then became dubbed the "documentary that Vince McMahon doesn’t want you to see." There are several portions of this documentary that showcase the world of professional wrestling in a negative light. But for most fans watching it, it provided a very real look at a sport with closely guarded secrets that we've always wanted to see. From the concussions Foley suffered during the I Quit Match with The Rock at the 1999 Royal Rumble to Jake Roberts's issues with crack cocaine, Beyond the Mat provides a bunch of unforgettable moments that Attitude Era fans still discuss with great fervor.
7. 'Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows'
Hitman Hart: Wrestling With Shadows is a 1998 documentary directed by Paul Jay that originally was meant to document Bret Hart and his wrestling career. It ended up becoming an unforgettable piece about Bret's final days in the WWF while in the midst of the legendary "Monday Night Wars". Viewers got to see just how much Bret was struggling with his decision to sign with WCW due to his loyalty to Vince McMahon and his company. The documentarians would end up being on-site for everything that took place before and after the infamous "Montreal Screwjob."
The timing of this documentary happened by chance, although conspiracy theorists will say it might have all been a part of the plan. It was one of the first real behind-the-scenes looks at the WWF and how things operate in the secretive world of professional wrestling. It also really helped transform Vince into the heelish "Mr. McMahon" character due to how the fans perceived his actions toward Bret as nefarious. Although a bit depressing, Wrestling with Shadows is required viewing for anyone intrigued about watching the best WWE documentaries.
6. 'Ruthless Aggression'
Ruthless Aggression is a series that debuted on the WWE Network that focused on the era that followed the Attitude Era, which ushered in new megastars such as John Cena, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, and Batista while guys such as The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin rode out into the sunset. Every episode zeroes in on a different subject centered around that notable period of WWE.
From shaking things up across the company, the creation of the stable Evolution, the run of the "Next Big Thing" Brock Lesnar, the first-ever "Brand Split," the resurrection of Shawn Michaels, the rise of John Cena, and so much more. It's always cool to see all the fanfare and love still shown to the Attitude Era. But this era is very beloved by wrestling fans too and an era I lived through, so it was really cool to see it finally get spotlighted and earn some acclaim as another one of the best WWE documentaries.
5. 'WWE Chronicle'
WWE Chronicle is another really well-produced series from the WWE Network that has thankfully found a new home on Peacock. It's a remarkable series that shines a light on one WWE Superstar at a time and follows their journeys through the efforts surrounding them returning to the company or showcasing the most pivotal moments of their career. The producers of this series usually follow the talent around for weeks or days leading to major happenings or their much-anticipated return to the ring. Episodes of WWE Chronicle are usually mixed with a superstar's backstory and introspective looks into their personal lives.
This series features a whole host of legends such as Goldberg, Edge, Jeff Hardy, and Rey Mysterio. Modern-day WWE Superstars such as Seth Rollins, Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, Samoa Joe, Becky Lynch, Kevin Owens, and more also have their own episodes worth checking out. Two of the episodes I'll never forget are the ones that detailed the days that led to Paige’s in-ring retirement due to suffering a career-ending neck injury and the other one that covered Roman Reigns' emotional return after overcoming Leukemia. It’s all good stuff!
4. 'The Monday Night War - WWE vs. WCW'
The Monday Night Wars is one of the most acclaimed and regularly mentioned eras of professional wrestling. Sports Entertainment had a major foothold in the eyes of the mainstream back then, television ratings reached heights it has never been able to reach again, and there were two great wrestling shows fighting for viewers on the same night. It was the first and only time the WWF was threatened by another company to the extent that it was forced to switch up its status quo to appeal to a more mature audience. Top stars on both shows, compelling storylines, compelling matches, and unforgettable characters all added up to a fun time to be a wrestling fan.
On one side of the fence, you had "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Sting, Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Goldberg, and the nWo, just to name a few. On the other side, you had Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, D-Generation X, Mankind, Kane, Shawn Michaels, and so much more. Each episode of this series documents different aspects of that monumental time in wrestling across 20 great episodes that classify it as another one of the best WWE documentaries.
3. 'WWE Legends'
In 2021, A&E announced that it made a deal with WWE to produce documentaries dedicated to some of the company's most revered legends. The first season started off hot by shining the spotlight on Steve Austin, Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Roddy Piper, Booker T, and Mick Foley. A&E continued WWE Legends for two more seasons with episodes all about The Undertaker, Goldberg, Edge, Charlotte Flair, Kurt Angle, Yokozuna, Iron Sheik, Dusty Rhodes, and a handful of others. There might even be more seasons of this show to come in the coming years. Outside of the "Macho Man" episode, I enjoyed watching WWE Legends. They were all amazingly made while really doing a commendable job of highlighting each legend's life and career. Kudos to A&E for putting out some of the best WWE documentary content I've watched in a very long time.
2. 'Dark Side of the Ring'
Dark Side of the Ring is a gripping series seen on Vice that owes its creation to Jason Eisener and Evan Husney. What it has set out to do since its inception is document the darkest stories from the world of professional wrestling. What makes this show a must-watch is the way it incorporates re-enactments of the craziest events while having people close to the topics giving their input throughout the episode. The first season featured Dutch Mantell as the narrator and then Chris Jericho took over his duties in the following seasons.
The show does a great job of trying to find the answers and truth behind a lot of the most newsworthy topics and stories that have plagued professional wrestling. It often creates a lot of controversy for the people involved as it regularly recaps the sort of stuff that happened years ago by bringing it back to light. Dark Side of the Ring has covered topics such as Owen Hart's tragic death, Chris Benoit, the Montreal Screwjob, the murder of Bruiser Brody, the "Plane Ride from Hell," Dynamite Kid, and so many other fascinating topics. It's certainly one of those shows that even non-wrestling fans can enjoy.
1. 'WWE 24'
WWE 24 was the first of its kind when the WWE Network launched in 2014. It's set up as an exclusive behind-the-scenes series that fans haven’t gotten from WWE since the days of Beyond the Mat and Wrestling With Shadows in the late 90s. The very first-ever episode starts off a on high note as it follows the Road to WrestleMania XXX. There are deep layers of stories to follow, such as Daniel Bryan's big moment, Ultimate Warrior's shocking return to WWE, The Undertaker’s undefeated 'Mania streak being broken, and a kid named Connor making a huge impact on the company as a whole.
For every year that followed, WWE 24 continued giving its fans an all-access pass to future WrestleMania shows, as well as backstage looks into other events such as the Royal Rumble and NXT Takeovers. It also detailed huge moments that transpired during specific WWE Superstars' careers, such as Danielson's emotional retirement, a look back at Flair's retirement, and Kurt Angle’s return to WWE. Before long, WWE 24's format got turned over to "WWE Chronicle."
Nevertheless, this documentary series' backstage pass to the biggest events of the year is such an amazing concept. For anyone who wishes they were on the other side of the curtain during WWE's premier shows, WWE 24 will truly make you feel like you are.
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