Nail in the Coffin: The Fall & Rise of Vampiro

As soon as Mirel Wagner's bluesy, methodical  song, "To The Bone", starts peppering your ears, you know this isn't going to be one of those documentaries that you watch and forget. 

"Oh my little one ...
"This is how it's done ....
"You play your part ....
".... and i'll play mine" 

We often forget that the men and women inside a wrestling ring are human beings, with human problems. Writing that, it seems so silly. How is it possible to forget that? But we do it, daily. This is that story - Nail in the Coffin: The Fall & Rise of Vampiro, how a man who never learned to wrestle became one of it's most revered competitors.

In this biodoc, directed by Michael Paszt and produced by Epic Pictures, gives viewers an inside look into the life and career of Vampiro, via clips from the past tied together with present day realities.

When Vampiro jumped into the limelight he had long black hair and a demonic look to himself - fast forward 30 years and you now see a man who's lived a life most couldn't comprehend.

While this movie is about Vampiro, it's just as much (if not more) about Ian Hodgkinson, the 53-year old single father learning how to raise a teenage daughter, Dasha, while holding on to the one thing he's loved more than his daughter: Pro Wrestling.

It's the story of his relationship with his daughter that really pulls me into the story. You can learn about the history of Vampiro by going to YouTube and watching his promos and his matches. A legend of the ring in Mexico, Vampiro has wrestled the who's who in professional wrestling. But it's the battle he fights weekly to raise his daughter while traveling to Mexico every week to produce tv that really blows my mind.

I'm a father of two; I get them on the weekends. By Sunday i'm so worn out by their needs - and then you watch this guy travel thousands of miles a week to make sure he's there more than he's not for his kid. That's hero shit right there.

There are times in the doc when you can see the mental anguish Ian goes through being separated from his daughter that would break even the coldest of hearts. Hodgkinson has spoken in the past about his battles with anxiety and depression and I wondered at times how one could deal with those separation anxieties at the same time as the depression. 

Fleetingly, it subsides when he can get her on the phone, to hear how her day went and plans for the day. You can see his excitement and interest and desperation to hold on to those few moments.

Now, Vampiro is known to have a vivid imagination and seeing things in ways perhaps not authentic, I think Paszt was able to get past a lot of that revisionist history, that a lot of wrestlers seem to dabble in, and keep the story focused.

Wrapped around the central theme of keeping his daughter's interests his focus is the feud between Jeff Jarrett and Vampiro.

Vampiro believes it was Jarrett who prevented him from becoming more successful in the United States wrestling scene than he ultimately was- and you can see there is still some bitterness or anger residing in Hodgkinson; yet Jarrett doesn't seem to believe he's the reasoning at all.

There is an explosive moment backstage at Triple Mania, which Hodgkinson was producing, shown. You see Jarrett angrily attempting to fight everyone in the building after returning from the ringside, having thrown tortillas at spectators and only wrestling in the battle royal a few moments.

It was the aftermath of Jarrett's outburst that you saw Hodgkinson apologize to workers that you got a glimpse of the father just trying to get through another day.

It's a sobering reminder that Vampiro was a tough son of a bitch inside that ring. But once the paint is gone,the hair cut and the years lived, all that's left is a man. 

A man who sought out love and acceptance through ways few will understand and finding it when he'd stopped looking.

"oh my little one ... 
it'll be just fine "

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