“Professional Wrestling has produced some of the biggest celebrities in the world.
But these modern-day stars have a secret.
They all started in a place like this…”
Coming from someone who has been happily slumming it in independent wrestling for nearly twenty years this ominous quote at the beginning of the 2007 mockumentary Kayfabe has never been more true for myself, or for a lot of weekend warriors who discovered this gem of a film over the last few years.
Mikey, Jake, and I sat down to review Kayfabe a couple weeks back for Episode #8, and ever since recording I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this movie and the exploits of the TCICWF crew in their final days of promoting shows. Luckily for me I had the privilege of speaking with Michael Scully, co-writer and co-director of Kayfabe to get a little more insight on how this project came together.
First and foremost thank you for taking the time to speak with us about Kayfabe. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? Are you a wrestling fan?
Yes, I grew up a wrestling fan. I started watching it on Saturday afternoons at about age 10. Maple Leaf Wrestling was a WWF program that would air out of Toronto and then it would be followed by Stampede Wrestling out of Calgary.
I feel like you’d have to a fan to co-write and co-direct such an intimate look behind the curtain of the pro wrestling.
And that is one of things that I am most proud of about Kayfabe. I am a wrestling fan and wanted to make a funny movie that showed a lot of the hardships and absurdities, but also had a lot of heart.
What and who were your wrestling influences growing up? Any defining moments that shaped how you look at professional wrestling?
As a kid, I was a bigger fan of Stampede Wrestling than I was of the WWF. Back then, the WWF would only air fairly one sided matches and a lot of squashes, where Stampede had a great roster and would have a great main event and grudge matches every week.
I’ve been a part of the local independent scene here in New England for a long time now, and the movie hit a little TOO CLOSE to home at times. Were you involved in indy wrestling prior to this movie being made?
“Rocket” Randy Tyler ran a wrestling school for a while and we would go to the matches and help out sometimes. Just watching what was going on and listening to Randy Tyler’s wrestling stories made us think that it was like Best In Show. I have never been to, or even watched a Dog Show, but I love that movie.
Are all the wrestlers in this movie apart of the same local wrestling promotion? Can you tell me a little bit about that company?
Most of the wrestlers were from ECCW (Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling). They put on great local shows and once or twice a year they put on Ballroom Brawl at the Commodore Ballroom and bring in people like Colt Cabana, Shayna Baszler, and Brian Cage. The two who were not wrestlers, El Roboto Magnifico and Tomahawk Jacques, were played by local actors.
This movie came out in 2007. How do you think wrestling has changed since Kayfabe was released?
Since 2007, I think that MMA has had a big influence on the wrestling industry. I see a lot more submission moves and a lot more crazy bumps. There are a few wrestlers who I think will take a few years off of the careers with the bumps that they have been taking.
Can’t really argue with that.
Going back to the style of movie you made, Three Way Theater reviewed Grunt! The Wrestling Movie in our 2nd episode which was another wrestling mockumentary chronicling the legend of “Mad Dog” Joe DeCurso, who had accidentally decapitated his opponent in the ring. Have you ever seen this movie?
I haven’t seen Grunt!, but I did watch, I Like To Hurt People and Beyond The Mat.
SPOILERS FOR KAYFABE, and uh… SPOILERS FOR EP #8
While all things are left to interpretation, there’s something the three of us have debated on since watching Kayfabe. “The Rocket” Randy Tyler vs. Steve Justice in the Main Event of the last TCICWF show. Was Tyler always planning on tapping out in the figure-four to give Justice the title back, or do you think the wave of emotion hit him in that specific moment and decided to go with the emotional fan reaction?
In the TCICWF main event, Randy Tyler changed the finish on the fly. As he looked out into the crowd and all the screaming fans, he changed his mind and tapped out so Steve Justice could become TCICWF champion and the fans would go home happy and satisfied.
THANK YOU! That’s what I’ve been saying all along. Take that Mikey and Lumbie!
Inquiring minds need to know. Any chance of a sequel?
It doesn’t look like there will be a sequel. We tried to pitch a TV series spinoff and had a little bit of interest, but nothing has come from it. I have outlined a wrestling web series that I would like to make one day, but I will have to see if the opportunity arises.
Tell me a little bit about what you’re doing right now. Anything you’d like to plug?
I have a short film that I wrote, called Mr. Richard Francis that premiered at the Beverly Hills Film Festival earlier this year and is currently doing the festival circuit. I also have a webseries coming out called 100 Ounces of Truth. It basically is a panel of three comedians answering questions while drinking one ounce of beer per minute for 100 minutes.
That sounds pretty awesome, and 100 Ounces of Truth definitely sounds like something right up our alley.
I will be sure send you the link when we put it online.