Dark Side of the Ring tells the wrestling stories that need to be told in truth

OSAKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 10: General view during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling 'G1 Climax 30' at Edion Arena Osaka on October 10, 2020 in Osaka, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
OSAKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 10: General view during the New Japan Pro-Wrestling 'G1 Climax 30' at Edion Arena Osaka on October 10, 2020 in Osaka, Japan. (Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

Dark Side of the Ring is needed in the professional wrestling industry. As the second portion of the third season kicked off on Thursday with the telling of the Plane Ride from Hell it is clear that this docuseries corroborates some of the darkest moments of the industry. Now, the question becomes how professional wrestling will respond.

In three seasons, Dark Side of the Ring has told some of the most compelling stories that lived behind the cameras and outside of the rings throughout wrestling. The tragic telling of instances like Owen Hart, Brian Pillman, and New Jack remind fans that the pain does not just stop when the professionals leave the ring. These stories also uncover some of the more problematic aspects of the industry as well, and the Plane Ride from Hell was not lacking in that area.

The most hardcore of wrestling fans will be familiar with the story about the flight from Europe back to the United States in 2002. But the full tale presented in Dark Side of the Ring left most viewers aghast, taking to social media to express their disdain. It was the presence of Heidi Doyle and the courage for her to tell her story, which resonated the most with viewers. That, and the problematic responses by many of the individuals speaking on that very same episode.

Doyle spoke candidly about the many dreadful situations that occurred on that flight, including sexual harassment and assault by the likes of Ric Flair and Scott Hall. Toward the end of the episode, she bravely pointed out that in doing so she hopes to create awareness around the truth.

“If one person hears that if something happens to them that they didn’t like and they didn’t feel that they couldn’t speak about it because they get in trouble or they were made to feel that they created the situation or might of made it happen,” Doyle said. “If it can change it for one person, I’d sit and have this conversation twenty-five times again. The truth can be scary, the truth can be ugly and messy, but at the end of the day the truth is the thing that makes us better.”

Viewers also saw Terri Runnels talk openly about Brock Lesnar exposing himself to her and the idea to “Don’t sell it” as the universal practice of avoidance. Yet another situation where the victim was expected to turn the other way for a man because of him profession and placement in the business.

Unfortunately for professional wrestling, the push to get better has moved slowly, if at all. The episode points out that Flair denies all the allegations while Hall does not remember anything about the flight. But that has not stopped the wrestling industry from still embracing both men nearly twenty years later. Tommy Dreamer’s grossly comparing sexual assault to a bad hair decision was one of the more problematic statements in the episode. All this coming after the powerful Speaking Out movement cast a giant light on many stories of sexual assault, harassment, and more that plague the professional wrestling industry.

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As Dark Side of the Ring continues with its third season, those watching will have to decide their own response. But what is important is for the leaders at many of these promotions to decide whether the men highlighted for their disgusting acts should be held accountable for their actions and words. As Doyle said, the truth makes us better, and as more stories come out about figures that wrestling continues to prop up, it’s time for the industry to properly respond.