Faces and Heels
This episode starts with an announcement on Kentucky Sports Radio that the next stop in the OVW summer tour is the 2022 Poke Sallet Festival.
This festival is giving me flashbacks to the Parks and Rec TV show Pawnee Citizens.
Just a small town, a sacred festival that is beloved in the Kentucky area.
Co-owner, Matt is so excited about this festival. It’s a time for him to show off his hometown and the wrestling company that he bought.
Also, a moment to show his mom, who knows nothing about wrestling, what he’s invested in. Matt wants to put Kentucky on the map with this promotion and thinks that the buzz from appearances like this will do it.
We see Leila Gray and Haley J in action at this festival. It wouldn’t be a wrestling event at a country festival without a funnel cake being shoved in the mouth of the women’s champion now would it?!
An intimate glimpse into the home life of the wrestlers, as they gear up for a full weekend scheduled for wrestling, showcases another side of them.
Haley J getting waxed at a salon, Cash Flo hanging out with the family, Shera getting his meal prep together and a tender moment, seeing Mr. Pectacular reading to his kids in bed warms my heart.
A montage of a few more stops on the summer tour plays out. The tour dates include Harrodsburg, Pulaski County, Somerset, Jasper, Louisville,.
Breweries, country fairs, festivals you name it, were all on the docket.
With all the excitement and joy on display throughout these events, we find out that there was an incident that occurred at one of the shows.
One of the wrestlers was arrested for doing drugs in the parking lot of the venue. This, of course, pisses off AL Snow and Matt.
This does not look good for the company and is a bad reflection on everyone in the locker room.
Maria calmly goes to pick up the wrestler from jail, and tries to comfort him, but makes it clear that the owners have to hold the the wrestlers to a certain standard.
AL, being the father to these very young wrestlers, and also knowing what it’s like to be in the locker room, understands the personalities and demons that these men and women face. So there is sympathy on his part. Along with consequences for the reckless actions.
Cash Flo asserts himself as a locker room leader in this episode. Which seems to come quite naturally. He balances the praise for the others but doesn’t hold back when telling them where they need to step up as a roster.
He’s the locker room Dad and it’s awesome to see.
It’s a tough scene watching Jake (the wrestler caught using drugs) go through withdrawals as his partner helps him through it. His young daughter witnessed this as well.
You can tell that the loss of his child, when he was supposed to have twins, really sent him into a spiral.
The pain from wrestling, and the use of pills to numb this, really brings stress to his partner Heather. He was also told that he might be in a wheelchair by forty, due to his years wrestling. So that news has probably added to his depression.
Jake calls AL and I love the compassion, understanding and encouragement that AL gives him, to help Jake see that there isn’t judgment for his drug use. It’s just a concern for his well-being.
This episode doesn’t shy away from a hot-bottom issue like drug use in the business. They face it head-o, but also analyze why it happens and how many veterans try to be there for their peers.
This episode also does a brilliant job of bringing to light what type of personalities are needed to be a wrestler, but how that doesn’t easily translate to regular civilian life. How it’s hard to cope without getting that dopamine hit from a live audience.
Also, how hard it is to be the companion of someone who wrestles. Some wrestlers haven’t seen their kids for months because they had to move to a state like Louisville that has the opportunities that they need to further their careers. That’s brutal.
These wrestlers also have to work regular jobs to make ends meet. I’m assuming it must be hard to turn off the creative side of their minds to be a 'regular Joe' during the weekdays.
One of the female wrestlers, Freya The Slaya takes a huge risk by selling her house. The only asset that she has left. It’s hard to remove that layer of security to continue to chase your dream.
Some people might ask why these wrestlers sacrifice their bodies, families, and livelihoods for this business. The answer is simply that they have a passion that won’t go away. A fire that will never stop burning for this industry.
We get a look back on Cash Flo’s wrestling career. He started on the indie circuit in the 2000s. Even faced off against CM Punk during that time. His specialty was death matches. Which were popular at the time. Now he’s thinking about his health more and decided to tuck that part of his career away. His wife has been very supportive throughout their 23 years together. For ten years, she worked as a nurse, while he pursued wrestling and took care of the kids full-time. Now, wrestling takes care of them full-time. Making time for one another is still hard, but they both put each other’s needs first and make it work. I’m a sucker for a good love story. Especially when opposites attract, so this tugged at my heartstrings.
Reverend Ronnie brings up the issue of pay to Matt and honestly, Matt is so clueless about what these wrestlers go through to pay their bills, including gas to get to shows. Matt makes it seem like it's not an issue when he is seen leaving the show.
Then we see a montage of other wrestlers bringing up that Matt made them cancel shows for other promotions. Threatening them to do it or they can’t work for OVW, then not paying them after shows.
Maria stands up for the wrestlers and brings this issue to Matt. Making it clear that she knows that when there is money available, the wrestlers still don’t get paid. What does Matt say to her? It’s not her business. Beyond disrespectful.
Al makes a good call, and talks to co-owner Craig Greenberg and suggests Matt have fewer interactions with the wrestlers.
Honestly, Matt is creating a tense work environment when it doesn’t need to be. AL is out there trying to hold the whole thing together.
During a staff meeting, Matt brings up a tense conversation that he’s had with a wrestler when he starts to have a seizure.
I think this also brought to light how stressful these high-pressure situations in wrestling can be and how it can affect the health of the staff dealing with such A-type personalities.
As viewers we are left on a cliffhanger with several ice packs being applied to Matt's head and the ambulance being called. Matt recovers from the seizure and even walks out on his own. So that gives us some solace that he will be okay, but how does this affect the team? Stay tuned to find out.
How do you like 'Wrestlers' so far?
Also, check out our interview with Wrestlers star, Freya the Slaya