Keep WWE away from The Rock’s ‘Tales from the Territories’ on VICE

The Rock has teamed up with VICE for another pro wrestling docuseries.

The Rock has teamed up with VICE for another pro wrestling docuseries.
Image: AP

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has taken Hollywood by storm since he left the WWE, producing hit after hit on the big screen. Even with Johnson’s mainstream success, he’s never forgotten his pro wrestling roots. Now The Rock is teaming up with VICE TV on a series called “Tales From The Territories.”

This series looks at professional wrestling before the explosion and takeover by Vince McMahon in the mid-1980s. As seen in the trailer, we’ll get stories from stars like Bret “Hitman” Hart and Abdullah the Butcher. A series like this has a lot of potential — if done right. Doing it correctly means having zero WWE involvement in the show’s production. Yes, I understand that’s probably wishful thinking, but let me dream.

Anyone who’s watched WWE for long enough knows it has a way of changing history to fit a narrative it has set. That includes history within the company at particular times over the years. WWE has lied for years about Hulk Hogan being the first man to “ever” body slam and beat Andre the Giant, whom the Hulkster defeated at Wrestlemania III.

Andre had been wrestling in different territories long before that encounter and had been beaten and slammed numerous times. Wrestlemania III wasn’t even the first time Hogan slammed Andre.

So many great stories from those days haven’t received much attention, so this could be a series that does multiple seasons. Even as McMahon tightened his grip on the industry, there were still close to 20 regional promotions in the U.S. and Canada.

Promotions like World Class Championship Wrestling, Georgia Championship Wrestling, Mid-Atlantic/Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP eventually became WCW), and the American Wrestling Association were still attempting to battle McMahon. By 1990 only WCW was still a real competitor to Vince’s then-World Wrestling Federation.

Simply put, Vince stole everyone’s top talent and left the business outside his company in shambles. Stars like Hart, Hogan, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig, the “Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Razor Ramon, and many others wrestled in these territories before working for McMahon.

I only hope we can hear the real stories as told by some of the individuals involved or those who witnessed some of these incidents. Indeed, they’ll probably repeat a few anecdotes that most fans have heard. But it feels like we always get the same ones over and over.

For example, the Montreal Screwjob has been analyzed, broken down, and re-analyzed to death for nearly 25 years. The 25th anniversary of that infamous night is coming up in October. So, I’m sure a new special will pop up in a couple of months to commemorate that travesty. I understand it was unique for the time, but there are other interesting stories.

Just don’t let WWE muck this up with its greasy mitts, and I think The Rock will have another hit to his credit. Hopefully, we’ll learn about other popular workers like Bruiser Brody, Sherri Martel, Junkyard Dog, Lex Luger, Madusa, The Fabulous Freebirds, Barry Windham, Kamala, Nikita Koloff, and other old-school wrestlers. I’ll be tuning in to watch this series and keeping my fingers crossed for as little WWE spin as possible.

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