VICE Benefits

Article by Corrine Barraclough

Sports fans who enjoyed watching Dark Side of the Ring may well want to check out the recently released Dark Side of Football.

VICE: The power of the dark side

This spin-off of the pro wrestling documentary series looks at tragic and bizarre real-life stories to come from the American football world. Since 2019, fans have loved watching the original series as producers lifted the veil on some of the most gripping stories in wrestling. It should come as no surprise then to see the successful franchise expand. As evidencing the huge popularity of former Dark Side episodes, Dark Side of the Ring has not only pulled in massive ratings, but actually stands as the # 1 show of all time on Vice TV.

Everyday sports fans have been fascinated by the opportunity to take a glimpse behind the scenes – and sneak a peek at the madness and mayhem – as insiders speak about how the wrestling world really runs.

As VICE returned the wrestling docuseries for Season 3 in May, David Arquette, actor-turned-wrestler, became prominent among the talking heads. He gleefully recalls being “in over my head” during his bloody 2018 GCW so-called “death match” against Nick Gage, and we all get to relive the excitement.

Director Jason Eisener said, “As a kid, I grew up watching wrestling. I was a huge fan of Hulk Hogan, and The Undertaker, and Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. About eight years ago, I started looking at wrestling again, and I started reading these stories from behind the scenes that were just so insane and larger than life … We thought, man, it would be so great to one day be able to examine the desperate lengths that these wrestlers went to, to protect the mystique of wrestling.”

And, it turns out, this bizarre side is not unique to wrestling.

Now, the franchise is taking a look at the two sides of American football. On the one hand, we have America’s undying love of football, this balanced against the flip side of disturbing damage and rampant corporate corruption. Even as the series kicked off, the high-energy voice of a player spoke about stabbings, fights and beatings, along with the impact all of that has had on his state of mind. He said he was scared for his life.

“You don’t ever let anyone punk you. This is a game of respect,” another personality said. 

Should you be a fan of dull moments, you should definitely avoid this new series, but if you like your professional sports served with a side of troubling human tales, put this on your must-watch list. The network “VICE” seems particularly appropriate in this case.

Color us in the not surprised category when it comes to pro athletes not really living the lives we may imagine – and envy to some extent. That said, this new VICE series will hold some appeal for NFL fans in general. You may not really learn all that much, but the people talking tend to be interesting, and the shows are produced well. If you hate Bill Belichick, you will still hate him after his show. If you love Bill Belichick, you will continue to do so. Most importantly – at least for fans of the old television series Burn Notice AND the National Football League – you will be able to reaffirm your belief that much like spies, wide receivers are a “bunch of bitchy little girls.” (Of course these days that should be a bunch of bitchy little gender-neutral humans, but the point remains the same.)