TheWrap is tagging itself in to debut the trailer for the two-hour “Dark Side of the Ring” Season 3 premiere episode, which centers on the life and death of Brian Pillman — but that’s not all. We can also exclusively reveal the people and storylines chronicled in the back half of the season (oh yeah, it’s getting split into two parts, we’re told), when the WWF Steroid Trials and The Plane Ride From Hell get the Vice TV treatment, among other pro-wrestling subjects.
But first up is Pillman, who clawed his way to infamy by playing an unpredictable and outrageous character dubbed “The Loose Cannon.” His unwavering commitment to a 24/7 performance put Pillman on a path to self-destruction that left his family in financial and emotional ruin.
Watch the trailer for Pillman’s episode via the video above.
The second half of the season, which kicks off in late summer, will also include the Steroid Trials, where, in the mid-90’s, wrestling titan Vince McMahon was accused of a plot to provide his wrestlers with performance-enhancing drugs. With a guilty verdict threatening to force the WWF to consider running their business from a prison cell, McMahon assembled a powerhouse legal team to dismantle the prosecution’s case.
Other installments will cover the story of FMW, created by Japan’s Atsushi Onita, which featured spectacular matches and gratuitous gore but took a dark turn in the hands of Onita’s protégé; the groundbreaking talent known as Luna Vachon, who faced immense personal loss and battled addiction while making her mark in wrestling history; The Plane Ride From Hell, the infamous party onboard a private 757 charter high above the North Atlantic that spiraled dangerously out of control, forcing the WWE to reprimand some of its biggest stars; XPW, which merged Rob Black’s passions for porn and wrestling, but a fallout with a young wrestling upstart started a chain of events that led to a jealous rage and a terrifying amputation; The Johnny K9 Story, an episode which details his double life as an in-ring brute and the leader of a biker gang implicated in drug trafficking, the bombing of a police station, and a gruesome double murder; and, in a wrestling world that celebrated machismo and used gay stereotypes to label characters as quirky or immoral, the incredible story of Chris Kanyon, who kept his own sexuality a closely guarded secret for decades.
Narrated again by Chris Jericho, the third season includes interviews with Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Jon Moxley, Mick Foley, Diamond Dallas Page, Eric Bischoff, Jim Ross, Jim Cornette, David Arquette, Antonio Inoki, Rob Van Dam, Terry Funk, and the former wife of Ultimate Warrior, Shari Tyree.
“With this epic, 14-episode season, we’ve had the opportunity to push the series to new heights and dig even deeper into a world that has captivated us our entire lives,” “Dark Side of the Ring” executive producers & co-creators Jason Eisener and Evan Husney said in a statement to TheWrap. “We’re excited to unveil a season that encompasses a whole new spectrum of stories, ranging from legendary icons of the past, to contemporary snapshots from wrestling’s underground, to mind-blowing sagas overseas.”
Husney is an executive producer and writer on “Dark Side of the Ring”; Eisener is executive producer and director. Vanessa Case, Catherine Whyte and Lee Hoffman are also executive producers. Barry Davis is a producer.
“Dark Side of the Ring” is a Vice Studios production in partnership with Bell Media’s Crave.
“Dark Side of the Ring” is Vice’s most-watched show of all time.
The third season of “Dark Side of the Ring” will debut on Thursday, May 6 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Spinoff “Dark Side of Football,” the first expansion of the growing “Dark Side” franchise, will “explore the tension between America’s undying love of the game, and its ability to corrupt and damage those who live and die for it,” per Vice. “Football” premieres Thursday, May 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, with a great lead-in from Episode 2 of “Dark Side of the Ring.”