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Fox on the Box: Grappling with a tale of brutality in Dark Side of the Ring

Chain reaction: Brody PICTURE: ALAMY

WRESTLING fans may have a little longer to wait to see their heroes in the flesh and while they do there is a welcome return to our screens of Vice TV documentary series Dark Side of the Ring which takes a fascinating look at some of the seedier, often brutal, tales from this most confrontational of arts.

The second season has just started but, if you missed it, you can also catch the first series (Vice TV, All 4), which kicks off with the story of Bruiser Brody’s murder. Brody was the ring persona of Frank Goodish, a gentle, home-loving giant whose ring character was the archetypal, wild-haired grappler.

A fighter often found running through the crowds swinging a large chain above his head, ‘Brody was like having a tornado coming through your house,’ according to friend and fellow fighter Dutch Mantel.

Mantel, aka Wayne Keown, is among those telling this tale of blood and brutality which for Brody ended when he was stabbed to death in a dressing room ahead of a bout in Puerto Rico in 1988. Wrestler Jose Huertas Gonzalez was charged with his murder but acquitted on grounds of self-defence.

Be warned, this is a side of wrestling far removed from the one the late great ITV commentator Ken Walton welcomed grapple fans to from various town halls back in the 1970s.

Death, murder and mayhem are recurring themes and the blood flows as red as the language is blue. But, while uncomfortable viewing at times, these tales of life outside the ring are as gripping as any of those moves attempted inside the ropes.