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Fantastic Fest: Nail in the Coffin: The Rise and Fall of Vampiro

Vampiro is one of the most polarizing names in wrestling history.

In honor of WrestleMania 36, pro wrestling is taking over the month of March at AIPT with WrestleMonth! Check back every day for new reviews, essays, and looks back at classic moments in both WWE and AEW!

Vampiro is one of the most polarizing names in wrestling history. Revered in Mexico, he is best remembered in the United States for his wacky feud with Sting near the tail end of World Championship Wrestling. He has also gone through many (self inflicted) hardships. Nail in the Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro look at the career of one pro wrestling’s most interesting figures.

There are lots of good pro wrestling documentaries out there. Say what you want about their version of history, but the WWE knows how to put together an interesting sports entertainment doc. Vince McMahon’s company has set a very high bar.

Nail in the Coffin holds up well against anything that has been done by the WWE. Vampiro’s story is an interesting one. The first parts of the documentary do an excellent job painting of who Vampiro now is. The film starts with the build up to AAA’s TripleMania XXV. The event is infamous for a few incidents (Sexy Star, Jeff Jarrett), but the main takeaway is when Vampiro takes a call from his daughter Dasha during a meeting. This one scene sets the tone for the entire doc.

Professional wrestling has always lived in a world of half truths and lies. This makes it difficult to know what the believe when watching anything about the sport. Nail in the Coffin does a great job of sounding more earnest. Wrestlers are so good at weaving stories, it is still hard to know what to believe, but here it seems to be more half truths and truths.

This is mainly due to Vampiro. There have been plenty of shoot interviews and hard luck documentaries about wrestlers that come off as manipulative and self serving. The former Canadian Vampire speaks with a vulnerability that is refreshing. This is not a person talking about how amazing he was in the face of adversity, but a confident man that is telling his story. 

This is as much a story about Dasha as it is Vampiro. Even for wrestling fans, the interactions between the two are the highlight of the documentary. Parents will immediately relate to an early conversation between the two. Vampiro is trying to have a conversation with his daughter. Dasha seems disinterested and answers everything monosyllabic-ally. The frustration on Vampiro’s face breaks down any barriers between the subject and the viewer. 

The relationship between the two is a running theme of Nail in the Coffin. Whether it is a conversation at dinner where Dasha seems more concerned with her father’s dreadlocks or old footage of Vampiro just trying to find time to spend privately with his young daughter, the documentary shows the strong relationship between the two. Their interaction may seem simple on the surface level, but it is obvious there are many more layers.

There is lot in Nail in the Coffin for wrestling fans to digest. Vampiro goes in to his wrestling career with great detail. Obviously, there is lots of talk about lucha libre, but his WCW career is also covered. There are interviews with Jeff Jarrett and Chavo Guerrero along with plenty of archival footage and photos. The documentary covers Vampiro’s storied career and does so in a way that paints an accurate picture of what he accomplished.

Nail in the Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro is a great documentary. Showing the wrestling persona and the person behind the mask, is not a new thing in wrestling docs. Rarely has it been as well as it is done here. More than just the story of a wrestler, Nail in the Coffin is about relationships and acceptance.

Is it good?
A frank and open wrestling documentary that is more about the sport but a look at a man's relationship with his past and his daughter.
Vampiro is very open
The relationship between Dasha and Vampiro is fun to watch
Accessible to more than just wrestling fans
As with any wrestling documentary, it's impossible to know what is true and to what extent

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