Let’s face it. Professional wrestling movies are usually not made for fans of the sport. There has been everything from horror to comedy, but these have been for the mainstream audiences. Sure, they are initially marketed to wrestling fans, but they are made to appeal to everyone. Take much of WWE Studios’ recent fare. In February 2019, it was announced the studios would be partnering with Netflix to produce family friendly movies. There will always be more movies in The Marine franchise, but WWE Studios has found more success with more family friendly fare.
The Main Event is the first release from the partnership with the streaming network. The movie stars Seth Carr as Leo Thopson. The eleven year old WWE fan idolizes the Superstars on Raw and Smackdown. His room is filled with posters of his favorite wrestlers and WWE is all he and his friends talk about. When he finds a magical mask, he becomes closer to the action than he ever expected.
A problem that prevents the enjoyment of wrestling movies is taking them too seriously. Wrestling fans are a notoriously judgmental bunch. Many live to make fun of the sport they love. The Main Event will be torn apart by most wrestling fans. Leo uses many catchphrases of grappling legends of the past. There is constant WWE corporate jargon and within two minutes a child mentions how Vince McMahon is the main man at WWE.
When a person steps out of the wrestling bubble, they will find a fine little family movie. The story wisely does not try to reinvent the wheel. Leo has trouble with bullies and attempts to win the affection of his crush all while trying to win an NXT tournament. By the end of The Main Event, he learns a valuable lesson about himself.
Ken Marino does an excellent job as a smarmy heel manager. He steals every scene he is in. Adam Pally also does great work as Leo’s clueless father. The kids also do well in their roles, but there is not much asked of them. They play the types of characters expected to be in this type of movie. The script may aim for a younger audience, but it is the adults that stand out.
The Main Event is a decent family movie. With its thin plot and fart jokes, it has a particular audience in mind. This is a story made for light enjoyment for younger audiences. Some harmless fun may be just what the world needs in these challenging times. The story may not try new things, but much like many of pro wrestling’s best matches, following a formula can be enjoyable.
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