So earlier this year, I happened to come across a thread that had Nigel McGuinness in the title on a popular wrestling forum. And being a big Nigel fan, I clicked on the thread to see what it was all about. Inside was a link to a Kickstarter project that has been launched the day before. I’d heard of Kickstarter, but had honestly never even been on the site and had certainly never pledged any money to any project. However, after reading the description and watching the video Nigel had posted, and the fact I like every other wrestling fan in the world I wondered “just what DID happen to Nigel?”, I simply HAD to support him and his project. So I gave $50, not knowing if the project would get off the ground or not. A couple of days later… the project was fully funded and still had over 3 weeks left for more! At this point I knew the documentary would get done. For starters, the footage was already there. Plus, just from watching him as a pro wrestler, Nigel seemed like the kind of guy that wouldn’t let people down. Some projects on Kickstarter may get fully funded and just never happen. This never even crossed my mind. Not for Nigel. Not for this project that would be so personal to him.
Now, at the end of November, Nigel has finished editing and putting everything together. For those of us who were able to pledge a certain amount and above, we were given special access to an online version of his documentary before he sends out the DVD version of it. As I write this, I finished watched it 35 minutes ago. You know that feeling you get when you just watched a classic film or episode of a TV show for the first time? Where you kinda feel strange but in a good way, and can’t stop thinking about what you just saw? Well that’s how I currently feel. For me that doesn’t happen very often. Thanks to Nigel, I get to experience it. And I sincerely hope everyone else who had the opportunity to watch it today feels the exact same way.
As I started the documentary, the one big question on my mind was that same question I mentioned earlier; “just what DID happen to Nigel?”. For around 3/4 of the documentary, Nigel almost teases us with the answer. References to certain conditions here, numerous clips of his friends asking him why he isn’t doing this anymore. Every time he teases you, you begin to think that he’s finally going to reveal the answer. And then he doesn’t. But you don’t get mad. You don’t get frustrated. You don’t feel any kind of anger because he keeps the documentary going with tremendous footage of his final wrestling tour, with interviews of his friends, family and mentors in the business. You simply can’t feel anger in any way because everything is just so good. I have to credit Nigel immensely for some of the footage he chose to show us in this documentary. It’s as real and emotional as it gets. His wrestling career is over, and while everyone around him is telling him he should be happy with what he achieved… he isn’t. He’s angry. He’s upset. He fully understands that he SHOULD feel a sense of achievement for what he accomplished throughout his career, and that’s what I think he deserves all the credit in the world for showing us that despite all that he doesn’t feel that way. Not all the time of course. This isn’t a 2 hour long pity documentary where he is angry and upset about his career and everyone should feel sorry for him. It’s a journey. A journey that he took during his retirement tour that he very graciously allowed us to sit in on, through the good AND the bad. He holds nothing back, he doesn’t shy away from anything. He shouts, he swears, he cries. He also smiles and laughs, and at the end of it all, comes away with a new outlook on his own life, one that he may not have arrived at had he not made this documentary.
So does he finally reveal the answer to the big question? Well, yes and no. It seems that for a lot of us, myself included, the answer we were looking for, wasn’t for the question we were asking. The answer explains to us why he vanished from TNA for so long. For me personally, the answer we get is very much a relief. There were so many rumours around for so long, that while I didn’t want to believe them, almost had no choice but to almost “settle” for one and just assume that THAT is why he is no longer wrestling. Thankfully the rumours were just that; rumours. And the answer to the question as to why he left wrestling? Honestly, he never truly gives us an answer. However, watching the documentary and following him on his journey, you get the answer yourself. While it has nothing to do with his health, it’s a little heartbreaking. Not just as a fan of Nigel as a wrestler, as someone who would love to see him get back in the ring and be one of the best in the world like he was for a number of years before leaving, but as a person. To see someone come so close to his dream and never be able to reach it despite working harder than 99% of the people who DO make it truly is saddening. Part of me wants to grab hold of him and scream at him to never give up. Then part of me doesn’t blame him for his decision and seemingly his reasoning. However, none of that matters. What does matter is that Nigel has accepted his fate now. He’s happy for the experiences and now he’s going to move on. Move forward with his life and gain new experiences and memories. The documentary certainly doesn’t have THE happy ending that Nigel and wrestling fans would have wanted prior to it being finished, but I’ll be damned if it still doesn’t have A happy ending. I wish Nigel nothing but the best of luck moving forward, and I hope we will get to see him again in one of his new ventures, be it stand up comedy, TV, movies or even something completely different. Thank you Nigel, for your time in the wrestling business, and for giving us this incredible documentary.
The Last of McGuinness; The wrestler, but not the man.