RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (WWE NETWORK)
Some people in wrestling will live forever, and all this month, the WWE has been honouring one of them, in their most tenured, respected and iconic star Mark “The Undertaker” Calaway, with a 30 Days of The Deadman season on the WWE Network. All ahead of the promoted “Final Farewell” for the legendary Phenom, that will be taking place at this month’s Survivor Series Pay-Per-View, and seems to suggest Undertaker may be calling it a day on his iconic 30 year WWE career.
Amidst this season, has been match compilations, forgotten classics and a series of documentaries. Already we have seen a brilliant film covering The Undertaker and Randy Orton’s year-long TV storyline in 2005 and a sensational doc on the late great William “Paul Bearer” Moody, Undertaker’s longtime manager and friend. And now, we have a documentary that has been much anticipated since its announcement, Brothers of Destruction. Which looks at the intersecting careers of The Undertaker and his onscreen brother Kane (Glenn Jacobs), and how they went on to create one of wrestling’s most enduring and dramatic storylines. One that added theatre, spectacle and awe to any era they fought in.
From the very start, as these two guys meet in an empty arena in Dallas for their talk, this documentary is never anything less than compelling, fun and insightful. Both guys have a reputation among their peers and fans for being two of the most liked and respected guys in the wrestling business, and their connection together really is a brotherhood, one built on mutual respect, experience and a love for this wild industry.
Early on they laugh together that Undertaker and Kane’s rivalry was meant to be a ‘one and done’ thing but became a 23 year angle. Their talk admirably starts in the pre-WWE days of Jacobs’ career, covering an early meeting in mid-90s Smoky Mountain Wrestling, which set the groundwork for their onscreen chemistry that has lasted ever since. They also surprisingly discuss the disappointment in the mad dentist character Isaac Yankem that WWE initially gave to Jacobs on his arrival in 1995. All while inter-weaving some compelling memories into their talk, some of which many fans will not be aware of.
In fact, both guys talk very honestly and passionately about their coming together being an exciting development point in their respective careers, as The Undertaker character would deepen immeasurably and, in Kane, Jacobs would get the character his talent deserved and one which, nearly 25 years on, is still as beloved and popular. From the iconic debut of Kane in 1997 at WWF Badd Blood (to this day wrestling’s greatest ever debut), to the long building storyline that was supposed to climax at WrestleMania XIV but only grew since, with the groundbreaking inferno match at Unforgiven, and of course the two’s eventual teaming together as the team ‘The Brothers of Destruction’, this doc covers all the main bases.
Admittedly the 47-minute running length (probably kept so short for the benefit of future documentaries and not repeating material) does mean some moments from the long conversation these guys undoubtedly had are absent (the two’s reunions in 2006, 2013 & 2015 for instance) but it is frankly amazing what they have managed to fit in here. Whether it’s the aforementioned highs, or the lows (in the notorious Brothers of Destruction vs. D-Generation X tag match in Saudi Arabia), as well as some less recalled moments of fun like their World title rivalry in 2010. They even throw in some never before seen rehearsal/backstage footage for good measure.
What makes Brothers of Destruction so special though, is the nostalgic joy it offers. Not only does it take us back to these moments, but makes us re-appreciate many of them in the process, and hearing both guys talk together for the first time ever out of character is an absolute honour. You could watch these real-life mates chat all day. The admiration, respect, honesty, interesting tales and sheer love shown by both legends, make this a knockout WWE Network documentary and arguably the best of the 30 Days of the Deadman season.
You’ll laugh, you’ll smile, you’ll have a tear in your eye come the end, and even as the “who’s to say it’s even over” line makes one wonder whether the Brothers of Destruction may ride one last time, but even if they likely won’t, it has been a hell of a story. Brothers of Destruction is a funny, insightful and compelling look at the best story WWE has ever told and the two greats who made it all that it was, and so much more.