Nail in the Coffin: The Fall & Rise of Vampiro (2020)

The life of a legendary wrestler is revealed in this biopic that shows how a once risen athlete had struggled only to rise again and overcome his past struggles.

Hailing from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, Ian Hodgkinson was a natural athlete. However, after dealing with some personal issues, Hodgkinson moved to Los Angeles, where he became a bodyguard and worked odd jobs before finding his calling in Mexico. It was there his life would change forever as he would become the professional wrestler known as Vampiro Canadienese.

Despite having no wrestling background, Hodgkinson’s natural ability led him to become one of the most popular lucha libre stars in Mexico. However, past demons would come back to haunt him as his popularity led to him going through a spiral of addictions. The double combination would lead to his wife leaving him and eventually him having to change his ways for the sake of his daughter Dasha. Accepting a job as a behind the scenes guy in both AAA and Lucha Underground, Vampiro is back on the rise and while he focuses a lot on work, he hasn’t forgotten the little things in life and that includes being a dad to his now college bound daughter.

Professional wrestling is like the set of a movie. You have your characters, the matches are like fight sequences, but like stunts in films, they can take their toll on the performers. This documentary gives us a look at both the in-ring persona and real-life persona of Ian Hodgkinson, also known as Vampiro. He has come a long way and struggled during his journey only to do his best to balance out his work and home life, thanks to the support of his daughter Dasha, who despite not getting to see her father as often as most, still supports him and even offers a bit of advice when it seems like he needs it.

We take a look at Vampiro as he is the current director of talent for Mexico’s AAA promotion and his life in both Mexico and his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario. We get to see some of his early life and the beginning of what would be the genesis of Vampiro, and this segment includes some shocking first-hand account information no one ever knew until now about his past. We see some footage of Vampiro’s days in Mexico and the now defunct WCW, which he says were “the worst three years of his life”. WE get to meet the people who have been there for him throughout his career, even with those who may have seen Vampiro not exactly eye to eye but later, brought that level of respect to the table.

We get to see footage of Vampiro and his daughter Dasha from years ago, where he did an interview about how he wishes he was never a superstar because he would rather get the chance to play with his daughter without always having a fan come up to him. We see the relationship slowly grow between father and daughter and we get Dasha’s first-hand accounts on her relationship with her father. There are times when you have to feel sympathetic for him because of the toll wrestling has taken on him, which ends with a shocking fact that in 2019, he was diagnosed with an early onset of Alzheimer’s. But, despite that recent event, Vampiro isn’t planning to dig back in that coffin anytime soon as he continues to thrive today both in and out of the ring.

Nail in the Coffin: The Fall and Rise of Vampiro is a great documentary about the legendary wrestler from his in-ring career to life outside the squared circle. There is a great look at seeing both the persona and the human side of one Ian Hodgkinson. Wrestling fans should definitely check this one out.

WFG RATING: A

Epic Pictures and Dread present in association with Raven Banner Entertainment a Hangar 18 Media production in association with SuperChannel and Fuse. Director: Michael Paszt. Producers: Pasha Patriki, Michael Paszt, and Bruno Marino. Cinematography: Pasha Patriki. Editing: Danny Palmer.

Cast: Ian “Vampiro” Hodgkinson, Dasha Hodgkinson, John Hennigan, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Kevin Kross, Matt Striker, Marth the Moth.

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