The world of independent wrestling doesn’t look as glamorous as World Wrestling Entertainment or even distant number-two Total Nonstop Action/Impact Wrestling. Tim Disbrow’s documentary also lacks major-league polish. The movie features several profiles of wrestlers on various paths of their grueling careers. There are so many profiles jam-packed onto Card that it’s difficult to get to know many of the kayfabed combatants and what narrative there is becomes scattershot.
During the one hour, 42 minute film there is plenty of coverage of the National Wrestling Superstars chief Johnny Falco, the aging menace Kevin Sullivan, and the indy star Trent Acid. As viewers get peeks at the operation of Falco’s NWS we receive some insight into the makings of an indy wrestling league from Falco. Falco discusses the pay scale of the wrestlers and we get to see him in the midst of putting together wrestling shows. After a brief overview of his four decade career, Sullivan performs his brawling specialty in a few matches. Trent Acid, who resembles Matt Hardy if someone squints on a good day, is aiming for respect and an opportunity to work in a major wrestling company. Acid is an okay performer and his look is generic grunge. After watching Acid lose several matches, it’s tough to be convinced that we’re watching a star in the making. Acid’s agonies extend outside the ring. Halfway through the movie we are informed that the filmmakers have lost touch with Acid. He had served time in jail and went through rehab because of struggles with drugs. However, the filmmakers and Acid reconnect and his endeavors in the square circle continue. Sadly, Trent Acid passed away due to an overdose on June 18, 2010.
Before we get too comfortable with those three subjects, we are whisked away to see another wrestler. Back and forth we go among subjects. Many vignettes don’t have a coherent ending: wrestler talks about himself, wrestler does a match, we see a short post-match reaction shot backstage from the wrestler, and that’s it. Enthusiastic Sherri Martel gives her thoughts on wrestling in her last interview. Its placement in the middle of the movie is awkward and appears isolated from the rest of the movie. There is also a moment of unintentional hilarity when the movie fades out from a hyper Kip Sopp talking mid-speech. A fun activity to do is to spot the wrestler as several wrestlers are not mentioned or credited. Blink and you’ll miss a credited King Kong Bundy as he walks by the locker but is seen from the back.
Some other notable events of Card include indy veteran Corvis Fear discussing the effects of steroids then injecting a steroid onto his leg, Necro Butcher engage in the bloody matches in rings lined with barbed wire and fluorescent lights, Rhett Titus, who could belong in the TNA/Impact Wrestling undercard, and seeing insights from talent evaluators like Tom Pritchard and Jim Cornette tell us how someone can make it in the wrestling business.
While Card has a near-random narrative and lacks depth that would generate much sympathy for the subjects involved, Card has interesting footage and won’t drive devoted wrestling fans into boredom. The obvious lack of superstars and the presentation of independent wrestling shows may not be cool enough for fans used to the weekly antics of the WWE or even TNA/Impact Wrestling.