Since its debut in 2019, Vice's Dark Side of the Ring has shed light on some of the strangest, darkest, and most tragic stories ever to be told in professional wrestling. Exploring the darker side of the squared circle, the first four seasons of the show have explored the lives, legacies, and deaths of members of the Von Erich family, infamous events like “The Montreal Screwjob,” and sagas involving the likes of Marty Jannetty.
Dark Side of the Ring Season 5 will soon premiere on the 2024 TV schedule, and tell 10 more wrestling stories about fame, fortune, and falls from grace. And now that the show’s official X account has shared the wrestlers and events that we’ll be covering, we know what to expect. Here are the stories we’ll see unfold starting March 5th.
Sean Durkin’s The Iron Claw went into great detail about the Von Erich family curse, but they weren’t the only members of World Class Championship Wrestling whose stories ended tragically.
“Gentleman” Chris Adams was a mainstay of the Dallas, Texas-based promotion during its glory days and won multiple championships including the NWA American Heavyweight Championship on four separate occasions. But in October 2001, just one year after retiring from wrestling, Adams was shot and killed by his best friend during a dispute, according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer.
Sherri Martel, a.k.a., Sensational Sherri, will forever be remembered as one of the most impactful women in the history of WWE. Throughout her time in professional wrestling, Martel did everything from help elevate the women’s division in the then-WWF and Verne Gagne’s AWA to serve as the legendary manager and valet for superstars like Randy Savage and Shawn Michaels (she sang HBK’s original “Sexy Boy” theme song). Sensational Sherri was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006, but she passed away a little more than a year later at the age of 49, according to WWE.
One-third of the Fabulous Freebirds, Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy was one of the most prolific and dominant tag-team wrestlers of the 1980s. Together with Michael P.S. Hayes and Buddy Roberts, Gordy worked in promotions like Georgia Championship Wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling, the WWF, and most famously, World Class Championship Wrestling, where he engaged in a years-long feud with the Von Erichs. Tragically, Gordy passed away after suffering a heart attack in July 2001, according to Slam Wrestling. At the time of his death, the future WWE Hall of Famer was only 40 years old.
The “Monday Night War” dominated the landscape of American pro wrestling in the mid-to-late ‘90s with Vince McMahon’s WWF battling Ted Turner’s WCW in the ratings each week. More than a decade earlier, the events that would lead to the eventual war between the rival promotions would kick off with “Black Saturday” on July 14, 1984, the day McMahon’s company took over the slot long held by the defunct Georgia Championship Wrestling on Turner’s WTBS Superstation (later known as TBS) and angered wrestling fans throughout the South.
The deal was a disaster and would later lead to Turner purchasing Jim Crockett Promotions, which he turned into World Championship Wrestling. The rest is wrestling history…
Chris Colt may not be as instantly recognizable as other wrestlers listed here, but the scrappy grappler known for looking like the Alice Cooper of the squared circle is a worthy inclusion. As shown in the Dark Side of the Ring Season 5 teaser, Colt once wrestled in a steel cage match on psychedelic drugs, which made him believe he was being attacked by giant spiders. But, that is just a part of his story, as he fought in promotions across North America until his 1996 death.
James Fullington, better known as The Sandman, will forever go down in history as one of the most popular, most hardcore, and probably drunkest wrestlers during ECW’s heyday throughout the 1990s. Known for walking through the crowd while smoking cigarettes and chugging beers (and smashing them over his head) to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” this ECW original was about as extreme as it got. After 35 years of putting his life on the line for the enjoyment of his fans, The Sandman is still doing what he does best.
John Anthony Tenta Jr., who WWE fans will recognize as Earthquake, had a successful career in professional wrestling, even before he formed The Natural Disasters with longtime friend Typhoon. Throughout his 17-year run in the industry, Tenta made a name for himself as one of the most dominant gaijin (foreign-born wrestlers in Japan) with promotions like AJPW, WCW, and WWF, and he even had a turn as a sumo wrestler before all of that. Sadly, Tenta died of bladder cancer in June 2006 when he was only 42 years old, per ESPN.
One of the most popular wrestlers who never won the WWE Championship, Harley Race will forever be remembered as one of the baddest men on the planet. Over the course of his 31-year career, Race earned a ton of accolades and a well-deserved reputation as a ring general who didn’t like taking crap from anyone. I mean, go back and watch his legendary Starrcade ‘83 cage match against Ric Flair and see for yourself.
In addition to being a part of one of the most absurd gimmick matches of all time, Marcus “Buff” Bagwell has one of the most ridiculous stories in professional wrestling history. A WCW mainstay throughout the 1990s, including a longtime run with the NWO faction, Bagwell was a well-known name in the business for years. Much later, Bagwell would reinvent himself as a gigolo, according to TMZ. That career change will surely be touched upon on Dark Side of the Ring.
Edward Harrison Leslie, better known as Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, was one of the most colorful wrestlers in the WWF back in the ‘80s where he predominantly worked with Hulk Hogan. Known for carrying around an oversized pair of scissors, Brutus was at the center of one of the biggest wrestling moments of the early ‘90s: Shawn Michaels throwing Marty Jannetty through a barber shop window. He would have a successful career in WCW, again working with Hogan, this time in the NWO, and retired in 2015. Oddly enough, he tried to give late Toronto Mayor Rob Ford an intervention in 2013, according to the Toronto Sun.
We cannot wait to see how these stories unfold when Dark Side of the Ring Season 5 premieres on March 5th on Vice TV. But, if you want to watch more current wrestling, check out our schedule of all the upcoming WWE events.