Dark Side of the Ring is a documentary series produced by Vice Studios focusing on controversial subjects and events in the world of professional wrestling. The series premiered on the 10th of April 2019 and, since then, has had 3 seasons. The third season is ongoing and will air its final episode on 28th October 2021.
The show features a varying cast of well-known wrestling personalities in each episode directly/indirectly involved in the event covered in that particular episode.
The first season of the show was narrated by wrestling legend Dutch Mantel, while the second and third seasons were narrated by AEW superstar Chris Jericho.
Dark Side of the Ring is known for its in-depth research and unbiased approach. This has led the show to widespread critical acclaim from professionals and wrestling fans alike.
In this list, we will talk about the top three darkest episodes of the Dark Side of the Ring. The focus will be on the episodes that reveal some new dark details that were not known about the event in question. Let's get this list started.
#3. In The Shadow of Grizzly Smith – Season 3 Episode 6
Grizzly Smith was a professional American wrestler who wrestled from 1958 to the late 1970s. He was the father of professional wrestlers Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, Rockin' Robin and Sam Houston.
This episode takes us on a rollercoaster ride and sheds light on the many crimes of Grizzly Smith. In the episode, Jake recalls how his father used to work for his family by playing up the extent of his injuries and hatred towards his opponents.
Jake talks about his traumatic childhood and how he did away with his real name as it would have been too painful otherwise. Jake used his wrestling persona as an escape from his real life. This can be inferred from the episode as Jake's issues with alcohol and drugs were directly related to his troubled past. Jake's stepmother used to beat him with a clothes hanger and a flyswatter.
The physical and mental torture was not limited to Jake. His sister, Rockin Robyn, recalls being sexually assaulted by her father from age 8 to 14. The episode also features details about him being with young teenage girls. One such incident was witnessed by his daughter-in-law Baby Doll during a road trip.
In 2010, Grizzly Smith passed away due to Alzheimer's disease, leaving a dark trail of the past behind him. This episode is not for the faint of heart.
#2. Jimmy Snuka and The Death of Nancy Argentino – Season 2 Episode 5
Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka was a popular Fijian American professional wrestler known for his high-flying style. This episode focuses on his dark and twisted personal life.
In 1983, Snuka was involved in a case related to the death of his girlfriend Nancy Argentino. Despite the clear indication of a homicide, Snuka got away and continued to have a successful wrestling career. The episode hints at a secret meeting between Snuka, Vince McMahon and the Allentown Police Department after which the charges suddenly disappeared.
The episode tells us about Snuka's different stories about Nancy's death. These stories ranged from Nancy slipping and hitting her head on the pavement to him pushing and hitting her head on the wall. This led to suspicion and the reopening of the case in 2015.
The most interesting aspect of the episode is the part where the crew interviews Frederick Conjour. Conjour was the chief of police for Whitehall township, where Nancy died. The crew confronted him about the autopsy of Nancy which stated that the head trauma was not consistent with a single fall, but consistent with a moving head striking an object.
Furthermore, the doctor's autopsy recommended that this case should be investigated as homicide, which was not followed. Another fishy detail is that the police did not focus on the fact that Sam Fatu, a fellow wrestler, was in the car on the day of the alleged accident.
This episode is a dark tale of drug abuse, mental abuse and more. The saddest part is that justice was never served as Snuka passed away in 2017 due to a terminal illness.
There are still many things left unsaid which can be summarized by the series of tweets by wrestling personality Ian Riccaboni.
#1. The Plane Ride from Hell- Season 3 Episode 8
Topping our list is the latest episode from Dark Side of the Ring. This episode focused on the infamous Plane Ride from Hell incident from 5th May 2002 when several WWE wrestlers and management flew from the UK to the US after wrapping up a European tour. The flight was delayed an hour before takeoff and this led to a series of infamous incidents inside the flight.
The episode starts with Heidi Doyle, the flight attendant, stating that the passengers necked three carts of liquor during the 7-hour delay. The amount of alcohol consumed led to a series of incidents between various wrestlers.
Curt Hennig and Brock Lesnar got into a mid-flight brawl because of a prank pulled by Hennig on Lesnar. Doyle recalls that staff were worried that the fighting could tear a hole near one of the windows and force an emergency landing. Other minor incidents involved Goldust singing in the flight attendant's microphone and X-Pac cutting Michael Hayes' mullet.
This was followed by some horrible and traumatic recollections by Doyle. The flight attendant recalled offering a passed-out Scott Hall some breakfast when he suddenly pulled her down and said "I am going to lick you". Sadly, this was just a trailer compared to what was about to happen next.
Heidi followed this up with a story related to 'Nature Boy' Ric Flair. She recalled hiding in the kitchen before being approached by a drunk and naked Flair who tried to get her to touch his genitals, making Doyle scared and uncomfortable. Fortunately, Goldust pulled Flair away from the scene.
When Jim Ross was asked why Flair was not punished, he said that's a "good question" and went on to call Flair a "made-man."
Another controversial part of the episode was when Tommy Dreamer and Terri Runnels downplayed the claims made by Doyle. Dreamer went on to question Doyle's decision to make a settlement instead of going to court. He followed this up by stating that people get offended by anything these days, including his double ponytail.
The comments made by Dreamer received a great deal of backlash online, and he was suspended from IMPACT Wrestling.
The incident was covered by WWE's Story Time with a light-hearted approach while Vice exposed the dark and grim reality about the aforementioned incident.
What are your thoughts on the Dark Side of the Ring? What are some of your favorite episodes? Give us your thoughts in the comment section.