Semi-retired professional wrestler Ian Hodgkinson reveals the harsh realities behind the glamour of being in the world of wrestling as the infamous ‘Vampiro’. A Lucha Libre legend, Hodgkinson tells the astonishing story about his meteoric rise to fame in the 90’s and how it almost killed him. Yet none of that was as back-breaking as his current life – working behind-the-scenes as the Director of Talent for Lucha Libre AAA in Mexico City and Lucha Underground in Los Angeles, while simultaneously raising his teenage daughter Dasha in remote Northern Canada as a single parent.
What We Thought:
We here at The Nerds Templar enjoy wrestling so getting a documentary about a famous wrestler is right up our alley. Vampiro is a legend in Lucha Libre and spent a few years in WCW as well. Nail in the Coffin: The Fall & Rise of Vampiro is a fascinating and intimate look at a bizarre human being who’s still doing his thing decades later.
I knew of Vampiro from his wrestling days both in Mexico and the US. This gives you the whole story of the man behind the make-up, Ian Hodgkinson. Despite 20 plus concussions, numerous injuries, cancer and more, he still gets in the ring as his wrestling persona Vampiro. He’s also the guy running things off screen setting up storylines, directing the action and everything else.
Beyond his wrestling personality, you get a look at Ian before becoming famous, during his heyday and now dealing with his daughter. He was a hockey phenom in Canada, but came from a rough family situation. He was sexually abused and turned to drugs and the lifestyle early on. After seeing wrestling on TV and watching The Road Warriors in make-up kicking butt, he decided wrestling was his future, sold his hockey equipment and left to become a wrestler.
But like most great stories, his wasn’t immediate superstardom. He worked for the mob at one point shaking down pimps among other things. He lived in Los Angeles touring with Milli Vanilli before they got exposed. He eventually ends up in Mexico and begins his Lucha Libre career. He becomes a star among the masked wrestlers. His hair is long, he looks Gothic and the ladies loved him. He would have some epic matches in Mexico and eventually find himself in the WCW.
If you know anything about WCW in this time period you know his unhappiness there is expected. Unless you were Sting, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan and the rest of the NWO, you probably didn’t get a big push. Despite matches with most of those legends, Ian doesn’t talk highly about his time in WCW and leaving on a sour note after his major injury.
Ian Hodgkinson is a fun watch in Nail in the Coffin: The Fall & Rise of Vampiro. To say he thinks highly of himself is an understatement. His attitude might have cost him through the years, but you can’t argue with his resume. He is a legend even if US fans might not know him or think of him as a WCW guy who only lasted a few years. He’s not shy talking about the drugs (especially the cocaine and steroids) and lifestyle he lived and now that his daughter is a bit older he does want to be there for her. Yet he still can’t give up the wrestling life. If you like Lucha Libre, wrestling and know of Vampiro then this is…