We love a good freak show, so thank you P.T. Barnum, Tod Browning, Chuck Barris, the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, reality television—and thank you , Jim Rose. You eat light bulbs. You pumped Matt “The Tube” Crowley full of fluid, then siphoned it out for the audience’s refreshment. You introduced us to The Amazing Mr. Lifto, who lifted weights with his various body parts. Now, demented ringmaster, you give us… wrestling? Initially, the idea of combining fake pro wrestling with the totally real circus sideshow is like letting the Jonas Brothers sing with Stevie Wonder. Sure, freak shows ham-handedly spin even the most exotic deformities into something more bizarre, and have employed cheap fakery.
But lately, twisted exhibitionists really do abuse their bodies for money. Why besmirch their name? Well, if there’s one wrestler who kept it real, it was Jake “The Snake” Roberts. He invented a classic finishing move (the “DDT”) and brought a freaky element to wrestling by tormenting snakeo-phobic opponents with Burmese pythons and even a defanged cobra. He became a train wreck who showed up apparently drunk to a live payper-view event, and he helped inspire the hit film The Wrestler. And don’t we love a hard-won redemption story? Fittingly, Rose and Roberts face off in this “soap-opera comedy” that “exposes the difference between man and monster,” combining a new cast of hot freaks doing sick tricks with hot chicks. It sounds like something special—especially because Rose’s record shows he’s good for more than just snake oil.