With Vice TV and producers Evan Husney and Jason Eisener's Dark Side of the Ring kicking off its third season this Thursday night a two-hour, two-part focus on the life and times of Brian Pillman (with the first hour available to watch now, below), AEW wrestler, pro wrestling legend, and series narrator Chris Jericho spoke with EW about what viewers can expect from the new season. In the following highlights, Jericho explains what sets Dark Side apart from other wrestling documentaries and what it was like wrestling in the 80s and 90s, and also offers some thoughts on some other season topics.
On What Makes "Dark Side" So Different: "The creators of the show are fans of the business, so this isn't some quickly-put-together-type of a thing. All of these stories are treated with respect and they've gone the extra mile to find the characters that were involved in these stories, family members, all that sort of thing. Sometimes I'm like, how did you get these people to be on," Jericho explained.
On Why It Was Tough for Pillman as a Wrestler in the 80s/80s: "It was a different world back then as far as how hard these guys ran — not just from a recreational side of things but almost by necessity," Jericho explained. "They were on the road so much. Now guys complain when they're working once a week, but back then it was literally 10 days on, three days off, 10 days on, six days off, 15 days on, et cetera. Brian was right in the middle of all that. He was also an influence of mine because he was a smaller guy. He was very athletically gifted, he was a great character, a great promo. It's the perfect way to kick off season 3."
From "Collision in Korea" to Deathmatches, Jericho Says Season "Runs The Gamut": "There's a great episode about when WCW went to North Korea to do a wrestling show in front of like 175,000 people and all the stuff those guys went through in the middle of this Communist country. I'd always heard about that, but never really knew the story behind it," Jericho teased- and it didn't stop there. "The season runs the gamut. There's another great episode about Nick Gage who is a deathmatch wrestler. I didn't know much about the deathmatch wrestling culture either until I saw this episode, and Nick is still with us, which is good. So there are those sides of the coin as well as the Ultimate Warrior and the Dynamite Kid and these folklore [wrestlers] who you were fans of in front of the camera, but don't really know much about them behind the scenes."
At a time when giants dominated the wrestling world, Brian Pillman clawed his way to infamy by playing an unpredictable and outrageous character dubbed 'The Loose Cannon'. But an unwavering commitment to his 24/7 performance put him on a path to self-destruction that left his family in financial and emotional ruin.
The third season of Dark Side of the Ring will venture even deeper into wrestling's shrouded past, revealing the hidden, heartbreaking, and untold stories of professional wrestling with intimate access to its subjects. "With this epic, fourteen-episode season, we've had the opportunity to push the series to new heights and dig even deeper into a world that has captivated us our entire lives," said Eisener and Husney. "We're excited to unveil a season that encompasses a whole new spectrum of stories, ranging from legendary icons of the past to contemporary snapshots from wrestling's underground, to mind-blowing sagas overseas."
Along with Pillman, viewers learned earlier this year that Nick Gage and "deathmatches," the "Collision In Korea," the Ultimate Warrior, Grizzly Smith, and Dynamite Kid will each be getting their own episode. Wrestling legend and AEW superstar Chris Jericho returns as the series' narrator for a second consecutive season- joined by an enormous cast, including Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, Jon Moxley, Mick Foley, Diamond Dallas Page, Eric Bischoff, Jim Ross, Jim Cornette, David Arquette, Antonio Inoki, Rob Van Dam, Terry Funk, and the former wife of Ultimate Warrior, Shari Tyree.
Then last month Husney and Eisener revealed the topics for the second half of the season– set to air late summer. Those will include Vince McMahon and "The Steroid Trials" from the 1990s; a look at the formation of FMW, created by Japan's Atsushi Onita and known for its spectacular matches and gratuitous gore but took a dark turn in the hands of Onita's protégé; and Luna Vachon, who faced immense personal loss and battled addiction while making a name for herself in wrestling history.
In addition, the docuseries will examine "The Plane Ride From Hell"– the infamous party onboard a private 757 charter that forced the WWE to reprimand some of its biggest stars; the story of Johnny K9 aka Bruiser Bedlam, and his double life as a wrestler and as the leader of a biker gang implicated in drug trafficking, the bombing of a police station, and gruesome double murder. XPW, which merged Rob Black's passions for porn and wrestling- until a fallout with a young wrestler started a chain of events that led to jealous rage and a terrifying amputation; and the incredible story of Chris Kanyon, who kept his sexuality a closely guarded secret for decades.