24th Sep2020

‘You Cannot Kill David Arquette’ VOD Review

by Chris Cummings

Features: David Arquette, Patricia Arquette, Courteney Cox | Directed by David Darg, Price James

“If you’re part of the joke, it’s not as painful as being the joke” – David Arquette.

I was always a guy who didn’t quite understand the hate that David Arquette received when he became the WCW World Champion back in 2000. He didn’t book the win, he wasn’t writing the shows, he got paid to do a job with a company, and he did that job. I never hated him for that. It was perhaps a weird booking decision, sure… but wrestling is weird. Wrestling is silly. The hatred was always unnecessary.

You Cannot Kill David Arquette is a documentary that takes a look at the life, career and passions of the man himself. It focuses mainly on his personal wish to redeem himself by learning how to wrestle and become part of the wrestling business, some twenty years after he first became a Champion and upset a whole lot of people in the process. It’s a documentary that feels, at times, a little planned and scripted, but you also know that much of what happens here is real. We hear stories of his past from David himself as well as his wife, Christina, other parts of his family and his friends. We hear from his ex-wife Courney Cox, and wrestlers such as Diamond Dallas Page and Ric Flair. It’s very interesting and revealing, and to look into the life of this man and see how he was affected by the treatment he received all those years ago when he appeared in WCW is surprising.

The documentary does, in some instances, show the closed-off nature of pro-wrestling fandom and the toxicity that it seems to thrive on these days. Hearing kids talk about how they’ve “worked their asses off and missed Christmas” whilst garbage wrestling in their backyards is a little embarrassing. Some of the backyard wrestlers who appear on the documentary are poor examples of independent wrestlers who work hard to ply their craft, that’s for sure. It’s also fairly obvious that these portions are worked and not actually happening organically, but that’s fine. It works with the narrative of the story here, and helps to push the tale of Arquette’s redemption forward. The worked garbage match that happens is purely for the narrative. Arquette takes a few mean bumps here, for sure. Putting his body through the ringer for wrestling shows how much he loves the business whilst also admittedly hating it in some ways.

“It’s a theatrical sport. It’s a play on steroids”

David comes off as a really nice guy, a man with a point to prove and a dream to follow. It may not make sense to those who don’t love wrestling, but for those who do, in or out of the business, his desires to be part of it make sense. It’s a weird world, but seeing his intense need to change the minds of people who hated what he did back in the year 2000 is inspiring stuff. As much as the film walks the line of fabrication and “worked-shoot”, it’s still a really intriguing and entertaining film for its entire run-time. He trains with backyard wrestlers, he trains with luchadors, he trains with bigger names from companies like AEW, he works matches with indie wrestlers and he bleeds buckets in the process. Seeing him in a lucha libre tag match, hitting guys with frankensteiners, is a blast. This side of the documentary isn’t fake or pretend, that’s for certain. You can’t just get in the ring and work a match without training your ass off, and Arquette does just that. It’s very cool to watch happen. It’s also fun to watch his rivalry with RJ City unfold and see segments of their match. It shows, for sure, that David Arquette is a wrestler now. Yup.

The part of the film that shows Arquette’s match with pro-wrestler and very-violent-human Nick Gage is rough going. It’s gory, violent and scary. He suffers an injury here and I can’t imagine how freaked out he and his family must have been. The crazier thing was the fact that the man fought on through bleeding from his neck. He was driven to the hospital by AEW’s Jungle Boy while his friend, the late Luke Perry, sat on the back seat. The clips of people talking about him afterwards ranges from fair to insulting. There’s this societal norm now of tearing people down and hoping they fail, and it really sucks. Oh, and just to put this out here… Joe Rogan is a dickhead.

A slick film with a whole lot of heart, You Cannot Kill David Arquette is a tale of redemption, of retribution and of truth. Arquette has been through a lot, from a heart attack, to losing friends and being snubbed and treated like a fool for way too long, especially in the world of wrestling, and it’s undeserved. He said “yes, sir” for a chance to win a belt on a wrestling show. I’d say the same thing in his shoes. He did his job, and he left. He didn’t kill a business, he didn’t embarrass any wrestlers who came before him, and he didn’t spoil anything. All these years later he’s proving it, and showing that he respects pro-wrestling more than most do. Also, the dude got his butt waxed on this film. Respect him, for fucks sake. It’s nice that many wrestling fans, especially indie fans, have embraced him and shown him some love, finally. Now, let’s get him a match at an NXT TakeOver, shall we?

“I like to think that good people will always come out on top in the end”.

****½  4.5/5

You Cannot Kill David Arquette is available on VOD, in the US, now.

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