The Last of McGuinness – Review (Manchester Comedy Store – 26/05/13) – By Michael Owen
I had the privilege of attending a screening and Q&A of “The Last of McGuinness: A Film By Nigel McGuinness” at the weekend and it raised some serious questions in my mind about what ‘making it’ in professional wrestling meant and if there is such a thing as an unlucky career.
First of all, lets cover the topics that created the most press during his career, why WWE didn’t sign him and why TNA kept him off TV for over a year.
He explained very early on that the simple reason behind his WWE contract being rescinded was due to an old bicep injury, an injury that didn’t affect his in ring performance till the day he retired coincidently. He also explained that he contracted Hepatitis B from an unknown source whilst under contract with TNA. This led to him being taken off TV for some months, eventually returning as a authority on TNA secondary show, Xplosion. TNA inevitably became impatient and released him from his contract. Funny thing was, Nigel had ridden himself of the infection only a month later.
Are these things simply bad luck? Or is the case that he wasn’t meant to reach the lofty goals he had set for himself? I’ve given great consideration to both questions and I’ve come to the conclusion that he had all the tools but none of the luck needed to reach the promise land he so desperately desired.
Before watching the documentary, I had absolutely no doubt in my mind that Nigel McGuinness had ‘made it’. Let me explain just a few of my reasons for thinking this.
He held the ROH Pure Championship for 350 days, losing it in one of the greatest matches in professional wrestling history against Bryan Danielson in a unification bout with the ROH World Heavyweight Title. He held the ROH World Heavyweight Title for 545 days, a feat that has only been bettered by the mammoth run that Samoa Joe had in the early years of ROH. He debuted in TNA in October ’09 and had arguably the feud of the year with Kurt Angle, which made him a star. Also that year he was ranked 6thbest wrestler in the PWI 500, that simply means that they thought he was better than 493 of the best wrestlers in the world at the time.
I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it is quite an impressive résumé to have in the wrestling business, one that many people would crawl through the mud for, but Nigel McGuinness wanted more, he deserved more.
His dream had always been to wrestle for the WWE, although I did wonder if simply being on the roster would have been enough to fulfil that dream. Having watched him for years and seeing his passion for the business, I think not being given the chance to be the best would have eaten at him more than never having the chance. I always thought that given the chance, he would have been the first British WWE champion, but who am I to say that?
As I got further into the incredibly well produced documentary, the bitterness that Nigel felt at times was projected onto me. I could feel the anger bubbling inside myself as he discussed all the injustices he had suffered and all of the unlucky breaks that had brought about the unceremonious end of his career. It took till after the documentary for me to accept what had become of his career.
You see, after the documentary was a Q&A, all the questions were insightful, but it took till the very last person to really get Nigel’s attention. This man was not a fan and had been dragged to the event. He hadn’t even heard the name Nigel McGuinness before that very day. He kept it short and simply said ‘you should be proud of all you have achieved’.
Nigel McGuinness was made.
He came to accept it, as did I.