Wrestling has a lot of dark stories and dark characters. Dino Bravo was the opposite of that. In his home of Quebec, he was a hero. A top tier talent that could dwarf Hulk Hogan in his hometown popularity. This got him brought to WWE, where he found a very different response. The light faded, the hero was made a villain, and the star power, whilst still present in his own mind, was fading in the crowds around him. This episode presents the story of what happens when you have to leave wrestling behind, but can’t leave the lifestyle behind.

Adolfo Bresciano was one of the biggest stars in Quebec. This was something I was never aware of. As one of the younger wrestling fans, I only ever saw Dino Bravo as a blonde villain in wrestling discussions, and the occasional photo. This particular Dark Side documentary goes to great lengths through interviews with those around him to prove why he had this reputation and how great he really was. The early portion of the episode is full of people praising him and his family reminding the audience that despite what may happen later, he was a great family man with a position at the top of the world in International Wrestling in the 80s. He protected his friends, and he protected his family as he rose to the top of the company.

The problem was he was also the boss, and he wanted the top spot. His passion drove him to put himself ahead of others, and he ended up driving those he worked with into the clutches of Vince McMahon. Through tales from The Mountie, Tony Mule, and Gino Brito, alongside anecdotes from his family, we get a painted picture of who Bravo was as a wrestler, a booker, and a promoter with the ambition to stand up to WWE, especially after how they screwed him and his company in the past. With talent leaving in droves, as Rick Martel and so many others had left, and the company dying, he went where the money was, WWF (WWE).


The documentary then moved through Bravo’s WWF career as he was paired with Jimmy Hart, the money he was making, the skyrocket up the card, and the blonde hair that angered him so much. A lot of the people around him noticed his pride and the struggles he had with getting beaten continuously and getting older. By 1992, his wrestling career ended. The contract that made him so much money is over, and the sport he gave so much time too has abandoned him. Once again, the documentary does a great job showcasing why this hurt and the position it left Bravo in. As this chapter ended in his life, Bravo was forced to turn to unsavoury connections and widespread corruption to survive.

This new chapter sees some new voices enter the fray, Andre Cedilot, a crime journalist, and Claude Poirier, a crime reporter who offered a lot of insight into how Bravo could have ended up in the situation he was in. The Italian mafia was big in Montreal through bootlegging and smuggling, and they wanted Dino for muscle. He became a debt collector and used his imposing frame and explosive temper to keep his family afloat despite his family’s concerns. I won’t go into too much detail, but again, we get some excellent accounts of his actions and the consequences that come with the lifestyle.

Then comes the title event, the day he was found dead. The documentary recalls how his body was found and the suspicious circumstances around his shooting. Nobody could place what had happened and why he was so serene as he received such a violent end. We get a lot of potential reasons behind it all and learn of the emotional toll it took on those around him. This was a much less known wrestling murder, so I was shocked to learn about it through the documentary. At this point, we could enter spoiler territory, so I will leave the analysis here. Like a lot of the other episodes, this was a great deep dive into a sad story of desperation as a father and husband with a limited skill set was left behind by something he devoted his life too, and become something much deadlier that ended up costing him his life. We really get to see a portrait of a man who found what he was good at and pushed it as far as he could to try and make a good life for himself and his family. Unlike other episodes, whilst he was doing questionable things, Dino is not painted as a full villain. Just a desperate man with a lot of bills to pay.

The Assassination of Dino Bravo airs on Vice TV UK tonight at 10 PM.

All images courtesy of Dark Side of the Ring Twitter, Vice TV Twitter, and video is courtesy of VICE YouTube

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