New Documentary Examines Wrestling History, Homoeroticism and Homophobia

November 18, 2009

Guys demonstrate holds at one of several wrestling events specifically for adult men.Washington, D.C. (November 18, 2009) -- Stronghold: In the Grip of Wrestling, examines the growing number of men who wrestle as adults, and the social stigmas they encounter. It talks frankly about wrestling homoeroticism and homophobia, historically through today, and the many reasons wrestling has become such an underappreciated sport in America. All styles of wrestling are included: amateur wrestling, pro wrestling, and submission grappling.

The documentary pulls no punches when talking about sensitive subjects. Several men discuss how they have been sexually attracted to wrestling since they were kids, and how the age-old fear of getting an erection in a singlet prevented them from wrestling in school. They share stories about sneaking peeks at library wrestling books and wrestling magazines, watching it on TV and being mesmerized by the guys in tight trunks, or getting aroused while wrestling their friends. Many grew up with shame for these feelings, and now think that they have to hide their wrestling as adults. Through the Internet and nationwide wrestling events, thousands of adult men are discovering they are not alone.

But the documentary covers much more: How wrestling was once one of the most popular sports for adult men in the U.S., the effects of Title IX on collegiate wrestling, and how WWE altered pro wrestling (Vince McMahon meets an untimely death in the film). The growing sport of Jiu-Jitsu is also examined as a much-needed outlet for grown men to grapple.

Award-winning filmmaker, Victor Rook, wanted to make sure that the documentary was all-inclusive, so wrestlers both gay and straight-identified, single and married, were interviewed. The documentary takes you back stage at a pro indy show, inside amateur wrestling tournaments, a jiu-jitsu school, and several wrestling events specifically geared for adult men. He even pulls people out of bars and truck stops to wrestle in a portion of the film noted as 'The Great Wrestling Road Trip.'

"I came out of this film with a unique understanding of how similar most men are, regardless of sexuality. There is a need for close physical contact among men as adults, and wrestling provides that," says Mr. Rook.

For additional information and to order Stronghold: In the Grip of Wrestling on DVD or online Pay-Per-View, visit the film's official website at


Filmmaker Bio:

Victor Rook, has produced several award-winning films. "Beyond the Garden Gate" was honored with two Telly Awards, including a 25th anniversary "Best of" Nature award. It went on to air on PBS for four years. Victor served as producer, cameraman, interviewer, narrator, and editor for the STRONGHOLD: In the Grip of Wrestling documentary. He also wrote the song "A Hold on Me" for the credit roll, and published the book "Growing Up Wrestling."