The Important And Fascinating Documentary On The Man Dubbed ‘The First Black Wrestler’

Contrary to popular belief, wrestling history doesn’t just live online for $9.99 a month. Massachusetts filmmaker (and wrestling fan) Elliott Marquis recognized this, and after hearing about the legend of Viro Small, he decided to help change that:

I believe the first time I ever heard the name “Viro Small” was as a teenager reading Ringside: A History of Professional Wrestling in America by Scott M. Beekman. I love pro wrestling – all of it, from probing the annals of its history as an amateur historian to discussing with other fans the high drama of NXT today. However, in Beekman’s work, and then everywhere I looked to follow up, the name Viro Small, “the first black wrestler” as so many dubbed him, seemed to be given as little more than a trivia fact. I suppose it was nice history assigned this lofty title to someone, but I found it a little odd no one ever looked into Small’s story any further. If the barebones facts that were scattered about on the web were even half-true, it seemed a truly fascinating one: this former slave who became a star wrestler in the big city at the turn of the twentieth century.

Black Sam’s Statue is the culmination of months worth of research, debunking myths and proving legends. You can find out more about his research efforts here and watch the film below: