Slamdance 2024: The Death Tour

Directed by Stephan Peterson and executive produced by Chris Jericho, The Death Tour immerses the viewer in the frozen tundra as a ragtag band of professional wrestlers take their show through remote Indigenous communities in Northern Manitoba. Dubbed ‘The Death Tour’, this annual trip is physically and emotionally gruelling for its performers, pushing them to their limits while offering them a chance to prove themselves in the world of pro wrestling.

Gripping from start to finish, The Death Tour delves into the corners of professional wrestling that aren’t making money in the ‘Big Leagues’. To these brave men and women, every show is an opportunity to grow as performers and people. With an unflinching eye, Tour watches the wrestlers push themselves beyond their physical limits as they move nightly across the treacherous terrain. (The scene where they’re travelling across a frozen lake is particularly terrifying.) At the same time, their physical exhaustion forces them to grapple with their personal issues in everyday life. While they portray heroes and villains in the ring, these are normal men and women who struggle with addiction and family issues.

But what truly makes this Tour worth taking is its eye on empowerment and hope. Braving the frigid elements, these wrestlers understand that their scripted live show provides more than entertainment for their audience. For these communities, the commitment of these performers become examples of heroism and strength. Their presence helps these youth know that they matter, offering encouragement in corners of the Canadian North that are often neglected. After all, these are communities that are wrestling with their own demons of depression, addiction and suicide due to their isolation.

But, more than this, these families also garner strength from representation. Through the presence of Indigenous performer Sage ‘The Matriarch’ Morin, the Tour takes on even deeper meaning as she becomes one who is fighting for them. To Morin, the opportunity to step into the ring is also an opportunity to empower these youth and let them see the success of one of their own. 

Because this Tour isn’t only about the show. It’s about wrestling with issues in real life.

The Death Tour is playing at Slamdance ’24. For more information, click here.

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