The independent circuit, often referred to as “the indies,” is local in nature, never televised and offers a paltry $5.00 to $20.00 per match. It began to gain ground in the mid-1980s, but when World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) promoter, Vince McMahon, testified in front of the New Jersey State Athletic Commission in 1989 that wrestling was in fact entertainment, regulations were lifted and the indy circuit exploded opening up to anyone who wanted to be a promoter or a wrestler. Since 1990, there have been over 250 wrestling associations organizing local matches throughout the country. Today, about half of them are still in business. With the glitz, the glamour and the popularity of the WWE, the life of an indy pro wrestler is quite the contrary.
CARD SUBJECT TO CHANGE marks Tim Disbrow’s feature-length directorial debut. The title refers to the disclaimer that all promoters include on their flyers given the unpredictable nature of wrestlers and the featured match-ups. Disbrow is a lifelong fan and started out to make a film about the merits of the indy circuit.” As Disbrow put it, “My goal when making this film was to show the struggle that these dedicated athletes must endure in order to become successful in this strange and unorthodox industry.”
The film’s festival run included official selections to: DocMiami International Festival, DocUtah International Film Festival, Hoboken International Film Festival, Lighthouse International Film Festival and the Atlantic City International Film and Music Festival. Many of the sport’s insiders have lauded Disbrow for his honest portrayal of a wrestler’s life. Some of the notables featured are: Kevin Sullivan, Johnny Falco, Michael “Trent Acid” Verdi (who was battling drug addiction during filming), Rhett Titus, Lacey Von Erich (member of the Von Erich wrestling dynasty), Necro Butcher (who appeared in The Wrestler), Sabu and Kamala, to name a few.
Card Subject to Change is available on DVD from Cinema Libre Studio.
It is also available on Hulu.