Tha Sports Junkies 101

Movie Review: “The Trade” – Matthew T. Burns

Matt Burns, a.k.a. "Sick" Nick Mondo, following his tournament victory in ToD 2 IndyWrestling/CommonsWiki


Movie Review: “The Trade” – Matthew T. Burns | “Sick” Nick Mondo

Hello, dear readers, this is Gregory Black here, bringing you something different today. Now, from the title alone, you probably have guessed that this ties in with the interview from last week with former CZW wrestler, Matthew T. Burns, better known as “Sick” Nick Mondo.

And you would be correct.

Today, I review his autobiographical film, “The Trade”, which is currently being showcased at the Lift-Off Film Festival, brought to you by Lift-Off Global Network.

The premise of the movie is the story of Matt Burns, ten years removed from in ring competition. Reliving and retelling his growth from a young man with an almost innocent mischievous nature; slowly progressing into the man that was adored for the punishment that he could withstand.

It begins with Matt talking about what goes through the mind of a wrestler; how there is a certain mindset that comes with being in the business. That something is there in that individual’s mind that makes them believe that the punishment… Is normal.

It is followed up by commentary by fans and fellow wrestlers talking about him and what they’ve most remembered him for.

The most talked about moment that many speak of is the infamous weed-wacker spot, which happened during the final of the Tournament of Death I. Where CZW legend, Wifebeater, used his weed-wacker on Matt, which led to a sit-out spinebuster for the win.

Yes, the spot is shown in it’s entirety, in its gory, hardcore glory.

But, the story truly begins when Burns starts to talk about his youth. Like any other teen, he and his group of friends would horse around, pull pranks, the usual. And, like any teen who is a fan of wrestling, they would backyard wrestle.

His Transition from Matt Burns to Nick Mondo.

It was there that, as some of Matt’s childhood friends and parents spoke of, where a darker nature appeared in him. Their backyard matches, as friends Dave and Moe spoke of, started off like harmless fun. But, as he grew older, an animosity grew within him.

It was with that, that he decided to go to wrestling school.

It then fast forwards into his time in CZW, where he became known as a hero to the fans. Taking risks that most men wouldn’t dare take. He took great leaps from high distances, being bludgeoned with everything under the sun. Being hit with chairs and florescent lightbulbs, to being put through tables and ladders; there was literally nothing that kept him down.

Fear was not a factor for him.

But, time is the body’s greatest enemy, and Burns would see his exit from the sport; after years of punishment, in 2003.

The Next Generation.

Transitioning back from Mondo to Burns, he speaks about making the transition; from the life of a wrestler, back to that of a normal person. But, he also shared his thoughts on how his in-ring antics may have left an influence.

It isn’t a far stretch to say that his absence left a bit of a void for some. And those affected by it followed in his footsteps.

Enter “Little Mondo”, a young man by the name of Rory Gulak who, much like Burns in his youth, loved wrestling, especially the ultraviolent kind. You could find him at shows cheering Burns on, and writing Burns’ signature moniker of “Sick” on his forehead.

A full 5 years after Burns’ exit, he would begin his own journey in the ring, starting off as Little Mondo, and through hard work and determination, much like his hero, would earn the respect of the fans.

“Sick”-ness in kind.

During the rise of Little Mondo, who would later be named Rory Mondo, Burns was living his life in Japan; trying to find who he was, he went into detail about how the change of scenery helped in that transition back to normal life.

Much like how he described it in the interview, he touched on how Tokyo, for how crowded it was, was also quite lonesome. While he followed another passion (working in film) of his there, Rory was making waves in the ring back home.

Describing the feeling he had at first about Rory following in his footsteps, he would soon come to realize that the young man was falling into the same path that he once did.

Years would pass, yet he knew that in order to move on, he had to close the final chapter in the story of “Sick” Nick Mondo.

Completing the circle, beginning anew.

Going against a promise he made to himself, he returned to the ring for one night only. Returning at the 2013 “Cage of Death” event, he helped to finish the main event; assisting Lucky 13 in knocking Matt Tremont off of the top of the cage through a table awaiting outside.

The last chapter of “Sick” Nick Mondo would close when Rory and Nick were both in the ring. It was a heartfelt moment that, well, you would have to see in order to understand.

With the chapter closed, Burns could move on. But, before the film closed, Burns would share his thoughts on his influence on the next generation. With his hope being that those who followed in his footsteps would also know when to walk away.

My thoughts on the film.

As far as cinematography and storytelling, it hits on all points. It is beautifully shot, the editing is well done, the scenery and locations are a feast for the eyes. Using clips from not only his childhood, but from his matches, you get a much deeper sense of who Matt is, and who he became in transitioning into Nick Mondo.

Someone who’s life journey took him to heights that most dream of, but still searching for his place in life. Finally grabbing hold of his place, and realizing that though the journey was rough, it needed to be.

At the end of it all, it is a grand story of finding one’s self.

I would highly recommend watching this, whether you are a fan of wrestling or not. It is a four star film in my book.

And, if you would like to see more of Burns’ work, feel free to visit his Vimeo page:

I hope you enjoyed the review, and if you have any comments, feel free to leave a comment below. Until next time, dear readers, this has been Gregory Black, and I will see you later.

Social Media:

Follow us on Twitter: @TSJ_Sports & @TSJ_WWE

Follow the Writer: @GregNecroBlack