With a storyline straight from the WWE and UFC, Cagefighter sees pro wrestler Randy Stone (Jonathan Good) issues a challenge to 19-0 Legends champion Reiss Gibbons (Alex Montagnani). Said challenge is to go one-on-one in an MMA cage fight for the title. Gibbons thinks it’s just a joke since he believes that pro wrestling is fake. Reiss’ team, Reggie (Elijah Baker) and Marcus (Chuck Liddell), urge him to accept the fight to get paid and get more opportunities for his brand. He finally does so after a lot of trash talk from Randy.
Reiss Gibbons goes into the fight, thinking that Randy Stone is no match for him. He taunts his opponent for most of the bout, giving him many good shots but not finishing him off as quickly as he should. Randy surprises Reiss with an uppercut to the face, and the rest is downhill for the undefeated fighter. Reiss not only loses the match but just about all that he has worked for as his sponsors and Legends league no longer believe him to be the top guy. The once undefeated fighter finds himself in desperate need of a comeback and has to convince everyone and himself that he is still the king of cage fighting.
“…has to convince everyone and himself that he is still the king of cage fighting.”
Cagefighter blends real life with fantasy, much as pro wrestling tends to do. To make the film seem as authentic as possible, actual pro wrestlers and MMA fighters give their take on who would win the fight. There is also real footage from the careers of Alex Montagnani and Jonathan Good, aka Jon Moxley and Dean Ambrose. Very recent footage of Moxley’s career in AEW is used to promote the fight as if it is the real thing. The decision to use actual footage adds another layer to the film, but when the Jon Moxley footage is used, you can see that he still has wrestling gear that reads Mox. This is something that only a pro wrestling fan would notice, so it does not entirely have a negative effect on the character.
Speaking of character, when it comes to the acting, it is quite decent from most of the cast who have acting as a secondary talent. Reiss Gibbons, Randy Stone, Marcus, and Stephen Drake (Jay Reso, aka Christian) all seem similar to their in-ring personas. It feels like Jonathan Good had the green light to improvise the promos he would cut in the film, as they are pretty much carbon copies of the promos he cuts in the wrestling business. On the same hand, Alex Montagnani delivers a performance that makes you sympathize with his character.
An issue that I ran into was the film’s audio. Scenes during Stephen Drake’s radio show were significantly lower than the rest of the audio. When the radio station scenes came up, I was finding myself adjusting the volume each time.
Regardless of the audio issues, Cagefighter delivered significantly more than CM Punk in a UFC fight. The film has some nice cameos from familiar faces of both the octagon and squared circle, and it has a cast that carries it just enough to the final round.
"…real footage from the careers of Alex Montagnani and Jonathan Good, aka Jon Moxley and Dean Ambrose."