Reading the title, you may be thinking that the documentary I am about to describe is about one of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s defeats at the hands of Bret “The Hitman” Hart or Triple H. Serious WWE fans may even be hoping for an entire episode devoted to Stone Cold vs. The Rock at Wrestlemania XIX, when Austin risked paralysis or even death to compete, according to his doctors.
When I tell you the episode is pure excitement, sparkling electricity, and dripping with more sex appeal than a Rihanna music video, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking of such a legend. However, if that’s what you are thinking right now, you are mistaken.
No, “Stone Cold” isn’t about the beer-chugging, finger-flipping king of the ring. It’s about none other than….curling. That’s right. I said it. Curling. “Stone Cold” takes us deep into the world of Canadian curling culture in the 1980’s, building to the historic 1985 battle between Pat Ryan and Al “The Iceman” Hackner. And it’s glorious.
I’m not gonna lie to you, this is nothing short of Oscar-worthy. Loaded with the magical mustaches and devastating calm only 1980’s Canada can produce, this made me want nothing more than to throw stones with my buds, beer in hand and cig dangling from my lip.
The story starts by describing the sport and it’s beer league mentality during the 1970’s and early 80’s. We learn about the rules, the terms, and the annual championship event, known as The Brier, where teams from each province are represented. For years, The Brier was dominated by The Iceman and his Ontario squad, who, after suffering their own heartbreaking defeat early on, set the standard for the sport.
Then, the drama escalates. The year is 1985. Enter the sexy MF’s from Alberta pictured above. And you know what they do? Change the game. Nonstop training. Workouts. No drinking or smoking. Laser. Fucking. Focus. These measures are unheard of at the time, but they work. Crazy Albertans, amiright? Behind the intensity of team leader Pat Ryan, they cruise to the finals to take on defending champ Al Hackner and team. Down 5-3 in the 10th and final end, the Iceman hits this incredible shot, forever to be known as “The Hackner Double”.
Now, you need to watch the documentary to really understand the significance of this shot, which is why I don’t mind spoiling it a bit. Regardless, the shot only ties the game. The match inspires Pat Ryan to once again change the game, and he develops a defensive approach in the years to come that revolutionizes the sport while also eliminating nearly all of the scoring. In typically raucous Canadian behavior, this lack of scoring leads furious fans to chant “Boring! Boring!” And they say Philly fans are bad! Anyway, Pat Ryan eventually becomes a champion, but the league institutes rules banning his new approach in the years to come.
In what is quite possibly the best ending to the story imaginable, Pat Ryan goes on to become a country singer in retirement. The whole episode is superbly Canadian. Maybe I’m late to the game here considering this series came out in March of 2019, but I never noticed it until a few days ago. It’s pure gold and everyone should know about it.