Wrestler tackles weight loss and best mate in Kiwi documentary

The subject of a new Kiwi documentary has described the filming process as the most vulnerable experience of his life.

Wilbur - The King in the Ring shows wrestler Wilbur McDougall battle weight loss surgery - and battle the film's director, his best friend.

"I took my shirt off for this film. That wasn't enjoyable, but I did it," McDougall told Newshub.

McDougall's pro-wrestling career saw him cast as the larger-than-life King Wilberforce, the big guy who could take a hit.

"I was the fat guy on the roster. They were like, 'Hey do you want to work out, or keep overeating and never exercise', and I thought, 'I know which one I'm choosing'," he said.

But this came at a cost - he was topping out at 197kg.

"I had some great times, great friends, great memories. But then I look at a photo of myself like 'Man! You are a heart attack waiting to happen!'."

So last July he underwent the gastric sleeve surgery, and since then has lost 85kg.

With him every step of the way was his best mate Ollie Lucks, with a camera.

"I pitched him the idea of, 'Hey, about we film you at work doing your office job and by night being a wrestler?', but he saw through that straight away and was like, 'You just want to make a documentary about me being fat'," Lucks told Newshub. 

"I decided to turn the camera round, put me in it as well, and have the making of the film be part of the documentary."

The resulting film covers topics like life and death, friendship, and the struggle to open up and answer a question like "how are you?".

"I found it hard opening up to Ollie as an interviewer because he's my friend. It's probably the most vulnerable I've ever felt in my life," McDougall said.

"He showed us his most vulnerable self, and I had to, for the film, show my ugly side as well," Lucks said.

And there were times it put a strain on their 10-year friendship. Lucks sometimes deliberately ramped up the drama - and McDougall, reluctant to play the victim, often caught on.

"I was with my back against the wall, like, 'How much of a dick am I going to be in this documentary to get some good drama out of it?'," Lucks said.

"There were a few times when Ollie deserved a knock on the chin for some of the things he pulled," McDougall remembered.

"I just didn't want to get filmed punching him in the face."

McDougall says despite the experience, Lucks is still in his top 10 friends.