Note: The following article contains discussion of themes including suicide.
Superfan: The Story of Vladimir was first announced two years ago but for unknown reasons, it went unreleased until it showed up on Peacock and the WWE Network on Saturday (October 28).
Long-time WWE fans will recognise Vlad as the man in the tank top and glasses, enthusiastically cheering on his favourite wrestlers while sitting in the front row at everything from WrestleManias to Monday Night Raws.
His first memorable moment came in 1986 at Madison Square Garden when Roddy Piper brought him into the ring as he faced off with Paul Ordonoff during an edition of Piper's Pit.
From then Vlad became the subject of intrigue and speculation among wrestling fans who wondered how he was always able to get the best seats at so many big shows.
The most persistent rumour was that Vlad worked as Vince McMahon's personal trainer and was gifted front-row seats at WWE events for his services. Others thought he worked as a wrestler's bodyguard or was a close friend of a Superstar who made sure he was always taken care of.
But what Superfan uncovers about Vlad is — there's no mystery. Vlad is, as the title suggests, just a superfan who spends his money on his biggest passion in life, WWE.
With no big secret about Vlad to uncover, Superfan takes an unexpected turn. Rather than being a documentary about one man's privileged position in the front row of WrestleMania, it becomes the story of the loss we all felt due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Vlad, whose family immigrated from Haiti to the United States when he was a child, suffered the loss of his mother during the pandemic. The two had enjoyed an extremely close relationship and her sudden passing compounded with the isolation of the pandemic affected Vlad greatly.
— Triple H (@TripleH) April 10, 2021
Having lost his mother and without wrestling shows to attend, Vlad attempted to take his own life three times before seeking therapy.
"I want my mom back, I want wrestling back," Vlad says in the doc. "These are the two things that keep me alive over the years."
With the pandemic easing, in April 2021 WWE announced its return to having live crowds at events starting with Wrestlemania 37 and, of course, Vlad was there in the front row.
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The documentary ends with Vlad being recognised as WWE's first 'Official Superfan' and presented with a special framed championship and plaque by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
At its heart, Superfan is a touching story about family, the one we're born into and the ones we create through our shared interests and passions.
Vladimir Abouzeide is like every person who will watch Superfan, someone whose love for WWE has had a profound impact on their life. Sitting in the front row of WrestleMania, Vlad cheers for all of us who have united over a shared passion that, few understand, but those who do are bonded for life.
Superfan: The Story of Vladimir is available to stream on Peacock in the US and on the WWE Network in the UK.
We encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to reach out. Information about how to access support is available via the NHS, and organisations who can offer help include Samaritans on 116 123 or Mind on 0300 123 3393.
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