I often wondered why there has not been more movies aimed at the art of wrestling. From documentaries to full feature films, the topic of professional wrestling seems taboo and not what is considered the norm in cinema. I also believe a TV series, even if it is a comedy, would be interesting not only to wrestling fans but to a large society of viewers. Just think about it: there is a detective or a cop who has to go undercover in the world of professional wrestling trying to find the killer of a wrestling promoter. Each episode could feature different crimes that tie into the murder with matches, promos, even title opportunities and changing gimmicks can occur to the main character. Sounds like a good idea to me…well, maybe not. But it can be the start of something. I remember when I saw my first wrestling related movie Body Slam, and I thought it was cool to see because it was a way of looking at the back story of wrestlers even if it was comedic. Also, I enjoyed naming wrestlers like “Classy” Freddie Blassie and Ric Flair and watching them on screen outside the ring. From then on, movies such as Ready to Rumble, Nacho Libre, and Beyond the Mat have put a spotlight on wrestling whether it was funny or a serious. It wasn’t until the movie The Wrestler was released when the movie world recognized the sport and gave the movie and the community the credit it deserves. So, with that being said, I bring to you…
Face/Heel of Wrestling Cinema
Face of Wrestling Cinema: Randy “The Ram” Robinson (The Wrestler)
Through the years we have seen our fair share of heroes in wrestling movies. We had Rip from No Holds Barred, Jimmy King in Ready to Rumble, and Nacho from Nacho Libre, but there was no true essence of both a character and a wrestler as expressed and experienced once we saw Mickey Rourke in as Randy the Ram. The emotional and physical pain, the commitment to a profession which seemed to turn its back on him, the lost years with his child and the surrounding cast which respected and motivated The Ram through his hardest times gave us the inside look of a performer. Although the road in which Randy took is not one in which is taken by most, it is one in which many wrestlers have said is a common and unfortunate part of the sport. Randy had a legion of fans but could not come to grips that the door was closing on his career. All Randy wanted was that one moment and as we watched we cheered for him to get that moment. By the end of the movie Randy “The Ram” Robinson was our champion.
Heel of Wrestling Cinema: Zeus (No Holds Barred)
Okay, so the Hulk Hogan catastrophe known as No Holds Barred (not his marriage) did not have Academy Award type of writing. In fact, I don’t think it even won a Slammy, but it did present a foe which was menacing and terrorizing. Zeus was the typical bad guy who didn’t speak much but was a presence on the screen. His big Z belt buckle also insured that everyone knew who he was. At one point in the movie, some even may have thought Zeus would actually destroy Hulk Hogan’s character Rip. But of course the hero prevailed, after tossing Zeus off the top of an upper deck seating area and into a collapsing ring. Zeus was so much of a threat he actually leaped from the silver screen and landed in the then WWF still wanting to take down the man in the yellow and red. Now, I could have put some villains in this place such as DDP in Ready to Rumble or Ramses from Nacho Libre, but Zeus made many of us as a kid believe he could take down Hogan, even though he had a bad Z shaved into the side of his head.