Wednesday, January 28, 2009

That's Exploitation! Starring Mickey Rourke

Will Rourke take a dive for real? That depends on how you define reality,

Academy Award-nominated actor Mickey Rourke is no longer "The Wrestler," but "a wrestler." He is going to enter the ring at World Wrestling Entertainment's 25th anniversary Wrestlemania extravaganza against WWE superstar Chris Jericho. A feud has been manufactured for the two men, who have exchanged charges of disrespect. Rourke threatens to toss Jericho like a salad, and given how wrestling works when guest celebrities are involved, such an outcome is likely.

Somehow I'm not surprised by this development. The only aspect of it that does surprise me is that Rourke will wrestle under his own name rather than as "Randy the Ram." The alternative was not inconceivable, as Samuel L. Jackson once appeared on Monday Night Raw in the character of Shaft in order to promote that movie. Further back in time, a man in a Robocop suit appeared as the actual character to intervene in a match in another promotion. Professional wrestling is where much of the old movie ballyhoo and showmanship still survives -- but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone because of that. Meanwhile, Rourke's fans ought to worry that this might be his "Norbit" moment that costs him the Oscar. Time will tell.


Rev. Fred Phantom said...

I watched wrestling my whole life up until about a year and a half ago. I just stopped watching it.

This might actually get me to watch it again. I guess I'm a mark for a gimmick. I always hated the "celeb" angles, but this one sounds worthy of cheking out, even if I know there's a good chance it will be really stupid.

hobbyfan said...

It wasn't so long ago that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, who has been portrayed in recent years as not being of sound mind, was not a happy camper as it relates to "The Wrestler" after director Darren Arenofsky held a private screening for him at WWE HQ. After the Golden Globes and after the Oscar nominations, though, McMahon is predictably singing a different tune, because now he wants to use the movie for 1) his own benefit and 2) the simple idea of keeping the competition (read: TNA) from doing so, though they might anyway. A 3rd promotion, Ring of Honor, was well-represented in the movie.

In 1985, Mr. T ("The A-Team") teamed with Hulk Hogan at the first Wrestlemania. With Rourke being set to face Jericho, a part-time rock musician in his spare time, 'Mania comes full circle.