Wednesday, December 31, 2008



Professional wrestling is a non-competitive sport, an athletic performing art containing strong elements of mock combat and theatre. It usually features striking and grappling techniques modeled after other pugilistic styles from around the world. Most wrestlers develop a specialized technique as their “trademark” move.

While each wrestling match is ostensibly a competition of athletics and strategy, the goal of each match from a business standpoint is to excite and entertain the audience. Although the competition is staged, dramatic emphasis is utilized to draw out the most intense reaction from the audience.

Professional wrestling is a billion-dollar industry, drawing revenue from ticket sales, television broadcasts, branded merchandise and home video. It was instrumental in making pay-per-view a viable method of content delivery.

There are three ways to win a match:
By pinfall: a wrestler must pin both his opponent's shoulders against the mat while the referee slaps the mat three times. This is the most common form of defeat.
By submission: a wrestler must make his opponent give up, usually, but not necessarily, by putting him in a submission hold.
By a countout: this happens when a wrestler is out of the ring long enough for the referee to count to ten (or twenty), and thus disqualified.

To satisfy the bloodlust of some fans, a more violent form of the sport is promoted as Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) with the combatants using just about anything to inflict punishment on their opponents such as with thumbtacks, barbed wire, chairs, tables, neon lights, fire and even ladders. It is bloody and brutal.

Mickey Rourke: 50-year-old professional wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson
Marisa Tomei: his friend Cassidy, a stripper in a local bar
Evan Rachel Wood: Randy’s teenaged daughter Stephanie

Given that this is CZW style wresting the squeamish like me will of necessity have to look away on more than one occasion during the first twenty minutes or so.

What follows is more like a documentary about the world of wrestling than a regular movie with a hand-held camera providing that sense of intimacy with the characters. Although it has a “low budget” look about it that only serves to make it all that more real. And you actually feel for the guy, in large part because the way Rouke handles the role.

for violence, sexuality, some nudity, language and brief drug use.

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