Mickey Rourke's Bout with Chris Jericho and the Impact of "The Wrestler"

Joe KleiberCorrespondent IJanuary 27, 2009

When the new hit film "The Wrestler" premiered on Dec. 8, 2008, nobody knew what to expect. People asked: how will movie critics view this film? How will non-wrestling fans view it? How will it do at the box-office? Can this movie be actor Mickey Rourke's comeback film after being out of the movie picture for quite awhile?

If Rourke's Oscar nomination for "Best Actor" isn't proof enough how much impact this movie has made, then people have to start paying attention.

The film has made an explosion on the movie business and has turned millions of people's heads. When it was in limited release, people packed the theaters in New York City and Los Angeles to witness this new cult classic. Mickey Rourke plays Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a washed up pro wrestler that is trying to cope with retirement and his family after suffering a heart attack. The film is astounding and co-stars Marisa Tomei, who plays a stripper and a close friend to Randy and Evan Rachel Wood, who plays the daughter of Randy.

Tomei and Wood pull off incredible performances and Tomei even got nominated for an Oscar for "Best Supporting Actress." It is a moving film that has everybody from young wrestling fans to senior citizens seeing the film. It's not just a movie about wrestling, but about life itself. It tells us to take care of ourselves and to never burn bridges with family and friends.

Many people used to laugh at the idea of pro wrestling and called it "fake" and "phony." I guarantee after seeing this film those same people will not be saying that. I saw people cringe when they saw "The Ram" bleed during a hardcore match in the film. People covered their mouths and gasped when they saw the injuries to this beaten-up wrestler. The film has changed the movie industry forever.

Critics have claimed it's the "resurrection of Mickey Rourke" and that it "hits close to home." The film is a resurrection of Rourke, because of the obstacles in his life that he had to overcome. Obstacles such as a life-threatening motorcycle accident, wear and tear to his face and going from being a top Hollywood star years ago to barely getting any major roles have made Rourke an easy candidate for this role.

It has also changed pro wrestling, because it has received more recognition that anybody ever thought it would. The hype of the film is great for pro wrestling, because people can no longer laugh at it or balk at it.

The film has been so hyped that it has led Rourke to having a match with WWE star Chris Jericho at this year's "Wrestlemania." WWE has embraced the film and are looking to boost their ratings with Rourke appearing. Just think of the buy-rates this major pay-per-view will get after it's announced that Rourke will appear. Last night on WWE Monday Night Raw, Jericho provoked Rourke and this will lead to their storyline going into Wrestlemania.

If last year's 'Mania says anything it's that celebrities can put on a good show. Floyd Mayweather put on a solid match with the Big Show and Mayweather didn't even have any training for a match. Rourke at least knows how to work a match so it can work. It will be interesting to see how this storyline plays out and how they work their match for 'Mania. The media will probably say that Rourke is taking this too far, but it will be mutually beneficial for Rourke, the movie and the WWE.

The press the match will get will help the movie, because people will be curious to see him in the film before his match. For Rourke it can help him get more recognition and make history. The buy-rates will sky-rocket once the match is official and fans will be swarming to see it. It should be a very exciting storyline and hopefully the match won't disappoint.

It is one of the best films of the year and should have received an Oscar nomination for "Best Picture." It has separated itself from just being a wrestling film and into a heartfelt drama. Just for the mere fact that it has received this much recognition and hype explains for itself how much of an impact this film has made. Having two cast members up for Oscars and Bruce Springsteen receiving a Golden-Globe award for his song "The Wrestler" and his soundtrack work on the film has opened people's eyes.

If you're looking for a film to see soon then do yourself a favor and see this classic. It has now hit theaters everywhere and you won't regret seeing it. The impact it has made is incredible and hopefully it will stop people from bad-mouthing pro wrestling and realize just what these wrestlers have to go through in their lives.