It would seem that either the earlier report that Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler angered World Wrestling Entertainment kingpin Vince McMahon was wrong, or maybe he just got over what bugged him enough to try to cash in on the Oscar train.
Either way, it looks like water under the bridge, because Mickey Rourke, whose role as the broken-down old warhorse grappler Randy “The Ram” has revitalized his career, is going to appear at WWE’s Wrestlemania 25.
Wrestlemania, which started as a gamble way back in 1985 and had a main event featuring a tag-team match wherein Hulk Hogan and Mr. T teamed up to face “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff, has transformed into the Super Bowl of professional wrestling, where the WWE pulls out all the stops, the wrestlers bring out their A-game, and the company garners as many celebrity appearances as they can wrangle. With a 25th anniversary show, they’ll likely try to set the bar even higher. Rourke’s portrayal of not only the gritty aftermath of the tail end of an all-too-typical wrestling career, but also the invigorating allure of the business in the first place has truly helped legitimize “sports entertainment” in the eyes of those people who still think it’s the height of cleverness to tell people “it’s all fake, you know.”
Here’s a classic example of celebrity participation in Wrestlemania – this is Wrestlemania III, featuring a team-up between Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Alice Cooper.
And this just needs to be pointed out: Wrestlemania II featured a boxing match between Mr. T and Roddy Piper.
Perhaps McMahon figured that along as this movie based on the business that he more or less personifies is getting this much acclaim, he’d try to get a piece of it himself. Or perhaps a lot more was made of McMahon’s alleged response to the film than was actually true. Either way, Rourke seems gung-ho, says he’s talking to “Hot Rod” Piper (star of John Carpenter’s legendary They Live) and even called out Chris Jericho. It’ll be interesting to see how they’ll use Rourke, and whether or not he’s still in the amazing shape he was in to portray Randy “The Ram” in the first place.