I finally got round to watching one of the best movies that I have seen – ever! The Wrestler is a movie about a fallen star, a one time top wrestler now a fading relic of the excess that was the 1980s. Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson’, the guy who headlined arenas now is a weekend wrestler, strutting his stuff in small halls with opponents who are fans of his and remember his glory days. He is booked to fight a rematch of his crowning moment, a 20th anniversary celebration of his sold out match against the Ayatholla. We see Randy getting locked out of his trailer for not paying the rent, working behind the meat counter at a supermarket, puke and collapse after a heart attack, looking very aged as he puts on his glasses to read the instructions on medicine bottles, get’s insulted by his boss and breaks down in front of his estranged daughter as he begs her not to hate him for abandoning her.
We see him smitten by a stripper named Pam (Marisa Tomei) and see him try to woo her. She suggests that he tries to speak to his daughter, who takes some convincing but agrees to build back a relationship. After Pam gets scared of getting too close to him and says that they keep their distance, he gets angry and insults her. Then after a night of partying, drinking, snorting cocaine & having sex with a wrestling groupie, he forgets to show up for a night out with his daughter & their first dinner together after patching things up.
His daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood) throws him out of her house and says that she never wants to have anything to do with him. Broken and devastated he finds himself embarrassed at where he is working when a wrestling fan recognizes him at the meat section and quits his job. He quickly arranges for his comeback match against the Ayatholla and understands that he can only be truly happy in the ring, cheered on by his fans. Randy’s heart strains in between the match and even the Ayatholla is concerned but Randy ploughs on and gets on top of the ring post.
We expect he dies of a heart attack after the match, post the final dive from the top. His heart wouldn’t have been able to recover. The movie ends as Randy jumps but that would have been fitting. He was a loser, couldn’t make a life for himself and screws things up. So in the moment of retained glory, it would have been fitting for him to die just after. And as the credits roll, a wonderful song by Bruce Springsteen plays.
“I’m an old, broken down piece of meat and I’m alone. And I deserve to be alone. I just don’t want you to hate me.”