Sunday, December 14, 2008

Shhh, don't tell Iran about pro wrestling!

By Rick Morris

Doggone it, I guess it couldn't remain a secret forever! After numerous decades of pro wrestling using Arab and Persian wrestlers as mega-bad guys, the Iranian government found out -- but they're blaming a movie!

"The country's media has reportedly condemned ["The Wrestler'] in part because of a fight sequence in which Rourke's character, Randy 'the Ram' Robinson, battles an opponent dubbed the Ayatollah.

During the fight, the Ayatollah, played by actor and former professional wrestler Ernest "the Cat" Miller, waves an Iranian flag before ramming the pole under his opponent's neck. Rourke's character then grabs the flag and snaps the pole over his knee before tossing it into the crowd.

Newspapers and websites in Iran say the Darren Aronofsky-directed film is just the latest manifestation of Western prejudice towards Iran in Hollywood films."

Yeah, it's Hollywood making something up and not reflecting what's been going on in arenas, National Guard armories and high schools for multiple decades now. Whatta buncha maroons.

Right about a quarter century ago, as I was a mere tiny tyke, my dad yielded to constant nagging from my brother, my cousin and I and took us to see the old Georgia Championship Wrestling crew when they were on a swing through Cleveland. Just before he would leap to the WWF to take the company title from Bob Backlund, he was wrestling one of his final matches against either Ronnie Garvin or Tommy Rich (I think it was Garvin, but that memory is less vivid than what I'm about to describe). As the Sheik is going through his anti-American routine, the whole place is chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!" We children are of course chanting along; meanwhile, my dad is sitting next to what look to be a couple of Persian gentlemen -- glowering silently at him as the kids he's with are screaming their heads off loudly. My dad just looks over at us with one of those defeated, "This could only happen to me" looks. Classic.

By the way, "The Wrestler" looks to be an outstanding movie, a realistic look at what happens to the big stars when they get chewed up and spit out and are out there working the independent circuit trying to relive the glory years. It's been compared to "Rocky" and Mickey Rourke is expected to win numerous honors for his portrayal of Robinson. I plan to see it and review it here.

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