“Wrestling’s not faaaaaaaaaake!”
About fifteen years ago Hollywood released “Ready to Rumble”, a full-length comedy based on World Championship Wrestling. During a time when the WWF was slaughtering them on a weekly basis, it was strange to see WCW get the spotlight in a feature film. The film was a box-office flop but is considered a cult-classic by many wrestling fans, while others completely despise it. After a conversation with Brand member “Marty” on Twitter last night about the film, I decided to pull out my DVD copy and watch “Ready to Rumble” for the first time in around ten years.
The movie was filmed in 1999 not long after Eric Bischoff was fired from WCW (and before Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara joined), so the wrestling product featured is heavily consistent with what WCW television was producing in that era. The stage was the giant WCW logo that split apart when a wrestler would make their way to the ring. The ring itself had the ugly gray canvas, red turnbuckles, and the WCW logo planted firmly in the center. Many WCW wrestlers at the time are featured in the film including Diamond Dallas Page, Goldberg, Sting, Disco Inferno, Juventud Guerrera, Rey Mysterio, Konnan, Van Hammer, Perry Saturn, Sid Vicious, Prince Iaukea, Billy Kidman, Curt Hennig, and Macho Man Randy Savage. Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, and Mean Gene are also featured in the film. A pre WWE John Cena is an extra in this movie.
The movie is about two diehard wrestling fans Gordie and Sean (played by David Arquette and Scott Caan) who are on a mission to help their favorite wrestler Jimmy King (Oliver Platt) regain the WCW Championship after being screwed out of the title and ultimately fired from the company. While the movie originally presents pro wrestling as the work that it is, WCW promoter Titus Sinclair (The Sopranos’ Joe Pantoliano) orchestrates a shoot finish to get the belt off of King. From that point on, any match that King is involved in is a shoot, including the final triple-cage match against DDP for the WCW title. It is silly, though, that after the matches become “real” they are still doing suplexes, powerbombs, and other wrestling moves.
The humor is juvenile, and if you are immature like myself, you will probably laugh and be entertained by the stupidity. I still think it is hilarious that after a sewage truck crashes and spills all over the road that a second truck, full of toilet paper, crashes on top of it. As Gordie says, “What are the odds of that?”
I think this film holds up as an entertaining wrestling film. It doesn’t take itself seriously and comes off as a fun movie to sit and enjoy. Combining good wrestling action with over-the-top storytelling is why I started watching pro wrestling in the first place. This movie accomplishes that.
Follow Jeff on Twitter: @JeffLane22