Wrestling fans and general public calling for movies and world class documentaries on wrestling legends: Gorgeous George, Andre The Giant, Bruno Sammartino, Rowdy Roddy Piper...

Wrestling fans and general public calling for movies and world class documentaries on pro wrestling legends: Gorgeous George, Andre The Giant, Bruno Sammartino, Rowdy Roddy Piper, by Greg Tingle - September 2017

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Gorgeous George

Pro wrestling (sports entertainment) fans around Australia and beyond have been making rumblings for a number of years about wanting to see wrestling hit the big screen.

Sure, we love WWE Network, Netflix and all the rest, but how banana (no S - thanks Pat Patterson) would mat fans, and even non-wrestling fans go, seeing legends like Gorgeous George, Bruno Sammartino (The Living Legend) and Rowdy Roddy Piper, beamed into cinemas such as Event Cinemas, IMAX and Hoyts.

Pro wrestling has been a staple of the entertainment industry since... well, pretty much the beginning. Little known fact . Big Chief Little World used to have some of his matches broadcast on radio, so did pro boxing great Muhammad Ali. The point is that these larger than life personalities / athletes draw a huge audience, and it matters at the box office.

As a long time wrestling fan, and as someone who has worked in pay television in a business strategy and business development / sales / retention role, I think I have a pretty good handle on the industry. Pro wrestling needs a shot in the arm. Let's see WWE Network reach its massive potential hey. The Mae Young Classic was fantastic, but nostalgia sells.

Pro wrestling audiences are saturated with matches to watch, but there's only so many legends that are seen as special, and who would be perfect for big screen adaptations.

Remember the excitement that Rocky 3 created when a certain legend made a leap into Hollywood, and this was despite reservations by WWE top brass Vince McMahon (also suitable for a motion picture himself). Then there was the MTV connection with Cyndi Lauper and friends. Can you recall in 2002 The Scorpion King directed by Chuck Russell and starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, was unleashed via theaters. The Rock had bit the big time, and movie and television audiences were asking for more. This was great for the WWE also, with Johnson enjoying many memorable feuds. Johnson vs 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin was awesome.

As wrestling genius (depends who you ask) Eric Bischoff has often said, controversy creates cash. Now, the WWE needs to be careful of how they do controversy, as it hasn't always served them well, but played out in an intelligent fashion it can be pure gold. Even the WWE embraced highly controversial picture The Wrestler, staring Mickey Rourke, once they realised it would be Money In The Bank. Some wrestlers including Bret 'The Hitman' Hart spoke out against The Wrestler, but this didn't stop WWE's or Fox Searchlight's cash register ringing.

Fans, how mainstream was the NWO (New World Order), and that was a WCW creation. Speaking of the NWO, I can't be the only one who thinks its more than time that a certain Mr H be forgiven for his past mistakes. Let's not do another Randy Savage and only fully champion him after he has past. None of us are getting any younger, so let's celebrate legends while they are still with us.

So my friends, tell me that I'm not the only fan who can't wait to see some pro wrestling legends hit the big screen? I don't care if they are produced by WWE Studios, Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures or whoever. Let's just get a red hot movie or documentary happening sooner, rather than later.

WWE top brass can look back at wrestling highlights such as NWO, The War To Settle The Score, The Rock laying the SmackDown, Austin vs Michael's ('Iron' Mike Tyson as special ref) and such, as see that these all has mainstream and cross over appeal.

Change is constant in the world these days... in business and in society. Australian fans, last month you saw WWE's RAW and SmackDown come back to Australian network television via Network Nine's GO. Why? It's business. WWE wants to boost their audiences, both via television, via the web, and also its tied into good old fashion bums in seats (filling up arenas is the name of the game in many regards). It's all tied together, from quality product, through to advertising and sponsorship deals, to the event of the year known as WrestleMania.

WWE and pro wrestling fans in general are always looking for more reasons to further enjoy the often whacky world of the squared circle. One or two big movies with pro wrestling themes could be just the ticket.

Could WWE Studios vs Seven Bucks Productions be on the cards, or with a Hollywood giant such as Paramount Pictures entering the fray - creating a 3 way dance for the next hottest ticket in town. As the late, great, World Championship Wrestling commentator, Jack Little would say, things are about to get berserk."Wham! Bam! Thank you Mam!", "All I can say is – Wow!", "Be There!" and "That's all there is, there isn't any more!"

Andre The Giant


Rowdy Roddy Piper Bruno Sammartino (Piper's Pit - Madison Square Garden)


Piper and Vince McMahon


Vince McMahon and Jerry 'The King' Lawler


Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon Levesque and Triple H (Paul Levesque)


Andy Kaufman and Jerry Lawler (The David Letterman Show). One of the most watched television shows and segments in the history of TV

Vince McMahon is quite familiar with the buzz and money that the Andy Kaufman vs Jerry Lawler feud made. Only problem for McMahon is that it wasn't booked under the WWE (then WWE / Titan Sports umbrella). Kaufman's first choice was apparently WWF, so the folklore goes.

Click here and here for footage


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Wrestlers who became actors

Wrestlers' film takes us global, by Nui Te Koha - 15th August 2002 (Credit: Herald Sun)

What the media has said about wrestling over the years, by Greg Tingle

Sylvester Stallone: Hulk Hogan - He killed me: Rocky III Hollywood movie


'Stone Cold' Steve Austin and 'Iron' Mike Tyson


The Wrestler (Mickey Rourke). Rourke was trained by The Wild Samoans

Click here for the trailer