Welcome to the latest feature column on Sportkeeda; WWE Movie Madness. Here we shall dissect the parallels between the world of wrestling and films. Two forms of art predicated on their ability to tell complex narratives.
Matching the arc of a wrestler to a cinematic experience to draw parallels and come to terms why pro-wrestling is an enthralling ultimate form of storytelling. In that, we can see why two distinctive styles of art are not so different after all.
Wrestling is after all live performance, where all the world's a wrestling ring.
Today's topic is about the hotly debated rumors of a Shawn Michaels in-ring return and how this ties into the greatest wrestling film of all time; The Wrestler.
The Wrestler released in 2008, is a multiple award-winning and nominated drama directed by Darren Aronofsky. His most straightforward film to date documents the life of a deadbeat aged wrestler circling the dark cesspool of the indies.
Randy 'The Ram' Robinson (Mickey Rourke) is a man craving for the spotlight of the wrestling heydays of 1980's. Battling multiple health issues that pile up, he still fights each day to remain relevant in a business long passed him.
With a drive for too much risk for adulation and the chance of dying in the ring; he tries to fall in love with a stripper Pam (Marisa Tomei) and mend fences with his estranged daughter Stephanie (Evan Rachael Wood).
Taken from excerpts of each wrestler from the golden days whether it be the moves of a Randy Savage, to the styling of Hulk Hogan or the life once known to Ric Flair. The film engages all in a searing dive into the world of a professional wrestler.
It's apt that the film apes these three men, as they were champions of their time fighting to keep going on despite age and injury have caught up to them.
It's the story of every wrestler, even the somewhat beaten down part-timers we see today in the WWE and even the indie scene. Much like stardom and fame, there's this unbelievable allure attached to the squared circle. No one can walk away from it.
Not even someone as upright as Shawn Michaels. In the heartbreak kid, Randy 'The Ram' Robinson finds a new long-haired parallel. Every single day as we inch towards Australia's Super-Showdown, the rumors of HBK's return to the squared circle grow stronger.
The man known as Mr. Wrestlemania left on an ultimate high, in one of the finest matches in the history of not just the iconic event but the sport as well. Similarly alluded to in the film by Aronofsky
Unlike Randy though, Shawn is clearly in a happy place one much more fortified thanks to his earlier retirement ages ago. Having found Christianity the first time he had to retire, Shawn became a changed man all due to the support of his wife and children.
So it's interesting to consider that he is still vetting the option of wrestling once more. Sure the pressure and money from the WWE are high. Yet one can't also deny, it's the pull of the ring.
The greatest wrestler of all time (debate me) has nothing to gain or lose from coming back, even if he isn't a hundred percent; fans will lap him up. Some will and are already critical, but even then there's no denying the vast amount of dream matches on return could blind anybody.
Yet does Shawn Michaels need to come back is the question?
There's no denying the want is still there since he constantly talks about dream confrontations in interviews. He also makes the occasional appearance on television as well as a coach at WWE's performance center.
Unlike The Ram, he isn't suffering through a life-threatening injury. More importantly, that stage beckons like nothing else does, not even his own insipid acting roles. To perform live is its own electric feeling and a showman and showstopper like Shawn Michaels can feel this itch growing over time.
Of course like the loved ones within the circle of the near-death Randy Robinson, us as fans aren't all too happy to see Shawn Michaels break the oath he made when he retired. Sometimes dream matches should stay just that; a dream.
Or in the case of Robinson's return in the final act of The Wrestler, fans could just as well sing Michaels praisings and bay for him to lose himself to entertain the fans one last time. To steal rightly from an Undertaker themed song, there ain't no grave that can hold Shawn's passion down.
His return regardless could come with screams of 'Michaels' much like they were for 'Ram' in climax as the man took one last leap, fans, and viewers unaware if he would make it.
So you can assure yourselves to welcome Shawn Michaels to a long line of wrestlers who just can't quit the undefinable high that is professional wrestling.
Either way, it's up to you to embrace it or denounce it much like the open end of Aronofsky's stellar film, that it is hope and passion that drives the Wrestler forward or addiction and destruction.