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What’s The Deal With: The Wrestling Match in Rocky III?

June 10, 2009

Welcome to “What’s the Deal” a new feature on CotS where we take some bit of pop culture ephemera and wonder…what the hell is the deal with it?

Hey guys. What’s the deal with the wrestling match between Rocky Balboa and Thunderlips in the middle of ‘Rocky III’?

It is an event for charity pitting a the heavyweight champion of professional wrestling vs. boxing’s heavyweight champion, that much we know. What is much less clear is the movie’s internal logic in relation to the world of professional wrestling.

Rocky seems to believe that professional wrestling is fake, and thinks that some kind of exhibition match will be taking place. He even wears his gloves in the ring, and obvious gimmick that would hamper one’s actual ability to win a fight. However, it is clear that at no point does Rocky receive any training on how sell moves or safely be on the receiving end of a suplex. While it might seem strange to think Rocky signed up for a professional wrestling match, knew it was fake, and yet failed to work out who would win or how any of the moves worked, that’s the world ‘Rocky III’ apparently inhabits.

So Rocky is now in danger of getting hurt in some kind of nightmare come to life where a fake sport has turned real, which could very well put his career, health, and family’s well being in jeopardy, but rather than do the sane thing and get far away from the maniac trying to pin him he instead gets fired up and wants to win. I guess that’s the fighter in him.

What makes this all the more bizarre is that after the bell rings and the match is declared a draw, Thunderlips concedes to Rocky that it was all a show.

Rocky: Why’d you get so crazy in there?
Thunderlips: That’s just the name of the game.

So, what is the deal with the wrestling match in Rocky III? It is a fake match with no predetermined outcome where the fighters actually hurt each other, but just for show. That answers that question.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2009 9:04 am

    Also, why does Clubber Lange never ask for a rematch?

    I mean, I’m glad that Rocky IV has Ivan Drago, there’s pretty much nothing I would change about Rocky IV, but maybe it should’ve opened with Rock defending his title in a rematch with Clubber.

  2. Nick p permalink
    December 4, 2015 1:30 am

    I was wondering if this whole wrestling vrs boxing thing was a thing back in the day I saw a video of Chuck wepner vrs Andre the giant… I was looking for more but just found mma stuff of boxers vrs wrestlers. I was just wondering if this was a thing back in the day? Wrestling vrs boxing? That’s like farts vrs rainbows it just don’t make sense.

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