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Sylvester Stallone on pro wrestling: “I hear people say it’s not real. Really? Gravity is real. Jumping off the top rope or having 300 pounds fall on you, that’s real.”
Sylvester Stallone will always be known for his ability to tell a story.
An iconic actor, screenwriter and filmmaker, Stallone is now approaching his fifth decade as an accomplished movie star. His new blockbuster, Samaritanwill be released later this month and features a role that welcomes Stallone back to the world of action movies.
Samaritan marks Stallone’s last performance in which he takes a role and brings it to life on screen, evoking sympathy, empathy and genuine emotion from his audience. Stallone, now 76, has a wide range as an actor from his time in Hollywood, and attributes much of the emotional aspect of connecting with a crowd to his time as a professional wrestling fan.
“I love wrestling,” says Stallone. “It’s about letting go of the drama.”
Samaritan is a story about fighting spirit. The trailer aired during WWE summer festival event in Peacock, appropriate considering that professional wrestling is also a world that represents good versus evil. A longtime fan since the glory days of Bruno Sammartino, the realm of professional wrestling helped shape Stallone’s storytelling in films, including Samaritan.
“There is a great passion for that world,” says Stallone. “People like Bruno Sammartino, those are people who helped shape my personality and my vision of life. Bruno, the beautiful George, [bodybuilder/actor] steve-reeves, [boxer] Rocky Marciano, especially Rocky Marciano.
“I love the mythical qualities of wrestling. I made my daughters watch wrestling, I wanted them to watch the story.”
Stallone’s ties to wrestling go back decades. Most famously, Hulk Hogan was cast as the Thunderlips in the 1982 hit. rocky iii, a great performance for the man who was about to take wrestling to new heights. Before that, Stallone wrote, directed, and starred in the ’78 movie. paradise alley, a story set in the 1940s about three brothers in Hell’s Kitchen who became involved in professional wrestling. It featured wrestling great Terry Funk, as well as cameos from Ted DiBiase, Dick Murdoch, Dory Funk Jr., Dennis Stamp, Ray Stevens, and Haku.
Last summer, Stallone starred in the smash hit the suicide squad, which included a starring role for John Cena. Stallone also has the unique distinction of appearing on WWE and WCW programming. He starred demolition man in 1993 with a cast that included Jesse “The Body” Ventura, leading to appearances on WCW television. More than a decade later, he inducted Hogan into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005 and even appeared on Raw in ’06 to promote Rocky Balboa.
Those appearances were not mere promotional tools. Stallone understands the heartbeat and psychology of professional wrestling, and he also relates to the countless number of wrestling stars who have never received full credit for their longstanding achievements in the ring.
“I understand what it implies,” says Stallone. “I hear people say it’s not real. Really? Gravity is real. Jumping off the top rope or having 300 pounds drop on you, that’s real.
“I feel the same way about action movies. They have been submerged in a kind of disdainful gender. Like, ‘Oh, it’s an action movie.’ All I know is that I had maybe 31 operations because of action movies, so I consider it very real.”
Stallone’s illustrious work is currently being highlighted on Amazon Prime Video’s Stallone Week, setting the stage for his new film. Debuting exclusively on Prime Video on August 26, Stallone will look to once again redefine himself as the preeminent face of Hollywood in Samaritan. After working to incorporate the most compelling qualities of wrestling into her character, he hopes the film will resonate after the credits roll, not unlike a match that still has meaning long after the bell has rung.
“Wrestling has nothing to do with who’s scoring a touchdown,” says Stallone. “It’s entertainment. It’s not meant to be ‘The score is now 14-3’. It’s a morality play, all about the drama. That’s all it is.”
The week (online) in wrestling
- Following an entertaining title defense by Jon Moxley against Chris Jericho, the highlight of last week’s Dynamite was the return of CM Punk.
- Moxley kept busy after Dynamite, defending the GCW Championship on Saturday against Effy in Atlantic City at GCW Homecoming Weekend.
- Hit Row is back in WWE. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott is now wearing gold in AEW, but the product is better with Top Dolla, Ashante “Thee” Adonis and B-Fab, The OG3, back in the mix.
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- With or without Kenny Omega, this match should be phenomenal. But… it would certainly be even better with Omega.
B3CCA set to steal the show this weekend at Beyond Wrestling’s americanfrog
The heartbeat of the industry will be exhibited this Sunday at Beyond Wrestling’s americanfrog to show. While the show will feature many AEW performers (most notably Eddie Kingston), it’s also a showcase for the best in independent wrestling.
That includes B3CCA, a 25-year-old sensation who has progressed at a rapid pace inside the ring. He will fight Masha Slamovich in americanfrogwhich is Beyond’s flagship show and will air live on IWTV, concluding a story that also features Alec Price.
“We have a history, with Masha driving a wedge between me and Alec, and this is the showdown,” says Becca, who prefers not to use her last name in interviews. “It’s going to be big. It’s going to be a show. And it’s going to be violent.”
Athleticism, charisma and a relentless drive have helped transform Becca into one of indie’s emerging talents. Until this winter, she went by the name Becca before changing the spelling to B3CCA, another small but significant part of her focus on constantly keeping fans engaged.
“Why not have fun with it and make it different?” says Becca, who has cultivated a masterful persona that resonates with crowds and on social media. “It looks like a screen name. That’s what I want people to think, and that was the reason behind the change.”
The past year has been integral in his development, fighting in every state and around the world. His most recent European tour took place last month, where he wrestled in Spain, England and Germany.
“It’s great that people want to see me wrestle in other countries,” says Becca. “I got a chance to wrestle for EVE in London, a promotion I’ve been watching for a while, and they always have a lot of great women. Looking around the locker room, I thought, ‘I want to wrestle all these girls. It’s an opportunity to fight against people with different training and experiences, and showcase myself in a different environment. It’s a crazy feeling to know that there are people in other countries watching me fight.”
Becca has reached a new level of confidence in the ring, which she doubted was the case when she went on the disabled list earlier this year. She suffered a shoulder separation in February, which kept her out of action until the end of May, but that time away from her helped refine her presence and her confidence.
“I am stronger now than I was in February,” says Becca, who ran 10 km to improve her endurance while injured. “I am lifting more weight. I didn’t think I could do it, but I forced myself to work really hard. And I feel even more confident in the ring.”
That renewed sense of self is projected into the ring, where she has the monumental task of standing out on a loaded card on Sunday. Considering how independent talent has been snapped up by major promotions, it’s worth wondering how much longer Becca will be here before signing with WWE or AEW. But before that, she still has a lot to prove.
“I want to continue to build on the independents,” says Becca. “Every time I am in the ring it is a new opportunity to express myself.
“I have promotions that I would like to work for and I love joshi so I would love to wrestle in Japan. And I love the people at Beyond. They react to me in such an interesting way, and I want to explore that relationship. Whether it’s my first time or the millionth time I’ve wrestled for them, I want to show up and show myself to the fans.”
A singles match in americanfrogespecially against someone with as much momentum as Slamovich, it represents an incredible opportunity for Becca.
“Masha was one of the first matches of my career,” says Becca. “I look and fight completely different now, so it will be very interesting to fight her again.
“It is a great opportunity and a great challenge. I’m treating this like the biggest game of my career.”
tweet of the week
Kliq’s partner, and the greatest of all time, Kevin Nash is on board with the start of the Triple H era.
Justin Barrasso can be contacted at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @justinbarrasso.
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