Fox Searchlight Pictures

WrestleMania XXVIII, the 28th edition of World Wrestling Entertainment’s premiere event, is scheduled for this Sunday, April 1 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

With participants like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and John Cena crossing over into mainstream entertainment, WrestleMania’s grand stage can be a star-making vehicle for the competitors.

While thousands of skilled wrestlers compete in professional wrestling circuits, the stark truth is that few grapplers will ever make the transition into superstars. In fact, many wrestlers can’t escape the transient lifestyle and harsh realities that a career in pro wrestling may bring them.

Our Sports Movie of the Week, ‘The Wrestler,’ effectively dramatizes pro wrestling’s gritty, unglamorous side. In the 2008 film, director Darren Aronofsky brings us inside the world of Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson (Mickey Rourke), an aging, former star wrestler who now works part-time at a grocery store to help pay his bills, while he appears on small wrestling cards with dozens, not millions, of people watching.

With serious health issues that could end what’s left of his wrestling career, the middle-aged Robinson begins to attend to personal matters, such as the daughter he abandoned (Evan Rachel Wood) and a love interest with flaws of her own (Marisa Tomei). A promoter offers Robinson the opportunity to return to a larger wrestling stage and fight his biggest rival ‘The Ayatollah,’ but he may do so at the peril of his health and his personal relationships.

Five Reasons to Watch ‘The Wrestler’

1. Both Mickey Rourke (Best Actor) and Marisa Tomei (Best Supporting Actress) received Academy Award nominations for their roles. Rourke won a Golden Globe award.

2. Aronofsky’s use of blue collar New Jersey towns as cold, stark backdrops silently sets a perfect mood for the film.

3. Former professional wrestler Afa Anoa’i trained Rourke for his role. The results of the training are apparent, as Rourke makes the staged fighting seem realistic and natural.

4. The scenes before, during and after the hardcore match between Robinson and Necro Butcher offer fans an incredibly genuine glimpse inside the sport.

5.  WWE chariman Vince McMahon, former pro wrestlers Mick Foley and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper  and others applauded the film, which doesn’t glamorize the sport in the least.

Click the play button to watch the original trailer of the film below: