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Who is the Best Movie Wrestler Ever: An Exercise

Google wrestling movies. There are actually way more than I thought there were. I don’t know what to think really. On one hand, I felt like I had seen many of these (and for the most part I have), but there are still a handful of them that I missed. Evidently there is a movie called ‘Takedown’ from 1979 with Lorenzo Llamas that I’d never heard of. Get this, a teacher finds himself coaching the wrestling team, and then they get better. Super sweet plot. There’s another one called “Going to the Mat” from 2004, where a blind kid moves from New York to Utah, and joins the wrestling team to make friends. Guess what, as the team improves, he learns valuable lessons about himself. How original. So here’s what’s happening immediately. I’m disqualifying these movies from this exercise. You’re likely saying to yourself, “what exercise”?. Well, I’m here to decide once and for all, who the greatest movie wrestler is. Again, there aren’t THAT many to go through, so this shouldn’t take too long, but if you’ve read anything else I’ve done, you’ll find that I’ll make it more complicated than it needs to be to get down to the real answer. A couple other disqualifications - any movies where the wrestler in question is a real person. Sorry, but I’m not interested in doing this exercise just to end with World and Olympic Champion Mark Schultz ending up on top. Doesn’t seem fair to pair him up against High School kids, which is the age range of most of these movie characters. Before we get to the wrestlers and such, let’s begin with the format. I’m going to do my best to establish seeding, 1-8, and then we’ll post some Twitter polls to get people's input on how the matches will go. It’s my idea, but even I’m not conceited enough to think that my input is all that matters here. We’ll see how that goes. For clarity purposes, since most of the athletes in this hypothetical tournament are in High School, it’s safe to assume this is traditional High School Folkstyle rules, and let’s also assume that they are all competing at the same weight.


First, let’s identify the movies, and wrestlers, we’re including here;

  • Vision Quest - This movie is important to include for a couple reasons. One, because it’s the best one. Two, because it includes both Louden Swain and Brian Shute, who clearly need to be involved in this, and will likely both receive top 4 seeds. Interesting, because there isn’t a lot of information on where they ended up after their match during the regular season, if Louden could maintain the weight, or if either ended up competing in college, but I think it’s safe to conclude that both are outstanding competitors, and bring a lot to the table. 

  • The Breakfast Club - I’m aware that this isn’t a wrestling movie, but it does include Andrew Clark (Emilio Estevez), who was a returning State Champion, now entering his senior year. Illinois, a notoriously tough state for High School wrestling, leads me to believe that Andrew is the real deal. He’s involved here.

  • The Ladies Man - Will Ferrell’s character, Lance DeLune, is a self proclaimed Master of Greco Roman Wrestling. Shortly thereafter, he gets punched repeatedly in the stomach, then in the face. He may have overstated his talents, but nonetheless, he’s included here. If anything to simply get you to watch the clip, which is short, and funny, and includes Tiffany Amber Thiesen.

  • Reversal - Leo Leone (great name, not) has been wrestling since he was 7, but he’s tired of living his coach/fathers dreams. I remember watching this movie when I was a kid, and was confused why he was trying to lose weight with a winter cap on while also wearing a tank top. Maybe he struggled with his weight because he cut weight like an idiot. Anyway, Leo is in here, and if I remember correctly, he was actually pretty decent. Tough to not be when you start at 7, but he’ll be a tough out.

  • American Wrestler: The Wizard - Ali Jahani is a young man who moved to the US from Iran, and lives with his Uncle. He joins the wrestling team, and is really good at it. Turns out his Uncle was a badass wrestler from Iran also, and trains Ali to be a monster. If you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend it. Ali is in the tournament. This is a unique situation, because I believe the character, is actually based on the Producer of the movie, Ali Afshar, who was a legit wrestler in California growing up. Even so, the character in the movie is technically not him, therefore is in the tournament. He shouldn’t be overlooked, as Ali turned out to be a serious force, and Iranian wrestlers tend to be very good.

  • Win WIn - Kyle Timmons is solid. Wrestles in New Jersey, which won like 40% of the NCAA titles last year, and Kyle is advertised as a “wrestling prodigy” in the film. I’m not convinced that he’s great, and I don’t remember the story line showing how the season ends, but either way, we’re including him here. 

  • Saved By the Bell - I am fully aware that Saved By the Bell is a TV Show. However, they also had Saved By the Bell: Hawaiian Style, which was a made for TV movie in 1992, which counts in my eyes, and it’s my exercise, so AC Slater is in the tournament. Slater is clearly a formidable opponent to throw into the mix here. Slater did in fact receive a scholarship to wrestle at Iowa (judging on the time frame, this would have been for Coach Dan Gable), though he chose to compete at California University to be closer to his friends. Being an Army kid, and traveling as much as Slater did, I can see why he would value staying home more than wrestling in Iowa and having to relocate again.

Andrew Clark.jpg

This seems like a good place to start. We’ve got 8 entrants from 7 different films, and should end up being a very competitive tournament. Now, let’s talk seeding the tournament. I’m going to go based on what information we have directly about the wrestlers, what we’ve seen of them competing, in one case we can use head to head match ups, but a lot of this is going to be based on my own personal opinions. I’ll do my best to justify them. Let’s start at the top, and work our way down. I’m going with AC Slater as the 1 seed. I just don’t see how you don’t. Dude is the only one that I know for certain received a scholarship offer from Dan Gable. In addition, he’s also the only one that I know for sure ended up wrestling in college. Sure, it’s probably a safe assumption that both Shute and Louden end up wrestling in college, and likely most of the other ones in this tournament as well. However, with AC being the only one we have absolute confirmation on, we’re sticking him in the number one spot.


This is where it gets complicated. We’ve got several state champions (Shute and Andrew Clark), a full grown man (Will Ferrell’s character - Lance DeLune), Louden (state placer and head to head win over Shute, and several very accomplished wrestlers in the rest. Lets walk through my justifications as to the following seeds. 2 - Andrew Clark, who is a defending State Champion, and hasn’t lost to any of the other competitors in the bracket. 3 - Louden Swain has the head to head win over Shute, who ends up as the 4 seed, despite likely having better credentials than Louden. 5 - Ali Jahani, who is a bad ass Iranian, and that’s enough credentials for me to place him at the 5. 6 - Kyle Timmons by replacing Iran with New Jersey, and being thusly established as a bad ass. 7 - Lance DeLune. He’s a full grown adult. That’s why he gets the 7 seed over Leo Leone, who ends up as the 8 seed.

Will Ferrell.jpg

So, we start the tournament with the following match ups. AC Slater (Saved By the Bell: Hawaiian Style) vs Leo Leone (Reversal), Andrew Clark (The Breakfast Club) vs Lance DeLune (The Ladies Man), Louden Swain (Vision Quest) vs Kyle Timmons (Win WIn), and lastly Brian Shute (Vision Quest) vs Ali Jahani (American Wrestler: The Wizard). As previously stated, I want this to be an interactive post. A “choose your own adventure” sort of thing. I’m going to post these on Twitter with the polls associated, as well as on our Facebook page, and please vote on the match ups, and who you believe will win. When this is all said and done, I’ll write a follow up post outlining the results, and how I believe it all went down. Well, this could be very fun or a complete disaster, but let’s do this. Let’s find out who the Best Movie Wrestler was of All Time.