Apparently, portraying The Wrestler might win Mickey Rourke an Oscar, but hanging out with real wrestlers would likely torpedo his chances, so after claiming he was going to fight Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania 25, and then plugging it like crazy on Larry King, he’s done an about-face and his publicist has told everyone that Rourke won’t be attending the Super Bowl of wrestling after all.
The fact that he is, instead, “focusing entirely on his acting career” doesn’t even seem to be code for saying “showing up on a wrestling show will make them give the award to Richard Jenkins.” The Oscar is the ultimate career boost, and Rourke is a man with a past so checkered that he really needs that certification on his comeback. As if this clip wasn’t enough.
It seems Hollywood’s ready to accept the depressing aftermath of a lifetime of wrestling and bad decisions, but it isn’t yet prepared to see the value in a grappling career at its apex of glory and fervent audience adulation. Or perhaps they know that celebrity appearances on wrestling shows are generally awkward and forced, and usually involve people like Bob Uecker, Vanna White and Mike Tyson instead of potential Academy Award winners. Rourke seemed into the idea when he was doing it, though, so maybe after he wins the Oscar and pacifies the snooty old Academy members, he’ll swing back by the WWE for their traditional post-Wrestlemania pay-per-view show Backlash, to pay some tribute to the guys and gals who really live the life from which he’s currently profiting.