Chokeslam Movie Review: An Indie Wrestling Comedy That Gets Caught In The Ropes

Chokeslam may look like a wrestling movie, but it's really a story of a nerdy loser who whines his way into getting what he wants. A71 Entertainment

Chokeslam, the indie romantic comedy from writer/director Robert Cuffley, has been making the festival circuit and enjoying a Canadian release during the past year. Player.One had an opportunity to watch the movie ahead of its stateside debut, and it’s pretty much the definition of “just ok.”

Corey, a deli clerk with nothing going on in his life, is facing his 10-year high school reunion. He doesn’t want to be involved in any sort of celebration until he hears his high school sweetheart, Sheena, will be in attendance as well. Corey last saw Sheena before she left their small town to become a professional wrestler, and hasn’t talked to her since his painfully botched marriage proposal when they were both in grade school.

Thus begins Corey’s quest to win back Sheena and steer her away from her overbearing boyfriend. It also kicks off many of Chokeslam’s problems. Does Corey start off on a madcap adventure to become a pro wrestler himself and win Sheena back in the ring? No, he just kind of whines his way into getting what he wants.

Corey isn’t that great of a guy. He doesn’t have a great job or an interest in bettering himself. He only has a desire to get back together with a girl who dumped him a decade ago. Which means his sole argument for wanting to get back together with Sheena is simply “because I want it.” Despite seeing Sheena in a seemingly happy relationship when they are reunited, Corey is still set on breaking them up.

After a series of public meltdowns and issues with the law, it’s time for Sheena to retire from pro wrestling, so Corey plans an event to mark her final match. The big problem with retirement matches is they only mean something if the person retiring is actually important and has a large fan base. We’re never showed Sheena’s wrestling skills until very far into the movie, and never when she was at the height of her career. It negates the impact of a final match, and it’s hard to understand why anyone would even care. We also never see any rivals or competitors from Sheena’s past. Her facing off against some random person who is barely introduced before the fight doesn’t inspire a whole lot of emotion about her retirement.

If you don’t want the ending spoiled, stop reading here. I would avoid it, but the ending is one of the biggest issues I have with the movie. When faced with the opportunity to grow as a person and let Sheena plot her own course in life, Corey gets everything he wanted. There’s no character arc; he’s basically the same person before and after the events of the movie.

Despite the lack of development in the characters, and the notable lack of wrestling in a wrestling movie, Chokeslam is still a light-hearted and fun movie with a few cameos for the wrestling fans out there. Michael Eklund’s Luke also was a highlight, providing the biggest laughs and a consistently entertaining presence throughout. Basically, if I stumbled on Chokeslam on TBS or TNT some random afternoon, I wouldn’t change the channel.

So what do you think? Are you interested in lacing up the boots and going head to head with Chokeslam yourself? What other wrestling movies have you seen? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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