The Wrestler is a 1974 independent film produced by professional wrestler Verne Gagne and W.R. Frank, starring Ed Asner as "Frank Bass", a wrestling promoter. Verne Gagne also stars in the movie as Mike Bullard, the current wrestling champion of his "league." After a long reign as champion, Bullard is getting older and feeling pressure from all sides, including his wife and wrestling promoters, to pass the championship to Taylor and retire. Bullard's resistance to their requests that he step aside is the central conflict in the film. The movie presents professional wrestling as a truly competitive sport, always maintaining the illusion that matches are a result of athletic combat and not pre-determined outcomes decided before the matches.