Yes we can, yes they did.

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"U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.", came the chants from the audience on big screen as the so called Ayatollah swung an Iranian flag. The weary, washed-up wrestler, seemingly on his last legs and on his last match, stumbled around. "Randy, you OK?", asked the Ayatollah mid-grapple, having noticed that his opponent was reaching at his chest, no doubt in pain and close to another heart attacked. Randy, regardless, fought on, leaping over the ropes and catching the Ayatollah's head between his thighs and spinning him down to the canvas, "come on Randy, pin me, let's finish this", the Ayatollah then quietly shouts.

Randy's doctor told him that another match would be his last, but as his life crumbled away around him, he chose to continue doing what he does best; to continue fighting and go on with the show. The show was a rematch with his rival from twenty-years ago (the peak of his career), the Ayatollah; a plump African-American looking man sporting a handle-bar mustache and an Iranian spandex-flag hugging him tightly. Of all the nations; of all the flags I thought. In shock at how explicit the film makers had presented the demon, I leaned across to my friend, "you said... but... Oh my god, that's the 'Allah' symbol on his belly!".

I was informed before the film that, "Iran was officially offended by it", yet I thought nothing of it; figuring that it was just another matter by which the powers-that-be were being oversensitive. But of all the nations; of all the flags I thought. In some way of relief I was later told that character was based upon 'The Iron Sheik': known "for being the man Hulk Hogan defeated for his first WWF Championship, setting off the "Golden Age" of professional wrestling. He was also a bodyguard for the Shah of Iran and his family for several years while they still lived in Iran". Not a fabrication I suppose.

Lifting the Iranian flag, Randy finds his last wind, snaps the pole in two, arousing cheers from the crowd. The referee approaches Randy who is stumbling with his hand on his chest, "you OK? you good to go on?", he asks with genuine, un-staged concern. Randy edges the referee to the side as he climbs the corner-ropes ready for his signature finish; the elbow-drop-to-grip. Silhouetted in a crucifix stance the cheers from the crowd fade to a muffled tone as Randy leaps over the camera leading us into to the credits. Finished.

do you expect me to believe that both America and Iran are collaborating in a staged show?

As we left the theatre I aired my suspicions to my fellow viewing friends; yet it seemed as if I was looking too deeply into it. Were we simply having a nice day out, watching an emotive film for leisure; a tool by which to reflect upon our place in the world and the meaning of it all? "Of all the nations. Of all the flags!", I stated, wide-eyed as we exited the cinema. "Ah, come on!", responded my friends, between their vocal concern for Mickey Rourke's physical condition. I continued; venting my suspicions with my tongue somehow lodged in my cheek "Ah come on, do you expect me to believe that both America and Iran are collaborating in a staged show; playing off one another to convince the masses of bi-national tensions. Also that Iran – although down for the count – will ultimately endure as America fades away?". No, I wasn't buying it.

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