‘Over the Top’ is one of the most underrated sports movies of all time

There is just something about 1980s sports movies that has me hook, line and sinker.

It doesn’t matter if it’s “Rocky IV,” “The Karate Kid,” “Major League,” “Field of Dreams” or the obscure wrestling movie “Vision Quest.” If I see any of those flicks on the guide on my archaic 2007 LG flatscreen TV, I’m not going to change the channel until the closing credits appear on the screen.

One of my top picks of the 1980s decade is a movie many have never heard of. “Over the Top,” an arm wrestling movie that was released in 1987 starring Sylvester Stallone, was a movie I loved to watch not only during my childhood but throughout my entire life.

After watching Stallone, who played the role of truck driving arm wrestler Lincoln Hawk, I begged my parents to buy me the arm wrestling setup from Toys R Us in Silverdale when I was 6 years old in 1988. Much to my surprise my dad, who was a staunch disciplinarian, bought me the arm wrestling set-up shortly thereafter.

For the next few years, my buddies and I partook in a multitude of one-on-one arm wrestling matchups at the kitchen table of my parents house in Belfair. My mom was never a fan of the battles at the table but my dad relished the competitive showdowns. Even though I loved the sport of arm wrestling as a kid, I didn’t think much about the sport for the next few decades.

That all changed when one of my best friends entered a local arm wrestling tournament at the Belfair Log Plaza in 2012. One of my best friends Robert Masaniai, who stood 6-feet, 3-inches tall and weighed 370 pounds, defeated all of his competitors with ease. After Masaniai’s performance, one of my buddies nicknamed him “Bull Hurley” — Hawk’s opponent in the finals in “Over the Top.”

Arm wrestling is similar to boxing and mixed martial arts. The one-on-one aspect of arm grappling is just fascinating to me. “Over the Top” is a hidden gem in the milieu of 1980s sports films.

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