Synopsis Example (Literary/Mainstream): “The Wrestler”

Here’s another example of a fiction summary, which can be used as a guide for writing your novel synopsis. (See all my synopsis examples here.) This time it’s The Wrestler (2008), which would probably be called either literary or mainstream fiction. I had to leave a lot out concerning Pam/Cassidy and Stephanie, because the story really is about Randy and his experiences.


RANDY “THE RAM” ROBINSON is a professional wrestler who gained celebrity in the 1980s. Now twenty years past his prime, he wrestles at various independent matches in the New Jersey area for meager paydays. After a show, a promoter proposes an anniversary rematch of his most notable wrestling match, which sold out Madison Square Garden twenty years ago. Randy agrees.

Randy goes home and is locked out of his trailer for not paying the rent. His daily routine involves steroid usage, bleaching his hair, tanning, and loading boxes at a supermarket for extra cash. He also frequents a strip club, where he has befriended a faded stripper named PAM (stage name Cassidy). Following a wrestling match against a brutal “hardcore” opponent, Randy is backstage when he suffers a heart attack and collapses. He receives a coronary artery bypass and is warned that his weakened heart cannot stand the stresses of steroids or wrestling. Randy cancels his upcoming matches and starts to make changes in his life.

He begins working as a deli counter operator to get more work. He tells Pam about his heart attack and tries to woo her while out for a drink. She declines his advances, but does offer Randy advice on reconnecting with his estranged daughter, STEPHANIE, whom he had left years before. His first visit to Stephanie’s house goes poorly, and she curses him out. Randy later returns with a gift and apologizes for being a bad father. The two bond over a visit to an abandoned beachfront boardwalk, and agree to meet for a dinner.

After Pam rejects his advances once more, Randy attends a wrestling match as a spectator and receives attention from his fans and fellow athletes. After the match, Randy gets drunk, snorts cocaine, and has sex with a younger woman—sleeping the entire next day and missing his dinner date with Stephanie. He tries to apologize, but Stephanie instructs him to get out of her sight and never return. At work, after a fan recognizes him and causes a scene, Randy purposefully cuts himself in the deli meat slicer and quits. He reschedules the previously-canceled anniversary match and sets out for the venue, despite his doctor’s warnings.

Moments before the match starts, Pam unexpectedly arrives, having quit the strip club to come see him. She apologizes for being cold, and tells him that he is no longer alone. This time, Randy rebuffs her; he says that the fans are his true family and the only place he belongs is in the ring. Randy enters the ring to applause and gives an emotional speech to the large crowd before the fight begins. As the match progresses, his chest pain worsens. Randy painfully climbs the ropes to deliver his signature finishing move as the crowd cheers. Brought to tears, he salutes his fans and leaps from the ropes with the last of his strength, leaving his fate uncertain.

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One thought on “Synopsis Example (Literary/Mainstream): “The Wrestler”

  1. Karen Hamer

    Thanks for this post. I appreciate all your research. One day my droid will write all my synopses, but for now,tis I,tis I. Arrgghh! And speaking of droids, you must have one, you’re posting constantly.


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