Like Crank and Crank 2, The Wrestler celebrates a lead character whose defining trait is his ability to endure, and find pleasure in, absurd amounts of physical pain. But Savran isn't actually talking about literal physical pain - if he were, we would have to consider that these characters don't so much "proclaim themselves victims" since they actually are victims: their suffering is objectively marked by the savage beatings and physical trauma they endure, to say nothing of the always imminent threat of death as a direct result of these wounds. It's one thing to chastise someone for proclaiming himself the victim when it is otherwise unobvious, but something else entirely when he has one hour to live (as in the Crank films) or could have a fatal heart-attack at any moment (as in The Wrestler). They are, in a sense, beyond criticism - and employing that sympathy-generating strategy is itself deserving of critique.
Rather, Savran asks us to read these characters and their physical wounds and masochism allegorically. That's something of a stretch for the Crank movies, which are banal and superficial productions - the more interesting reading of these films would involve asking how and why this plays so well to the white male audience, who arguably find some catharsis in watching Jason Statham proposely get the shit kicked out of him and come out on top as a direct result.
But we don't even need to infer an allegorical level to the lead's physical pain in The Wrestler - Randy "The Ram" Robinson's entire life is a catalogue of emotional and existential pains. All three of the film's major plotlines lend themselves to Savran's critique.
- The washed-up wrestler plot, which features his failure to recapture the fame, glory, and money he once enjoyed as a wrestler and the realization that he doesn't know how to do anything else
- The absent father plot, where we learned that he abandoned his daughter as a child and that he continues to be unabile to put her first
- The romantic plot, which shows us his difficulty in forming lasting relationships with women and his preference for the easy high (whether that be a one-night stand, drugs, or wrestling) instead of something harder and less certain
Randy's moment of triumph, such as it is, comes at the end of the film, when he comes out of retirement in order to wrestle one last time - a match that he's been assured will probably mean his death. Not that we actually get to see that happen. Randy stumbles, gets light-headed, and climbs to the top of the ropes to perform his finishing move - against the advice of his opponent - as the crowd cheers him on. The film ends as he leaps into the air, poised to win the match on his own terms and according to the code of honor by which he's always performed. And that final image allows him to figuratively transcend his pain, to shout a silent 'fuck you' to everyone that wronged him, even as we realize that he would fall to the ground in a heap and die if the film were to continue. It's the sort of victory that's only possible in a film, and one which can only seem sincerely proud or empowering if we refuse to acknowledge its stupidity and our ostensible hero's culpability in his own death - a recognition that, while delayed by the sudden ending of the film, ultimately cannot be denied.
If the pleasure in white-male masochism exist where it allows us to "savor [our] self inflicted wounds", then I think it makes sense that the dead bodies need to be hidden from view. They're not exactly in a position to be savoring much of anything.