powered by AFI
The athletic carnivals sponsored by sports promoter Jim Hurley and his amusing henchman Nick are no longer popular. In an effort to revive public interest in wrestling, Hurley hires football star Bucky O'Neill, who has just graduated and needs money in order to marry Joan Allen. Although Bucky honestly believes that he knows how to wrestle, his bouts are fixed by Hurley, who is using the athlete's popularity and well-known name to make money. Bucky's adoring fans flock to see him employ his famous flying tackle, and the fixed matches soon propel the untrained Bucky to the top of the wrestling game. Bucky is set to challenge world champion Ivan Stanislaus, with whom Hurley has arranged Bucky's victory, when complications present themselves in the shape of Lola Del Mont, Hurley's unprincipled mistress. Always eager to find a winner, Lola decides that Bucky will be her new man and subsequently lures him to Hurley's apartment. There, they are secretly observed by Hurley as Lola makes a play for the reluctant wrestler. Believing that Bucky is interested in Lola, the enraged Hurley orders Stanislaus to finish off Bucky quickly. After Bucky is badly beaten, he realizes that Hurley had been using him all along and that he does not know how to wrestle. He wants to quit, but Joan and his honest trainer Leo chide him for being willing to give up. Leo takes Bucky to the country, and during a year of grueling training, Bucky becomes a real wrestler. No longer having to rely solely on his flying tackle, Bucky is ready to fight any wrestler on equal terms. Meanwhile, Hurley has arranged for Stanislaus to win a fight against the "Masked Marvel" for $50,000. The night of the match, Bucky knocks out the Marvel, puts on his costume and takes his place in the ring. When Bucky reveals his identity, the crowd goes wild and Stanislaus is stupefied. Hurley, realizing he has been tricked, arranges for a gunman to shoot Bucky at a signal from Stanislaus. Bucky figures out the scheme but refuses to quit and keeps Stanislaus between himself and the gunman. As Bucky wins, Leo switches off the lights, and the gunman misses his final shot. The audience, aware of Bucky's courage and the attempt on his life, roars its approval of the new champion. Bucky is now free to marry Joan and has proved to everyone that he is not a quitter.