Film auteur Sylvester Stallone wrote, directed, and stars in this re-working of Rocky to fit an old-fashioned Hollywood formula, depicting three brothers from New York's Hell's Kitchen of the 1940s who want to claw their way out of poverty. Lee Canalito is the muscle-brained iceman Victor, and Armand Assante is the embittered, crippled war veteran Lenny. But the smooth-talking con man brother Cosmo (Sylvester Stallone), sees beef-cake Victor's fists as their ticket out of the slums. Cosmo, ever the manipulator, convinces the dull-witted Victor to participate in a series of bone-crunching wrestling matches as Kid Salami. Cosmo and Lenny exploit Victor's brute strength to grab the fast money on the wrestling circuit. But their climb to success is halted when the local gangster Stitch (Kevin Conway) puts up his malicious and dangerous wrestler Frankie the Thumper (Terry Funk) to fight against Kid Salami in a 22-round meat-pounder.