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"wrestling with angels"
The John Hanrahan story

Bruce Weber pic of John Hanrahan profile of a Wrestler 600DPI.jpg

Wrestling with Angels: The John Hanrahan Story


Logline: In this inspiring true story, John Hanrahan, a former wrestling champion, battles addiction and personal demons to find redemption, hope, and purpose in the world of fashion, celebrity training, and the ancient sport that once defined him.


Overview: Wrestling with Angels is a powerful and moving film adaptation of John Hanrahan's life, as he navigates the highs and lows of his personal and professional journey. From his early days as a standout wrestler to his struggles with addiction and his eventual resurrection, John's story is one of perseverance, love, and the unbreakable bonds of family.


The film will explore the unique world of elite athletics and the glamour of the fashion industry, as well as the challenges of addiction and recovery. John's experiences training celebrities and working in the world of fashion provide a fascinating backdrop to his personal struggles, and his ultimate triumph over adversity.


Wrestling with Angels is a story of hope and redemption that will resonate with audiences of all ages. With its diverse and engaging cast of characters, stunning visuals, and a powerful message of perseverance and the strength of the human spirit, this film is sure to be a hit with both critics and audiences alike.

Treatment: "Wrestling with Angels"


In "Wrestling with Angels," John Hanrahan battles his inner demons and addiction as he navigates the highs and lows of Olympic dreams, fashion fame, and personal redemption.


"Wrestling with Angels" follows the tumultuous life of John Hanrahan, a talented athlete destined for Olympic glory. However, haunted by personal demons and the allure of the fashion world, John abandons his Olympic aspirations to pursue a career as a top fashion model.

As John's star rises in the fashion industry, so does his addiction to drugs, leading him down a dark and destructive path. Despite achieving success and fame, John's inner turmoil threatens to consume him entirely.

Tragedy strikes when John suffers a near-fatal overdose rendering him clinically-dead, only to experience a profound spiritual awakening as his soul is ripped from his body by angels. Confronted with the truth of his existence and the prayers of loved ones, John is granted a second chance at life.

Determined to overcome his addiction and find redemption, John embarks on a journey of self-discovery and healing. Through the support of his family, friends, and the power of love, John learns to confront his past and embrace his true purpose.

As John transforms himself into a trusted personal trainer to Hollywood stars and moguls, he grapples with the challenges of his past while striving to inspire others with his story of resilience and hope.


  • Redemption and Second Chances: John's journey from addiction to redemption highlights the transformative power of forgiveness and the resilience of the human spirit.

  • Identity and Self-Discovery: Through his struggles, John learns to confront his inner demons and embrace his true identity, finding strength and purpose in the face of adversity.

  • Love and Family: The unconditional love of his model wife Kirsten, and support of John's family and friends serve as a guiding light on his path to recovery and self-acceptance.

Visual Style:

The film will blend elements of gritty realism with surreal dream sequences to capture the inner turmoil and spiritual awakening of John's journey. From the neon-lit streets of New York City to the serene landscapes of John's spiritual awakening, the visual style will reflect the contrast between darkness and light. Wrestling is a metaphor of struggle which weaves story from his all American boy upbringing to the day he stood atop the world championship podium.


"Wrestling with Angels" will balance moments of drama and introspection with moments of humor and hope, capturing the complexity and humanity of John's story.

Target Audience:

The film will appeal to a wide audience, including fans of inspirational dramas, sports enthusiasts, the fashion industry, celebrities/ lifestyles and those with loved ones grappling with issues of addiction and redemption.


"Wrestling with Angels" is a compelling and uplifting story of one man's journey from the depths of despair to the heights of redemption. Through its powerful themes of love, forgiveness, and the resilience of the human spirit, the film will leave audiences inspired and uplifted.

more story Info

John Hanrahan is a United World Wrestling (UWW) Veteran World Champion. He defeated 10x Champion, Willem Putter (RSA) to win the 2016 World Gold medal at 85KG in Walbrych, Poland.


He competed at Penn State University where he was a 2-time NCAA All American, 2-time Conference Champion and 4-time place-winner. Other international medals include Canada Cup bronze and NYAC International 2-time gold. In high school Hanrahan was the USWF Jr. National Championship runner-up, AAU National Championship runner-up and 2-time Virginia State Champion and 3-time place-winner. John finished his Penn State career as the first in the school’s history to surpass the 100 Win mark (racking up 113 NCAA D1 Wins) and has since been inducted into the Eastern Wrestling League Hall of Fame.

Notable Reviews
Media Interviews

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Notable Reviews

Laura Morton, 20x NY Times Best Selling Author

"The book Wrestling with Angels tugs at your heart strings, touching on difficult issues so many families are dealing with every day. The author, John Hanrahan expresses his experiences beautifully, allowing himself to be raw, real and full of grace." 

Emily Giffin, Highly Acclaimed Novelist, 7x NY Times Best Selling Author

"Riveting! This book Wrestling with Angels is so good. Powerful memoir. Great Father's Day present."

Brian Kilmeade, FNC Fox & Friends Host, Best Selling Author
"If you want a great book for you or your special someone that will motivate and educate, pick up John Hanrahan's masterpiece - Wrestling with Angels.

Mike Chapman, WIN Magazine, Founder & Sr Editor
"The book Wrestling with Angels grabbed me by the throat and hung on, pulling me in deeper and deeper, page after page, I couldn't put it down. An All American wrestler at Penn State, John Hanrahan won a lot and felt on top of the world. When his college career ended, his good looks took him to a world he could have never imagined, he became one of the most popular male models in the world. And then he died... I can't even try to explain any of it here. Read it for yourself. He returned to life and became a Trainer to some of the best-known celebrities in the world -- from John F. Kennedy, Jr., to Julia Roberts."

Steven L. Jaffe MD, Psychiatry, Emory University School of Medicine
"I was inspired by his vivid description of his own death, which was then followed by his receiving the gift of returning to life. Wrestling with Angels is a highly entertaining read and in this time of an opioid epidemic it is extremely relevant."

Lee Kemp, Olympian & 3x World Champion Wrestler
"John Hanrahan's book Wrestling with Angels is a candid look inside the life of one of wrestling's true Renaissance men. It's not easy to open up and honestly reveal to the world some of your most challenging and difficult life's experiences, but John does so beautifully with grace and dignity."

Jonathan Clarke, M.Ed., LCAS, Love Wins Counseling
"The most powerful message of recovery from one person to another, is often described as the sharing of one's own personal story of experience, strength and hope.  John Hanrahan in Wrestling with Angels delivers that and more.  His transparency and vulnerability are astounding, yet necessary to bring about the healing phenomenon in others. This book will be a mainstay in my efforts to help others." 

Bruce Weber, Iconic American Fashion Photographer & Filmmaker

Congratulations to John Hanrahan for a great book about sports and for sharing your personal struggles with addiction and your path to loving yourself again. I knew you when you were a young wrestler at Penn State and the New York Athletic Club. Around that time you came along with me to Las Vegas for a photoshoot where you met your beautiful wife, Kirsten. In Vegas, the night that you both met, I had you doing pictures with a Marilyn Monroe look-a-like and Kirsten with an Elvis Presley look-a-like. After taking some crazy pictures in the nightclub at Caesar's Palace you two never stopped loving each other and today are the proud parents of two great young men. I'm so proud of you for writing Wrestling with Angels, a very thoughtful and entertaining book--you've always been a champ to us. 

Mark Schultz, Olympic & World Champion, Best Selling Author of Foxcatcher

"John opens up completely to share the raw and sometimes uncomfortable truth. It's not pretty which is ironic since John was a male model who lived a jet-set lifestyle until it was almost completely destroyed. There are many lessons to glean on how to win in life. Relating to the pain, sacrifice and suffering of world class wrestling can be difficult for many to grasp. I recommend this book to everyone, it could change your life".

Samantha Dunn, Editor of Coast Magazine, Best Selling Author 

"Wow, great job of weaving together the world of the story with its celebrity interactions and elite athletics. A very human story not only of his own journey but that of his family. The story Wrestling with Angels is extremely powerful and relevant and moving." 

Bob Buckhorn, Mayor of Tampa, FL
"Wrestling with Angels is a book that you will want to read. It is the unvarnished story of redemption, struggle, pain, triumph and perseverance. Most of all, it is a story about the strength of one person who in his darkest moments found the courage to persevere and rebuild his life, his relationships and his future."

Dr Charles Prebish, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, Penn State University

"John Hanrahan's Wrestling With Angels is a magnificent read... His unabashed prose strikes right to one's heart and inspires great compassion. I simply cannot remember the last time I cried as I read the concluding chapter of a book. This is one utterly tremendous story!"

Dr Jose Betancourt , 3x Olympian Puerto Rico, UWW World Wrestling Champion  
"John Hanrahan's book Wrestling with Angels, is an extraordinary story. It is well written and captivating, you do not want to stop reading. The story has a powerful message for any audience or age. It makes you think and reflect about connecting to your higher power. I highly recommend it."

Dr Michael Silverman, PHD 

Are you listening Hollywood, this should be made into a movie.
John Hanrahan's "Wrestling with Angles" is a heartfelt story of personal struggle. It is a quick and enjoyable read.

I generally avoid celebrity memoirs. As a neuroscientist and psychologist in NYC who has worked with household named professional athletes, models, and actors, I am intimately familiar with their turmoils, their fears of mediocrity, and the facades they continuously work to build. I have enough experience to know when someone's expressed plights are authentic and when they are not. More so, I am not in the least part interested in someone manipulatively seeking pity. This is what makes Hanrahan's autobiography so refreshing. It is raw, honest, and deeply personal. It kept my attention throughout - which is not an easy task. Everyone has a story, but few people are willing to share them in the way Hanrahan does. The story made me laugh out loud and brought me to the edge of tears on a few occasions. Hanrahan comes across as someone so easy to connect to, yet ironically we learn of a guy who is desperate for connection while doing everything he could to self-sabotage them. Why?

Professional athletes are masters of control, and the sport of wrestling adds a physical dimension of power/domination. Hanrahan was objectively one of the best. Ironically, the one place where he could feel in complete control, he also ultimately sabotages - spectacularly. It is possibly even more ironic and arguably the foundation of the overall story - that he looked amazing while doing it - gracing the covers of magazines, leading international fashion campaigns, and partying with New York's upper elite. Maintaining such a facade was an effort that could be described as nothing short of heroic.

And then he died. Literally.


John Hanrahan, Fashion Model, Montage of Ads around the World Click John's Versace Ad to Watch 🔽
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John Hanrahan, TV Commercial for Life Insurance (father/son dirt bike outing) shot in South Pacific 🔽
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 NDE at 25 🔽
 10 years after NDE Begins Training for 96 Olympic Trials 🔽
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 Age 35 Hanrahan Begins to Compete Again 🔽
 Round 1 Reborn in Wrestling 🔽
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 Semi Finals OB Open 🔽
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Championship Finals Match OB Open 🔽
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🔽Click Images to Watch Interviews Below 
Fox & Friends Show Interview 🔽
CBN News Interview 🔽
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Kilmeade Radio Show Interview 🔽
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Penn State Network Interview 🔽
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🔽Click Images to Read Articles  Below 
"The Mat" USA Wrestling's Olympic Wrestling Publication 🔽
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"Wrestling Insider Magazine" 🔽
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🔽Click Images Below to Watch a few
John Hanrahan Wrestling Matches

  Top Rated Trainer DVD 🔽
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  Wrestling 🔽
HS matches age 15 & first VA State Title 
🔽10th Grade & 11th Grade State Finals🔽
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Freshman age 19 Dual Meet Match  Penn State vs Oklahoma 🔽
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Olympic Trials age 36 vs National Champion Ray Miller 🔽
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Olympic Trials age 36 vs a Tough
Opponent at US Open 🔽
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MAWA Open National Champ age 42
Finals Match vs 2x Natl Champ 🔽
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John Hanrahan age 56 UWW World Champion Gold Medal Ceremony Walbrych, Poland 🔽
UWW Veteran World Semi-Final Match with Bolgrin the German National Champion 🔽
UWW World Finals Match vs Putter, the 10x Champion from Republic of South Africa 🔽
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John Hanrahan Defeating Iranian opponent at UWW World Championships 🔽
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John Hanrahan Defeating Turkish 
opponent at UWW World Championships 🔽
John Hanrahan, Las Vegas US Open Masters National Champion 
Watch Freestyle Finals Bout 2016 🔽
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USA Wrestling's Post Match Interview with US Open 5x Masters National Champion and Penn State All American John Hanrahan 🔽
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Interview with Strength & Conditioning Coach John Hanrahan at USA's Pre-Tokyo Olympic Team Training Camp 🔽
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Penn State All American John Hanrahan Back in Happy Valley for the 2023 PSU vs Iowa Dual & Morning-After Workout 🔽
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Wrestling Videos
Press Articles
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