The Best Wrestlers Turned Actors
In the the sport of professional wrestling their are two key things you need in order to succeed; physicality and a certain charisma. Ironically those are the two ingredients to be a successful action hero on film, so it is no mistake that many competitors from the squared circles decided to chase box office gold as well as championship gold. But with Hollywood, as well as wrestling, not everyone can be on top and only a few can give memorable onscreen performances.
Andre the Giant: The first inductee into the WWE’s Hall of Fame only has one film credit to his name, but that film is one that has held a special place in people’s hearts for over twenty years, The Princess Bride. The notoriously kind hearted big man, Andre the Giant, played Fezzick who joined the Dread Pirate Roberts and Inigo Montoya in their adventures. With a classic like that on his resume, trying to do other films may have been pointless as nothing else could compare to this particular flick.
Dave Bautista: The controversial (to say the least) winner of this year’s Royal Rumble, has made a name for himself in showbiz by playing the standard musclebound guy for action flicks like; The Man With the Iron Fists and Riddick. His career in acting has not quite taken off the same way as many others from his business but his high profile role in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy flick is sure to change that.
Hulk Hogan: The Hulkster may be the most recognizable wrestler in history but his films are more in the realm of cult classics for all the wrong reasons. He made his debut in Rocky III, but is known for playing, the lead role in the first film the WWE’s ever produced, No Holds Barred will never earn him an Oscar but the film was so hilariously bad that it still maintains a fanbase to this day. Following this up, Hogan went on to star in; Thunder in Paradise, Mr. Nanny, and Suburban Commando.
Rowdy Roddy Piper: The man who was rowdy before rowdy was cool. The man who challenges you to never throw rocks at a man with a machine gun. During the 1980’s the Hot Rod, Roddy Piper became one of the most hated men in America playing the heel to Hulk Hogan’s babyface during the era’s definitive feud. He did this in large part by dominating the microphone every time it was put in front of him with a rapid delivery of insults and jabs. Piper successfully parlayed this talent for talking as well as his anti-authority bad boy image into the cult classic, They Live! directed by the legendary John Carpenter.
Terry Funk: Being a hardcore legend and descendant of one of wrestling’s greatest families, Terry Funk was able to bring a lot of his experience in action to many of the movies he has worked on. Adding gravitas to flicks such as; Paradise Alley and a variety of TV shows, Funk will always be remembered for playing a dirtbag bouncer in the beloved, Road House which, much like Andre in the Princess Bride sometimes all it takes is a single role in one of the most beloved movies of all time.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: For the millions…AND MILLIONS who have watched this third generation do what he did best in the ring even more are familiar with the Rock as a movie star. With a chiseled physique and truck loads of charisma and Hollywood good looks, the Rock has been a proven success in both the ring and in front of the camera. From The Scorpion King to Tooth Fairy to Pain and Gain, the Rock has proven himself to easily be the most successful wrestler turned actor.
Great article but you left out the epic performance of Piper in Death Comes to Frogtown. Lol.
Really didn’t like The Rock as an actor, until I saw Southland Tales. (As far as I’m aware, it was his first role which didn’t credit him as ‘The Rock’)
HA! Great post
Pingback: Remembering “Rowdy” Roddy Piper | Funk's House of Geekery