Weekly Seven: Acting Wrestlers
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s latest family friendly flick, The Tooth Fairy, hits theaters this Friday. The Rock is one of the most charismatic characters in the history of professional wrestling, and I have been very impressed with his work since making the move towards becoming a full-time actor. He’s basically been confined to action/comedies like The Rundown and Get Smart and more kid-targeted fare such as The Game Plan and Race to Witch Mountain, but I can actually see him making the transition to more dramatic roles at some point in the future. He is without question the best actor to come from the world of professional wrestling. He’s been so good, in fact, that I’m even willing to forgive him for the cinematic abomination that was Doom. Here’s seven more wrestlers that have attempted to lay the smack down in Hollywood.
Okay, so Kane didn’t have to do a lot of acting in See No Evil, but at least he can say that he headlined his own movie. There aren’t many wrestlers that can say they carried a movie all by themselves. I can honestly also say that I’ve seen a lot worse horror movies than See No Evil. He was pretty convincing as the eye-collecting maniac, but I guess it isn’t much different from his wrestling persona. Oh well, I enjoyed it anyway.
#6: “BIG SEXY” KEVIN NASH
Kevin Nash shot to stardom as “Diesel” in the WWF and was a founding member of WCW’s New World Order. The multiple-time world heavyweight champion is one of the great mic men in the business and can now be seen working for TNA. He has also dabbled in acting throughout the years, including roles in the remake of The Longest Yard and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II. His signature role, however, is that of “The Russian” in 2004’s The Punisher.
#5: GEORGE “THE ANIMAL” STEELE
“The Animal” was more of a novelty act than anything else during his wrestling career, but he did have a very high profile match with “Macho Man” Randy Savage at Wrestlemania II. He didn’t do a lot of acting, but he did star opposite Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood. He played one of Ed Wood’s frequently used character actors, Tor Johnson, who himself was a former professional wrestler. Ed Wood is one of my all-time favorite movies, so that alone is enough to land Mr. Steele on my list.
#4: “STONE COLD” STEVE AUSTIN
Everyone’s favorite hell raiser, Steve Austin is 6-time WWE Champion, a WWE Hall of Famer and one of the most recognizable characters in wrestling history. Since retiring from wrestling, he has starred in movies like The Condemned and The Longest Yard. His biggest movie, however, will undoubtedly be Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables, which is due out this summer. Austin will be kicking ass alongside Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Mickey Rourke and more. I can’t wait.
#3: “ROWDY” RODDY PIPER
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper might be one of the most underrated wrestlers of all-time. He was electric both in the ring, and on the mic. His charisma translated very nicely to the world of acting, and he turned in an undeniably awesome performance in John Carpenter’s 1988 b-movie extravaganza, They Live. It was hard for other wrestlers to rise to prominence in the heyday of Hulkamania, but Piper did his best. Hey, speaking of Hulkamania…
#2: HULK HOGAN
Hogan was really the first wrestler to make the leap into mainstream pop culture. He first appeared on the big screen as “Thunderlips” in Rocky III, and later starred in No Holds Barred, Suburban Commando and Mr. Nanny, among others. He even had a short-running Baywatch rip-off TV show called Thunder in Paradise. I’m still waiting for that No Holds Barred DVD release.
#1: JESSE “THE BODY” VENTURA
Wrestler turned actor turned politician Jesse Ventura really is a versatile performer. The former Minnesota Governor was also one of the best color commentators in wrestling history. “The Body” takes the top spot on my list for two reasons: Predator and The Running Man. Anyone who is man enough to stand side by side with Arnold Schwarzenegger in one movie is someone to be reckoned with, but it takes an unstoppable force to do it twice like Ventura did.