Wrestlers need to be in incredible shape in order to do what they do – both male and female wrestlers have athletic builds with visible muscle tone and ultra-lean physiques. However, there’s another big component to wrestling – your ability to put on a great show. Yes, you need to be physically capable of executing the moves, so wrestlers have to be athletes. But at the same time, no one wants to see a robotic wrestler executing the moves in total boredom – that would just bore the fans! So, in addition to being athletes, wrestlers also kind of need to be actors. They need to put on a great show, emote their triumph or defeat to screaming crowds, create a vivid character with only a walk or a signature move.
Given the performative nature of wrestling, it may not come as a surprise that there are many celebrities who are big wrestling fans. Sure, some celebrities appear in the front row ring-side just to promote one of their films, or to get in the public eye. True wrestling fans can sniff out those celebs a mile away. There are definitely some celebs, however, who are die-hard wrestling fans. They know their stats, they know everyone’s signature move, they’re extremely excited to be there seeing the action up close – some even get the chance to slip inside the ring and bust out a few moves themselves.
Wrestling fans come in all shapes and sizes, from tough guys with the physiques of bodybuilders to petite women you would think might flee at all that violence and aggression. It’s only fitting that celebrity wrestling fans come from all walks of the entertainment world – singers, comedic actors, serious dramatic actors, rappers and more. While sitting in the front row during a wrestling game might not be as popular amongst celebrity groups as sitting courtside during NBA games, the select true fans show up again and again because they love the sport, not the paparazzi attention.
Here are 15 celebrities you may not have known are wrestling fans.
14 Jim Carrey
Sometimes, particularly when they’re playing characters based on real life individuals, an actor has to do a considerable amount of research on topics that their character enjoys. This is how comedian Jim Carrey got into wrestling. When he was working on Man on the Moon portraying Andy Kaufman, an entertainer and huge wrestling fan, he seems to have gotten bit by the wrestling bug.
13 Freddie Prinze Jr.
Former teen heartthrob Freddie Prinze Jr. has somewhat of a squeaky clean, preppy image, so it may surprise some to know that he’s a die-hard wrestling fan. He took his fandom to a whole new level when he snagged a job with the WWE – not as a wrestler, but as a creative consultant for Smackdown. The fact that he wanted to be involved behind the scenes rather than merely making a cursory celebrity guest appearance proves what a fan he truly is. He left his role to act, returned as a producer and director in 2010, and in 2012 he went back to his main gig, acting. The way he’s been bouncing back and forth between roles in Hollywood and the WWE hints that perhaps once he decides to hang up his acting hat, he’ll be back behind the scenes, planning moves and storylines for the next generation of wrestling superstars.
12 Adam Sandler
If you’re familiar with comedian Adam Sandler’s films, you might not be quite as surprised to know he’s a wrestling fan – after all, he’s casted several wrestlers in his films, including Big Show, Kevin Nash, Steve Austin and more. He also includes more subtle nods to wrestling, such as the scene in Big Daddy where Sandler applies a Sleeper Hold to Rob Schneider. Sandler, with Rob Schneider, then attended WrestleMania 21 in 2005 and is likely holed up in his mansion watching pay-per-view matches for all the big events.
11 Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart, former host of The Daily Show, is known for his sharp wit and ablility to comment intelligently on a variety of topical issues. He’s also a big wrestling fan. Those who follow Stewart closely will know that he had a bit of a rivalry this year with Seth Rollins – where they both featured on each other's shows. On top of that, while it doesn't happen frequently, Stewart has discussed wrestling on his show, like the time Kevin Hart came on to discuss Think Like a Man, Too. Instead of that, they discussed their favorites wrestlers growing up and Stewart even said that he frequently watches wrestling with his son.
11. Mike Tyson
Surprise, surprise – often athletes are huge fans of sports other than the ones they themselves participate in, and Mike Tyson is no different. While he’s known for his time in the ring as a boxer, he’s apparently a huge fan of wrestling. Tyson’s star power even allowed him to get a huge part in a storyline prior to Wrestlemania XIV as the enforcer for the title match between Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin. As of 2012, this superfan is even became a WWE Hall of Fame inductee, where he was also named Social Media Ambassador for the event.
10 Gillian Jacobs
Blonde bombshell Gillian Jacobs is best known for playing the role of Britta Perry on sitcom Community, but when she’s not on set filming, she’s rooting on her favorite wrestlers ring-side. That’s right – Jacobs has been outspoken about being a big wrestling fan. While many celebrity wrestling lovers are WWE fanatics, Jacobs prefers Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, which you can hear about here. She even name drops Kevin Steen and El Generico, who would become NXT favorites Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
9 Snoop Dogg
Rapper Snoop Dogg is known for his laid back, roll with the punches attitude, and he’s rarely seen without a small smirk on his face. Given his mellow personality, it may come as a surprise that he’s a huge fan of wrestling, one of the most aggressive sports out there. His star status led him to be a guest host on the popular WWE Raw series, but the Dogg has stated that he’s not just doing it to do it – he’s been a big wrestling fan since he was a child. As opposed to some celebrity guest hosts who don’t seem to know anything about the wrestlers in the matches they’re overseeing, Dogg even snuck in a comment about the match he was responsible for: “I’m setting up the biggest match ever, Triple H versus John Cena. Oooh weee!” While Snoop is a lover, not a fighter, he’s one celeb who’s likely to show up ring-side – and maybe take the wrestlers out for a party after the match.
8 Maria Menounos
Actress and host Maria Menounos has appeared on WWE programming several times and many assume she’s just a pretty face with no interest in wrestling, that her appearances on WWE are just jobs required to get a paycheck. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth – as Menounos herself might tell you. Menounos’ fandom started when she was a child, watching wrestling with her father, and she has absolutely no difficulty rattling off some of her favorites – Macho Man, the Bushwackers, Ravishing Rick Rude, Jack the Snake, Bret Hart and more. She’s even been in the ring herself, executing a few moves in tag-team matches. Her partner Kevin Undergaro is also a wrestling fan, so when a WWE event is on, there’s probably no changing the channel at the Menounos-Undergardo household.
7 Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman is one of the many celebrities to make an appearance on the ever-popular WWE Raw, helping out Zack Ryder during a match against Dolph Ziggler. Jackman even got his punches in, and the celeb’s hit had Ziggler taking to Twitter after the fight saying that Wolverine had left him with a hairline fracture on his jaw. Jackman is forthright about the often scripted nature of wrestling and despite being trained to always hold back as an actor, pretending to punch but never actually landing them, Ziggler’s in-game urgings finally led Jackman to unexpectedly actually hit him – pretty damn hard! Jackman spoke about his experience, saying that while there were some scripts in place and faking during the matches, there’s also a healthy dose of reality when the wrestlers are getting fired up – “they’re hitting each other backstage,” Jackman incredulously explained in an interview. On top of being in the think of the action, Jackman also stated that he's been a huge fan since he was a kid and that he respects what they can do in the ring.
6 Joe Manganiello
If you didn’t know who Joe Manganiello was and you saw him at a wrestling match, you might very well thing he’s an off duty wrestler himself – after all, his physique is absolutely mind blowing. He’s in better shape than half the wrestlers in the ring who make their living off being fit. Manganiello definitely wouldn’t be offended by the assumption – he’d probably be flattered. “I’ve always loved wrestling,” the actor said backstage at a Monday Night Raw match, “I consider myself somewhat of an encyclopedia of wrestling knowledge.” He’s done a few roles with wrestlers as an actor and given his fitness and wrestling fandom, we definitely expect to see him in the wrestling world again at some point in the future, either guest hosting or even in the ring himself.
Rapper Eminem is known for his aggressive, in your face lyrics, so it might not come as a surprise that he’s a huge wrestling fan. The rapper wasn’t a fan from childhood like some of the celebrity wrestling fanatics are – he became interested in the sport after making a certain friend. In 2009, Eminem was touring the UK and wanted to do a bit of shopping in London; to get out of the public eye a bit and shop in peace, he donned a Rey Mysterio mask. He could've chosen any mask, from any walk of life, but he chose Mysterio's. He's also been seen at a variety of wrestling events.
4 Billy Corgan
Billy Corgan is known to most music fans as the frontman of The Smashing Pumpkins, but he’s had an entirely different career lately. Corgan, a big wrestling fan, is not just content to watch ring-side – he wants to be involved in the entire process. He has helped develop characters and create storylines for TNA’s Impact Wrestling and is incredibly well spoken in interviews when asked about his role there and his vision for the organization. This isn’t a celebrity figurehead – it’s a guy who knows his stuff, backwards and forwards. Who knows – maybe one of the stars can walk out to a Smashing Pumpkins song to pay homage to the Grammy Award winning wrestling superfan.
3 Nick Frost
British actor Nick Frost shot into superstardom with his hit comedies Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World’s End. Big fans of the UK star also know that he included some wrestling in television sitcom Spaced, and even made sure to have a theatrical, dramatic fight scene in The World’s End that wouldn’t be out of place in the ring. Frost has been building his portfolio, but the wrestling fan has confessed on Marc Maron's podcast that he’s already penned a comedy revolving around pro-wrestling. If he manages to get his film to theatres, it will be the perfect marriage of his comedic skills and his wrestling fandom.
2 Michael Clarke Duncan
Actor Michael Clarke Duncan unfortunately passed away a few years ago, in 2012, but deserves a spot on this list because he was notorious for being a huge wrestling fan. Duncan got the chance to work with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on the film The Scorpion King, and he positively gushed about the experience – the Golden Globe nominated actor couldn’t keep quiet about how fun it was to work with someone he himself had watched for years on the screen. Apparently, the actor even quizzed Johnson endlessly on set, trying to find out more fun facts about the pro wrestling world. He attended many WWE events and was often invited backstage to interact with the wrestlers, and not just because of his star power – it was because he had an obvious and infectious passion for the sport. He was also close friends with a few WWE superstars like Mark Henry, who acted as his pallbearer after he sadly passed.
1 Jack Whitehall
Jack Whitehall is a lanky, slim UK comedian that has stated several times that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is his favorite actor and even took part in some wrestling on the British show A League of Their Own. He makes frequent wrestling references on his social media accounts, and even picked The Undertaker’s entrance music to play on his sitcom Bad Education. Whitehall has been honest about his mega-stardom, saying that if he ever met The Rock he would “lose his shit.” Well, one thing’s for sure – if he’s ever invited backstage and Johnson happens to be kicking around, he better keep a careful eye on his superfan.