One would think that wrestling and acting would go together like peanut butter and jelly. The art of selling in theory should easily translate into great fight scenes and if a wrestler is capable of cutting a great promo, there’s no reason to think that they can’t carry a scene in a movie.
Unfortunately like many people know, wrestling and cinema don’t seem to go hand and hand like they should on paper. Whether it be Hulk Hogan being a alien idiot in Suburban Commando or Hulk Hogan being a freaking Nanny in Mr. Nanny, wrestlers who are spectacular to watch in the ring aren’t so spectacular when they make the jump to the silver screen. This could be because wrestling used to rely on a more ad-libbing nature but that is just a theory. It could also be that wrestlers just seem to often pick terrible scripts, but I digress.
Other times though, there are wrestlers who show that acting can be a snap. Roddy Piper’s performance in the cult classic They Live is an example of a wrestler pulling off a good performance on the silver screen. Oh yeah, there’s also the small matter of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, former pro wrestler, being one of the highest earning actors in Hollywood. So it isn’t impossible for a wrestler to be a good actor, and that’s what we’re here for today.
The goal of the following list isn’t necessarily to find the next Rock (God knows the WWE is trying and failing with Roman Reigns). Rather, this is just a list of 10 wrestlers that I feel should toss their name in the hat to play in a comedy, drama, or whatever genre of movie once their wrestling careers wind down.
10. Brock Lesnar
Not all roles require an actor to speak all that much, and that’s where Brock Lesnar comes into play. More so than any other performer on the list, Lesnar can say more with his actions than he can with his words because when you look at “The Beast Incarnate”, you could honestly believe that he is a soulless destroyer who doesn’t give a damn what you think of him. I highly doubt that Lesnar would have the patience to film a movie, but really though, keep his lines to a minimum and you have on your hands the most intimidating monster in all of cinema.
9. John Cena
I realize that John Cena is one of the biggest culprits of wrestlers that can’t act, at least in the eyes of fans (evidenced by The Marine) but I don’t think this is because of a lack of talent on Cena’s part. Anybody that has watched Cena on Total Divas knows that he’s one of the best parts of the show. When Cena isn’t thrust into action roles which force him to make super serious stoic faces, he seems to be much more in his element. Cena’s role in the upcoming Amy Schumer film Trainwreck is receiving a good response so if the Cenation leader ever decides to hangs up his wrestling boots (or sneakers in his case) due to his growing pile of injuries, it’s very likely we see him in Hollywood. Plus, just look at him. You’re gonna tell me Hollywood is going to say no to his physique?
8. Bray Wyatt
The Face of Fear could eventually be the face of a movie poster if Hollywood starts to pay attention. To be honest, I don’t think that Wyatt’s monologues are always that interesting due to Wyatt not always having a strong script or storyline to back up his great delivery but when his speeches have a goal behind them, they’re great. While horror films and wrestling haven’t always mixed very well, Wyatt could be the superstar which breaks the mould and ends up playing a memorable villain in the next thriller movie. Hell with his current look I don’t see too many chick flicks in his future.
There’s talk in the WWE at the moment of Lana being pushed as the next big star of the Divas division and it’s easy to see why. Lana (real name Catherine Joy Perry) has the blonde bombshell look that never goes out of fashion in Hollywood. Despite never wrestling a single match so far in the WWE, she and her client Rusev have had tremendous heat for months before the crowd decided Lana was too charming to boo. With a fantastic look and a great way with her words, I could easily see Lana starring as a Bond girl or possibly even as a villain to the British spy once her and Rusev are done ragging on America.
This aspect of his character may have been completely forgotten about by the current WWE writing staff, but once upon a time Goldust wasn’t just the Bizarre One, but also an obsessive film buff who was fascinated with everything Hollywood. Obviously Dustin Runnels has a certain love for cinema, so why not take a couple of film roles? His long tenure of playing the Goldust character has demonstrated that he can be creepy, funny or endearing when the situation calls for it so there’s no telling which genre he would fall in. Runnels actually made his film debut in the small-budget horror film Meet Me There just last year, so who knows where the wind will blow Goldddd…… DUST!
5. Stardust (Cody Rhodes)
Much like his brother Dustin, Cody Rhodes has demonstrated some fine acting chops throughout his seven year long WWE career. While newer fans might just know him as the hilarious Stardust character, they would forget his brilliant performances as the “Disfigured” Cody Rhodes, which displayed subtleties and clever nuances not normally seen from WWE characters. Everyone knows that Rhodes is a big Legend of Zelda and if the long rumoured Legend of Zelda movie or TV series ever comes to fruition, I’m 99% sure that there is some role in Hyrule which the dashing, disfigured or Stardust Cody Rhodes can play.
In yet another case of horrible miscasting, Kane (Glenn Jacobs) actually made his film debut in the horror(ible) WWE Studios movie See No Evil where he played slasher villain no.9. As intimidating as Kane looks, his greatest WWE role in the past 10 years actually came from tag teaming with Daniel Bryan as part of Team Hell No. The pre-packaged skits with Kane, Daniel Bryan and Dr. Shelby isn’t something you don’t see too often from WWE, but it really showed how incredibly funny Kane can be. Glenn Jacobs is 48 years old now and while he’s said that he isn’t going to hang it up anytime soon, I would plunk down good money to see an entire season of The Adventures of Team Hell No on the WWE Network. The point is Glenn, avoid the generic slasher movies and stick to the comedy.
3. Dolph Ziggler
Not only is he one of the most athletically gifted men on the entire WWE roster, but Dolph Ziggler is also entirely comfortable with a microphone in his hands. While it seems that the company is more than content to just throw Ziggler out there to have A+ matches with anybody on the roster, Ziggler makes the most of his time on the mic when he does get it. Not only is he great at talking the familiar pro wrestling trash talk, but he’s also great at channeling his passion and emotion into promos as seen in the video above. This comfort level on stage and in front of the camera is most likely due to the standup comedy he’s done for a couple of years now. It’s more than likely that we see Ziggler in romantic comedy somewhere down the line. Who knows, maybe he’ll do a film with ex-girlfriend Amy Schumer, if the sex isn’t too athletic for Schumer after all.
2. Stephanie McMahon
Has there been a heel who’s needed a bigger ass kicking in the past few years than Stephanie McMahon? In her current on-screen Authority role McMahon has made a habit of completely emasculating some of the male talent with vicious and spiteful promos. Fact is, there’s nobody on the roster who can dig into a performer on-screen better than the Billion Dollar Princess and that is a good thing for Hollywood. The complete ease of which McMahon plays her character is something that needs to be exploited on the big screen. If the long rumored Mortal Kombat movie ever gets out of developmental hell, who better to play the eardrum shattering Sindel than the Queen of Queens?
1. Paul Heyman
Really now, is there anybody who can stir up more excitement using just his words more than Paul Heyman? In his multi-decade spanning career as a pro wrestling personality, Heyman has proven himself as one of the greatest to ever pick up a microphone. Whenever he is on screen, you’re waiting on his every word because his delivery and cadence is magnificent. Even when he is at ringside for his client Brock Lesnar, Heyman’s facial expressions are among the best in the business as he can shift through a multitude of emotions on the fly. The sliminess and subtleties of Heyman’s acting is perfect for a corporate villain type of role in a movie and we must see it happen ASAP.
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