What makes the perfect wrestler? Size, strength, charisma? Is one attribute valued more than others? There is no one-size-fits-all approach to finding a star in the ring and when it comes to searching for new talent, there is a host of celebrities on screens big and small who could give the sport a different dimension.
Doubting these actors is overlooking one hell of a double standard. From the likes of Dwayne Johnson, John Cena, Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, Tyler Mane, and Dave Bautista – the list of wrestlers trying their hand at Hollywood goes on and on. If both disciplines are so easily transferable, why not turn the tables for a change?
Any good wrestling match requires a show. The fans, the lights and cameras all culminate in a spectacle for the viewers at home and in the stands. It’s not a place for the faint hearted because the types of people that succeed in this domain have egos the size of Hulk Hogan’s biceps.
Sorting the actors who look tough from the actors that actually are tough isn’t a simple exercise. A lot of the big action stars appear to be doing death defying acts, but one close look at the fine print and it’s easy to see that a stuntman has been doing all the heavy lifting while they’re getting their nails polished in the van out back.
So which of the Hollywood elite are able to step up to the plate of the WWE? Would they be able to handle the physicality in front of an energized crowd without calling “cut!” every time they felt under the pump?
Here are the essential top 20 actors who would make perfect wrestlers.
20 Hugh Jackman
How could Wolverine not make a fist from wrestling? Don’t let the tap dancing and Broadway musical theatre persuade you otherwise, because the 47-year old Aussie father of two is in the best physical condition of his life. Apart from playing a lot of contact sport in his youth, Jackman’s role of honors in the action movie world include such pictures as Swordfish, Van Helsing, Prisoners and Chappie to name but a few. He can get down and dirty with the best of them and put on back-to-back shows for thousands of beloved fans every night. Hugh would be a perfect wrestler.
19 Hafthor Julius Bjornsson
This mammoth Icelandic strong man turned actor turned strong man again is a sight to behold. Best known for portraying Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane in Game of Thrones, the colossus with legs almost broke the internet with one crushing death scene that any fan of the show will not forget in a hurry. In Game of Thrones Hafthor Bjornsson’s character is virtually indestructible and given his physical prowess on and off the screen, that was one moment amongst all the dragons and ghost armies which didn’t seem far away from reality. It wouldn’t be a question of whether he could handle wrestling, but how the wrestlers could handle him!
18 Mickey Rourke
Every WWE event needs an aging wildcard of sorts, right? Mickey isn’t getting any younger these days and with a recent transition into boxing it’s clear to see he’s trying to squeeze as much out of his body as it has left. He brought a struggling fighter to life in 2008’s The Wrestler, winning multiple awards culminating in a Best Actor nomination at the Academy Awards. You wouldn’t put him against anyone under the age of 40, but the people love Mickey and what a better environment for them to show their appreciation than the WWE?
17 Michelle Rodriguez
This gorgeous brunette has made action films her forte, demonstrating a canny ability to kick ass while looking stunningly beautiful all in the same scene. Her ongoing role as Leticia Ortiz in the Fast and Furious franchise was a case in point, standing out among all of her male counterparts over the duration of the series. The 37-year old has done it all in film and who would bet against Rodriguez proving her worth in the ring?
16 Chris Evans
This 34-year old action star has come a long way from his Not Another Teen Movie days. Now sitting in the pantheon of modern cinematic heroes on the big screen as Captain America, Chris Evans transformation from comedy goof ball to Marvel superhero is one of the more surprising changes seen in film. Add that character to the others he played on Snowpiercer and Street Kings, and all of sudden the good-looking boy from Boston is not so one-dimensional.
15 Michael Cudlitz
The All-American redhead Michael Cudlitz would excel in the ring. His brutish exterior is matched by his physicality on shows like Southland, Band of Brothers and most notably, The Walking Dead. Playing Sergeant Abraham Ford, Cudlitz embraces the violent chaos by chopping and slashing his way through the zombie apocalypse with ease. At 50-years of age he’s not too old to try something new and given his no-nonsense approach to all things acting, Michael Cudlitz could become a fans favorite. He also sports a killer moustache.
14 Terry Crews
The majority of failed NFL linebackers don’t transition successfully into acting in television comedies, but Terry Crews is a unique specimen. The towering 6ft 2 47-year old burst onto the scene with films like White Chicks, Soul Plane and the widely acclaimed drama Training Day. Crews found his stable in Everybody Hates Chris and more recently with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, portraying a lovable cop with a soft emotional side to his larger-than-life presence. Anyone who can handle the Expendables and White Chicks with this much fun would make the WWE a better place.
13 Jason Momoa
It would be pretty badass for the WWE to draft in Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones, lets be honest. (Spoiler Alert!) Now he doesn’t have those commitments to worry about anymore, why not introduce the tanned and dreaded-up Hawaiian 36-year old actor? He is a big presence on the screen and looks like he could handle himself in the ring. Throw a reboot of Conan the Barbarian into the mix and a credited role as Aquaman in the upcoming Batman v Superman film in 2016, and he has enough runs on the board to give wrestling a go. Anyone who is worthy enough to follow on from Arnold Schwarzenegger deserves an opportunity.
12 Channing Tatum
He might be in the middle of a feud with Alex Pettyfer right now, so rather than just hand the guy some money he owes for rent, why not settle it Mano A Mano in the ring? 35-year old Tatum is known for many things, the teenybopper heartthrob in the Step Up dance flick franchise and Jason Lyle in the 2005 film Coach Carter. Then there is the not-so-serious Tatum version seen in 21 and 22 Jump Street and a cameo playing himself on This Is The End. But his portrayal of Mark Schultz in 2014’s Foxcatcher broke the mold for Tatum, demonstrating a raw, physical side of his personality. The down-and-dirty wrestling scenes were incredibly realistic and after viewing that film there is little doubt Channing could wrestle for real.
11 Michael Jai White
Michael Jai White – actor, martial artist and overall good guy. Far from being one of the more high profile celebrities in the top 20, White’s acting credits include the 1997 superhero bomb Spawn, Jax Briggs in Mortal Kombat and Mike Tyson in the television movie Tyson for HBO. The 48-yeart old is often credited for doing his own stunts and matched with his Hollywood good looks, MJW might have the right amount of charisma and acrobatic ability to pull off a few WWE cameos.
10 Zoe Saldana
Sexy elegance, but with a kick. Actress Zoe Saldana might not be the face of female action films given her appearances in different colored flesh during Guardians of the Galaxy and Avatar, yet the 37-year old seems to blossom with age in hard-nosed blockbuster movies. Her headline role in the 2011 film Colombiana playing trained assassin Cataleya Restrepo told the world that she didn’t have to be covered head to toe in make up to convince people of her physical chops doing a lot of her own stunts. Would get a lot of attention in the middle of the ring for her acrobatics and style.
9 Tom Hardy
If there is a hotter acting talent right now, then we’d love to see them. Tom Hardy is an actor’s actor, taking a lot of method into his madness – sometimes quite literally! If Mad Max: Fury Road wasn’t enough to convince the doubters he has the proper action star chops, then his manic portrayals in Bronson, Warrior and Bane in The Dark Knight Rises put that to bed. The 38-year old Londoner is in the frame to fill Daniel Craig’s boots in the James Bond franchise, but if the WWE wanted to splash the cash and test his boundaries, why can’t we see Tom Hardy in the ring first?
8 Idris Elba
Anyone who can go from playing Stringer Bell on The Wire to Nelson Mandela deserves to be heralded. Idris Elba’s name has also been heavily linked with James Bond to become the first black actor to take on the iconic franchise, although those rumors seem to be unfounded according to the man himself. Action films are his remit these days with starring roles in Thor, Prometheus, Pacific Rim and many others. At 43 “Big Dris” is a British bulldog with stellar acting chops and a powerful presence that wouldn’t get lost in the middle of the WWE arena.
7 Javier Bardem
A little Española anyone? Spanish actor Javier Bardem’s Academy Award winning performance as Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men remains one of the most haunting characters in cinematic history and propelled the actor into the mainstream. His role as Raoul Silva in Skyfall didn’t fall far short of that benchmark, portraying a murderous psychopath with a bit too much ease. On initial viewing he looks like a charming, smooth individual interested in sipping wine on his yacht in Monaco, but these movies would suggest something entirely different.
6 Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
There is a lot to be excited about when Suicide Squad hits cinemas in August 2016. A new Joker in Jared Leto, a return to form possibly for Will Smith, and a stellar ensemble cast including Jai Courtney, Joel Kinnaman and Margot Robbie as the Joker’s love interest, Harley Quinn. But one character more than others threatens to steal the show – Killer Croc. Played by British actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Killer Croc cannibal reptilian is a giant of a creature that is sure to wreck havoc. The 48-year old has also appeared on Game of Thrones as well as playing Dave Duerson in the NFL drama Concussion.
5 Milla Jovovich
This exotic actress excels in action movies and her prowess on screen could only be matched by a stint in the ring where the toughest women are waiting for a contest. Jovovich’s role as Leelo in 1997’s The Fifth Element made her a star in Hollywood, matching Bruce Willis from start to finish in every scene she featured in. This allowed the 39-year old from the Soviet Union to lead the Resident Evil franchise, slicing and dicing her way in the films inspired by the video games. That smile is infectious and given the right backstory and costume, Milla Jovovich would light up the WWE.
4 Mike Colter
Best known right now for his depiction of Luke Cage in the Marvel television universe, Mike Colter is already putting the finishing touches on his own spin off series. The fact Colter was cast as the unbreakable man who can’t bleed speaks as much about his physique as anything. The 39-year old actors action credits include cameos in Zero Dark Thirty, Salt and Men In Black 3. If his performance in Luke Cage is even close to Jessica Jones, Colter could be lost to a hypothetical wrestling career forever because the suitors will be out in force to cast him in more regular roles.
3 Chris Hemsworth
Most celebrities in tinsel town become addicted to the fame and notoriety, but not Thor. The Aussie actor is jaded at Hollywood life and this latest revelation is an indication he is at somewhat of a crossroads. That could be an opening for WWE promoters to sway the Marvel superhero whose catalogue of hits include Star Trek, Rush, Snow White and the Huntsman and of course the Thor franchise. It’s a long way from his youth in Melbourne on the Australian soap Home and Away more than 10 years ago, with the 32-year old father of 3 looking to try something new in life. We’ll have to check the rules, but we don’t think you can bring a hammer to the ring, sorry Chris.
2 Jason Statham
The action anti-hero of his generation. Jason Statham’s long list of hits range from The Expendables, Fast & Furious, Transporter, Crank and a million other blockbusters with huge explosions, martial arts and fight scenes of fury. Once he announced himself to the world as the cockney knock-around Bacon on Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, there has been no looking back for the Englishman who can’t seem to stay out of the Hollywood limelight. We know he loves a physical confrontation taking on guys twice his size. All we need is a suitable attire and a proper wrestling name.
1 Vin Diesel
You could be forgiven for thinking Vin Diesel was far younger than his 48 years would suggest. The ripped American action hero would be called immediately if a biopic of a wrestlers life was to go onto the big screen, and given his full throttle approach to the Fast and Furious franchise we know full well he doesn’t do things at half measures. That intense stare would put the fright through any opponent in the ring and provided the right amount of training, Diesel could be a killer wrestler.