Most wrestlers want to branch out and become bigger stars in the entertainment industry outside of wrestling. It makes sense since they already have a history of performing and acting in a high-pressure situation in front of live crowds every week. The stability that comes from a successful career in acting is also far more reliable than the life of a pro wrestler relying on athleticism. Many talented wrestlers would get their chance to showcase their acting chops in Hollywood.
Unfortunately, most wrestlers to try acting outside of wrestling have been met with disappointment. It wasn’t until recent history that talents like The Rock and Batista would take their acting careers to the next level to represent the wrestling industry. We will look at movies from both sides of the coin to involved wrestlers. These are the five best movies and the five worst movies to feature a pro wrestler with a relevant role.
10 Best: Fast Five (The Rock)
The Rock joining the Fast and the Furious movie franchise was a huge boost for both his career and the movie's brand. Before Fast Five, Rock was struggling to forge an identity due to landing mostly lackluster roles without much success. Fast Five helped elevate Dwayne Johnson's status to a truly top tier star.
This film helped remind fans that the Furious franchise was a lot of fun and it set a new standard as a massive success. Rock has remained involved in the franchise for three more movies and a new spin-off for his character. The importance of this role and Rock’s general entertainment led to huge success.
9 Worst: Jingle All the Way 2 (Santino)
WWE Films has produced some of the worst movies in recent memory. One of the films to stand out for all the wrong reasons is Jingle All the Way 2. The first Jingle All the Way movie was a fun holiday movie that still gets play every December.
WWE found a way to produce the sequel with none of the original actors. Santino made his acting debut in the film along with co-star Larry the Cable Guy. The movie was a huge disappointment with both viewers and critics, with many wondering why it was even made.
8 Best: Blockers (John Cena)
John Cena is finally starting to break into Hollywood with a steady stream of acting roles coming his way. Cena's part-time status in WWE is starting to dwindle down, allowing time to focus on acting.
Blockers provided an important opportunity to help Cena prove could thrive as an actor. Cena was one of the lead stars of the comedy about parents attempting to prevent their kids from having too much fun on prom night. Blockers was a critical and box office success with Cena receiving huge praise for his comedy.
7 Worst: 3 Ninjas: High Noon At Mega Mountain (Hulk Hogan)
Hulk Hogan desperately tried to find the success in Hollywood that The Rock and Batista have achieved today. Hogan hoped to become a leading star after an entertaining turn in Rocky III. Hogan unfortunately only received roles in terrible movies that were entertaining for the wrong reasons.
3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain stands out as one of the worst roles accepted by Hogan. The 3 Ninjas franchise had found success with a younger demographic but Hogan appears in arguably the worst of the four entries. It was an embarrassing performance with Hogan playing the forgettable Dave Dragon.
6 Best: Spider-Man (Randy Savage)
Randy Savage scored an acting role in an iconic movie that helped shape the future of the superhero genre. Spider-Man was the first major movie about Peter Parker and the expectations were huge for the film. Savage portrays a wrestler named Bonesaw McGraw.
Spider-Man used his powers to wrestle and defeat Bonesaw in a wrestling match to earn money. It led to a bigger scene in the movie, but Savage’s role was important as well. Even in death, the legacy of Savage lives today through Spider-Man.
5 Worst: Santa’s Slay (Goldberg)
Goldberg tried to get into acting after his poor run with WWE back in 2003-2004. The hope to break out in Hollywood would see a few solid roles, but most of his opportunities in a lead role left a lot to be desired.
Santa’s Slay is the holiday movie that Goldberg hoped would find mainstream success. Goldberg played a demonic version of Santa attempting to ruin Christmas for many rather than provide gifts. The cheesy horror movie was a huge disappointment and one of the worst holiday movies of all-time.
4 Best: They Live (Roddy Piper)
Back in the 80s, Roddy Piper received an incredible role as the lead actor of the entertaining movie They Live. The movie's director, John Carpenter, felt Piper and Keith David were the best two actors for the lead roles. The movie features a science fiction theme packed with social commentary.
They Live produced mixed results during release but become more popular throughout the years. New fans enjoy the movie while developing an appreciation for Piper. The movie featured one of the better roles by an actor.
3 Worst: Tooth Fairy (The Rock)
The Rock struggled to find impressive roles in the early portion of his acting career. Before he became the highest-grossing actor in the world, Rock was forced to take disappointing movies like starring in Tooth Fairy. This movie featured him playing a hockey player with the nickname of the Tooth Fairy for knocking the teeth out of his opponents.
A twist sees Rock’s character forced to become the Tooth Fairy as punishment for his selfish actions. It is viewed as a terrible movie and almost doomed Rock’s career. John Cena even mocked him for the role during their WWE feud.
2 Best: Guardians of the Galaxy (Batista)
The best instance of a wrestler thriving in a great movie has to be Batista getting to portray Drax the Destroyer in Guardians of the Galaxy. Many pundits were surprised to see a former wrestler with minimal experience getting a huge role in an MCU film.
Batista hit a home run as Drax and Guardians of the Galaxy was a smash hit. The franchise became another top priority for Marvel with a second successful sequel and a third in the plans. Batista even got to be a part of the significant Avengers films.
1 Worst: Blade: Trinity (Triple H)
Triple H proved that not any wrestler will thrive after getting an appearance in a superhero film. Marvel character Blade received a movie franchise with Wesley Snipes playing the vampire hunter. The Blade franchise had two hit movies leading to Blade: Trinity with Triple H in it.
Unfortunately for Triple H, Blade: Trinity was the only movie of the three to be viewed negatively. It was a huge bust with the franchise ending after this disappointing entry. Triple H’s acting desires took a huge hit with fewer roles coming his way after this failure.