New Movies – The Best Movies From Wrestlers-Turned-Actors
Professional wrestling demands not only physical strength, but acting skills, as well, and here are 10 wrestlers who later appeared in movies.
Conditioned by a sport requiring equal amounts of script-memorization, improvisational wherewithal, and an “X-factor” showmanship that simply can’t be taught, it’s no surprise that many of the best pro wrestlers have transitioned into film careers. In fact, some are even considered among the top movie stars working in Hollywood today.
The following ten examples are a demonstration of the “cream of the crop” movies that notable wrestlers have delivered. Whether as the marquee star or in a supporting-but-memorable capacity, a wrestler only loses their commitment if the script calls for it.
10 Southland Tales (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson)
When one opens their heart to the cult film phenomenon, they so easily embraced in support of its predecessor, they immediately realize that Southland Tales proves Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly was no one-hit-wonder. In the politically-charged satire, Johnson headlines as an amnesiac action star who teams up with an adult film actress (Sarah Michelle Gellar) to co-write the screenplay that will end World War III—and that’s just the tagline.
9 Grown Ups 2 (“Stone Cold” Steve Austin)
Just like John Wayne and Dean Martin’s classic western Rio Bravo, this fan-favorite hangout flick about dudes being dudes briefly became a bone-chiller for audiences when its disregarded villain returns with a vengeance.
Austin sufficed as heel-turned-chicken when, in the climactic fight scene, he shockingly surrendered to the Happy Madison Universe’s response to Dazed and Confused’s Randall “Pink” Floyd (Adam Sandler as Lenny Feder—yes, his Grown Ups character actually had a name).
8 Predator (Jesse Ventura)
2004 WWE Hall of Fame inductee Jesse Venture broke out into acting with a notable appearance alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers in the 1987 John McTiernan (Die Hard, The Thomas Crown Affair) action film.
As Blain, a minigun-wielding commando, “The Body” put his past exploits as a wrestler to use by demonstrating his aptitude for accepting vicious defeat, this time by way of the titular creature rather than a fellow ring warrior brother-in-arms.
7 Furious 7 (Ronda Rousey)
The former mixed martial artist and current wrestler’s few small but key film roles pale in comparison to her foray as Kara, the Head of Security for an Abu Dhabi billionaire in Furious 7.
While longtime Fast and Furious fans always coveted fights featuring franchise leaders Dom Torretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian Conner (Paul Walker) against old and new foes, Rousey’s head-to-head with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) holds up as one of the best “badasses in dresses” scenes in film history.
6 Trainwreck (John Cena)
His name may be John Cena. But, in Trainwreck, his name was Steven. In a small-but-laugh-out-loud role, Cena plays an overly affectionate casual hook-up of the film’s Golden Globe-nominated star and writer, Amy Schumer. Or so she thought.
When Cena realizes Amy is actually repulsed by every aspect about him sans his physique, he does not miss the chance to showcase a comedic arsenal that earned him respect as not just a body, but a Hollywood funny-man, as well.
5 The Princess Bride (Andre The Giant)
Incredibly so, Andre The Giant co-starred in Rob Reiner’s 1987 film during the same period when he was still headlining WrestleMania events.
A year after the 7-feet-tall “Eighth Wonder of the World” played Fezzik like only he could. He ultimately succumbed to congestive heart failure at the age of 46 in 1993, but not before endearing himself to movie fans just as he had with wrestling fanatics.
4 They Live (Roddy Piper)
Like many John Carpenter outings, one need not pay attention to They Live‘s initial reception. The sci-fi action horror commentary on commercialization and the ripple effect of a capitalism-dependent culture resonates today now more than ever—especially since it also stars a wrestler in the sole lead role, of which Roddy Piper was the first to do so.
In the film, Piper plays a drifter who discovers a pair of sunglasses that expose the fact thta aliens have made half the population their hosts and are producing subliminal messages via advertising.
3 The Wrestler (Ernest “The Cat” Miller)
The three-time World Championship Wrestling commissioner and former World Wrestling Entertainment performer played the in-ring nemesis to Randy “The Ram” (Mickey Rourke) in the Oscar-nominated 2008 film.
Rejecting medical advisement to cease all wrestling activities, The Ram agrees to a 20-years-in-the-making rematch against Miller’s on-screen persona, “The Ayatollah.” In spite of their hyped-up-rivalry, The Ayatollah’s genuine concern for The Ram when the latter begins to experience chest pain mid-bout is some unexpected “mano a mano” compassion only a seasoned wrestler could bring to the table.
2 Blade Runner 2049 (Dave Bautista)
In a 21st century prologue only matched by the likes of Inglorious Basterds and Skyfall, Bautista pays tribute to the former as Sapper Morton, a hulking, tiny eyeglasses-wearing replicant hiding in protein farm isolation until a blade-running Ryan Gosling strolls into town.
The latest in a recent trend of wrestlers-turned-movie-stars may have starred in a few MCU movies that have broken more bank at the box-office. But, when it comes to breathtaking cinematography (Roger Deakins), masterclass directing (Denis Villeneuve), and perfection-in-legacy-casting (Harrison Ford), Blade Runner 2049 reigns supreme among Bautista’s filmography.
1 The Godfather (Lenny Montana)
Perhaps even more fascinating than Lenny Montana’s first movie being arguably the greatest ever made, and his prior career as a pro wrestler is the gig he worked between the aforementioned. Cast as the hitman who would later iconically “sleep with the fishes,” Montana was only able to land the Godfather role thanks to his serving as a bodyguard on the Colombo crime family’s payroll at the time.
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New Movies – The Best Movies From Wrestlers-Turned-Actors
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