Wrestlers turned actors made their iconic presence known in Tinsel Town. Ever since the brawlers of WWE started gaining attention in the media, their huge stature and their charismatic in-ring persona was deemed worthy for the silver screen. What began as acromegaly-induced giants being used as henchmen for stereotypical villains, soon gave way to big names of the squared circle getting movies where they were in the lead role.
While the years rolled on, WWE became a bridge for promising talent to venture into the acting world. While some solidified their presence in Hollywood, there were those who had to turn back with disappointment, still smarting from bombed movies. Prior to jumping on to the top 10 WWE wrestlers turned actors, here are the note-worthy mentions :
- Andre the Giant
- Roddy Piper
- Triple H
- Bill Goldberg
- Big Show
#10. Dean Ambrose (Jon Moxley)
Coming down into the squared circle with his Shield brethren, The Lunatic Fringe of WWE, Dean Ambrose debuted in the company on 18 November, 2012. Quite successful in the squared circle, with championships like the United States Championship, Intercontinental Championship and the WWE championship,Dean is a familiar name.
Currently working in the AEW as John Moxley, The Unstable One had also made it into the movie screens . His best film till date remains 12 Rounds 3 : Lockdown, while he starred in an uncredited role in Countdown. Dean has been cast in a new movie, named Cagefighter : worlds Collide , that his the theaters on 16 May, 2020.
#9 . Hulk Hogan
Known as ‘The Immortal‘, one of the greatest names of sports entertainment to join the movies was Hulk Hogan. Arguably the best wrestler to defeat the Giant Andre, Hulkster had captured the then-WWF title several times, in his glorious career. He also has wrestled for 9 years in the Grandest Stage of them All, WrestleMania, at a stretch.
Hogan’s best performance in the movie remains the part of Thunderlips that he played in Rocky III, in 1982. He has been cast in several movies owing to his charisma of the ring and his All-American character he maintained.
His other movies include Baywatch, The A-Team, The Ultimate Weapon, The Goldbergs, The ’80s called, American Dad! among others.
#8. Randy Orton
The Apex Predator of WWE has been prowling and hunting since his debut on 16 March 2002. A 3rd generation superstar, Randy Orton started making his presence felt by going after the greats of WWE like Ric Flair and Rowdy Roddy Piper.
Joining the evolution with Batista, Randy went on to capture the WWE world heavyweight title, being the youngest one to do, as well as the WWE title 9 times. One of the highest paid wrestlers today, The Viper slithered into Hollywood, starting with his movie, That’s What I Am.
His best movie till date remains 12 Rounds 2 : Reloaded. Orton has also been cast in other movies like The Condemned 2, Countdown, Long Shot. His latest movie, Changeland, opposite Seth Green, came out in 2019.
#7. Kevin Nash
The Big Daddy Cool of WWE, was a famous name in WWF in the 90’s. Coming into the business in 1993, Kevin Nash has held the prestigious WWE and WCW world title several times. The Diesel formed an alliance with Scott Hall and the Hulkster , creating The New World Order.
Like any Wrestlers turned actors, Nash signed movie contracts, an offer rarely denied. Starring in several movies like The Punisher, The Longest Yard, Grandma’s Boy, DOA: Dead or Alive, John Wick, Nash became a frequent face in the action movie genre.
His best role remains that of Guard Englehart, in the 2004 ensemble cast movie, The Longest Yard.
Dave Bautista arrived at WWE on 9 May, 2002. Between winning the WWE title, and joining Evolution, Batista was slowly becoming a name to make superstars wary.
The Animal’s fabled Batista Bomb was a devastating powerbomb that left strewn, scores of fallen wrestlers in his wake. A 6 time world champion, Batista was a force to reckon during his time in the ring.
He then left to traverse the risky path of making it big in Hollywood. His role of Drax the Destroyer, in MCU’s Guardian of the Galaxy remains his best performance till date.
Batista has reprised his role in the following movies of Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Avengers : Infinity War and the 2019 blockbuster, Avengers : Endgame, becoming one of the most successful Wrestlers turned actors.
Kane was a monstrous presence, back in his wrestling days. His 7′ stature and catastrophic Choke Slam was the reason Jerry Lawler has commented, “I wouldn’t like to face Kane on any night”.
Kane’s victory over The Texas Rattlesnake, Steve Austin to win the WWE championship, catapulted him into the arena of the greats.
A 3 time WWE champion, Kane debuted in the movies with the 2006 horror, See No Evil, a big success in the box office. He followed it up with a sequel to that movie in 2014, in See No Evil 2. His final movie till date remains Countdown, in 2016.
#4. The Miz
The Awesome One debuted in WWE back in 2006. Having done stints in MTV previously, show business came to The Miz naturally.
From headlining WrestleMania 27 to winning the WWE title several times, Mike Mizanin came to be known as the A-Lister.
Turning his attention towards Hollywood, he debuted with the movie The Campaign, in 2012, playing himself. Miz took the franchise of WWE Networks produced The Marine franchise to new heights, starting with Marine 3. He went on to star in 3 more sequels of the franchise while acting in many other successful movies .
#3. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
Stone Cold Steve Austin is the name that comes to mind when one recalls the bygone Attitude Era. The Texas Rattlesnake was one of the most brazen talkers in the mic and even better performer inside the ring. Having a problem with taking order from the authority his entire career, Austin’s feuds with authorities have been legendary.
He went on to star in movies and made a huge name for himself in there with his biggest movie being the ensemble cast starrer, The Expendables.
His filmography includes others like The Longest Yard, The Condemned, Damage, T Recoil, Knockout, Tactical Force, Maximum Conviction, The Package, and others.
#2. John Cena
The PhD in Thuganomics , John Cena was picked up for the WWE upon his small time bouts in even smaller towns came under the notice of a talent hunter for the company.
Arguably, almost every person who has heard of WWE , has heard of the Leader of Cenation. A 16 time WWE champion, a record tied with The Nature Boy, John Cena has been Adjusting Attitudes and winning hearts.
He began his movie career with the WWE produced The Marine, in 2005, and has gone on to star in several big movies. The most popular of his films include Bumblebee, Daddy’s Home 2 and Fast and Furious 9. Cena as rumored to have been cast in the Suicide Squad for an undisclosed role, that was initially planned for Batista.
#1. The Rock
The Bhrahma Bull was a third generation superstar who debuted in the WWE, hoping to make a name for himself. The Rock is considered one of the greatest wrestlers to ever walk down the aisle to the ring.
Ending matches with The Rockbottom or winning the crowd with The People’s Elbow, The Rock had a persona to attract his strongest haters. During his stay in WWE itself, The Rock was offered roles from the Hollywood, his first movie being The Mummy Returns.
Of the Wrestlers turned actors, the most successful today, is The Rock. He went on to act in several movies, reprising his role as The Scorpion King in the prequel to Mummy 2. His Fast and Furious franchise is one of the highest earning franchises in Hollywood today.
One of the highest paid actors today, The Rock is the richest WWE superstar with a net worth of approximately $220 million.