Wrestlers have been making cameos in movies for years, as early as the French Angel and as recently as Roman Reigns keeping his cousin Dwayne company in Hobbs And Shaw. Ox Baker tried to keep Snake from escaping New York. Even Hulk Hogan made a brief appearance in Gremlins 2. Hogan, of course has tried on more than once occasion to transition his wrestling superstardom over to the movies. It worked, but nowhere near the levels that he had hoped. Wrestling fans adore The Immortal One, but he never seemed to overcome looking like Hulk Hogan. Perhaps if shaved his head like the Rock....?
In either event, Hogan wasn’t the only one in his day, before it or after it that tried their hand in movies and television. Even for superstars who absolutely adore being in the ring, the equation is an easy one - make a huge amount of money for a few days’ worth of work and take no bumps or make that same amount of money in a few years’ time loading up that bump card. Some guys make a smash in Hollywood and seldom look back, but most always return to their roots, even when their megastars like John Cena or a certain Great One.
10 They Live (Rowdy Roddy Piper)
Leave it to the Hot Rod himself to wind up delivering one of the most quotable action lines of all time - “I’ve come here to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and I’m all out of bubble gum.” Shortly after his “retirement” match at WrestleMania III, Piper began working with John Carpenter for the soon to be cult-classic, They Live. If you haven’t seen the movie, first - what’s wrong with you?! and second, it’s a great social commentary sci-fi movie. It was when it was first released, and it is still relevant today.
9 The Princess Bride (Andre The Giant)
There are maybe a handful of movies throughout all of time that should be considered a “perfect movie.” The Princess Bride is one of them. The endearing film has become one of the premier love stories, fantasy films, and comedies all rolled into one. The heart of the movie however, actually comes from largest heart that ever walked into the ring. Despite his failing health, Andre The Giant was honored to be part of this movie and brought the laughs as the colossus, Fezzik.
8 Guardians Of The Galaxy (Batista)
Batista left the WWE and was trying to really make it on his own as an actor. He did just that when he was cast in Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy. Amongst a cast of talented actors, he stole the show as Drax.
Batista was able to show his dramatic chops when Drax lamented over his family’s murder. He also got to show a ton of comedy, a trait that has only been increased for Drax with each subsequent MCU appearance.
7 Ed Wood (George The Animal Steele)
In a massive meta casting, Tim Burton cast Hall Of Famer George The Animal Steele to play wrestler/actor Tor Johnson, The Swedish Angel in the movie, Ed Wood. As the former Midwest Wrestling Champion, The Animal got to play on the big screen with guys like the incomparable Bill Murray and Johnny Depp, right as Depp was closing in on the verge of greatness.
6 Blockers (John Cena)
John Cena is doing his best to follow in the steps of the Great One in Hollywood. He’s even recently started filming a Fast And The Furious movie. Cena also has some great comedic range, and like the Great One, he doesn’t mind making a fool of himself for a laugh or three. That’s something that happens to him a lot in Blockers. It’s a silly teen comedy, but Cena despite wrestling crowds chanting “Cena Sucks,” is actually very likable in the role of a dad trying to stop his daughter from trying to lose her virginity.
5 The Godfather (The Zebra Kid)
There is no debate about it. As far as movies go, for a lot of fans The Godfather and The Godfather II are both 1 and 1A as far as greatest movies of all time go. But only one of them features a former professional wrestler. Ol’ Luca Brasi himself who rehearsed what he’d say Don Corleone for seemingly hours waiting to speak with him; was played by Lenny Montana. For twenty years, prior to The Godfather, Montana worked as the Zebra Kid.
4 The Wrestler (Ernest The Cat Miller)
While all of Hollywood heralded The Wrestler as the return of Mickey Rourke, few critics praised the performance of the charismatic Ernest Miller. Wrestling fans know full well that it takes two to tango in the ring. Miller played Randy’s arch-nemesis during the eighties boom period - the nefarious Ayatollah.
In real life, twenty years later, he’s just Bob. Unlike Randy, clinging to former glory, Bob have moved on to have a successful business and family for himself, but he still doesn’t mind coming of retirement for The Ram to have one last grudge match.
3 G.I. Joe (Sgt. Slaughter)
When Sgt. Slaughter turned heel and declared his love of Saddam Hussein, it might have been the gut-wrenching heel turn in history. He didn’t just turn his back on the fans, he turned his back on his country. Thankfully, you could have and still can pop in the G.I. Joe movie to relive Sarge’ at his finest. At one point, from a pop culture standpoint, Slaughter was a huge star, and his weekly appearances on the show and the in the movie taking on Cobra were a huge reason for that.
2 Magic Mike (Kevin Nash)
In a film about male strippers, you need include a guy nicknamed “Big Sexy,” don’t you? As Tarzan in Magic Mike, Nash shows that he has come a long way from playing Super-Shredder.
Fans of the movie were enthralled by the seven-foot monster, even after they realized that in reality, he’s actually a silver-haired superstar.
1 The Peanut Butter Falcon (Mick Foley)
Leave it to one of the most endearing wrestlers of all time to take part in the most earnest and heartfelt film about wrestling of all time. Everybody wants to live their dreams, and that’s exactly what The Peanut Butter Falcon is about. The film is about a young boy who has Down Syndrome, but he is still determined to become a professional wrestler.