Top 10 Acting Performances by Wrestlers in Movies

Script written by Nick Spake. They’re already acting in the ring, so why not have them act on the screen too? Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 acting performances by wrestlers in movies. For this list, we’re recognizing real life professional wrestlers that have made appearances in movies, whether they had a leading role or a brief cameo. Special thanks to our users Craig Munster, John McCormack, Andrew A. Dennison, ShadowFalcon, Eugene Moses, Allen Lau, G.I., mrwwefantripleh and superdude78 for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Nick Spake.

Top 10 Acting Performances by Wrestlers in Movies


They’re already acting in the ring, so why not have them act on the screen too? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 acting performances by wrestlers in movies.

For this list, we’re recognizing real life professional wrestlers that have made appearances in movies, whether they had a leading role or a brief cameo. And to be clear, we’re ranking them based on the wrestlers’ performance, not the quality of the movie itself.

#10: Hulk Hogan
“Rocky III” (1982)

Being the most recognizable professional wrestler in the world and an unlikely thespian, Hulk Hogan had to make an appearance somewhere on this list. Among his various film roles, we’re going with his debut performance as Thunderlips in “Rocky III.” Towering over the Italian Stallion, Thunderlips throws Sylvester Stallone around the ring as if he were a ragdoll. Even the referee and security guards can’t restrain the wrestling machine. As always, though, good old Rocky never backs down and gives the diaper-wearing monster a run for his money.

#9: Big Show
“The Waterboy” (1998)

When 31-year-old Bobby Boucher loses his job as a water boy, he offers his services to his wrestling idol, Captain Insano. Big Show portrays Insano as a commanding titan with a mighty build and an even mightier mouth. After learning Bobby’s age, he opens up a can of whoop ass on the poor water boy’s feelings live on TV. Gee, Captain Insano shows no mercy whether he’s breaking your legs or your heart. In all fairness, though, we’d probably be laughing at Bobby too.

#8: ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin
“The Condemned” (2007)


A television producer purchases ten condemned crooks and plops them on an island for a battle to the death. Unfortunately for nine of the contestants, the tenth contender just so happens to be ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin as Jack Conrad. “The Condemned” might not have been a killer at the box office or merited the best reviews, but you’ve got to at least give Stone Cold a hell yeah here. With his trademark dead glare and cool delivery, he’s the last guy you’d want to play the Hunger Games against. And we’ve also gotta give him a nod for his time as Dan Paine in “The Expendables.”

#7: Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler
“Man on the Moon” (1999)

Professional wrestler Jerry Lawler allegedly shared an infamous rivalry with comedian Andy Kaufman in real-life. “Man on the Moon” depicts their relationship with Jim Carrey portraying Kaufman and Jerry Lawler portraying himself. The film touches on many actual events, most notably Lawler punching Kaufman out on “David Letterman” and Kaufman throwing a cup of coffee in his face. Although it looked like they hated each other, “Man on the Moon” clarified once and for all that the entire feud was staged. Behind the scenes, the two enemies were really good friends.

#6: Harold Sakata / Tosh Togo
“Goldfinger” (1964)

Has there ever been a more iconic movie henchman than Oddjob? Hell-bent on destroying his target and poised with class without ever totally upstaging “Goldfinger”’s main antagonist, Oddjob’s everything a good right-hand man should be. A professional wrestler like Harold Sakata, who went under the name Tosh Togo in the mid-20th century, was born to play this role, bringing both an intimidating physical presence and a certain degree of humor to a mostly silent part. And let’s not forget his deadly bowler cap, which could decapitate you in three seconds flat. Honestly, though, who throws a hat?

#5: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
“Fast Five” (2011)

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has had such a successful acting career that he’s been able to sell a movie without always using his ring name. While he demonstrated solid comedic range in “The Rundown”, his most memorable action role has got to be as Luke Hobbs in the “Fast & Furious” movies. Making his first appearance in “Fast Five,” Johnson fit in perfectly as an ex-bounty hunter determined to take in Dominic Toretto’s crew. Given their mutual love for everything macho, however, it isn’t long until Hobbs and Toretto become bros.

#4: Kane
“See No Evil” (2006)

Professional wrestlers are tailor-made to play action stars. They’re also the ideal vessel to bring raging psychopaths to life – at least according to this slasher flick. It shouldn’t come as a major shock that “See No Evil” was the first feature produced by WWE Films. The movie stars Kane as Jacob Goodnight, who can whip a chain, wield an axe, and hook a human being unlike any other. In a way, the film is an allegory for being stuck in a cage match with a disgruntled wrestler who isn’t afraid to fight dirty.

#3: Jesse Ventura
“Predator” (1987)

Arnold might have kicked the most ass and delivered the best one-liners in “Predator.” If any of his teammates could have given him a run for his money, however, it would be Jesse Ventura as Blain Cooper, a machine gun-loving, sexual tyrannosaurus who has no time to bleed. It’s a shame this awesome character didn’t get more screen time, but at least Ventura got to star alongside Arnold again a few months later in “The Running Man”.

#2: André the Giant
“The Princess Bride” (1987)


Although André the Giant was king of the ring in the world of wrestling, he was a mere peasant in “The Princess Bride.” Often described as a gentle giant, André couldn’t have been better suited to play the thickheaded, yet also resourceful, Fezzik. While he starts off working for the bad guys, this larger than life character eventually sees the light thanks to his innocence, sportsmanship, and oversized heart. Wherever you are now André, we hope you’re dreaming of large women.

Before we smack down our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Batista
“Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014)
- Kevin Nash
“Grandma’s Boy” (2006)
- Tyler Mane
“Halloween” (2007)
- Kurt Angle
“Warrior” (2011)

#1: ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper
“They Live” (1988)

In “They Live,” Roddy Piper’s John Nada looks like a wrestler, talks like a wrestler, and fights like a wrestler. Despite all of this, Piper manages to do the unthinkable: convince the audience that John Nada is not a pro wrestler, but an average nobody who becomes humanity’s last hope. Charismatic, funny, comfortable, and down-to-earth, it’s actually sort of surprising that Piper didn’t have a more prominent film career as an action star. “They Live” is proof that few performers can “kick ass and chew bubblegum” better than him.

Do you agree with our list? Who’s your favorite wrestler turned actor? For more entertaining top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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