This weekend, America will see the 32nd edition of
the granddaddy of them all the greatest spectacle in sports entertainment today, WrestleMania. Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why is this here?” Isn’t CoS a place for music and film coverage? Yes, it is, but a number of our staff also happen to be avid fans of the form and sordid history of pro wrestling in the US and elsewhere, so a few of them have come together to find a context in which “rasslin” can be discussed as organically as possible.
Also, and this is key to the piece you’re about to read: There’s a lot of overlap between Hollywood and the squared circle. A number of professional wrestlers over the years have set out to make their fortunes in an equally performative industry, to wildly mixed returns. In honor of this decades-old tradition, we’ve set out to rank the best (and worst) (and briefest) performances by professional wrestlers in mainstream movies.
Some criteria: The emphasis is on “mainstream” movies for this article’s purposes. That means wide release. So, all those VOD thrillers starring the various strongmen of yesterday and today aren’t included. Nor are scenarios in which wrestlers played themselves. The one exception to this is Hulk Hogan, who is and can only ever be Hulk Hogan, and accordingly has been Hulk Hogan or some iteration thereof in most of his onscreen roles. Also, we had to cap The Rock’s output at his in-ring retirement; he’s just been too prolific over the years.
So tuck in, and get ready for a walk through some of the weirdest, most inexplicable pieces of acting you’ve ever seen in your life. A couple of them are even great movies.