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The 9 Best (and 3 Worst) Wrestlers-Turned-Actors of All Time

Hulk Hogan said, "When the script for 'The Wrestler' kept coming to me I said, This movie is so good if you put me in the film as a wrestler people are going to say, 'No credibility, Hulk Hogan isn't a good actor,' whatever Hollywood thinks of me." 

Above Image:  G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Roadblock (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson)

So, even Hulk Hogan agrees wrestlers aren't good actors. Many say, since professional wrestling is fake, they're already great actors.

John Batista is playing Drax the Destroyer in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy. This is a pretty tall order, because Drax is deeply emotional character with a troubled history. Drax and his family were killed by Thanos and he was recreated as the champion to destroy Thanos.

Will he do a good job? It's hard to say, but looking back at the history of wrestlers-turned-actors they don't have a good track record.  Here are the nine best (and three worst) wrestlers who have tried to become actors.

1. The Rock (Dwayne Johnson)
Scorpion King (2002) Mathayus (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson)

"Can you smeeeell what the Rock is cooking?!" When The Rock broke on the scene, his toothy smile, cocked eyebrow and charming personality captivated everyone in the wrestling world. Even if you're not into wrestling you've heard of the Rock. He had a couple of acting roles outside the ring, but it was when he appeared in The Mummy Returns (2001) that he broke out. Since then he's taken a bunch of great roles from comedy to drama. We'll forgive him for Tooth Fairy (2010) since he gave us Fast Five (2011) and the upcoming G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2012), but if he does Tooth Fairy 2 all bets are off.
Best: The Game Plan

2. Sgt. Slaughter (Bob Remus)
G.I. Joe: The Movie (1987) Sargent Slaughter
Sgt. Slaughter is a legend in the wrestling world, but in the 80s he took on a more legendary status. He played a character on the animated G.I.Joe series. He was great. In the G.I. Joe Movie (1987) he played a drill Sergeant with the task of whipping those soft Joe boys into shape. Whether he's barking orders on the mat, or on the big screen, Sgt. Slaughter delivered. He even appeared on the Super Mario Bros Super Show with "Captain Lou" Albano. More on that later...
Best: G.I. Joe The Movie

3. Tosh Taga (Harold Sakata)
Goldfinger (1964) Oddjob (Harold Sakata)

A former American Olympic weightlifter, this Hawaiian born wrestler is one of the greats for his single greatest role: Oddjob in Goldfinger. His performance as the mute hat-throwing bodyguard was so iconic Mike Myers parodied him in Austin Powers: Man of Mystery. Admittedly, he was mute, so he wasn't exactly doing Shakespeare. But he co-starred in William Shatner's movie Impulse and guest starred on a Gilligan's Island episode. In 1971, Sakata even had a regular role on the short-lived TV series, Sarge with George Kennedy. Not bad for an old 70s wrestler.
Best: Goldfinger

4. Joshua Ben-Gurion—The Israeli Commando (Scott L. Schwartz)
Star Trek: Enterprise, Orion (Scott L. Schwartz), T'Pol (Jolene Blalock)

Schwartz is a name you've probably never heard unless you're into 80s wrestlers, but you've seen his face dozens of times.  Just try and remember the 6' 8" big guy with a goatee and it's probably him. He's been in Spider-man, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, The Scorpion King and The Tick. His most recognizable role is 'The Bruiser' from Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen. Being big, quick and able to speak coherently makes him the perfect thug.
Best: Ocean's Eleven

5. Andre the Giant (Andre Roussimoff)
The Princess Bride (1987), Fezzik (Andre the Giant)
Andre the Giant was a giant of a man, but also had a giant heart. As a wrestler, his size and lumpy face made him the perfect villain, but it was his personality that shined as the loveable Fezzik in The Princess Bride. My favorite scene was when he thoughtfully explains why he's having trouble fighting one man, while pummeling the "Dread Pirate" Wesley (Wes Anderson) against a rock. Sadly, he passed away many years ago. Rest well Andre, and dream of large women.
Best: The Princess Bride

6. Hulk Hogan (Terry Gene Bollea)
Suburban Commando (1991) Shep Ramsey (Hulk Hogan)
Hulk Hogan has conquered the world of television and movies even though he hasn't made a single worthwhile movie in his career. Why? Because he's Hulk Hogan! His personality is legendary! Anyone that can do Mr. Nanny (1993) and still get work deserves an Oscar.
Best: Thunder in Paradise

8. "Macho Man" Randy Savage (Randy Mario Poffo)
Spider-Man (2002) "Bone Saw" McGraw (Macho Man)

"Oh Yeah!" Randy "Macho Man" Savage had the most distinctive voice in the world. When he spoke it was like one part honey and two parts gravel. Which is why his greatest role was in Spider-Man (2002) as "Bone Saw" McGraw. His huge muscles and greasy-looking hair made him look like a psychopath, but it was his voice that made him great. I still love the part when he says, "Hey freak show! You're goin' nowhere! I got you for three minutes! Three minutes of playtime!"

Plus, he did the "Slim Jim" commercials. I love those.
Best: Spider-Man 

9. Wee Willie (William Davis)

One of the first successful "wrestler-turned actors" William "Wee Willie" Davis appeared in dozens of movies from Mighty Joe Young (1949) to Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion (1950). So, he's already a classic of science-fiction movie actors. Plus, he invented the Glowmeter, an early Heads up display that projected a cars speed onto the windshield. I can't say much for him other than he has a face only a mother, or casting agent, could love.
Best: Mighty Joe Young

Most wrestlers are terrible actors, but these are the worst of the worst.

1. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (Steven James Anderson)
The Expendables (2010) Stone Cold Steve Austin
The best "Stone Cold" Steve Austin can do is play "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.  His best non-wrestling roles were as himself on the animated series Death Match and The Bernie Mac Show. Other than that, he's mainly done direct-to-video garbage like The Condemned (2007) and Tactical Force (2011). We have the capability to build the world's worst actor.
Worst: The Condemned

2. Capt Lou Albano (Louis Vincent Albano)
Super Mario Bros Super Show (1989) Capt Lou Albano

One of the most captivating wrestlers in history, Louis Vincent Albano has done a bunch of acting roles, but his greatest crime was as the plumber Mario in the live-action sequences for the kid's show The Super Mario Brothers Super Show. He told kids to "do the Mario!" It was less a dance than a fat guy swinging his arms and jiggling in place for three minutes.

If you've never seen it then watch the video, but be warned, what has been seen cannot be unseen.
Worst: The Super Mario Brothers Super Show

3. Jeep Swenson (Robert Alexander Swenson)
Batman & Robin (1997) Bane (Jeep Swenson)
While The Dark Knight Rises (2012) brought Bane out of obscurity, his first appearance was in the terrible Batman & Robin (1997). This was the worst villain, much less Bane, performance ever. Grunting, growling and throwing Bat-Signals around, he was the single reason people thought Bane would suck in The Dark Knight Rises.

Thank goodness for Tom Hardy.
Worst: Batman & Robin

Do you think wrestlers can be great actors?What's the best or worst acting performance you've seen from a wrestler?
[Image Source: /Film]

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  1. I don't think I would have put Hulk Hogan on the good list. Or Sgt Slaughter. A fun fact is that Liam Neeson auditioned for the role in The Princess Bride that Andre the Giant won.

  2. Andre the Giant was the best.
    No Jesse The Body Ventura?

    1. Good call Alex! He deserves, at least an honorable mention.

  3. The best performance for me by The Rock was Fast Five and now Snitch. Forget Game Plan ever happened as that filmed sucked like Tooth Fairy. I hope he never ever does another Disney flick. :D

    1. I haven't seem all his movies but I liked The Game Plan because it showed a range of comedy and drama. He was awesome in Fast Five though. Bigger muscles than Vin Diesel!

  4. I agree with The Rock being number one. I would have put Andre at number two. I was surprised John Cena didn't make the "bad list."

  5. i love the bad ones... steve austin was on chuck [nbc]... i liked him in that... didn't i...

  6. they had good morals... in the end!

  7. i don't got time to bleed...

  8. The Rock has definitely been the best. Jesse Ventura could have made the bad list. He was in one of the worst movies I ever saw... I want my eyes back! lol

  9. Nathan Jones tanked as a wrestler but was a convincing dead-in-a-minute-against-Achilles presence in Troy. Roddy Piper is all out of chewing gum! And actually, Wade Barrett accounts pretty well for himself in the new Dead Man Down.

  10. Jesse ain't got time to bleed! He actually named one of his books that.

  11. Lucky for us all, Tooth Fairy 2 was taken by Larry the Cable Guy. Yeah.

  12. Honestly it should be 8 best as Hulk Hogan was never a good actor. His best stuff was in the squared circle.

  13. I was going to put George in, but he hadn't really done a lot of work. Then again playing an actor in the worst movie probably counts for something. As for Magic Mike that would put him in both categories at once depending on your view of the movie. Thanks for the comment David!

  14. Roddy Piper in They Live > everyone else.


Thanks for commenting!.