Action A Go Go’s very own Chris Campbell has put together a top 10 list for the ages…or more to the point, the 10 TEN GREATEST WRESTLERS TURNED ACTORS OF ALL TIME! So sit back, relax, and enjoy as we take you on a wild ride to find out just who is the greatest wrestler turned actor ever….BROTHER!
10. Triple H
The Cerebral Assassin, The King of Kings, The Measuring Stick of the Business, and Co-founder of Degeneration X, Triple H found his place in the main event in 1999 and managed to take part in some of the most memorable moments of the wrestling boom.  Although prestige followed him into the 2000s, his acting career has been more or less scattershot in success compared to his peers Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock.  Appearing in the fan-loathed Blade: Trinity as a lead henchmen did very little to aid the film and may very well have been the final nail in the coffin of the franchise.  He would later star in the film The Chaperone and with Michael Rappaport (True Romance, Metro).  Despite laying claim to WWE Universe, he has yet to find that solid role to propel him to stardom.

9.  Bill Goldberg

The former gridiron gladiator who conquered WCW with tackles and body-slams brought his game face to Hollywoodbefore the colossal failure of Ready to Rumble.  The former world heavyweight champion starred in Universal Soldier: The Return opposite of star Jean Claude Van Damme. He also took up Steven Segal’s franchise Half Past Dead by headlining the straight to home video sequel and played a role in the remake of the Longest Yard along side Bob Sapp, The Great Khali, Kevin Nash, and Stone Cold Steve Austin.  From there, Goldberg found a lot of minor roles in Hollywood, voice acting in the likes of Family Guy, Kim Possible and appearing in shows like Desperate Housewives and Pros vs. Joes.  His ferocity in the ring will be remembered while his acting credits slowly grow over time.
A still from his Universal Soldier: The Return.
Here we have Goldberg Just being Goldberg!

8. The Miz

The Miz was a former reality show star who managed to run a seemingly impossible gauntlet.  From the Real World to World Wrestling Entertainment, the blue chipper had an uncanny knack for showmanship that certainly has led him to great heights.   Prior to his Wrestlemania main event with John Cena, The Miz starred in the third sequel of the Marine franchise, replacing Randy Orton (who would later star in 12 Rounds: 2). The Miz has appeared briefly in other films such as Will Farrell and Zack Galifianakis’ The Campaign and the French documentary film Les reines.  He is currently set to star in the film Christmas Bounty.

A still image from The Marine 3: Homefront.

7. John Cena

Hardcore wrestling fans deem him the new Hulk Hogan in terms of his workrate and repetitive move-set while women and children everywhere love him for his tenacity and resilience.   Everyone has an opinion, but there is one fact: John Cena has been a saving grace to WWE and has helped the company branch out into many different territories of advertising and public relations (The most recent feat being the breast cancer awareness movement).  However, John Cena, similar to the Hulkster, doesn’t have a great filmography despite a physique and persona that screams silver screen appeal. His first attempt was a WWE film called 12 Rounds followed by The Marine(another WWE effort), which had a credible amount of action but failed to garner praise box office wise (It managed to make a sufficient profit in DVD and digital sales).  His presence has been felt across the realm of TV, but he’s still trying to make waves on the big screen while keeping Vince McMahon and the WWE at large in a safe spot as its stalwart.

A still from The Marine.
6. DDP

Diamond Dallas Page, like many other successful wrestlers, made the jump to mainstream entertainment.  Nowadays his infomercial driven Yoga for Regular Guys program is giving Billy Blanks’ Tai-Bo and The Insanity Program a run for their money.  But prior to that, Diamond Dallas Page tag teamed with stars like Jay Leno and Carl Malone before he tossed up the Diamond (until Jay-Z Lawsuit years later) on the big screen in the WCW star-studded cult classic Ready to Rumble with David Arquette (Cougartown), Scott Caan (Hawaii Five O), and Oliver Platt.  Filled with mixture of actors as well as WCW wrestlers like Booker T,  Sting, Konnan, Billy Kidman, Van Hammer, Curt Henning, and Rey Mysterio, Diamond Dallas Page played the lead henchmen in the movie to the main antagonist Titus St. Claire (Joe Pantoliano of Bad Boys, The Matrix), which saw Page battle real-life rival Bill Goldberg and David Arquette in a towering steel cage (Sadly, WCW decided to replicate the mediocrity of the film by having Arquette beat Diamond Dallas Page in real life to become the WCW World Heavyweight Champion during the Monday Night Wars).  Page has since garnered a feasibly sufficient filmography that includes his role in Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects, Rat Race, and Nice Guys among others.

5. Batista

The Nation’s Capital’s own Dave Bautista, the Animal who went from undercard lackey to World Heavyweight Champion, has been a diamond in the rough in his wrestling career as well as his acting pursuits.  Ever since his departure from WWE after a decade of diligence (with the last three years of him headlining major pay-per-view events, including exhilarating feuds against The Undertaker, Edge, and John Cena), Batista found his first acting credit in Scorpion King 3, leading the cast along with Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy, Pacific Rim).  Since then, Batista has found stardom in the RZA’s debut film, Man with the Iron Fists, playing the gold armored warrior, and manages to learn a thing or two acting wise from co-star Russell Crowe while showing his physical traits with his director (RZA plays the titular role).  To the shock of everyone, Dave Bautista, as of this writing, landed the biggest and most prolific role of his film career as Drax the Destroyer in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film.  With this film set well into Phase 2 and Thanos (Drax’s mortal enemy for the superhero fans) emphasized as the major antagonist of the Marvel Cosmic realm, it seems Batista is on his way to becoming a star like Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger), Jeremy Renner (The Town, The Avengers), and so many others who have appeared in Marvel superhero films.

Still from The Man With The Iron Fists.
4. Hulk Hogan

The Legend; the Icon; the Immortal One: Hulk Hogan.  Prior to reality TV (Hogan Knows Best) and messy court cases, Hulk Hogan was the grand symbol of a generation that admired larger than life heroes.  Hulk Hogan not only came into that limelight in the vain of his idol, Superstar Billy Graham, but was the first to make the jump into entertainment at a time when pro-wrestling was extolled around the world.  From the 1980s to the 1990s Hulk Hogan’s acting career took off like his wrestling matches: Built towards compelling points (particularly his role in Rocky III as Thunderlips) but had some rough spots (No Holds Barred with Tommy “Tiny” Liste.)  He also found success in Television with Thunder in Paradise and guest appearances on popular classics such as The A-Team, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, and Walker: Texas Ranger.  In addition to that, Hogan has numerous cameos in different films ranging from Gremlins 2 to Muppets From Space, and continues to gain work beyond the wrestling ring with roles in American Dad, China IL, and his most recent film, Gnomeo and Juliet.

A still from the fondly remembered Thunder in Paradise.
3. Steve Austin

The Texas Rattlesnake who went from dock loading to absolute stardom had a credible rise in Hollywood.  From his appearances on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to his role in the survival action film The Condemned, Steve Austin managed to bring his burly and belligerent venom to the big screen playing anti-heroes and sinister scumbags.  His most recent claim was not only starring second to Eric Roberts in The Expendables, but managing to body slam Sylvester Stallone on set (second wrestler to accomplish it) and mix it up with UFC Legend Randy Couture in their hellish fight scene in the film.   The WWE Hall of Famer who brought Attitude to Pro Wrestling and pop culture in the late 1990s enjoys a stable career of straight to home video features that have found ground in digital sales and Netflix numbers while, like many grapplers, still waiting for the next big thing to come around.

Yeah…I think this guy qualifies.

2. Macho Man Randy Savage

Whether it’s the hair, the deep, raspy voice, or the sheer charisma he exuded in and out of the squared circle, the late Macho Man Randy Savage represented the end of the classic era of wrestling but became a timeless icon for his Slim Jim commercials, catchphrases, ring attire, and a tremendous legacy imitated by many wrestlers (most notably Jay Lethal and CM Punk).   He also took his in-ring persona to a lot of places.  Besides Ready to Rumble, Randy Savage found his place in a very special episode of Dexter”s Laboratory, playing the intergalactic ruler Rasslor.  Comedic in execution, but clever in dialogue, Savage delivered a very memorable performance for a classic animated series. Randy Savage would go on to make history playing the role of Bonesaw McGraw, the first major obstacle for Tobey Maguire in the now iconic Spider-Man motion picture in the early 2000s.   Not only did Savage play an important role in Spider-Man’s origin, but he played the role tremendously without fail or selfishness, giving the film the legs it needed and providing fans and critics with one of the most memorable experiences in comic book movies and film itself.

As mentioned, Macho Man gave voice to the Rasslor, a memorable character from Dexter’s Laboratory.

1.The Rock

The man who rivaled Stone Cold Steve Austin in notoriety and battled icons such as Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson ushered in a new age of transitional star from professional wrestling to film. His overwhelming charisma and physique helped him in the music video scene before he made his major film debut in The Mummy Returns and the titular role in The Scorpion King and The Rundown.  From there, he would go on to such films as Gridiron Gang, The Game Plan, Get Smart, Doom, Southland Tales,  The Other Guys, Faster, and even animated fair such as Transformers: Prime  and Family Guy.  He’s recently fought against and beside Vin Diesel in The Fast and Furious Franchise, brought up the artillery as Roadblock in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, conspired to save his son in Snitch, and Co-starred with lead Mark Walhberg in Pain & Gain.  That also doesn’t include his most recent reality TV series Hero on TNT.

With a rumored interest to play Luke Cage (as of this writing) and his string of 2013 blockbusters, The Rock has not only showcased his versatility in the ring (against John Cena in two Wrestle-mania bouts), but he seems destined from his current accolades to bring the action hero archetype into the new age of film.
The Rock’s most recent outing in PAIN AND GAIN.
Here is the Rock about to lay down some lead in FAST 5.

Written by Chris Campbell