Wrestlers are known for their towering heights, their incredibly large, muscular bodies, and their athleticism. But it seems that what they are not so well-known for are their acting credits. Indeed, more wrestlers have entered into the realm of acting than many think. And to celebrate the release of Fast & Furious 6, hitting cinemas on 17th May, we have compiled a list of some of our favourite wrestlers turned actors.
During his time as one of the most prolific and charismatic wrestlers, Dwayne Johnson, known by his stage name, “The Rock”, has starred in some huge blockbuster films. After his successful turn as Luke Hobbs in Fast Five and his welcome addition to the cast of GI Joe in GI Joe: Retaliation, Johnson reprises his role as Luke Hobbs in Fast & Furious 6. Wrestling and film fans alike relax, it looks like our favourite (yes, we are a little biased) will be around for a while yet!
Having forged a long career in wrestling with WCW and TNA, as well as WWF (where he was known as Diesel), Nash has set his sights on acting. He most recently appeared in Rock of Ages alongside Tom Cruise and Magic Mike (which also starred Channing Tatum) in which he played a male stripper.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin
The beer-chugging, foul-mouthed “Stone Cold” Steve Austin delighted wrestling fans during his run on WWE (alongside The Rock). Some of his most notable encounters were his run-ins with WWE boss, Vince McMahon. After an injury forced Austin to retire however, he has pursued a career in film appearing in films such as The Longest Yard (2005) and The Expendables (2010). His upcoming release, Grown Ups 2 sees him share the big screen with the likes of Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, and Salma Hayek.
One of the biggest stars to have been born out of the WWE franchise, John Cena is a wrestling hero to the young WWE fans of today. A fierce onscreen rivalry with The Rock has been playing out recently which culminates in a match this month (and there is no love lost between the two off-screen either apparently!) Cena too has begun to forge an acting career with lead roles in 12 Rounds (2009) and The Marine (2006), and can next be seen in The Expendables 3 next year.
During his time as a WWE wrestler, Olympic wrestling champion, Kurt Angle, was the guy fans of the franchise loved to hate. Since leaving WWE, he continues to wrestle but has also taken up acting, starring in numerous films in the last few years. His most recent venture, Pain & Gain, starring Mark Wahlberg and Rebel Wilson, and also sees Angle reunited onscreen with fellow WWE star, Dwayne Johnson (The Rock).
After a cameo role in Relative Strangers (2006), Dave Batista has continued to gain momentum with his acting credits including a turn as Argomael in The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption (2012). His upcoming release alongside Vin Diesel (of the Fast and Furious series) in Riddick is his biggest role to date.
As one of the most charismatic and gifted characters in wrestling, Chris Jericho’s wrestling alter-ego of the same proved a hit with audiences for his egotistical and self-centred nature. Anyone who saw his turn as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars would find that he is nothing like his TV persona. His biggest acting credit to date has been MacGruber (2010) which also starred the likes of Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Ryan Phillippe, and Val Kilmer.
At first glance, the 7 foot 1, 350lbs The Great Khali does not resemble the typical film star and yet, he has starred in some pretty well-known films throughout his career including The Longest Yard (2005) and MacGruber (2010). He also starred in 2008’s Get Smart alongside Dwayne Johnson.
It is hard not to recognise one of the most familiar names in wrestling; Hulk Hogan starred in Rocky III as Thunderlips way back in 1982 and began a steady stream of acting roles after that. But none were notable than his role in Mr Nanny which saw the bronzed, moustached wrestler don a fluffy pink tutu. That’s right, a 6 foot 2, 300lbs man-mountain of muscle… in a pink tutu. We could hardly tear our eyes from the screen!
Though not technically a wrestler in the same genre as the other wrestlers featured on this list we just couldn’t resist putting Gina Carano on here. After developing a successful career as a mixed martial artist (she has been referred to as “the face of women’s MMA”), Carano has now transitioned into acting. After starring in Haywire (2012) alongside the likes of Channing Tatum and Michael Fassbender, she can next be seen as Riley, Luke Hobbs’ (Dwayne Johnson) right-hand in Fast & Furious 6.
Catch Dwayne Johnson and Gina Carano when Fast & Furious 6 hits cinemas on May 17th!