11 of our favourite movies featuring pro wrestlers
Love it or hate it, professional wrestling has gone from county fairs and local television stations, to an undeniable North American cultural phenomenon in the last 25 years. The larger than life personalities of the televised wrestling world have captured the hearts of generations of 12-year-old boys, and the basement-dwelling middle aged men they so often become.
And, with more dollar signs in their eyes than Ted DiBiase, Hollywood has time and again tried to cash in on big name wrestlers by slapping them all over the silver screen.
Generally speaking, any film that prominently features a wrestler (with the possible exception of The Rock) tends to crash and burn harder than Vince McMahon’s XFL.
So with that in mind, we’ve excellently executed our own list of some of our favourite (and not necessarily good) movies featuring real life pro wrestlers.
Note to readers: We refused to watch John Cena’s spectacular 2006 disaster “The Marine” for this list. Sorry John. Never give up.
And that’s the bottom line. ‘Cause BloodyFilm says so.
11. TMNT 2
Kevin Nash (1991)
Ok wrestling fans, time for some obscure trivia. Who played the juiced-up “Super Shredder” in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Secret of the Ooze? That’s right, Big Sexy himself, Kevin Nash. And who better to play a fictional 7-foot monster than a a real life 7-foot monster?
Nash appears, albeit in an unrecognizable heavy costume and face-mask, right after Vanilla Ice does his “Ninja Rap.” You can’t make this stuff up.
Our one beef with his cameo appearance? No one got power-bombed.
10. 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain
Hulk Hogan (1998)
If you were a kid in the ’90s, you probably saw at least one of the Three Ninjas films. And if this was the only one, I truly feel bad for you. The fourth and final installment in the series, 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain, wasn’t even good enough for the original child actors to return and pick up a paycheque. But it was good enough for the Hulkster.
Hogan, sporting a bad wig and an outfit that would make Randy Savage blush, teams up with the three ninjas boys to battle evil D-List celebs Jim Varney and Loni Anderson, with a theme park as the backdrop. Hilarity and high drama ensue as 10-year-old boys miraculously beat up armed thugs and try desperately to live up to the legacy of the previous 3 Ninja films, which weren’t all that great in the first place.
9. The Condemned, etc.
Steve Austin (2007)
Steve Austin may have almost single-handedly saved professional wrestling with his Attitude Era antics, but Stone Cold’s attempts at movie success haven’t been particularly… stunning.
The Condemned was Austin’s first big screen role, and it tanked commercially and critically. Since then, he’s starred in a string of straight to DVD action flicks with titles like “Maximum Conviction” and “Hunt to Kill.”
And don’t get us wrong here, if anybody appreciates a good no theatrical release action flick, it’s us. So keep ‘em coming Steve, we’ll give you a “Hell Yeah” on that one.
8. Blade Trinity
Triple H (2004)
Who knew vampires could get so jacked?. Triple H, real name Paul Levesque, landed a secondary role in final Blade movie back in 2004. The movie sucked (ha, vampire puns), but if you ask us, that had more to do with an annoying smart-ass named Ryan Reynolds than Mr. Levesque.
As a big dumb enforcer vampire, Triple H actually fits in pretty well. That being said, he only has one real fight scene in the whole movie. And it’s PRETTY bad. If this is “The Game,” please stop playing it Hunter.
7. The Waterboy
The Big Show (1998)
This one’ll take you back. Back when Adam Sandler ruled the world, The Waterboy was one of the SNL alum’s biggest hits. He played a mentally disabled 31-year-old man who found his way onto a losing college football team by virtue of his freakish brute tackling ability.
Sandler’s character is an avid wrestling fan and follower of “Captain Insano” – played by none other than WWE’s The Big Show, or if you’re a WCW guy, The Giant.
It was a small part, but we gotta give it to the big guy, he really “opened a can of whoop-ass” on this role.
Randy “Macho Man” Savage (2002)
He may not have been adorned in those outrageous McDonalds coloured jacked and sunglasses, but there’s no mistaking that voice. The Macho Man, noticeably aged but still sporting obscene amounts of lean muscle, ditches the Slim Jims and cowboy hat for his role as Bonesaw, a badass underground wrestler who slams Peter Parker around before feeling the full power of the spider-man.
BONESAW IS READY.
5. Ready to Rumble
Goldberg, Randy Savage, Sting, etc. (2000)
Now here’s a movie that wrestling fans, in theory, should have loved. It was a juvenile comedy that told the story of a couple wrestling fans who’d do anything to get their favourite character back in the ring. It also featured a half dozen big name WCW wrestling stars, like Randy Savage and Goldberg. Trouble is, it sucked.
Despite a ridiculously over-the-top WCW story-line tie-in (David Arquette actually held the heavyweight title for a brief time), the movie flopped with the public and with critics. In the end, Ready to Rumble took in about half the money it cost to make, and much like WCW itself, faded away in the early 2000s.
Jesse Ventura (1987)
Before he was governor of the state of Minnesota and a notorious 9/11 conspiracy theorist, Jesse “The Body” Ventura was one of the biggest names in wrestling. In 1987, while he still had “The Body,” Ventura appeared opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers in the sci-fi classic Predator.
Who could forget Ventura’s tobacco-chewing, cowboy hat-wearing, mini gun-toting badass character Blain, who “ain’t got time to bleed.” The guy’s a goddamn sexual Tyrannosaurus after all.
3. Rocky III
Hulk Hogan (1982)
Hogan’s appearance as fictional pro wrestler “Thunderlips” (The Ultimate Male) was arguably Hulk’s only decent appearance on the silver screen. Probably because he was doing what he did best – wrestling.
Watch for some classic Hogan heel action, and Stallone taking a suplex like a champ.
2. The Wrestler
Necro Butcher, etc. (2008)
So Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei aren’t wrestlers. You probably knew that.
But just about everywhere else in the film you’ll find real life professional wrestlers and promotions. Necro Butcher, R-Truth, and Jay Lethal are a few of the more recognizable names who landed roles in The Wrestler. Check out the wiki page for a more complete list. You’ll need to know your indie promotions for this one.
Oh, and did we mention this is a masterpiece of dramatic film making with some pretty damn credible wrestling scenes in it?
1. They Live
Rowdy Roddy Piper (1988)
We’ve reviewed They Live in full on BloodyFilm before, and there’s a reason it’s number one on this list. This cult classic masterpiece is a cultural landmark, and a great science fiction film.
They Live stars the one and only Rowdy Roddy Piper – wrestling heel extraordinaire – in an iconic role that remains his biggest claim to fame outside the WWF.
The movie has nothing to do with wrestling, but during his now legendary street fight with actor Keith David, Hot Rod does drop a few classic wrestling moves. If you haven’t seen this one, skip buying the next WWE pay-per-view and pick up a copy.
So, did we land this list like a Randy Savage elbow off the top ropes – or botch it worse than the Montreal Screwjob?
Cut your promo in the comments below, or on our Facebook page. Chico.