For whatever reason, there’s a large crossover between the world of professional wrestling (particularly WWE) and acting. Obviously, names such as The Rock, John Cena, and Batista, have all become massive stars, some of the biggest in Hollywood. However, they’re far from the only athlete to leave the ring in favor of the big screen.
To their credit, a lot of wrestlers have appeared in a lot of high-profile projects as well, ranging from television shows to movies. While differing in quality, there are still some incredible pieces of entertainment starring actors who are more known for their time working in the wrestling ring.
10 The Suicide Squad
2021’s The Suicide Squad was released just a few years after the widely-panned film of the same name starring Jared Leto. However, this edition featured an almost entirely new cast, led by names such as Idris Elba and John Cena.
The 16-time WWE Champion played the wise-cracking, odd antihero known as Peacemaker. The film was widely praised upon its release and has already led to a spin-off, with others, as well as a sequel, in the works.
Alright, if we’re being completely honest, Dwayne Johnson isn’t a bad actor, but he’s been in a lot of forgettable projects. In terms of pure quality, his lead role in the HBO series Ballers is by far the best work he’s put on screen.
The series follows Johnson, who’s a retired football player turned sports agent who works with other athletes. The five-season show received positive ratings from critics, with praise directed towards the likes of Johnson, and co-stars such as John David Washington.
Just a year after the release of The Suicide Squad, John Cena reprized his role in Peacemaker. The show is a spinoff of the film, featuring the former WWE star playing the antihero once again. Much like The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker was released to praise.
Most of that praise was directed at Cena, who is the star of the series. Although the show is only one season deep, it appears to have a lot of potential to wind up as one of the greatest projects ever involving a wrestler.
7 Rocky 3
Rocky 3 was the highly-awaited next installment in the franchise, released in 1982. The film once again starred Sylvester Stallone, as he battled his next foe in the series, Clubber Lang, played by WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Q
However, Hulk Hogan also made a high-profile appearance in the film. The wrestler plays ‘Thunderlips’, and fights Rocky in a charity event in the movie.
6 Avengers Endgame
You have to give Dave Bautista massive credit, he bet on himself and he won. In the early 2010s, he left WWE to begin an acting career, and quickly found himself in the Marvel Universe as Drax The Destroyer.
While some fans have Marvel fatigue today, it’s easy to forget just how glued fans were to their fans during the 2010s. That all led up to the release of Avengers Endgame, one of the biggest films of all-time that Bautista has a decently-sized role in.
5 It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the long-running comedy show has long been viewed as one of the best comedies of all-time. Having been on the air since 2006, the show features a group of five sociopathic and narcissistic friends going about their lives, like an anti-Friends in a sense.
One of the show’s recurring characters was ‘Da Maniac’, played by Roddy Piper. He played a deranged, older homeless wrestler, and played it incredibly well. Piper made regular appearances on the show until his passing in 2015.
4 John Wick
While most of the attention of the wrestler-turned-actor conversation naturally leads to one of the usual suspects, Kevin Nash has an incredibly underrated resume. He’s made many appearances on the big screen over the years, being in everything from The Punisher, to Tim Robinson’s Detroiters.
Nonetheless, his best work came in 2014’s John Wick. Nash played a bodyguard in the film, who had several very important scenes alongside Keanu Reeves. While it wasn’t a massive role, he did well.
3 Blade Runner 2049
2017’s Blade Runner 2049 was the long awaited sequel to 1982’s Blade Runner. The film famously had an ensemble cast featuring names such as Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, and more. However, it was an unexpected name that received praise.
Dave Bautista played one of the villains in the film, and admittedly wasn’t on screen much. However, he killed it whenever he was on screen, as the film itself continues to receive praise to this day.
2 they Live
1988’s they Live wasn’t entirely well-received upon its release, but it’s developed a cult following since then. The film stars Roddy Piper and Keith David, as they discover that the ruling class are actually aliens in disguise, and he can only tell by wearing a pair of glasses.
The film was developed in response to the United States’ economic policies in the 80s, as Piper, who’s playing a drifter known simply as ‘Nada’, attempts to save the world. It’s very much an 80s film, but it’s an incredible film directed by John Carpenter that only ages better with time.
While there’s been a lot of great films with wrestlers in them, few can match The Princess Bride. The film was released in 1987, featuring a young Cary Elwes in the lead role. However, the film also features an inspired performance from Andre the Giant.
He played the role of Fezzik, one of the main characters in the film. The film was released to praise back in 1987, and remains beloved today. In 2016, The Princess Bride was selected to the Library of Congress for preservation, an incredibly rare feat for only some of the most culturally important films ever.