5 Best Movies Starring Professional Wrestlers
Over the past few decades, WWE has only grown in popularity. What started as almost a “mom and pop” type venture has turned into a multi-billion dollar corporation. In the ’80s, Hulkamania and the Rock and Wrestling Connection took over the airwaves. In the ’90s, it was the Attitude Era that captured fans’ imaginations. Professional wrestling has always been an integral part of pop culture, and the popularity of it has led to numerous other projects. Many wrestlers were awarded movie roles thanks to their popularity in pro wrestling. The quality of these films varied wildly, but here are a few of the best.
5) No Holds Barred (1989)
No Holds Barred is the ultimate ’80s pro wrestling movie. Hulk Hogan stars as Rip, a professional wrestler who must step up to the monstrous Zeus, portrayed by the ironically-named Tiny Lister. Zeus was a mountain of a man and, just like WWE at the time, Hulk Hogan was the only man who could stop him. If you weren’t a fan of professional wrestling, this movie might not be for you. But if you were already a wrestling fan, however, it was everything you would want in a wrestling movie starring Hulk Hogan. Of course, the best thing to come out of this movie was the appearance of Zeus at an actual WWE Pay-Per-View. Evidently, Lister believed the events of the movie were real and he was looking to exact revenge on the Hulkster at a show called SummerSlam. It was a case of art imitating life imitating art if there ever was one. It was Hogan, again, who came out on top. This time, however, there were, in fact, some holds barred.
4) Ready to Rumble (2000)
Ready To Rumble starred David Arquette as a huge wrestling fan from Wyoming. When WCW comes to town, Arquette’s character and his friend make sure they are front and center to see their favorite wrestler, Jimmy King, take on the evil Diamond Dallas Page. Tragedy strikes when King is double-crossed “in real life” by the evil promoter. He loses the title (even though it’s not even a Pay-Per-View), as well as his self-esteem. Now, the heroes must help the King take back his kingdom, as well as his title. The only problem is, King lost all of his pride and has resigned himself to the life of a bitter, drunken slob. Ready to Rumble is a fun film. Best of all, it featured a ton of WCW wrestlers, like Sting, Goldberg, Chris Kanyon, and the aforementioned Diamond Dallas Page. Better still, the movie introduced David Arquette to the world of professional wrestling. He even became the WCW World Champion in his very first match! And no, that is not a joke.
3) They Live (1988)
They Live was one of those productions and it is one of the best “Action/Horror” movies of all time. Directed by the legendary John Carpenter, They Live saw the Rowdy One donning a pair of sunglasses. These sunglasses were about more than just fashion though. They allowed him to see many people for who they truly were- namely, murderous alien-monster creatures. Turns out, the world is full of those monsters in disguise and Hot Rod is the only one who can save Mankind (as in the population. Not, like, the wrestler- who has also starred in some movies). They Live is a cult classic and a big reason for its popularity is due to the performance of Mr. Rowdy Roddy Piper.
2) Literally Any Movie with The Rock (1999-Present)
When Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson first took on the role of the Scorpion King in a sequel to The Mummy, skeptics laughed and rolled their eyes. But The Rock kept working. In between winning numerous world championships, He starred in a number of miss-able films, including The Tooth Fairy, The Rundown, Walking Tall, and more. While many of these films were critical mishaps, The Rock kept working, eventually emerging as one of Hollywood’s biggest action heroes. The Rock has starred in a slew of films from the Fast and the Furious franchise, as well as films like Jumanji, Skyscraper, San Andreas and more. Currently, he is in production on the Fast and Furious spinoff film, entitled Hobbs and Shaw.
1) The Wrestler (2008)
Never before has a film captured the raw, sometimes heartbreaking world of professional wrestling. Not every wrestling promotion is WWE and not every wrestler is Hulk Hogan or The Rock. Some wrestlers never make it to the big time. Some get a taste of it and spend the rest of their careers trying to capture those moments again. Such was the case with Randy “The Ram” Robinson (played by Mickey Rourke). The Wrestler was a glimpse into the very real, very intimate world of professional wrestling and it has been called “one of the best American films of 2008.” Rourke plays an aging pro wrestler, pining for the good ole days when he was a star. Now, he wrestles in high school gymnasiums and battles through heart problems simply to pay the bills.
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