10 Best Wrestlers Turned Actors

Professional wrestling is filled to the brim with larger-than-life characters of imposing physical appearance who are taught to learn lines and deliver them in front of crowds of thousands (sometimes tens of thousands) on a nightly basis. It is perhaps obvious, then, that Hollywood would come knocking sooner or later for some of the industry’s biggest and most recognisable stars – and yet, as history has proven time and time again, the transition from the exposition-heavy dialogue and over-the-top characterisation of wrestling to the more subtle techniques required for acting on film, make for a difficult career barricade that only a special few performers have managed to hurdle in the history of both wrestling and cinema.

Often, the most famous and popular stars of the world’s premier wrestling organisation WWE, take movie roles in their employer’s own straight-to-DVD B-movie action shooters, gaining much-needed material for their portfolios but rarely getting the chance to break out into something more dramatic and/or comedic; their lives as movie stars therefore dictated by their wrestling personas, making a transition away from wrestling and into Hollywood an even greater task. 

There are, however, professional wrestlers who take a leap of faith into an acting career and make it work; and of those who have, some have been involved in the most iconic films of their generation or have at least made themselves a memorable presence in a film or two. These actors, who have somehow broken into acting against all historical precedence, are the focus of this Movie List from The Film Magazine: the 10 Best Wrestlers Turned Actors.

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10. Adam “Edge” Copeland

Wrestlers Turned Actors

Adam Copeland was always a good looking hunk of a man, so it wasn’t a surprise to see him transition into the world of acting once his wrestling career was sadly cut short (thankfully temporarily – he is now a full-time professional wrestler once again).

In the interim of his career hiatus (caused by a severe neck injury), Edge became a regular on the TV shows ‘Haven’ and ‘Vikings’, and has even appeared in the DC TV adaptation ‘The Flash’.

He has that tall, blonde, attractive star energy going for him, so it’s easy to see why they lumped him in old fashioned Scandinavian clothing and threw him on the set of ‘Vikings’ in particular, but his foray into TV remains impressive nonetheless.

Unlike most other wrestlers – including the majority still to come on this list – Adam “Edge” Copeland can say he has been in some of the most popular TV shows in modern times, and whilst that doesn’t quite equate to a breakthrough film career, it is impressive nonetheless. 

9. Kevin Nash

Wrestlers Turned Actors 9

Kevin Nash is a former professional wrestler who, at the age of 53, earned a supporting role in Magic Mike. Now there’s proof of an impressive physique.

He was pretty good in it too. 

Come to think of it, he has been pretty good in everything he has been in… even a random ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ episode when he hopped out of a closet and got lambasted by the ever-sarcastic Salem (who was a cat, for those unfamiliar). 

As well as the odd notable role, he has also had countless background roles in major films like John Wick, Rock of Ages and The Longest Yard, making a decent career for himself as a lower tier film and television actor in the wake of his in-ring retirement.

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