8. Steve Austin
With over 30 TV and film acting credits to his name (not including shows for the WWE obviously), “Stone Cold” Steve Austin has made quite the challenge for a mainstream Hollywood career over the years.
He’s had roles in big action movies like The Expendables, roles in comedies like Grown Ups 2 and roles in the movies you could consider “in between the two” like the 2005 version of The Longest Yard. Yet, despite being possibly the most popular wrestler of all time, it’s never really worked out for him as a leading man, with The Condemned being the closest he ever seemed to get to the top of the acting ladder.
Austin is as iconic of a wrestler as they come and an almost universally recognised figure to this day, and his acting career has hardly been one to sniff at, but it seems he should have been so much more.
7. Andre The Giant
Admittedly, Andre the Giant makes our list for his acting performance in one film and one film only, but that film was so iconic and his performance so memorable and transcendent of the wrestling business that it’s more worthy of points in this fake game of “movie star cred” we’ve developed than the 100 or so appearances Kevin Nash and Steve Austin have accrued in this list before him.
That film is, of course, The Princess Bride.
Ask any Joe Bloggs on the street about famous wrestlers and Andre the Giant will likely make their list. Ask anyone under the age of 50, and they’ll likely be able to note that he appeared in The Princess Bride.
Playing a loveable (albeit hard to understand) giant, Andre won the hearts of everyone who saw the movie, gaining a reputation beyond that of his megastar wrestling persona and making him one of the most memorable wrestlers turned actors in history.
6. Jesse Ventura
Jesse “The Body” Ventura has lived quite the life. Superstar wrestler? Check. Hollywood actor? Check. Heck, he’s even been a US governor!
In film, “The Body” has a list of credits as long as your arm featuring appearances in highly respected and noteworthy action films – and some notoriously bad ones too. He was a random glorified extra in 1997’s Batman & Robin for example (that’s the bad) and he starred as one of the central characters in the 80s classic action/sci-fi Predator. In the latter, he was billed alongside Carl Weathers as one of Schwarzenegger’s supporting acts, which speaks for itself.
Post-politics, Ventura’s acting roles have somewhat dried up, but a recent appearance in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles proves he’s still got some draw, and though most of his roles aside from the one in Predator are bit-parts at best, there’s something to be said for how this particular wrestler performed in the acting field, his being a legacy that far exceeds that of just wrestling nowadays.