Wrestlemania on the big screen
When ‘The Rundown’ comes out Sept. 26, WWE Superstar The Rock will look to solidify his rank as Hollywood’s reigning action superstar. But long before The Rock dropped the people’s elbow on popular culture, wrestling legends paved the way by bullying their way onto the silver screen.
Since the 1970s, big-name wrestlers have bridged the gap between wrestling and acting, but have rarely achieved mainstream success.
Perhaps the most famous wrestler/actor of all-time is Hulk Hogan. After roles in ‘Rocky III’ (1982) and ‘Suburban Commando,’ the legend showed his acting range as a muscle-bound St. Nick in 1996′s ‘Santa with Muscles’ and as a muscle-bound babysitter in ‘Mr. Nanny.’ Sadly, it was hard for Hogan to find a role that didn’t depend on him being muscle-bound. However, he clearly made the most of it.
One wrestler-turned-actor who did achieve moderate success is Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura, who took his loud-mouth wrestling persona to the big screen in such films as 1987′s ‘Predator.’ He later honed his skills to secure his greatest acting role, the governorship of Minnesota. Perhaps most amazingly, Ventura accomplished these feats while having virtually no time to bleed.
Few wrestlers have actually made movies universally loved, except perhaps for the late Andre the Giant, whose role as Fezzik in ‘The Princess Bride’ showed the lovable big man’s vulnerability. Who knew that Andre had a heart just as big as his abnormally large frame?
Of course, the most incredible movies to star wrestlers were about wrestling itself. The 1989 classic ‘No Holds Barred’ pitted Hogan against Tiny Lister Jr., who, in a rare reversal, used that role to get himself into the World Wrestling Federation for a brief time. This is the seminal wrestling film, one that not only highlights the versatility of the actors, but the rigors of professional wrestling.
No one knows for sure if The Rock will achieve the mainstream success he is striving for. If he does, a debt is owed to all the wrestlers who made the jump before him.
Craig Gerard is a senior television, radio and film major. E-mail him at email@example.com.
Man of faith: Thomas Wolfe uses role as dean of Hendricks, student affairs to connect with SU students, faculty, staff
Thomas Wolfe has many talents. He can ride a unicycle, craft a perfect tuna noodle casserole and bring a community together in the face of… Read more »
UPDATED: May 23, 2013 at 9:09 p.m. Six Syracuse University students appeared in court Thursday after being arrested during a fight outside of Faegan’s Cafe… Read more »
PHILADELPHIA — John Desko and Bill Tierney’s chess matches have a certain ebb and flow. One team tries to get up and down the field,… Read more »