It’s tough being either a wrestling fan or a science fiction fan who has to listen to non-fans generalized and ridicule the storytelling vehicle you love. Even though you recognize the huge difference between Star Trek and Star Wars, you’re mocked as a geek for caring and trying to explain it. Tell someone about your love for professional wrestling – which you’ve been aware is stage combat since you’ve been six-years-old – and you’re told it’s fake.
The rest of the world doesn’t care about the subtle differences between a plancha and a senton any more than they care about the difference between Mister Spock and Doctor Who, and you’re seen as the outsider for caring. For some reason, being fans of science fiction and fans of wrestling is just not cool… until it is.
There’s a reason three times more people watch WrestleMania than any other pay-per-view and it’s held in the biggest venue of any show that year for the WWE. There’s a reason the latest Star Wars movie is breaking box office records, including more pre-sold tickets than any other movie ever has. It’s because for a moment, the “cool” crowd thinks it’s OK to check out what you love 365 days a year.
You would think there would be more cross-over between sci-fi fans and wrestling fans, yet their isn’t. The Syfy channel found that out the hard way. Both mediums are about good vs. evil and serve as parables for humanity. With the hate thrown at fans of each, it’s surprising the two groups largely ignore each other.
It’s time to bring the sci-fi fans together with the wrestling fans and we can do that with the comparisons of major characters. So, sci-fi geeks, pay attention… wrestling nerds, look alive. Here are 10 wrestlers who remind us of characters from the Star Wars movies.
10. Rey – Bayley
Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, is the newest heroine in an ongoing force between good and evil we are putting our hopes in, even though we know in the far future, it’s probably going to all go bad. Bayley, played by Pamela Rose Martinez, is the newest heroine in the ongoing battle between great storytelling and bad booking we are putting our hopes in, even though we know when the main roster call-up happens, she will forever be tainted. Rey represents all that is good and pure in a world of turmoil and she wants to interject herself to see if she can help things. Bayley has been the feel-good story of women’s wrestling for the last year and we’re all hoping by her choosing this as her profession, it will make the world of wrestling a better place.
9. Han Solo – John Cena
To many, Han Solo was a ruthless smuggler, traversing the galaxy, doing his own thing, immune to those people who he harmed and who wished harm against him. To others, Han Solo was a hero. He was a key cog in a rebel alliance that would not have succeeded without him. Half the galaxy would chant “Let’s Go, Solo!” while the other half would chant, “Solo sucks!” Sound like a wrestler we know? John Cena is probably the most polarizing figure in professional wrestling history, even more so than Hulk Hogan. You can list 101 reasons he’s great for the business, but you can also make a good case that he hurts as much as he helps. Backstage rumblings suggest Cena has helped guide creative’s decisions on a few wrestlers he didn’t like, he’s starting to pull away from wrestling, choosing Hollywood and The Today Show over the squared circle and he’s stopped the pushes of so many wrestlers by winning every feud he has ever been a part of it.
8. Princess Leia – Nikki Bella
So if John Cena is Han Solo, Nikki Bella is obviously Princess Leia. Aside from the fact that Solo/Leia and Cena/Bella have the love interest thing going, there are plenty of other similarities. First is that Nikki Bella is clearly the brains of the Team Bella operation. She’s the better wrestler, the better talker and the better boyfriend picker. She held the Divas title longer than any other women and heel or face, did what she needed to do to hold onto it. Princess Leia was the champion of the rebel alliance, leading her fighting followers to victory over The Dark Side. She was beautiful, yes, but she was also cunning, hiding a message in R2D2 or shutting her mouth and playing along with Jabba the Hut, waiting to choke the giant slug out when the time was right. These are two women you don’t want to mess with.
7. Curtis Axel, Fandango, Damien Sandow, Bo Dallas, R-Truth – Stormtroopers
In every wrestling company, there are going to be those who don’t make it to the main event. They tried, and hey, at least they made it to the big show, right? Back in the 80s, TV wrestling was just a steady stream of squash matches, with the outcomes never in question. These days, they give out just enough wins that most of the time, things could go either way. That is, unless one of the wrestlers is Curtis Axel, Fandango, Damien Sandow, Bo Dallas or R-Truth. These guys are going down. It doesn’t matter which one, because at this point, they are just interchangeable parts, much like the Stormtroopers. They’re a valiant squad of killing machines, picked from birth to be part of an elite group. They’re just the least elite and seeing them on screen almost always means certain death. In The Force Awakens, Finn shows us you can break out of the Stormtrooper ranks and be extraordinary. Here’s hoping at least one of the wrestlers in this quintet can break out, too.
6. Jar-Jar Binks – Eugene
The character of Eugene, played exceptionally spot-on by Nick Dinsmore, was clearly somehow mentally and emotionally challenged. The WWE called him special, but the audience knew that this was the first character that ever was something other than physically disabled and it left audiences wondering with a weird feeling. He was supposed to be a comedic character, but you’re not supposed to laugh at people with those kinds of disabilities in real life. Jar-Jar Binks was also a comedic character, but if you listen closely to his speech patterns, they are almost exactly like the stereotypes used to depict African Americans in most of pre-PC era media. Take a listen to how Hollywood stereotyped slaves or uneducated black people back in the 1940s and 1950s and you’ll see just how offensive someone could interpret the Jar-Jar character. Thankfully, both Eugene and Jar-Jar Binks weren’t around very long.
5. Luke Skywalker – The Rock
Luke Skywalker grew up with an absentee father as part of a famous family (even if he didn’t know about it until later) and ended up getting into the family business. At first, he wasn’t too great, even losing a hand, but in the end, once he found his groove, he became THE MAN and changed the galaxy forever. The Rock has talked extensively of not seeing his father, or most of his family (he’s linked to the Samoan Anoa’i wrestling family through his mother) growing up since they were out on the road. When he finally got into wrestling, he stumbled pretty hard at first, but eventually figured it out and became the most famous wrestler in the history of the business.
4. Kylo Ren – Randy Orton
So, apparently, when we weren’t looking, Han Solo and Princess Leia had a kid and with the bloodline to his Uncle Luke Skywalker, had the Jedi gene. However, like his Grandfather Anakin (who would go on to become Darth Vader before a last minute face turn), he had just enough of a wandering eye to be seduced to The Dark Side and become more powerful than his father ever would be. When Randy Orton appeared on the scene he was presented as a “blue chipper” in a series of a vignettes that sounded like NFL films. Originally a babyface, Orton didn’t take long before seeing what evil could get him…the world title. Orton’s legacy will be five times that of his father or grandfather, who were both wrestlers.
3. Ron Simmons – Lando Calrissian
When Luke Skywalker asks Han Solo who Lando Calrissian is, Solo sums him up as “a card player and a scoundrel” and that’s exactly who Ron Simmons played as a member of the APA, sandwiched between the Nation of Domination/Acolytes phase and the end-of-career “Let’s Say ‘Damn!’” phase. Ron Simmons is also one cool cat, and Lando Calrissian was probably the coolest guy in all of the galaxy, thanks to the fact he was played by Billy Dee Williams. Both guys liked the admiration of those around them, but they would also betray their mother if it meant survival or a big paycheck.
2. Darth Vader – Brock Lesnar
The dude is physically indestructible, instills fear with just a look, and offers just enough humanity for you to know there is, or at least once was, a human somewhere inside the monster. Are we describing Darth Vader or Brock Lesnar? Actually, it’s both. Brock Lesnar doesn’t care if you’re a heel or a face. He wants to beat you up. He wants to take you out quickly and then go home. He doesn’t need to appear often, because it means something when he does. Darth Vader had among the least screen time of the major characters in the middle three Star Wars episodes. He didn’t need a lot because his presence was merely enough to scare the crap out of those around him. Both guys embody strength without compassion and a will to destroy whatever gets in their way.
1. The Emperor – Vince McMahon
There’s only one man Darth Vader will bow in front of and there’s only one man who Brock Lesnar needs to fear. Both Vader and Lesnar are scary and intimidating, but when it comes down to evil with a doctorate level degree, Vince McMahon and The Emperor are the two entities in their respective universes that don’t negotiate. Nothing happens in the WWE, be it in real life or creatively without the say-so of Vincent Kennedy McMahon and if he doesn’t like it, or like you, your life in the business of professional wrestling is over. Today. Now. Goodbye. If the Emperor didn’t like you? Well, you learn not to upset a guy who can shoot lightning bolts out of his fingers in a hurry. Either way, both of these men are the makers you must deal with at the end of the line.