For some ambitious wrestlers, conquering the WWE is not enough. No matter how many world championships and title belts they win, they still have a hankering to become the best across other varied media. Many WWE superstars have branched out beyond the ring. Some have tried acting, while others have attempted musical careers. Some of these ventures have been complete and utter failures, but a few have proven to be even more successful than the wrestlers’ primary careers.
These wrestlers all had a huge number of fans before they took a shot at their side projects, and many of those fans became big supporters of their new ventures. Some were so successful that they even gave up wrestling altogether to focus on their newfound success in another medium.
The following are ten of the most noteworthy side projects of some of the biggest stars from the world of professional wrestling. Some are notable for their success, some for their failure, and some for their downright weirdness. Who’ll be the next wrestling superstar to try to carve out a career outside of the wrestling ring?
10. Chyna as an adult film star
Chyna, whose real name is Joan Marie Laurer, was one of the most successful Divas in all of WWE History, and after she left the WWE in 2001 she took up acting.
She starred in a number of reality TV shows – but she wasn’t destined to become a Hollywood starlet. Instead, she became an adult film star thanks to her sex tape, One Night In Chyna.
She would later go on to sign a contract with adult film company Vivid and star as She-Hulk in two adult film parodies. One adult film parody was Avengers XXX, and the other was titled She-Hulk XXX. She has starred in 6 adult films, and has appeared in Playboy magazine twice. However, despite her popularity taking off her clothes, she still managed to find time get back to pro wrestling. After leaving the WWE she competed in TNA wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
9. CM Punk as comic book writer
As a life-long comic book fan it was only fitting that CM Punk, real name Phil Brooks, would take a shot at writing comic books. After lengthy discussions with Marvel head honchos at various comic conventions, CM Punk struck a deal with the comic book company to write Thor Annual #1, which will be released in February.
CM Punk teamed up with Rob Guillory to write a riveting story about the God of Thunder. This might not be the only time CM Punk tackles a writing project about a comic book character. He has shown interest in writing a Punisher comic book, too and in late December 2014 it was reported that the wrestler will be contributing to an anthology for DC’s Vertigo Comics, ‘Startling Sports Stories’.
8. Hulk Hogan as an actor
There was a time when Hulk Hogan was such a big star in the world of professional wrestling that it seemed like he would make the definitive leap to Hollywood actor. Unfortunately for Hulk, his acting chops were simply not up to snuff, and after a string of bad movies his Hollywood career fizzled.
Still, some of his movies have a sort of nostalgic charm to them. He starred in a number of cheesy family films such as 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain and Santa with Muscles. And who could forget his role as Thunderlips in Rocky III?
7. The Rock as an actor
Dwayne Johnson AKA the Rock is perhaps the only wrestler in the history of the WWE to have a bigger career outside of his professional wrestling. He is now one of the biggest stars in the Hollywood, and it all started with relatively small roles in films like the Mummy Returns, which in turn lead to the spin off film the Scorpion King.
Now he’s one of the biggest action stars in Hollywood, and he shows up in other film genres like comedy and family films, too. Despite his Hollywood success, the Rock still finds time to make the occasional appearances in the WWE.
6. Macho Man Randy Savage as a rapper
Macho Man Randy Savage was known for a number of ventures outside the wrestling ring. He was often seen on TV starring in commercials for Slim Jim. But his promotion of the salty snack wasn’t the only strange side project he undertook when he wasn’t enthralling crowds as part of the WWE. He also tried his hand at rapping. In 2003, Randy Savage released a rap album called Be a Man.
Many consider the recent hall of fame inductee’s rap album to be one of the low points of his career, but other acknowledge that it does have a cheesy charm.
5. Chris Jericho as a rock star
Macho Man Randy Savage isn’t the only wrestler to try his hand at a musical career. Chris Jericho did the same, but for him it was rock and roll instead of rap. And of course, Jericho’s music career was far more successful than Macho Man’s.
Jericho is the lead singer of a heavy metal band called Fozzy. The band’s sound is a mix between metal and classic rock, and has been described as Metallica meets Journey. The band has released 6 albums with the most recent album, Do You Want to Start a War, being released last year.
The WWE star has been known to take hiatuses from wrestling to tour with the band.
4. Mick Foley as an author
Mick Foley has been praised for his writing ability. His series of memoirs have received critical acclaim and have made him a New York Times bestselling author many times over.
His first autobiography, Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, topped the New York Times’ bestseller list for nonfiction for numerous weeks. His second autobiography, Foley Is Good: and the Real World is Faker Than Wrestling, also sold very well. He’s one of the few wrestlers who has not used a ghostwriter for works published under his name.
His third autobiography, the Hardcore Diaries, also made it to the New York Times’ bestseller list. But Foley wasn’t content to just write his memoirs. He has also written four children’s books and two novels.
3. John Cena as a rapper and actor
John Cena is another WWE star to try his hand at rapping. He has released one full-length album to date, which would become certified gold in the United States. On top of his album You Can’t See Me he also released numerous singles and even performed his own theme song for entering the ring.
He famously engaged in a rap battle with the rock on WWE. Cena also teamed up with Wiz Khalifa to perform songs for the videogame soundtrack to WWE 2k15. He has also acted in a number of films including the Marine and 12 Rounds, both produced by WWE studios.
2. Andre the Giant as an actor
Andre the Giant wowed audiences with his portrayal of Fezzik in The Princess Bride. The role is his most famous, most critically praised, and also Andre the Giant’s favorite role.
He got his start acting outside of the wrestling ring with a number of small roles and guest spots on TV shows such as the Greatest American Hero, B. J. and the Bear, the Fall Guy and Zorro. He would even face off against Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan the Destroyer when Conan battled the demonic god Dagoth, played by Andre the Giant. However, the heavy prosthetics and special effects used to create the creature meant Andre the Giant’s role in the film was uncredited.
1. Vince McMahon as sports league founder
Vince McMahon has proven he is one of the savviest businessmen in the entertainment industry. He made the WWE one of the most successful entertainment conglomerates in operation today, but not every business venture he has tackled has been a success.
In 2001 he attempted to launch a new American football league called the XFL. The extreme league was going to be rougher and edgier than the NFL, but the league didn’t last very long – it folded after just one season due to lack of interest.