Everyone’s got to start somewhere, and for wrestlers, making the jump to the big screen or acting on a TV show, makes a big statement. Throughout the years, many former and current wrestlers have tried to make the jump into Hollywood but have failed pretty miserably. Only a handful of former WWE superstars have managed to earn some success in Hollywood. The Rock is the most obvious name that comes to mind. This list will look at former and current wrestlers that appeared in movies and TV shows outside of the wrestling world. What makes this list of wrestlers really unique is how quickly fans forgot that they took a part in these films or TV shows. The wrestlers on this list will certainly surprise many.
12) Dolph Ziggler: Shallow Hal
Before ever stepping foot in a WWE ring, Nick Nemeth known to wrestling fans as Dolph Ziggler, appeared in the funny film Shallow Hal, staring alongside Hollywood actors Gwyneth Paltrow, Jack Black and Jason Alexander. Ziggler appeared in this film when he was 21 years old, and his role in the film was one of the “night club goers”. You can see Ziggler in the background during the night club scene. Ziggler went from pretty much being an extra, to WWE champion, not too bad for Dolph.
11) Sable: Corky Romano
During her time away from the WWE, Sable turned to Hollywood for a new opportunity and adventure in her life. As you can imagine, her new ambition didn’t go over so well, appearing in numerous TV shows, TV movies and other roles which never really made an impact in any way. Her most notable gig was in 2001; Sable appeared on the big screen in the movie, Corky Romano starring Chris Kattan. Sable plays the role of a female bouncer denying Kattan entrance into the club. Her time in the movie is extremely limited, however, in her short time in the film, she does manage to attempt a flying elbow drop off the couch. Props to Sable for the attempt.
10) Randy Orton: That’s What I Am
This film is known as one of the rare decent productions that WWE films has ever made, due in large part to the fact that wrestler participation is limited in this film. The film that was released in 2011, featured Academy Award nominee Ed Harris. The film is a feel good story on how children can overcome bullying, a real problem that is still very relevant today. Randy Orton played the role of Jason Freel’s dad, Ed Freel. Quite comical to think Randy can play the role of a father. Although his role was quite limited, he did play his part decently.
9) Trish Stratus: Bail Enforcers
Trish Stratus made her big screen debut in the R-rated Canadian independent film, Bail Enforcers. Trish starred in the film as Jules Taylor, a bounty hunter. The movie premiered at ActionFest in 2011 and was then released on DVD as Bounty Hunters. If you miss Trish and want to have a good laugh, I advise you to watch the trailer for this film (maybe not the entire movie). Trish also made some TV show guest appearances on Canadian television, appearing on the TV show Da Kink in My Hair and Royal Canadian Air Farce. As you might imagine, Trish later found success elsewhere, opening up a very successful yoga studio.
8) Rob Van Dam: Black Mask 2
Believe it or not, Rob Van Dam actually appeared in more than 15 different films and TV shows over the course of his life. As you can imagine, working as an ECW wrestler was not the most paying job, and doing a bit of extra work on the side gave Van Dam the opportunity to make some extra bucks. His most notable appearance in a film took place in 2002, when he co-starred alongside Tobin Bell, in the film Black Mask 2, a sequel to Jet Li’s popular film, City of Masks. Van Dam also had some notable appearances on television, playing a part in The X-Files and the sitcom, City Guys.
7) Triple H: The Drew Carey Show
Triple H made his big screen debut in the film, Blade: Trinity which was released in theaters in December of 2004. Before this movie was made, however, Hunter had previously appeared on television, making a couple of guest spots. One of his more memorable appearances took place in 1999, on the popular TV series, The Drew Carey Show. Hunter played the role of “the disciplinarian” during the episode, which sees Kate date a pro wrestler. Just before this appearance, Hunter also appeared on Pacific Blue, suplexing Mario Lopez; the two would engage in a fight full of wrestling moves. If you need a good laugh, I advise you to YouTube it.
6) Sting: The Encounter
Sting made his big screen debut in the film, Ready to Rumble. Sting also made a guest appearance on an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger. Sting played the role of a biker drug dealer in the episode, “Unsafe Speed”. Sting’s biggest role came in 2010, when he starred in the movie, The Encounter (a Christian film). Sting was one of the main characters in the film, which saw 5 strangers (including Sting) come together and meet a person who claims to be Jesus. Sting plays an odd role that wrestling fans are not used to seeing him in, wearing a suit in the movie and acting in the role of a businessman. The movie got very good reviews after its release.
5) Shawn Michaels: Baywatch
During his prime days of being the “Heart Break Kid”, in 1996, the showstopper made a guest appearance on an episode of Baywatch. Shawn Michaels appeared as “Vinnie” in the episode entitled, “Who’s coming to dinner”. Michaels played the role of a bodyguard for mobster “Tony Malanto”, a very different role that wrestling fans are used to seeing Shawn in. Wrestling fans normally got to see Shawn with a bodyguard, as opposed to being one (Sycho Sid & Kevin Nash). Shawn would also later appear in two episodes of Pacific Blue, in 1999.
4) Kevin Nash: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze
Little known to many people, Kevin Nash appeared in the 1991 film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, as “the Super Shredder”, known as the major villain in the film. Nash is masked throughout the film, in a costume covered from head to toe, so don’t feel too bad if you never knew it was him. Nash has been featured in some great films throughout his career as an actor. He had noteworthy roles in The Punisher, Grandma’s Boy, The Longest Yard and most recently playing the role of “Tarzan” in the film, Magic Mike, a film which documents the lives of male strippers. Nash is set to work in the sequel of Magic Mike, Magic Mike XXL, as his previous character.
3) Stone Cold Steve Austin: Dilbert
Austin made his acting debut in 1999, during an episode of Nash Bridges. The show loved Austin so much, they decided to bring him back for 5 more episodes under the character of Det. Jake Cage. Stone Cold later made an appearance on the cartoon, Dilbert. During the episode “The Delivery”, in 2000, Austin played himself in the role of a judge. In typical Steve Cold fashion, during the episode, Austin reveals the decision finding Dilbert guilty and closes with “and that’s the bottom line cause Stone Cold said so”. Austin then proceeds to flip Dilbert off. I advise you to watch this if you haven’t already, it’s hilarious.
2) The Rock: Star Trek: Voyager
The Rock made his acting debut in 1999, during an episode of the popular sitcom, That ‘70s Show. The Rock appeared under the name, “Rocky Johnson” (as a wrestler). Later, in 2000, the Rock would guest star as “The Champion” in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. The episode was entitled “Tsunkatse”. The plot for the episode consisted of the Star Trek characters being captured and forced to fight in an arena for the entertainment of others. The network UPN carried both Star Trek and Smackdown (with this episode they intended to bring the two together). The episode was not very well received but was a huge hit, registering a record number of views for the TV show. The Rock would follow this appearance up by making an appearance in the film, The Mummy Returns and, well, as you probably already know, the rest is history.
1) John Cena: Ready to Rumble
Before wrestling in the WWE, at the age of 23, John Cena appeared as an extra in the wrestling comedy, Ready to Rumble. John was cast as the “Gymrat”. You can see Cena during the scene which sees Goldberg talking to Jimmy King in the gym. You can’t miss him, as he is sporting his blonde Mohawk, working out on the pec deck machine. After this minor appearance, Cena would sign a deal with OVW in 2001. He would then later make his professional wrestling debut in June of 2002, against Kurt Angle.