Very few professional wrestlers go on to be massive super stars in the world of film and television after their wrestling careers fizzle out and come to an end. In fact, only the Rock has become a bonafide Hollywood superstar after his days in the WWE came to an end.
Even though most wrestlers don’t achieve superstardom in the world of Hollywood, many of them certainly pop up on the big and small screens in cameos or extended guest spots – both during their wrestling days and after. Many of these cameos have proven to be hilarious – usually intentionally, sometimes gloriously unintentionally so. Often, these professional wrestlers play themselves, while sometimes they’re completely new characters, or exaggerated parodies of their wrestling personas.
Some memorable performances that come to mind include Dave Batista, who stole the show as Drax the Destroyer in this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and of course Andre the Giant‘s role in The Princess Bride. When wrestlers cameo on film and TV it’s often a win-win situation; the wrestler and the WWE (formerly WWF) can get a boost in popularity and, if the cameo is good, viewers are often treated to a few additional laughs. Here, we’ve taken a look at fifteen of the funniest, stand-out cameos by pro wrestlers in the history of film and television.
15. Triple H on MADtv
Triple H playing Harry Potter and being ridiculed by Stone Cold Steve Austin (played by Will Sasso) made for a hilarious sketch on MADtv. Stone Cold’s anger over not being invited to be on MADtv and Triple H’s sad attempt at a British accent make for a lot of laughs.
14. Big Show in Jingle All the Way
Arnie had to go through hell to get his son a Turbo Man doll in this family Christmas classic from the 90s. It wasn’t just Sinbad that Schwarzenegger had to deal with in Jingle All the Way; he also had to fight a bunch of crooked Santas, including one played by Big Show.
13. Macho Man Randy Savage on The Weird Al Show
The late, great Macho Man Randy Savage appeared on Weird Al’s short lived comedy show, The Weird Al Show. In this cameo, Macho Man pays Weird Al a visit in the hopes of cheering him up after Weird Al has been robbed.
Macho Man tells Al not to be a crybaby and tried to distract him with a wrestling match. Instead of fighting Weird Al, Macho Man tries to take down Weird Al’s pet, Harvey the Wonder Hamster.
12. Jerry “The King” Lawler in Man on the Moon
Jerry “The King” Lawler not only fought the real Andy Kaufman, but he fought the fictionalized film version of Kaufman, played by Jim Carrey, too.
The movie featured a scene where the King slaps Kaufman off his chair during a taping of Late Night with David Letterman, just as Lawler did to Kaufman in real life.
11. Mick Foley on 30 Rock
Mick Foley appeared on 30 Rock as his wrestling persona Mankind, complete with his sock puppet Mr Socko. When Jenna Maroney wants to make friends other than Liz Lemon, she attempts to do so by hanging out with a bunch of weird misfits, including Mick Foley’s Mankind.
10. Hulk Hogan in Gremlins 2
When the gremlins break the fourth wall, wreak havoc and interrupt the screening of Gremlins 2: The New Batch, the Hulkster has something to say about it. He rips of his shirt and demands the critters stop messing with the film in the projection booth in a surreal moment in cinema that made the sequel all the more memorable.
9. The Rock on Saturday Night Live
The Rock has made many memorable appearances on Saturday Night Live over the years, but one of his most memorable sketches was playing the father of Chris Kattan’s recurring character Mr. Peepers.
The sketch ends with both Kattan and the Rock vigorously humping a distraught Chris Parnell. Then Kattan piggybacks the Rock as the pair break through the wall…
8. The Iron Sheik on Kenny vs. Spenny
In the episode “Who is the Better Wrestler,” Kenny and Spenny competed to see who was the best in the ring. Kenny adopted a bizarre wrestling persona called Yarp – a crazed, hammer-wielding alien. Spenny wanted to learn wrestling fundamentals but ended up just, sort of, bleeding everywhere.
A naked Spenny was forced to endure a beatdown from his wrestling idol the Iron Sheik as a humiliation for being deemed the inferior wrestler.
7. Chris Jericho, Kane, The Great Khali, Mark Henry and MVP in MacGruber
MacGruber must assemble an elite team to avenge the death of his wife. The best of the best for this group of mercenaries included wrestling superstars Chris Jericho, Kane, the Great Khali, Mark Henry and MVP.
Unfortunately, Will Forte’s MacGruber ends up accidentally killing them all after leaving them in a van filled with C4 he packed himself. Big Show was supposed to be on the team, too, but MacGruber (very questionably) cuts his character from the team when he finds out he’s gay.
6. Hulk Hogan on American Dad!
When Stan lets his position at the country club go to his head, Steve intervenes by bringing in Hulk Hogan as an example of a down-to-earth, self-made man to shake Stan out of his snobby ways. When Stan shakes the Hulkster’s hand and realizes his proud, firm handshake is gone he snaps out of his delusions of grandeur and rips off his shirt, Hulkamania style.
5. Macho Man Randy Savage in Spider-Man
This scene also marked one of the few wisecracks by old webhead in the original Spider-Man trilogy. “That’s a cute outfit. Did your husband give it to you?,” quips Spidey. As a bonus, Bruce Campbell also cameos in this scene.
4. Bret the Hitman Hart on The Simpsons
“Eww, this place has got old man stink,” explains Bret Hart after buying Burns’ mansion. Mr. Burns asks Hitman if he can keep a portrait of himself and Bret the Hitman Hart responds by asking why he would want a picture of a “pathetic, pencil-necked geek.” The Simpsons has always been a great forum for funny cameos and Hart’s was no exception.
3. The Rock in Reno 911: Miami
When the S.W.A.T. is called in after a bio-chemical terrorist attack on a Miami hotel, the S.W.A.T. leader Rick Smith, played by the Rock, must inspire the Reno 911 gang.
Instead, he accidentally pulls the pin out of his grenade, fumbles to pick it up and eventually gets blown to pieces by the ensuing explosion. Entrails and thick streams of blood fly everywhere.
2. The Rock in The Other Guys
Forget his portrayal of Hercules or his starring role in the latest Fast and the Furious movies, this turn in The Other Guys may be the Rock’s greatest film performance. Samuel L. Jackson and the Rock play cops so overconfident that they think they can survive a 20-storey drop. “Aim for the bushes,” says the Rock’s Christopher Danson.
Except there are no bushes at street level. There’s just concrete, which results in their deaths.
1. Rowdy Roddy Piper on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
‘It’s Always Sunny’ has had plenty of memorable guest stars, but none quite as surreally funny as Rowdy Roddy Piper’s Da’ Maniac. Rowdy Roddy Piper plays a down on his luck wrestler living in his car, eating chestnuts.
The gang enlists his help to put on a wrestling show for the troops. ‘Da’ Maniac’ would go on to make another appearance on It’s Always Sunny, where he would outsmart the gang though a pyramid scheme. “Sometimes loud noises make the squirrels go in my head. And I don’t fight in the ring anymore. But I still fight with the demons in Da’ Maniacs head.” He’s truly a darkly comic character.