- Hulk Hogan was among the first WWE Superstars to try his hand at acting and do well
- Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson leads the list of most well-known wrestlers-turned-actors
- Who will follow in The Great One’s footsteps and find success in Hollywood?
Wrestling and acting have gone hand-in-hand for decades, so it should come as no surprise that several stars from the wrestling world have tried their hand at acting, and done relatively well for themselves.
Then again, there’s a distinct difference between rehearsing lines on the set of a movie and making an arena full of fans believe you are the champion of the world without much preparation or room for error.
Thus, to succeed both in WWE and in Hollywood is easier said than done and only an elite handful can say they have.
Chief among them is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who largely left wrestling in 2003 to pursue a career in Hollywood. It took time for him to find his footing as an actor as well as the right roles, but he eventually came into his own as a silver screen sensation and a major box office draw.
For years, John Cena publicly criticized Rock for being a sellout and choosing Hollywood over WWE, yet he has been no different in recent years.
The former 16-time WWE world champion has traded in his title belts for acting gigs and has landed roles in movies such as Trainwreck, Daddy’s Home 2, Blockers, and Bumblebee.
At one point, it would have been unheard of for Cena to take time off from WWE for more than a few weeks at a time, but he has gradually become the epitome of a part-timer since 2015.
After nearly a year away from WWE programming, he returned to Raw and SmackDown Live this past week and didn’t seem to miss a beat.
Although he hasn’t held gold in nearly two years, Cena will always be a household name in WWE and will be welcomed back with open arms by officials and fans alike. The same can be said for Rock, who was away from the company for close to a decade before resurfacing in 2011 and headlining WrestleMania the very next year.
As for Batista, who starred in Guardians of the Galaxy and Spectre, he didn’t fare as well during his in-ring return in 2014. WWE was insistent on keeping him face, leading to the fans turning on him and his Royal Rumble win getting spoiled.
Of course, WWE’s questionable booking was to blame in that instance, and he became a much bigger star after leaving the second time. He received a rockstar-like reaction from the fans when he came back at SmackDown 1000, so he has certainly seen his popularity rise since becoming a full-blown actor.
Many members of the current SmackDown Live and Raw rosters could have what it takes to thrive in Hollywood, and a successful stint there would likely lead to bigger and better things for them in WWE as well (assuming they would want to go back).
Which WWE Superstar Will Cross Over to Film Industry?
The Miz has been the face of WWE Studios’ The Marine franchise since 2013 and has been better than expected in the role. The chances of him ever being involved in a theatrical release are slim to none, mind you, but there’s nothing stopping him from acting full-time once he winds down his in-ring career.
His Marine 6 co-star Becky Lynch, on the other hand, doesn’t have much acting experience at all, and it’s too soon to tell whether she has the skills necessary to flourish in the film industry.
However, her acting chops have been on full display during her recent run as “The Man” on SmackDown Live as she’s played a believable bad guy (er, girl), so her untapped potential could be enough to earn her a look from the powers that be in Hollywood.
Meanwhile, Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, and Ronda Rousey have all had minor acting gigs in the past. Mainstream movie fans have seen what they’re capable of, but whether they wish to dedicate everything to acting once they’re through with WWE (or decide to take a break from it) and aspire to become as big as Rock in that realm is unknown.
Few have been fortunate enough to find success both in wrestling and acting, but those who have done it have proven that it is indeed possible, so it’s anyone’s guess who will be the next to cross over and excel at acting.