Wrestlers who became actors

Wrestlers who became actors
(Credit: ABC TV 'Mondo Thingo' - Mondo Movies)
Transcription of the ABC television programme
*Steve "Crusher" Rackman footage supplied by Media Man Australia

Now, obviously not all the great actors come from the theatre. Many of them learn their craft in the world of professional wrestling.

'Walking Tall' is the new movie from a hunk of man-steak glistening with baby oil that we've come to know as The Rock. Sure, he's no Olivier. But could Laurence bounce cherry tomatoes off his butt cheeks? I think not. This week on Mondo Movies, we look at wrestlers who've left the safety of the ring for a no-holds-barred career in the movies.

Walking Tall

If you're excited by the idea of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson righting wrongs with a big stick, then 'Walking Tall' is your movie. 'Walking Tall' is a remake and based on a true story that's been pumped, oiled and supercharged to suit its star, The Rock. And he's the best thing in a pretty hackneyed film. With his ability to lift grown men and his ring-bred charisma, he's perfect for the part.

THE ROCK: If you smell-ell-ell-ell-ell what The Rock is cookin'!

The Princess Bride

Well, you can see you need plenty of ego to get in the ring, which is why so many of these wrestling gorillas can make the shift from spinebusters to blockbusters. Standing 7'4" and weighing over 230 kilos, Andre the Giant was destined to dominate pro wrestling. Suffering giantism, Andre's condition and scary but lovable manner helped make him a star. He was the first inductee into the WWF Hall of Fame. Hollywood couldn't help but notice Andre. But of all his acting roles, his own favourite was as the lovable giant Fezzik in Rob Reiner's classic 'The Princess Bride'.

ANDRE AS 'FEZZIK': It's not my fault, being the biggest and the strongest. I don't even exercise.

It may have lost some puff over the years, but 'The Princess Bride' is still captivating. And despite being typecast as the big guy, Andre was as much loved onscreen as in the ring, unlike most of his showier peers.

Suburban Commando

Hulk Hogan is arguably one of the most popular professional wrestlers of all time.

HULK HOGAN: Are you actually gonna do something or are you just gonna stand up there like the bitch that you are?

And his ball-busting, trash-talking, over-the-top theatrics in the ring have also bagged him plenty of movie roles. Sylvester Stallone gave him his first role as Thunderlips, the ultimate male, in the slightly decaying threequel 'Rocky III'. For Hulk, it wasn't a stretch.

But his acting in the film 'Suburban Commando' was a stretch, with Hulk playing an alien bounty hunter stranded on earth. Unfortunately, Hulk forgot he was in a movie and not in the ring.

They Live

Despite being a wrestling bad guy constantly goading Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper became so popular with fans he was turned into a wrestling good guy. And he also played a good guy for perhaps his finest movie role in John Carpenter's cult favourite 'They Live'. Here, Roddy is a construction worker who finds sunglasses that show the world is full of subliminal messages put there by aliens. And his acting classes paid off with this superb bit of adlibbing.

ROWDY RODDY PIPER IN 'THEY LIVE: I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of bubblegum.

Crocodile Dundee

And for our very own Aussie wrestler-cum-thespian, look no further than Steve 'The Crusher' Rackman, who played the poetically-named Donk in the 'Crocodile Dundee' movies, which went from good to bad to ugly. Unlike his American counterparts, the movie roles were few and far between. So Steve concentrated on some local acting.

The wrestling ring has proved the perfect breeding ground for chunky movie action heroes, but strangely, not many chunky movie lawyers or chunky movie doctors or chunky movie presidents. Well, that's typecasting for you.


ABC Mondo Thingo

Media Man Australia


Steve "Crusher" Rackman

Johnny Valiant

Wrestling Directory


The Glory Days of Australian Professional Wrestling - documentary on Australia pro wrestling history