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From Wrestlers to Actors

Writer: Elaine Ewe


Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Luke Hobbs in "Fast Five".
Making a career change cannot be easy. Otherwise, career consultants would go bankrupt, although it seems that while you are in Hollywood, you need to become a professional in multitasking. That being said, it is doubtful that making the transition from a wrestler to an actor involves going to a career consultant. Now, most movie-goers would probably be pulling a face at the mention of a wrestler going into acting, but if you are an avid fan of movies, you would know that a few are performing really well, while others are, indeed, relegated to bodyguard roles for evil cat-stroking villains on a swivel chair or die after their five seconds of fame. Let's take a look at who's who, shall we?

Bill Goldberg
Profile: Contrary to his looks, William Scott "Bill" Goldberg, born 27 December 1966 is a nice guy, really. Not only is he an animal welfare advocate and an American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) spokesman, Goldberg has also called the United States Congress to attention regarding the immorality of animal fighting. In addition, Goldberg plays golf and pay visits to children in local hospitals who are undergoing cancer treatment every year. His catch phrase, "Who's next?" is synonymous with his large undefeated winning streak in professional wrestling.

The movie that shot him to stardom: Goldberg was first noticed when he starred in "Universal Soldier: The Return" alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme however, many may recognise him more from the movie "Looney Tunes: Back in Action". It is not so much because the movie is a huge success, but because Goldberg plays a more prominent role as the henchman, Mr Smith, as well as the wider target audience that the movie caters to as opposed to "Universal Soldier: The Return".

 

Kane
Profile: It would have been cooler if his name was actually Kane, but no, Kane is just one of his many ring names, alongside Doomsday. Glenn Thomas Jacobs is an American born on 26 April 1967, in Spain. His wrestling career began in 1992, in relatively unknown straits, until he joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1995. Jacobs is currently inactive due to injury.

The movie that shot him to stardom: Hot on the heels of Jacob's unmasking in the WWF arena (previously he wore a mask in his fights), his movie debut made full use of his mean demeanour as Jacob Goodnight in "See No Evil". It sounds like a really bad pun in reference to his face, but the movie is about a psychopath who goes on a killing spree, and ripping out his victims' eyes at the end. "See No Evil" received much criticism, but it accomplished what it set out to do; most people are familiar with Kane now. So much so there's a nagging suspicion that parents hide their kids or bolt the doors when they see him.

Other notable appearances: "Smallville" as Titan, and "MacGruber" as Tanker Lutz
 

Dwayne Johnson
Profile: Do you smell what's the Rock is cooking? There are basically a few variations and a hundred memes based on this phrase, but the point is, who does not know Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson? One of the more successful American actors around, Dwayne Douglas Johnson was a college football player until his contract was terminated two months into the 1995 season. This led to his decision to become a professional wrestler like his grandfather, Peter Maivia, and his father, Rocky Johnson. He became one of the most popular wrestlers, not to mention one of the better looking ones.

The movie that shot him to stardom: Johnson's first appeared in "The Mummy Returns" as The Scorpion King, in which he did a superior job, for it led him to obtain a leading role in the spin-off "The Scorpion King" in 2002. For the uninitiated, "The Scorpion King" follows the story of Mathayus, the last Akkadian mercenary, before he became the Scorpion King. The movie was by no means A-grade, but between this and horror movies these days, it is unquestionably worth watching.

Other notable appearances: "The Rundown" as Beck, "Walking Tall" as Chris Vaughn, "The Game Plan" as Joe Kingman and more recently, "Fast Five" as Luke Hobbs.

Triple H
Profile:Now this guy's life plays out more like how one would imagine a wrestler should be. Born Paul Michael Levesque on 27 July 1969, he was a fan of professional wrestling and his favourite wrestler was Ric Flair. This factored into his decision to take up body-building in his teenage years, and he was even crowned Teenage Mr. New Hampshire in 1988. Levesque is better known by his ring name Triple H, an abbreviation of the ring name, Hunter Hearst Helmsley,

The movie that shot him to stardom: Compared to the other wrestlers, his filmography is hardly one to shout about, but many may recognise Triple H as Jarko Grimwood in "Blade: Trinity". Jarko is the vampire enforcer who tortures Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds), before eventually meeting his end at King's hand. Oh well, you may have won a role beside Ryan Reynolds, but you cannot win them all, Triple H.

Other notable appearances:"The Chaperone" as Raymond "Ray Ray" Bradstone, and "Inside Out" as Arlo Jayne (A.J.).

John Cena
Profile:Born 23 April 1977, John Felix Anthony Cena's name is quite a mouthful, which is probably why he chose to be credited as John Cena instead. Cena, who is reported to be part Italian, is the son of Carol and John Cena, Sr. In contrast to The Rock, Cena is still signed to WWE as a member of its WWE Raw brand. Besides being American professional wrestler, he is also an actor, rapper, and television personality.

The movie that shot him to stardom: Without a doubt, it would be "The Marine", where he played U.S. Marine (what else?) John Triton, who goes on a mission to rescue his wife when she is taken hostage by a bunch of criminals. Despite the movie's poor reception, Cena managed to make a wave in Hollywood for he was asked to reprise his action hero persona in two other movies, both of which got him nominated for best actor.

Other notable appearances:"12 Rounds" as Danny Fisher, and "Legendary" as Mike Chetley.

Kevin Nash
Profile:Kevin Scott Nash, born 9 July 1959, is certainly a highly educated wrestler. Boasting a resume as one of the University of Tennessee alumni where he majored in psychology and minored in educational philosophy, Nash would not have gone into wrestling had he not had an accident. The poor guy tore his knee ligament during basketball, and hopped between jobs till he decided to try professional wrestling.

The movie that shot him to stardom: Nash made his movie debut in "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze" as the Super Shredder in 1991, but seriously, did anyone even watch this? It was his role as The Russian in "The Punisher" that made people sit up and take note, partly because of his size in comparison to Thomas Jane and that blond crew cut.

Other notable appearances: "The Longest Yard" as Guard Engleheart, "DOA: Dead or Alive" as Bass Armstrong, and the upcoming movie "Magic Mike" as Tarzan

Steve Austin
Profile:Most fans know him by the name of Stone Cold, but his real name is Steven James Anderson, born on 18 December 1964, later and formerly Steven James Williams. Austin was one of those guys who started off with a football scholarship, only to find that wrestling seemed to be the better option. As it turned out, he was billed as "The Most Popular Superstar in WWE History" as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin although his career as professional wrestler is currently in retirement.

The movie that shot him to stardom:"The Longest Yard" should actually be renamed as That Movie with the Wrestlers, considering the amount of wrestlers who starred in it, including Austin. He plays Guard Dunham in this remake of the film of the same name in 1974 about a disgraced former professional football quarterback (Adam Sandler) who is forced into training a team consisting of prison inmates to play football against the guards.

Other notable appearances:"The Condemned" as Jack Conrad, and "The Expendables" as Dan Paine.

Hulk Hogan
Profile:Love him or hate him, Terrance Gene "Terry" Bollea is arguably one of the most popular wrestlers of all-time. Born 11 August 1953 with an Italian, French and Panamanian heritage, he is better known by his ring name, Hulk Hogan. His interest in professional wrestling began at 16-years-old, during which he idolised Dusty Rhodes and "Superstar" Billy Graham.

The movie that shot him to stardom:What better movie to gain attention other than "Rocky III"? In this instalment of "Rocky", Hogan was cast as Thunderlips, a supporting character who duels with Rocky in a 'charity' wrestling match. Thunderlips was memorable for his towering stature over Rocky Balboa, not to mention the corny name.

Other notable appearances:A cameo appearance in "Spy Hard" starring Leslie Nielsen.

 

Cinema Online, 24 October 2011


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