After seeing Stone Cold Steve Austin in a mainstream movie, in what I think was his best performance in anything, I asked myself “who was the best?” Who had the most powerful performance in a film that you remember, quote and made you believe that they belonged out of the ring and in the silver screen?
There have been many movies over the years with wrestlers in it. Most have been horrific. My mind goes to Ready to Rumble and The Tooth Fairy. And I am lucky enough that I have never seen a John Cena film. It is easy to talk about who is the worst. I could do a whole blog on all the shitty movies that have had wrestlers in it, I chose to be positive today. Who is the best? If I asked you “Who had the most memorable performance?” Who would you say?
The following list is my TOP 5 favorite performances by a wrestler from 5 to 1, naming # 1 as the undisputed champion.
5. THE ROCK- WALKING TALL
I know this is the one I will catch the most shit for and I am willing to take it. It is an underrated performance. The movie itself is ok at best. I think The Rock is great in it. It is the type of performance I wish he would do more of. When he announced he would leave wrestling to be an actor, this is the type of movie I thought we would see him in. He is tough as nails in it, no jokes, no cheese, no tu tus and no kids!! The Rock could have been the next Arnold and I think the clip I included proves it. Hey more power to the guy, he went the Eddie Murphy route and took the checks and makes kid movies now. But if you want to watch what the Rock could have been, watch this movie.
4.HULK HOGAN- ROCKY III
If the other three performances ahead of him weren’t so great, Hulk would have a steady argument that he should be number 1. I mean this is the performance that started Hulkamania. Without it, we wouldn’t have the constant “Brother!” ” Say your prayers, eat your vitamins!” and no Hogan Knows Best. (Ok maybe we could have done without that.) Thunderlips was awesome. Just a pure spectical of the modern day wrestler. The fat load Gorgeous Georges and Bruno Sammartino would be forever forgotten. Stallone chose Hogan to kick the piss out of him, call him a meatball and toss him into the front row. His charisma, power and perfect delivery of “That’s the name of the game.” made this one of the best performances of a wrestler ever.
3.ANDRE THE GIANT- PRINCESS BRIDE
I am sure there will be many comments saying that this should be number 1 and I respect the argument. Andre was great as the lovable Fessik. He was a gentle giant in Rob Reiner’s 1987 classic film. Andre’s timing was amazing in this film. He was just as good as anyone else in the movie. His rhyming in the film is still quoted to this day and I find myself saying “HELLO LADY” to my fiance’ just because it is fun to do. It is a shame we lost Andre when we did, besides being a specimen of nature, the guy was talented. Why wasn’t he # 1? Well one of the reasons, you need subtitles to understand him half the time, other than that the performance is pretty flawless.
2.JESSE VENTURA- PREDATOR
I fought with myself for a while here. This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I saw Predators this year. I had fun watching it but it also made me realize how phenominal the cast was in the original 1987 Schwarzenegger film. The team was the best part of the movie and Jesse Ventura was right in the thick of it. From the moment he hits the screen as Blain, we knew we were in for a great performance. “I aint got time to bleed.” I say that now whenever I have the chance. And can we talk about the gun? Jesse sold it, I felt that he slept with that thing and could tell you every part of it and how to assemble it with your feet. He doesn’t make # 1 because he dies too fast. I always thought he should have stuck around longer than Poncho. If he had, he might have made # 1.
1.RODDY PIPER- THEY LIVE
Now I know, between men and women, Andre may be getting the vote of # 1 but anyone who has seen John Carpernter’s They Live will know it is one of the most underrated sci-fi thrillers of all time. Does it have a fairly silly premise? Sure. Guy puts on sunglasses and can see the aliens that are posing as humans. Whatever. It isn’t the plot that makes this movie, it is the Rowdy one. Yep, Roddy Piper is the champion of wrestlers in film. The reason he beats out Jesse and Andre? Jesse and Andre had Arnold, Carl Weathers, Carry Elwes and Billy Crystal to help them out. Piper carries this film. It is all on his shoulders. Keith David is great in the film as well but it is all Piper’s film. If you haven’t quoted his lines from the clip below, you will someday. Piper was one of the greatest characters in wrestling history and the guy is a pretty good actor, I think he got shafted with the roles he was given after They Live and I think Stallone should have cast him in Expendables. If I have my way, he will review that film with The Schmoes. (Fingers crossed)
So that is my list, sound off on the bottom of this page. Did I forget anyone? I know George the Animal Steele in Ed Wood is mentioned often. I have never seen the film so it is not included. No offense George. Love ya.
BONUS: Here is the Pipe Man performing stand up comedy at an event we did a few months ago. WWE fans will enjoy this as he tells stories with Schmoe friend, Steve Simeone.