Movies Your Forgot Starred Wrestlers. While that was a fun trip down memory lane, it left off too many noteworthy performances from the stars of the squared circle. Problem solved!
They Live (1988) - Roddy Piper's portrayal of hero John Nada in John Carpenter's satirical sci-fi classic is quite possibly the best performance by a wrestler ever; yes, technically Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is much, much better on film, but he was pretty quickly considered an actor first and a wrestler a distant second. Though he appeared in a whole bunch of movies and TV shows, Piper was always considered a wrestler trying to act. He's the perfect Carpenter hero in They Live: tough, silent, world-weary and sarcastic when called upon to be so -- plus he kicks a lot of ass.
Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959) - A performance that's more iconic than great, Tor Johnson's portrayal of a cop who becomes the undead has been made famous by years of clips and memorable stills from the so-called "worst movie ever made" (it is far from the worst movie ever made). This one earns bonus points for providing the basis for another wrestler, George "The Animal" Steele, to play Johnson in Tim Burton's great Ed Wood.
The Princess Bride (1987) - One great thing in a movie full of great things, Andre the Giant's performance as Fezzik is so essential to The Princess Bride that director Rob Reiner has basically said that the movie wouldn't have been possible without him. Finding a guy of his size (I mean, Giant is his LAST NAME) and his gentle, sweet demeanor should have been, in the words of Vizzini, inconceivable -- easy for William Goldman to write as a fairy tale character, but not the kind of person that exists in real life. It's like Andre the Giant was invented just so they could make movie out of The Princess Bride.
Predator (1987) - The former wrestler-turned-commentator-turned Minnesota governor-turned-conspiracy theorist kook made his debut alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in this action/sci-fi classic, not just holding his own but standing out as the biggest badass amidst one of the greatest team of badasses in movie history. He would pop up in a few more Schwarzenegger movies (including The Running Man and Batman & Robin), but never made the impression he does in Predator. Of all the mid-movie deaths, his is the most deeply felt.
8. John Cena, The Marine (2006) - Ok, John Cena's performance as The Marine in The Marine does not qualify as "great." Nothing about The Marine qualifies as "great." It's as ridiculous a stupid action movie as we ever got in the '80s heyday, just made 20 years too late, and Cena is very serviceable as the hero of exactly that kind of film. Had it been released in 1987, Cena would have had a career as an action star at least until the bottom fell out in the mid-'90s. It's hardly a great performance, but it should have led to bigger and better things. Instead, it led to stuff like this:
9. Stacy Keibler, Bubble Boy (2001) - The one-time wrestler and future girlfriend of George Clooney barely appears in the mostly tasteless but much funnier-than-you-would-expect comedy Bubble Boy, but makes the most of her screen time. Mostly by mud wrestling:
10. Kevin Nash, Magic Mike (2012) - Steven Soderbergh is a filmmaker who loves to mix some authenticity in with the artifice of moviemaking, and there a lot of touches in his excellent Magic Mike that speak to this skill. The casting of wrestler Kevin Nash as the biggest -- and least talented -- of the male strippers on who the movie focuses is clever because it juxtaposes his size and physique with a total lack of grace. Keep an eye on him during the group dancing scenes. He's no good. It's another nice little detail in a movie full of them, and elevates Nash's performance to something special without him even realizing it.