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Top Ten Movies Featuring Wrestlers

23 March 2010 by Phantom Troublemaker 6 Comments

Top Ten Movies Featuring Wrestlers

You’ll notice this isn’t “Top Ten Movies Starring Wrestlers”. If it was, the list would be a bunch of Rock movies and They Live. Flicks with wrestlers above the title don’t tend to be all that great – No Holds Barred, anybody? No? How about Sting’s movie? Did anybody even see that one?

I’m also not including documentaries, as I don’t feel they should be compared to fictional film. You just can’t put Beyond the Mat and Wrestling with Shadows on the same list as Mr. Nanny. Also, I hadn’t seen The Wrestler yet when I put this together so it doesn’t appear on the list, despite featuring a number of well-known indy guys and names from the past.

10 – Southland Tales

I really like this movie. It is incredibly strange and has an ending that I wouldn’t even begin to call satisfying, but we get an absolutely incredible performance out of Rocky. This should have solidified his career as a “for real actor”.

9 – See No Evil

Good horror flick. I think the stupid way WWE promoted it within their storylines turned a lot of people off, but the missus and I both thoroughly enjoyed it. I would go so far as to say I hope for a sequel. Although, given WWE’s choice to replace Cena in The Marine 2; Ted DiBiase, Jr.; we could probably expect Mike Knox as the main villain in See No Evil 2. Wait, that would actually be kind of awesome…

8 – The Condemned

This is a really good action flick that actually dared to have a message. I did not expect anything even remotely intellectual going in to this movie, but trust me, it rewards you by being clever if you stick through it to the end. BRUTAL fight scenes.

7 – The Rundown

The movie that established The Rock as a credible leading man. Yeah, The Scorpion King was really good, but it was still a genre movie. This one cracked the mainstream audience and showed that Rocky could pull his weight while sharing the screen with established names like Seann William Scott and Christopher freakin’ “Let me tell you about the Tooth Fairy” Walken. And Ernie Reyes, Jr.

6 – The Mummy Returns

Not only did this one break The Rock into Hollywood, it also broke the mold for movies with wrestlers in them. This was a high-quality sequel to a high quality original movie. Stephen Sommers put a lot of trust in Duane Johnson’s charisma and ability and was well-rewarded for his faith.

5 – Friday

Who could ever forget Zeus “Tiny” Lister as D’bo? This movie is an absolute classic. The fact that it is only number five should be a testament to how much I love the next four movies.

4 – Predator

Motherfucking Jesse Ventura.

“This stuff will make you a goddamn sexual tyrannosaurus – just like me.”

Holy fucking shit.

3 – X-Men

I debated a lot about this and Predator and where they went. In the end, I went with my usual standard of which one I would put in the player if they were both sitting in front of me and X-Men won. Tyler Mane as Sabretooth was the only instance of unchallengeable (Is that a word? Not according to spellcheck. Of course, “spellcheck” isn’t a word, either, then.) casting in this movie aside from Patrick Stewart.

2 – Rob Zombie’s Halloween

Why do people have such a problem with remakes? Allow me to paraphrase Stephen King – Do whatever you want as far as adaptation and reinterpretation goes. If you don’t like the result, the original remains unchanged. That’s King’s feeling on all of the movies, TV series or whatever that have been done based on his work. I couldn’t agree more. I think Zombie’s retelling of John Carpenter’s classic is great. Fleshing out Michael Myers’ history does not make him less of a sociopath or more sympathetic. Tyler Mane kicks ass as the new adult Michael.

1 – They Live

The absolute, without-a-doubt, all-time greatest movie starring a wrestler ever. Period. Not only did They Live introduce the phrase “I came here to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and I’m all out of bubblegum.” into the American lexicon, it also gave us the longest continuous fight scene on film (I think. The record may have been beaten by now.), pitting our hero “Rowdy” Roddy Piper against Keith David in a battle of alien-revealing sunglasses supremacy.

Almost every movie John Carpenter has directed is a classic, and They Live is no exception. Piper’s character is just a nameless everyman who stumbles into the biggest conspiracy of all time and solves the problem by beating the shit out of things. Or shooting them. Awesome.

I want a remake of this movie directed by Robert Rodriguez and starring MVP.

Now that I’ve made the list, I guess it could be argued that all of these movies did star wrestlers. The Rock was certainly central to Southland Tales, Tyler Mane played a huge role in X-Men and Predator wouldn’t have been half as awesome without Jesse Ventura. In reality those movies did all feature ensemble casts to one degree or another, so I can’t really claim the particular wrestler was the star.

As a special bonus treat, here are a bunch of other movies featuring wrestlers and a quick rating for each (if I haven’t seen it you get an N/A) out of five stars:

Hell Comes to Frogtown – Roddy Piper – ** BONUS: Bea Arthur
Universal Soldier: The Return – Bill Goldberg – *
Santa’s Slay – Bill Goldberg – *
Three Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain – Hulk Hogan – N/A
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze (No, it really wasn’t necessary to type out that whole title, but I wanted to) – Kevin Nash – *** BONUS: Vanilla Ice
Suburban Commando – Hulk Hogan – ** (This one honestly isn’t that bad. I’ll watch it with Lil’ Troublemaker at some point. In Blu-Ray. Think about that one – someday all of the Hulkster’s movies will be available in glorious Hi-Def…)
Mr. Nanny – Hulk Hogan – 0
Santa With Muscles – Hulk Hogan – N/A
The Running Man – Jesse Ventura – ***
Spider-Man – Randy Savage – **** (This one isn’t on the main list because Savage’s part was so small)
The Longest Yard – Kevin Nash, Steve Austin, The “Great” Khali – ***
The Punisher – Kevin Nash – ***
12 Rounds – John Cena – N/A
The Marine – John Cena – **
Get Shorty – The Rock – **
The Scorpion King – The Rock – ***
Body Slam: The Movie (As opposed to Body Slam: The Novel or Body Slam: The Atari 2600 Game) – Wild Samoans, Lou Albano, Roddy Piper, Ric Flair, Sam Fatu, Bruno Sammartino, Fred Blassie, Adnan Al-Kaissy, etc. – * BONUS: Dirk Benedict (ed. note: + Charles Nelson Reilly!)
No Holds Barred – Hulk Hogan, Zeus, Jeep Swenson – *** (This movie is fucking terrible. That being said, I will watch it whenever it is in front of me, so there must be something there. Hence the three stars.)
Highlander: Endgame – Edge – N/A (I like Highlander. I like Edge. Why haven’t I seen this? I DON’T KNOW!)
The Fifth Element – Zeus (As President!?!) – **** (This wasn’t on the main list for two reasons: 1 – Zeus wasn’t really a central character. D’bo was much more vital to Friday than the President was to The Fifth Element, and 2 – I couldn’t justify putting two movies in the top ten with Zeus as their sole wrestling representation. I mean, the guy was barely even a real wrestler.)
Ready to Rumble – WCW’s entire locker room circa 1999- ** (I didn’t hate this movie. I thought it was pretty funny. Sue me.)
The Devil’s Rejects – Tyler Mane – ***** (This may be my favorite movie of all time. It didn’t make the list because Tyler Mane dies right at the beginning and you really wouldn’t even know it’s him without looking at the credits.)
Doom – The Rock – ***
Get Smart – The Rock – N/A
Behind Enemy Lines 2 – Ken Kennedy – N/A
Whatever Gay Movie Sting Starred In – Sting – N/A

I didn’t include any lucha movies because they are all equally awesome. OK, not really; but you can rely on those all being pretty entertaining. I haven’t found one yet that wasn’t worth the time I spent watching it. The same cannot be said of all of the above films.

Until next time, stay creepy



  • Gnoll said:

    I realize that getting every movie with a wrestler in it on this list would be nigh-impossible, but the lack of Terry Funk from Road House and Over the Top are somewhat disappointing. Ditto King Kong Bundy in Moving.

  • Phantom Troublemaker said:

    Yeah, I also left out Sgt. Slaughter in GI Joe: The Movie, which kind of makes me want to volunteer for a Segal cockpunch. Here is a haiku to try and make up for my heinous omission:

    Your mustache is so fine
    A line of courage and hope
    Call me a maggot

    Also, this site has the worst caaptchas EVER.

  • Phantom Troublemaker said:

    Captchas. Sorry.

  • Baldy said:

    I’m with you on Ready To Rumble. I know it’s immature, but I loved it. Don’t forget, though, that The Rock wasn’t in Get Shortly but in the pathetic sequel (though he was freaking brilliant in his role!).

    And the Macho Man was fantastic as Buzzsaw.


    I can’t believe you left out the undertaker when you listed Suburban Commando. He was the bad guy with the little kid voice.

  • Jamie Leng said:

    I know next to nothing about wrestling, but I do know my movies. How could you leave out ‘The Running Man’ featuring Jesse Ventura (Captain Freedom) & Professor Toru Tanaka (Sub Zero)?

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