What do Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and John Cena have in common? Yes, they’re both now part of the Fast And Furious franchise, but there’s something besides. They’ve both starred in several family comedies involving children throughout their careers. Well, that’s once again true, but not quite what we’re looking for. Oh, they are both highly decorated and accomplished professional wrestlers who have won multiple WWE championships who happened to make the transition from the squared circle to the silver screen.
When you look at all the wrestlers who have hung up their boots in favor of a trailer on some Hollywood back lot, there aren’t too many who have reached the levels of success that have been attained by The Rock and John Cena. Sure, Hulk Hogan had a run of movies in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and yeah, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper starred in one of John Carpenter’s most iconic movies, but for the most part, wrestlers just can’t seem to land on their feet when they make that jump from the ring.
It’s not all bad though, as there is a chance that wrestlers are able to break from the mold of musclebound stoic giants and instead play on their own personalities. I mean, it did wonders for Dave “The Animal” Bautista when he joined the cast of The Guardians Of The Galaxy, and he’s a huge star now with another movie on the way (hey, it’s another pairing of a wrestler and child actor). And so, this has got us thinking - who is going to be the next wrestler to follow in The Rock and John Cena’s footsteps? Here are five of the wrestlers that we think are bound to break out in Hollywood in the near future.
If you’re looking for the next wrestler to make a jump to Hollywood, then Roman Reigns is your guy. Just look at the guy - he’s got the muscles, a healthy head of (wet) hair, the charm, and he isn’t the worst actor in the world. Plus, thousands of disgruntled wrestling fans would be more than happy to have him off their television sets for a few months at a time (people still love to hate, Reigns, right?).
Not only does Reigns have the look of an action star in the making, he also has one remarkable pedigree. Reigns was born into one of the most successful wrestling families, the Anoa'i family, who has produced some of the greatest Samoan wrestlers the sport has ever seen. Reigns is also “blood brothers” with The Rock thanks to a bond their families shared long ago (it’s as complicated as it sounds). Reigns even showed up in Hobbs & Shaw playing Luke Hobbs’ younger brother, Mateo Hobbs. Maybe Reigns will show up again if there’s a Hobbs & Shaw sequel one of these days.
There is probably not a bigger name in the WWE women’s division or on the general roster of performers than Becky Lynch right now. For the better part of the past three years, “The Man” as she calls herself, has killed it in the ring and on the mic. There’s nothing Lynch can’t do. She’s headlined WrestleMania (where she won both championship belts), she’s been on the cover of WWE’s annual video game series, and she even had a photo shoot with Allison Brie from the Netflix series GLOW.
With the ability to portray a number of different emotions, get physical, and do just about anything else in the ring, it’s about time “The Man” shows up in a Hollywood feature. Lynch has already started to follow in Cena’s footsteps after starring in the WWE-produced The Marine 6: Close Quarters (Cena was the lead in the first The Marine movie back in 2006). Maybe Lynch will get to break out from that franchise and find her way into something with more widespread appeal. Ideally, I’d like to see her pop up in the final season of GLOW.
While we are hoping that Becky Lynch shows up on GLOW at some point before the series ends, there is a WWE wrestler who made an appearance, albeit brief, on the Netflix series. John Morrison was featured pretty heavily in the show’s pilot episode where he appeared as Salty Johnson, the initial trainer for the Glorious Ladies Of Wrestling promotion. His character is fired from the promotion before too long, and we only see Morrison appear in that one episode. What we did see, however, was electric and exciting.
Morrison only recently returned to the fold, so to speak. After coming up with WWE in the early to mid 2000s, Morrison (real name John Hennigan) bounced around different wrestling promotions and even showed for a stint on Survivor in 2018. Anyone who has seen him on any of his projects knows that Morrison has the looks and the moves to break out on his own if he so chooses.
If recent news about Sasha Banks signing on for Season 2 of The Mandalorian is to be believed, it looks like “The Boss” is one step closer to breaking out in the acting world. This would be the first acting role outside of wrestling and music videos for the multi-time champion, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Since she first debuted in WWE developmental brand NXT in 2012, Sasha Banks has proven time and time again that she can bring people to the matches and get them to spend a lot of money on her shirts, signature shades, and every other piece of merchandise bearing her name. Her entrances at some of WWE’s biggest shows like WrestleMania 32 (which featured her cousin Snoop Dogg) and NXT Takeover: Brooklyn prove that “The Boss” deserves her title. The future is bright for Sasha Banks, so make sure to keep those sunglasses around.
And then there’s Bray Wyatt. Whether Wyatt is putting on his “The Fiend” persona or the somehow even creepier Mister Rogers knockoff in the “Firefly Fun House,” Bray Wyatt can do no wrong. Just look at the guy. He’s massive, as charismatic as he is insane, and overall just brutal. He’s essentially a walking horror movie monster that can be adjusted to meet the needs of any plot.
There is just something menacing and unpredictable any time Wyatt gets behind the mic, in the ring, or on any “titantron” at live events. He can hold the crowd in the palm of his hands, and has done so on numerous occasions, including his classic entrance with the “fireflies.” It’s only a matter of time before Bray Wyatt shows up in some type of psychological thriller or monster movie, and I can’t wait to see it.
Do you think any of these wrestlers will follow in the footsteps of The Rock and John Cena and end up on a movie screen in the near future or will they be relegated to the straight-to-dvd market at your local grocery store. Let’s hope it’s not the latter.
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.
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