If you’re like me, you absolutely love a movie.
Whether it’s a movie at home or in the cinema, you just love the glitz and glamour of the silver screen. There is nothing better than going to your local Odeon or Cineworld, grabbing your pic ‘n’ mix or your popcorn and heading to those luxury seats for the adverts and the featured film. Actually, there is something better, and that is seeing a wrestler in one of those movies. You get a mini pop out of yourself and get excited.
Ask my girlfriend, she’s been there every single time I do it. With the likes of The Rock and John Cena moving from the ring to the movie screen, other wrestlers are making the jump, unless you’re like Triple H, you’re just going straight to DVD. However, there are a lot of wrestling appearances that go unnoticed by a lot of fans, or they just don’t like the films they’re in, but I’m going to give some spotlight to these films and the wrestlers that appeared in them.
Gnomeo and Juliet was the film that inspired me to do this list. I was watching it last weekend and who pops up but WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan. Yes, I know, this is an animated movie so the face of ‘the Hulkster’ isn’t in the film. However, his iconic voice and the word ‘brother’ is, where the female garden owner needs a new lawnmower. She goes onto the internet, before being greeted by an advert for the Terrafirminator, a beastly piece of garden equipment, which seems to be out of anyone’s price range.
The advert is voiced by the deep tones of Hogan who does chuck his famous catchword. If you are using any member of the professional wrestling world for this sort of role, who better than Hulk Hogan? He’s got such a deep, booming voice that is so recognisable and really added to the impact of the advert that the creators of Gnomeo & Juliet were going for. It was also a creative move from the developers, imagine the dad sat watching the movie with their young child and them hearing a voice from their childhood in a situation they did not expect to? A very clever move from the creators of such a brilliant animated film.
This entry is like film-ception, as Zak Bevis-Knight appears in a Fighting With My Family, a film about him but not as himself.
Zak’s actual character is portrayed by Jack Lowden who is significantly smaller than Zak but did him justice in the film. Zak’s appearance is very brief but is registered as a credited appearance on iMDB as a ‘Gang Lieutenant’. When the character of Zak falls into depression and gives up on training other wrestlers, due to his rejection from WWE, his students begin to go down dangerous paths in life. When Zak is on a redemption mission to get his students back and to continue to train all of them, he is in search of all the students across their local area in Norwich. He stumbles across one student who is being tempted by the gang leader to join them, that gang member being the real Zak who looks completely different than he does now.
For someone who comes from such a legendary family but is kind of overshadowed by the fame of his sister, to appear in this movie must’ve been brilliant for Zak. He was relatively unknown to the wider wrestling world until 2019 when this film was released, with another portion probably knowing him from the original documentary in 2012. In the build-up and media attention for the movie, I began following him on Instagram and quickly realised what a brilliant wrestler and human being he is.
Jingle All The Way is one of my favourite Christmas movies of all time, featuring not only a WWE superstar but a WWE Hall of Famer in big Arnold Schwarzenegger. The WWE superstar in question is the giant himself, The Big Show, who plays an abnormally large Santa Claus, it is quite a hilarious scene as most Santa’s in the scene are average height and then you have a smaller Santa and Big Show who stick out like a sore thumb.
If you were going to want a character to stick out, why not use someone as big as Show? That mixed with the scene involved Arnie getting his behind handed to him by Big Show for picking on the little guy; classic Big Show. It’s a pretty iconic Christmas moment and adds to the comedic value of this film, which showed another side to Show, who at the time was part of the nWo in WCW, wrestling under the name The Giant. It also set up a decent acting career outside of wrestling for the real-life Paul Wight, which is the name he was credited in this film. You may all know this because it’s not hard to realise it was him, but it’s a worthy inclusion as it’s so iconic.
This entry is the most obscure of the five due to the length of Kurt Angle’s appearance as Benjamin Rowe, a prison inmate alongside The Rock’s character getting beaten in a prison yard during 2013’s ‘Pain & Gain’.
The scene in which Angle appears is a flashback to the time Paul Doyle, The Rock’s character, spent in prison which included this fight scene that culminated in a weight being thrown at Angle’s throat and thus the scene would end. At the time, Angle was making good use of his lighter TNA schedule by appearing in various films, most of them were straight to DVD but he did receive a couple of big roles including this one and the film Warrior, starring Tom Hardy. Despite this cameo being so brief, it was a lovely nod to The Rock’s past as a wrestler and an acknowledgement to the WWE and the Attitude Era that Angle and Rock were mainstays in.
In the last few seconds of Daddy’s Home, John Cena appears in this film as Roger, the muscular father of Mark Wahlberg’s characters stepdaughter. He is prominent in the second film, but we only got to see that in 2017 so wrestling fans who don’t stick around for the end of films wouldn’t have known for two years. It’s quite an interesting character for Cena to play as he has recently played a lot more comedy-based characters, instead playing the ultra-intense and intimidating character.
It’s no surprise that Cena had appeared in this film, 2015 was his rise to acting prominence and the slight fall down the wrestling ladder to the mid-card letting other stars overtake him to cement their own legacies. Again, like Big Show, it was a contrast of wrestling persona to an actor, Cena has always been the joker of WWE and to see the face of the company to then act in a movie as the preverbal heel alongside Mark Wahlberg’s character, Dusty, who you learn to love.
The jump from the ring to the silver screen is a move made by many different WWE superstars and I’m sure it will continue to happen as the skills to make the crossover between the two worlds becomes more easily transferable. With the creation of WWE Studios, these little cameos that you may not see could well become more prominent roles as well.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @George_Geal_. Thanks for reading!