With “WWE Raw” rolling into Nationwide Arena on Monday and The Rock on the big screen in Michael Bay’s “Pain & Gain” this weekend, we are counting down our 10 favorite screen performances by pro wrestlers.
10. “Macho Man” Randy Savage in “Spiderman”
The late “Macho Man” played the daunting Bone Saw McGraw in a match with Peter Parker’s newfound alter ego. Born in Columbus in 1952, Savage is also one of our favorite hometown athletes.
9. Tommy “Tiny” “Zeus” Lister Jr. in “Friday”
Lister Jr.’s WWF career stemmed from his role in “No Holds Barred,” but we love his iconic role as Deebo. It is indeed his bike now, punk.
8. Jesse “The Body” Ventura in “Predator”
The former governor of Minnesota and noted conspiracy theorist played Blain, best known for his Gatling gun and proclivity for chewing tobacco — “The stuff will make you a goddamn sexual Tyrannosaurus!”
7. George “The Animal” Steele in “Ed Wood”
The hairy pro wrestler portrayed pro wrestler Tor Johnson’s portrayal of a character in Ed Wood’s “Plan 9 from Outer Space” in Tim Burton’s loving biopic “Ed Wood.” We just got Inception-ed by that sentence.
6. Lenny Montana in “The Godfather”
Luca Brasi was the feared — and utterly ruthless — enforcer for the Corleone family. Alas, he wound up like so many mobsters, sleeping with the fishes.
5. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in “The Other Guys”
One of the most charismatic pro wrestlers ever, it was only a matter of time before “The Rock” made a leap to the big screen — and he made no funnier leap than his supporting role in this movie.
4. Alex Karras in “Blazing Saddles”
Karras’ Mongo rode a bull and knocked out a horse with one punch! Who would’ve thought Karras would go on to be the nice guy dad George Papadopolis on “Webster”?
3. Hulk Hogan in “Rocky III”
Sure, Rocky’s biggest threat was Mr. T’s Clubber Lang, but Hogan’s Thunderlips gave Rocky a pretty good beating. Sometimes charity really hurts.
2. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper in “They Live”
John Carpenter’s cult classic featured former kilted wrestler Piper as a drifter with an abundance of kicking ass and a shortage of bubble gum.
1. Andre the Giant in “The Princess Bride”
Pick someone other than Fezzik, the gentle giant from this childhood classic? Inconceivable.