August 1st has come and past and you know what that means; Marvel’s space-faring super-romp Guardians of the Galaxy is in theaters everywhere. And while it’s still early, every indication points to this being one of the top movies of 2014. Aside from making Marvel and Disney lots of money (GotG had the most profitable Thursday opening ever), the movie also marks the first time a professional wrestler has appeared as superhero in a major studio release. Dave Bautista (better known to wrestling fans as “The Animal” Batista) takes on the role of Drax the Destroyer, and though this is far from Big Dave’s first movie (he’s had appearances in both 2012’s The Man with the Iron Fists and 2013’s Riddick), it’s definitely his biggest role.
Whether Batista follows in the footsteps of Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson to Hollywood dominance remains to be seen, but may be it will lead to more big roles for other pro wrestlers. You see, directors and moviegoers alike are just now discovering what wrestling fans have known for years; that it takes great acting skills to become a truly great wrestler. Granted those skills don’t always translate well on the big screen (just look at Hulk Hogan), but both Dave and Dwayne have proven that there are some wrestlers that have what it takes to be a big movie star. The following is a list of pro wrestlers (or “sports entertainers” if you will) that I feel have the potential to pull off a superhero or supervillain in a Marvel or DC blockbuster.
Glenn Jacobs a/k/a Kane, has been in the wrestling biz for over 2 decades. Standing close to 7 feet tall and weighing over 300 pounds, “the Big Red Machine” is quite the imposing figure in the “squared circle” (that’s wrestling jargon for the ring). Based on his size and appearance alone, Kane would make a great supervillain, but that’s not all he brings to the table. Mr. Jacobs is no stranger to playing bad guys in the movies. He is best known for his role as serial killer Jacob Goodnite in the WWE-produced horror flick See No Evil, but he’s also had roles in MacGruber and Smallville (where he played the super-powered Titan). Given his previous film experience and nightmarish persona, Kane would be perfect for the role of a supervillain.
Role He’d Be Perfect For: Frankenstein
2. John Cena
I can tell some of you are cringing already, those of you who have seen his lackluster performances in the WWE films The Marine and 12 Rounds, but bear with me here. Now I will agree that The Marine was not a very good movie, and a lot of that had to do with Mr. Cena’s acting (in his defense, it was his first movie and he’d only been in the spotlight for maybe a year prior). But if one thing can be said of John’s performance it was that he did make for a pretty convincing Marine, especially considering he only did 2 weeks of basic training. In fact, his “soldier act” is so good that he adopted it as his in-ring persona (or gimmick) instead of his original Marky Mark white rapper schtick (though his resemblance to Mark Wahlberg is uncanny). Added with his natural “goodie-2-shoes” charisma, “the Champ” would be perfect for the role of one of the many soldier-turned-superhero characters in both the Marvel and DC universes.
Role He’d Be Perfect For: Capt. Rick Flag Jr.
3. Alberto Del Rio
Now some of you might not be familiar with Alberto Rodriguez (known professionally as Alberto Del Rio), because he’s only been active in the U.S. since 2010, but don’t let his relative anonymity outside the world of wrestling (though he is fairly famous in his native Mexico) underestimate his potential in a superhero movie. Standing 6’5″ and weighing in at a chiseled 200+ pounds, Alberto definitely has the look of a larger than life character. But it’s his acting “chops” that put him on this list. In the ring, Del Rio is one of the most hated men in the WWE, despised for his overbearing cockiness and incessant bragging. Cast as a member of Mexican aristocracy ADR plays his part superbly, arriving at ringside in expensive cars and being introduced by his own personal ring announcer/butler. Yet despite the ease at which Alberto portrays his snobbish character (mainly because his family is considered royalty in the world of Lucha Libre), outside the ring he is as well-spoken and charismatic as an English prince. Either as the arrogant supervillain or regal hero, Alberto would definitely be the highpoint of any film he’s in.
Role He’d Be Perfect For: Bane
4. The Big Show
Paul “the Big Show” Wight is one of the greatest big men to ever step through the ropes of a wrestling ring even drawing comparisons to the legendary Andre the Giant. At well over 7 feet tall and a whopping 400+ pounds, it’s easy to see why this man has been so successful in professional wrestling for the last 20 years. Inside the ring he’s been both the “rampaging behemoth” and the “gentle giant,” displaying the kind of range that would make Shaq jealous. He’s even appeared in several films and television shows such as the 1996 Christmas comedy Jingle All the Way, Adam Sandler’s 1998 cult classic The Waterboy (as Captain Insano), and as an Orion Slaver on an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. He even starred as a lovable oaf in the WWE-produced Knucklehead. His obvious knack for comedy, combined with his imposing size, would make him a perfect fit for several superhero roles (especially on the Marvel side).
Role He’d Be Perfect For: Gorgon of the Inhumans
5. Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar is one of the few professional wrestlers to actually be considered a legitimate badass. This is because he is one of a only a handful of pro wrestlers (outside of Japan) to successfully transition to mixed martial arts, but Brock didn’t just transition to MMA, he conquered it. In 2008, “the Beast” defeated MMA icon Randy “the Natural” Couture to become the only man in history to have been a World Heavyweight Champion in both the UFC and the WWE. This man legitimately inspires fear in those unlucky enough to stand across from him in the ring (hell, he was the first man to beat the Undertaker at WrestleMania in over 20 years), and it is that intensity that would make him a great villain. And while he has both the look and the aura suitable for a vicious supervillain, he’s never really displayed the charisma of many of his contemporaries on this list. And though acting chops are important in any film, superhero movies are unique in the way that they can feature a memorable character without requiring that character to have much in the way of dialogue. In this type of “strong and silent” role, Brock Lesnar is not only perfect, he’d be downright scary.
Role He’d Be Perfect For: Atrocitus
That’s my list folks, I hope you enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see what you guys thought of my picks and to see some of your own. As usual, don’t forget to follow & like both UTF and I on Facebook & Twitter. Until next time, may the Dork Side be with you.