Former president and chairman of Marvel Comics Stan Lee along with Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and many others created a stable of superheroes that have broken through the comic books on to the big screen with characters like Spiderman, Ironman, The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, Thor, Daredevil and others. So too, has WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon developed a stable of super heroes who have become leading men in the movie industry.
There are dozens of wrestlers turned actors including 7′ 4″(possibly really 6’10”) Andre the Giant who was featured in Rob Reiner’s 1987 Princess Bride. Jesse Ventura is one of the more successful wrestlers turned actor with roles in Predator and Running Man but, before that, wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan leaped into acting in 1982 with his appearance in Rocky 3. Though Hogan never broke through to become a big time movie star, he was in several movies and television series and is certainly a household name. Steve Austin followed Hogan and a had starring role in a theatrical release as well as several television roles. John Cena has a tv and movie career similar to Steve Austin. Dave Bautista’s is on the rise after his acting career received a major boost as a result of his role as Drax the Destroyer in 2014’s $773 Million mega-blockbuster “Guardians of the Galaxy”. However, hands down, the most successful professional actor turned wrestler is Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock. Johnson is a bona fide Movie Star with top billing starring role status in major theatrical releases.
It is surprising that more professional actors have not crossed over into “mainstream” entertainment as they are basically performers playing roles in front of sold-out audiences several nights a week. Not only that, they have to do their own stunts and, as “the show must go on”, they often have to perform despite pain and injuries. They are the ideal action heroes. Now that Dave Bautista has played a Marvel hero in one of the biggest money-makers of all time, will Hollywood give more of Vince McMahon’s pro wrestlers a second look come casting time?