Professional wrestling is a strange art form – equal parts modern dance, gymnastics and theatre. Its practitioners need to be able to express emotions to TV cameras and people in the cheap seats with equal skill. Unfortunately, that skill doesn’t translate so well to other forms of acting, as the flicks in this list will aptly illustrate. Join us as we bodyslam these cinematic abominations and find out who claims the title of the worst wrestling actor of all time.
10. See No Evil
Expect the cinematic powerhouse that is WWE Films to secure more than a few spots on this list. After the Rock made himself a bona-fide movie star, Vince McMahon figured he could repeat the feat with some of his other roided-out grapplers. One unlikely star was Glenn Thomas Jacobs, aka Kane, the Undertaker’s half-brother who used to be horribly disfigured and also once wrestled as Jerry Lawler’s dentist and went by the name Isaac Yankem. (Wrestling, folks!) See No Evil cast him as the monster in a Z-grade horror flick that somehow still spawned a sequel.
9. Santa’s Slay
For a while it looked like Bill Goldberg was going to be wrestling’s next breakout star, but the former NFL player never managed to extend his fame too far outside the squared circle. Starring in dreck like Santa’s Slay — where he played a violent, insane Saint Nick decking the halls with gore while riding around on a sleigh driven by demonic “hell-deer” — didn’t help matters much.
8. Mr. Nanny
For a brief period during the early ’90s, Hulk Hogan attempted to have a second career in family cinema with movies like Suburban Commando and this unwatchable drek about a wrestler who becomes a bodyguard/nanny for a couple of bratty kids. Even as Home Alone knockoffs go, this one is particularly dreadful.
7. The Chaperone
Triple H has been smart enough to recognize his limitations and stay out of movies for the most part, but somehow he got roped into starring in the family comedy The Chaperone for WWE Films. As criminal driver trying to go straight Ray Bradstone, HHH stinks it up for an interminable 103 minutes of sub-Smokey and the Bandit shenanigans.
6. Abraxas, Guardian Of The Universe
Jesse “The Body” Ventura has starred in a couple all-time great action movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger, but when he stepped out on his own in the lead role things didn’t work out so well. Abraxas, Guardian Of The Universe is an incoherent 1990 sci-fi flick where Ventura plays an alien cop hunting down a little kid that could mean the end of the universe. It’s dire even by late-’80s sci-fi standards.
5. Tooth Fairy
The Rock has proven that he has box office mojo across a number of very successful flicks, but you can’t win them all. 2010’s Tooth Fairy was an absolute flop, casting him as a minor-league hockey player who through an absurd contrivance has to take over for the magical pixie that swipes teeth from under pillows. He did his level best, but the flick is rotten to the core.
It’s tough to be Paul Wight – remember, he was once billed as the son of Andre the Giant, who made a splash in The Princess Bride. Wight, aka The Big Show, however, has had less luck on the silver screen. As the protagonist of dire WWE Films production Knucklehead, he plays a clumsy, moronic leviathan who has to save his orphanage while enduring a nearly-endless stream of fart jokes.
3. River Of Darkness
Olympian and American hero Kurt Angle starred in this unspeakably awful drama alongside fellow wrestlers Kevin Nash and Sid Vicious. Angle plays a small-town sheriff investigating a series of bizarre murders, only to discover a horrible secret from the past has returned to…oh, Jesus, why am I trying to make this movie sound interesting? It’s not. Massive plot holes, incompetent cinematography and Angle’s complete lack of acting talent make it a very dark river indeed.
2. Santa With Muscles
It’s a tough call picking just one Hulk Hogan movie for this list because outside of Rocky III and the so-bad-it’s good No Holds Barred, the Orange Goblin’s filmography could easily take all ten spots. His absolute nadir probably came with Santa With Muscles, an incoherent family film where he plays an asshole millionaire who gets amnesia in a Santa costume and becomes convinced that he’s the real Kris Kringle. Oh, and there’s an orphanage in it, and underneath that orphanage is a cave filled with valuable crystals, because nothing has to make sense in Hogan-world.
1. Ready To Rumble
WCW loaned a number of their stars to this insanely awful comedy starring David Arquette. Sure, the wrestlers just had to “be themselves,” but most of them failed at even that. The absolute worst thing about Ready To Rumble is that, in a moronic promotional move, WCW actually gave David Arquette the title of World Heavyweight Championship, devaluing the belt forever in the eyes of the fans.