I Must Break You!:
From WWF to SAG
I Must Break You! From WWF to SAG By Mike White. We all know that Andre the Giant made a very successful transition from the square circle to the silver screen in Rob Reiner's The Princess Bride but what about other World Wrestling Federation alumni? To my knowledge neither The Junkyard Dog, Hillbilly Jim, Nikolai Volkoff, or The Iron Sheik have been in any critically-acclaimed roles...
We all know that Andre the Giant made a very successful transition from the square circle to the silver screen in Rob Reiner's The Princess Bride but what about other World Wrestling Federation alumni? To my knowledge neither The Junkyard Dog, Hillbilly Jim, Nikolai Volkoff, or The Iron Sheik have been in any critically-acclaimed roles.
But let's not forget those who have...
"Rowdy" Roddy Piper has made quite a splash on the big screen. He made his debut in the movie Body Slam back in 1987. Maybe this was the role that captured the attention of John Carpenter who cast him in the "aliens are among us" film, They Live. The one thing that always pops into my mind about this movie first is the incredibly long and horribly paced fight where Piper tries to "convince" his pal to try on a pair of sunglasses. Six minutes(!!!) of screen time are used in this famous scene.
After that, I thought Piper was doomed to a career on par with Brian Bosworth, but his role in Hell Comes To FrogtownN allowed him to continue on in the plush "straight to video" world populated by luminaries such as Lou Diamond Phillips, Shannon Tweed, and Robert Patrick.
Piper's old nemesis, Hulk Hogan, used to pop up in your local Blockbuster's "Hot Singles" section quite a bit. The Hulkster started off strong with No Holds Barred but then descended to his short-lived Suburban Commando and Mr. Nanny. Of course, Thunder in ParadiseE did spawn a Baywatchish
television series but since then, Hulk took his steroid-induced twenty-six inch pythons and headed back into the ring as part of the new WCW.
In a rare case of going from screen to ring, Mr. T must have shared a few words with Hogan on the set of Rocky III because, soon after, T was all over the ring. Lucky for us, though, Mr. T thought better of this move and soon was back in Hollywood shooting "The A Team."
The wrestler who has had the best career outside of the WWF is probably not the first name you'd think of. Not that Jesse "The Body" Ventura was little-known in the wrestling circuit, it's just that he didn't seem to have as much "star potential" as those I've already mentioned. I guess that's why the movies where he's had starring roles just kind of lurk around in dark corners of video stores across America. Other than The Running Man, Predator and Demolition Man, where he had bigger action stars to depend on, his movies are less than successful. I don't remember ever renting out Abraxas: Guardian of the Universe to anyone.
One of the best roles that a wrestler has had since Andre the Giant lit up the screen in The Princess Bride was George "The Animal" Steele's portrayal of another wrestler, Tor Johnson, in Tim Burton's biopic, Ed Wood. The way it sounded, though, George would not be gracing the theaters with his presence again any time soon but at least we'll have this fine debut performance on record.
Sure, there have been a lot of other wrestlers in movies, there was even a movie called The Life and Times of Captain Lou Albano (Coliseum Video, $60!) where I'm sure everyone in the cast knew how to give a headlock, if not a figure-four leglock. But, as far as WWF veterans go, there have only been a few, to my knowledge, that have crossed the line with any amount of success.
If you've watched a good amount of Mtv in the last year I'm sure you've been inundated with MTV Jams and The Real World. In-between that, though, you may have caught the Slim Jim beef jerky campaign starring Randy "Macho Man" Savage screaming, "Snap into a Slim Jim!!!" I'm still surprised there hasn't been a Slim Jim movie based on this character. Now if he was on "Saturday Night Live, however, where any catch phrase spewing one-note johnny can be in a movie, he'd be on bill-boards across the country. And maybe what Sergeant Slaughter had planned for himself when he allowed himself to be part of the cartoon series, "GI Joe" is that he'd have to be cast if they ever made a movie of it.
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