Evaluating the 10 wrestlers with the best acting careers

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Pain & Gain, Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson as Paul Doyle in “Pain & Gain.”
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

A look at the most successful crossover superstars from wrestling to television and film.

In a roundabout way, professional wrestling is a lot like the television and film industry. To be an all-time great professional wrestler you must be a triple threat: look good, have A+ mic skills, and be a good worker in the ring. Likewise with actors, they must look the part, deliver the lines as envisioned by the writer/director, and sell emotions on cue. Both professions effectively seek the same result: to elicit a reaction from the audience.

And yet, despite the similarities, crossovers between the two fields are hardly a guaranteed success. Triple H makes a great heel Authority figure, but when it comes to Chaperoning he falls short. David Arquette makes for a nice doofy cop more than he does a world heavyweight champion.

On Sunday, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s television endeavor, Ballers, kicked off its run on HBO. It’s Johnson’s latest step towards global box office domination, and another reminder of just how rare his talent is. One of the few truly successful crossover wrestler/actors, it’s now difficult to tell which profession he’s more famous for.

With The Rock’s newest piece de resistance on the forefront of our minds, we decided to grade out some of the other stars who successfully vacillated between the squared circle and the acting front lines. Here are, in no particular order, 10 of the most successful wrestlers who crossed over into acting.

(Apologies to Big Van Vader, but you juuuuust missed the cut)

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