Wrestling: In Your Face.
The "Performance" of Wrestling
by Eric Jenkins
In 1978, Carl Reiner directed a young Henry Winkler in a film about a struggling actor who decided to turn to professional wrestling as an outlet for his inner drive to perform. The movie made a statement about the fact that even at that point in professional wrestling's history, many professional wrestlers really wanted to be actors but because of their enormous size and weight, there were no real parts for them. Men like Terry Funk & Professor Toru Tanaka were able to find success in motion pictures, but many others have struggled to find suitable parts.
Fast forward 5 years and we see Hulk Hogan appearing as "Thunder Lips" in Sylvester Stallone's Rocky 3. Hogan would only be on screen for about 10 minutes, but Hollywood saw the charisma and star power of the big blonde from Venice Beach. What Hollywood did not see was the fact that Hogan was lousy as an actor. In Rocky 3, he essentially played himself, but only for a brief period. When he was cast in the starring role of "No Holds Barred", he was asked to play himself throughout the entire movie. In the ring, he was fantastic, but when asked to show feeling or emotion, Hogan's lack of true acting skill was evident. On the other side of Hollywood, Hogan's contemporary and chief rival Roddy Piper was carving his own niche in the acting game.
Piper's skill was evident when he starred along side the Tonga Kid in the wrestling vehicle "Body Slam", and it landed him the lead role in John Carpenter's Science Fiction film "They Live" as well as many films where Piper teamed with martial arts star Billy Blanks. Piper was being hailed in the industry as a top action star, but unfortunately for Piper, many of his films were made for video only release while many of Hogan's films, despite his poor action, went into theaters, only to bomb badly. Many other wrestlers tried their hand at acting, most with less than admirable results.
Today, many professional wrestlers have been asked to appear on television and in movies and many of today's wrestlers, because of the many skits and vignettes that wrestlers are asked to appear in these days, are better than average actors. Steve Austin was so credible in his recurring role as "Jake Cage" on the CBS series "Nash Bridges" that CBS approached Austin about the possibility of creating a series around the "Jake Cage" character. Austin politely declined, instead returning to the world of professional wrestling. Dwayne Johnson, known as "The Rock" to wrestling fans, took a minor role as "The Scorpion King" in the hugely successful film "The Mummy Returns" and turned it into a self-titled starring vehicle. Rock teams with Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile, Planet of the Apes) to tell the story of how the Scorpion King came to be.
Other wrestlers like Chyna & Rob Van Dam have expressed interest in pursuing acting as a sideline to their wrestling careers, and because of the nature of professional and the increased performance value in the sport, Hollywood could do a lot worse than a professional wrestler in their film or television show.
Website: Wrestling:In Your Face.
If you have any comments, reactions, rebuttles or thoughts on this column, feel free to send them to the email below,
If your email is intelligently written, they will be posted underneath this messege..
We at OnlineWorldofWrestling want to promote all points of view, and that includes YOURS.
© 2007, Black Pants, Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective holders.