Dwayne Douglas Johnson (born May 2, 1972), also known by his ring name The Rock, is an American actor, producer, and former professional wrestler. Johnson was a professional wrestler for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) for eight years prior to pursuing an acting career.
Wrestling for the WWE is one of the top honors any professional wrestler can hope to accomplish, and it can be the beginning of a lifetime of fame and recognition. That’s especially true for WWE wrestlers like Dwayne Johnson and John Cena, who both used their legendary runs within the brand to springboard into Hollywood and become big names in the movies as well.
These two are the prime examples working in Hollywood today, but of course, there are plenty of WWE wrestlers who went on to have a successful acting career post and sometimes during their careers. The following is a list of the more successful lot, all of which have had significant roles in a handful of major movies over the years. For that reason, major superstars like Andre The Giant, Roddy Piper and Macho Man aren’t on the list, though we’ll always cherish their respective contributions to cinema.
To quote Macho Man (who Bruce Campbell has a crazy story about), this list is for the “cream of the crop,” filled with wrestlers who have not only proven they belong in the movies, but have managed to stick around for more than a film or two. Ring the bell and get ready for a no holds barred look at some of the major WWE stars who made the successful transition to Hollywood acting.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Dwayne Johnson, or “The Rock,” was billed as the “most electrifying man in sports entertainment,” and certainly lived up to that during his phenomenal wrestling career. He held multiple championships, and was one of the only WWE wrestlers of the Attitude Era with a popularity comparable to Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Rock “retired” to pursue acting full-time in 2004, but has popped in and out since then for appearances or short feuds with other wrestlers.
Though Dwayne Johnson didn’t pursue acting full time until 2004, he began to establish a presence in films with 2001’s The Mummy Returns. He then went on to star in the spinoff The Scorpion King, Starring roles in other films followed, but The Rock’s career really seemed to take off when he was introduced as the awesome Luke Hobbs in Fast Five. It seemed to tip the scales into his becoming a major action blockbuster actor, which is more often than not what he’s doing now.
Currently, his films either range from him being a no-nonsense badass (Hobbs and Shaw) or badass with a comedic twist (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle). Audiences tend to love him either way, and while The Rock hasn’t done anything Oscar-worthy, his films tend to make a lot of money. Could an award-winning performance be his next step?