The Essentials: WrestleMania Action Part 3
In Part 1 of our WrestleMania Action series, we took a look at WrestleMania participants from the first six WrestleMania events that were also a part of the world of action entertainment. In Part 2, we covered WrestleMania VI – XII.
In the third part of this five part series, we are going to take a slight detour and take a look at two sports entertainers who have already had their WrestleMania moment and are on the cusp of making their debut in the action movie genre.
And we are also going to take a look at some wrestlers who have already been featured in an action movie or two, but for one reason or another, never competed at WrestleMania.
DEAN AMBROSE: Dean Ambrose debuted in the WWE at the tail end of 2012 as a member of one of the hottest acts in recent history, The Shield. As a member of The Shield, Ambrose competed in six man tag team matches at WrestleMania 29 and WrestleMania XXX. Later this year, Dean will be the star in WWE Studios’ 12 Rounds 3: Lockdown. Dean has described this as borrowing from the Die Hard formula. Will Dean’s in ring charisma translate to the movie world? Time will tell, but I have faith in this talented young man.
SUMMER RAE: One of the lovely WWE Divas, Summer Rae, who made her in-ring WrestleMania debut last year at WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans, will also make her action movie debut this year courtesy of WWE Studios. Summer Rae will co-star with Mike “The Miz” Mizanin in the fourth installment of The Marine franchise, Marine 4: Moving Target. This one is scheduled to be released on April 21, 2015.
WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN
ZEUS: Tiny Lister aka Zeus is a most interesting story. He was an actor first, which got him a role in Hulk Hogan’s first starring vehicle, No Holds Barred. Vince McMahon decided to use the movie to help create a storyline that would be the big story of the summer of 1989 in the World Wrestling Federation. Zeus teamed up with the “Macho Man” Randy Savage to take on Hulk Hogan and Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake at the WWE’s second biggest show of the year, Summer Slam. He would also compete at that year’s Survivor Series and finally a special one off pay-per-view that would feature the pay-per-view debut of the movie No Holds Barred, as well as a Summer Slam rematch held inside a steel cage. Following that cage match, Zeus left the WWE and never wrestled for them again.
With his size and screen presence he certainly could have continued to wrestle professionally if he wanted to. And he could have potentially made it to WrestleMania. I will not be shocked if the WWE eventually inducts him into the celebrity wing of their Hall of Fame.
Nobody can argue that Lister made the right call, returning to Hollywood where he’d have roles in Universal Soldier, Men of War, The Fifth Element and he even had a small role in a movie you may have heard of called The Dark Knight.
- OX BAKER: Baker’s in-ring career was winding down as the WrestleMania era was dawning, but there’s no question a younger Ox Baker in the mid-80’s would have been a perfect foe for Hulk Hogan. Baker is most known to action fans for his role in Escape From New York.
- SCOTT NORTON: Known as “Flash” from his time as the World Arm Wrestling Champion, Norton competed in the AWA, WCW and in New Japan but never made his way to the WWE during his professional wrestling career. He had a cameo appearance in the Sylvester Stallone film, Over the Top.
- LUDVIG BORGA: The WWE had big plans for Ludvig Borga. They gave him the tried and true gimmick of foreign menace and he was among the WWE’s top heels in 1993. Borga was scheduled to compete at WrestleMania X at Madison Square Garden, but an injury would put him on the sidelines. Later that year he would leave the WWE. Borga did have a small role in the Jean-Claude Van Damme classic, Lionheart as well as Die Hard: With A Vengeance.
- KILLER KHAN: The monster from Mongolia was a headliner for the WWE prior to the WrestleMania era, with his most notable feud being with the amazing Andre the Giant. Khan returned to the WWE in 1987 after WrestleMania III, but by the time WrestleMania IV rolled around he was no longer with the company. Killer Khan made an appearance in 3 Ninjas Kick Back.
- ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER: It really is no surprise that Abdullah the Butcher never made it to the WWE. His blood and guts style was not conducive to the family friendly entertainment of the 1980’s and by the time the WWE got edgier in the late 90’s, Abdullah was well past his prime. Abby would make an appearance at WrestleMania XXVII in Atlanta as a member of that year’s WWE Hall of Fame class. Abby was also in the Sonny Chiba film, Roaring Fire, dubbed voice and all!
- BIG SKY: Sky aka Tyler Mane was a giant of man from Canada, who competed in WCW before going to Hollywood. His most notable role was as Sabretooth in the original X-Men movie. His acting career has continued and he remains busy to this day. There’s no doubt that a man his size would have eventually ended up in the WWE, but Hollywood is a much easier schedule than life on the road with the WWE.
- ERNEST “THE CAT” MILLER: One of WCW’s most entertaining stars, Miller was originally brought into the WWE as an announcer in 2003. Later that year they gave him a shot as a wrestler, but by February of 2004 he was gone. Miller a three time world karate champion appeared in Blood and Bone with Michael Jai White.
- PROFESSOR TORU TANAKA: Tanaka was a former WWE Tag Team Champion, but his in-ring days were over when the WWE held their first WrestleMania event in 1985. A big reason for that was he was keeping busy doing TV shows like The A-Team, Tales of the Gold Monkey and Airwolf. And movie appearances like Revenge of the Ninja, Missing in Action 2: The Beginning, The Perfect Weapon and most notably as Subzero in The Running Man.