Alright, let’s get it out of the way early – “but isn’t all wrestling fictional?!”
I can’t believe that I didn’t think of that
I suppose it’s true, however; objectively, most wrestler’s characters are about as real as Santa Claus. I mean, is anyone “wrong” in saying Roman Reigns – who by the way, is a former Edmonton Eskimo – is made up? Could an argument be made that Bray Wyatt belongs more in the conversation with Walter White than Walter Payton? Really, where does the line blur between fiction and reality?
Well, right where this blogger says it blurs, dammit!
Sure, wrestling is scripted – that much has been known since Vince McMahon decided to try and save himself a couple of bucks on taxes back in the late 80’s. I’ve never understood the designation of “fake”, though. Just because the result is known, does that make it any less real? When Seth Rollins completely destroys his leg on a Sunset Flip Powerbomb, does anyone deny that he’s severely injured?
The line between scripted and fake may be blurry, but it certainly is there.
Now, onto the fun stuff; how does one decide on the best faker of a nearly-fake sport? If wrestling is just a bunch of fake fighting and reading from a script, isn’t any actor who’s stepped into the squared circle then a “wrestler” by definition?
Obviously not, Jeremy Piven.
For my version of Wrestling Inception® there’s a few ground rules: after all, not just any faker can join my real fake list. If you wanted to make my real fake list, you had to meet the following conditions:
NO ACTUAL WRESTING
The first one may seem out of place, so hear me out; this list isn’t for any characters that have actually stepped foot in a WWE ring. Once you’ve wrestled, you’re a wrestler - nothing fictional about that! Sadly, this excludes individuals such as Zeus from No Holds Barred, or Stephen Amell from TV’s Green Arrow – which I’m sure will disappoint my younger brother, if he’s actually reading my blog. However, while Big Show and Macho Man Randy Savage are obviously prominent wrestlers, the characters they portrayed never made an appearance in a wrestling ring - so fair game!
The Shrieking Sheik (The Simpsons, 1997)
One of the shortest cameos on this list, but still one of the greatest. Making his vocal appearance in the same Simpsons episode as Bret “the Hitman” Hart, the Shrieking Sheik fails to make a physical appearance on the episode, but more than makes up for it with an earth-shattering shriek.
An interesting story about this appearance; while voiced by the man himself, why doesn’t Bret Hart sound like, well, Bret Hart? Said the Excellence of Execution on the subject:
“They approached me about doing a voice as a wrestler, but not Bret Hart. It was the Mad Russian or something. I said, “I don’t want to be the Mad Russian, I want to be Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart!” We went back and forth for a while and they eventually said, very politely, “This is the way it’s written, take it or leave it.” I agreed, and flew down to FOX Studios. They had blocked off this huge chunk of time for my three lines, and were saying things like, “We need you more mad,” “Okay, not quite that mad!” I did my lines about 100 times in two minutes! I went outside to wait for my limo that had gone to get gas, and I signed autographs and took pictures for 45 minutes. The guy in charge of my episode came up to me and said, “I had no idea you were this big of a star! If we haven’t already started the artwork, we’re going to draw you in as yourself.” That’s why the voice doesn’t really sound like me, because I thought I was playing a crazy Russian!”
And there you have it! (Thanks for the quote, comicbook.com!)
The Revolting Blob (Billy Madison, 1995)
One of the more dastardly fictional heels on this list is none other than the Revolting Blob himself. While early details about his career are unknown, his antics have become legend in pro wrestling circles.
Picture courtesy of the fictional Wrestling World magazine.
From his debut, it was clear that the Revolting Blob would be unlike anything ever seen before in the real fake world of fake real pro wrestling. An incident of note took place soon after his debut, in which the Blob threw his opponent so far out of the ring, he struck a contingent of senior citizens. However, it was only the figurative tip of the iceberg.
In June of 1983 at a live wrestling event, the Revolting Blob was facing an unnamed jobber when tragedy struck. After executing a horrendous looking leg drop to his opponent’s head, he simply sat on top of him, hoping to tap his opponent out. However, before the foe could lift his hand to tap, he passed out and unfortunately passed away due to strangulation. It was a dark mark on wrestling as a whole, and the Revolting Blob left the arena, only to be seen once again at an Academic Decathalon. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Thunderlips (Rocky III, 1982)
In 1982, Hulk Hogan decided to dip his toes into the water of acting. Inexplicably, the Hulkster decided to take his break from graps to, well, play a pro wrestler.
It’s decisions like these that give me the confidence that pretty well anyone, no matter how dumb, can be famous.
Back to the fun stuff - known around pro wrestling circles as The Ultimate Object of Desire, Thunderlips was a tall, buff, and cocky wrestler at the top of his promotion. To say that it was a case of art imitating life wouldn’t be enough; without knowing anything about casting decisions, you could be forgiven for thinking that Hulk Hogan simply walked onto the set by mistake, and the director deciding to keep the footage. It’s not hard to act like a cocky wrestler when you’re a cocky wrestler for a living.
I’m actually pretty sure this was actual Hulk Hogan dialogue
As part of a promotional stunt, recently crowned boxing champion Rocky Balboa fights the titanic Thunderlips in a wrestling match. It’s your standard WWE affair; Hulk – ‘er, Thunderlips – gains the early advantage, his opponent rallies…
#5 – Nacho Libre (Nacho Libre, 2006)
Perhaps the most thoroughly average piece of film or television on this list, Nacho Libre nonetheless is a necessary inclusion as one of the top guys on this list.
Did someone say Top Guys?
In the film, Ignacio works in a Mexican monastery as a cook – in fact, at the same monastery as he grew up in himself. As with the rest of the orphanage, Ignacio is poor; too poor to afford the quality ingredients that the children so desire.
So, to raise some funds, he tosses on a mask, changes his name and decides to suplex the s**t out of people as most people of faith so choose to do.
I won’t give away the movie (because you can go elsewhere for that), but the cool part for me isn’t the film – it’s the story behind it. While seemingly ridiculous, Nacho Libre is based on the true story of Sergio Gutiérrez Benítez, better known as lucha libre wrestler Fray Tormenta.
Unlike the film, Fray Tormenta was actually pretty great
It’s always way cooler when it’s true.
#4 – Randy “The Ram” Robinson (The Wrestler, 2008)
Admittedly, I hadn’t seen this movie until recently – but what a film.
Admittedly darker than most of the selections on this list, Mickey Rourke’s portrayal of fictional wrestler Randy “the Ram” is the only individual on this list to have won a major award for his acting/wrestling prowess. It may also be the most realistic; Robinson struggles with addiction and broken relationships throughout the film, something that many a wrestler can attest happens more often than fans would likely care to know.
He also may be the only person on this list to have legitimately punched Chris Jericho in the face.
Suspiciously, this hasn’t warranted Rourke’s inclusion on The List
There’s not much I can say without giving away the plot of the movie; however, it’s certainly worth the watch.
#3 – Captain Insano (The Waterboy, 1998)
Not much is known about Captain Insano, as he made only a single appearance in Adam Sandler’s underrated The Waterboy. However, what is known is that he currently is not in need of a water distribution expert, he sweats profusely during matches, and was played by none other than Paul Wight, better known as the Big Show.
Perhaps most importantly, he shows no mercy.
#2 – The Green Bastard (Trailer Park Boys, various)
The Green Bastard may be the newest addition to this list, but by no means has he not earned his place.
Originally appearing from Parts Unknown on Community Day, the Green Bastard debuted in a tag-team match with his friend Ricky in a “Park Supervisor” match in a losing effort. It was his only televised match, outside of an appearance as a ring announcer during the first Long-Bodied Alien Match; however, numerous bar/street fights have given G.B. a win/loss record to be commended.
#1 – Bonesaw McGraw (Spider-Man, 2002)
Who else could it really be?
I mean, maybe I’m biased, but “Macho Man” Randy Savage’s portrayal of fictional wrestler Bonesaw McGraw is the standard other wrestling portrayals should strive for. It’s Randy Savage in everything but name; the valets, the unmistakeable voice – hell, the Macho Man even throws in a patented Elbow Drop within his first ten seconds on screen.
This actually marked Savage’s second appearance in a major motion film; in 2000, Savage appeared in the opening scene of the movie Ready to Rumble starring David Arquette. This film would go down in infamy as the motion picture that spurred WCW’s decision to make Arquette, a non-wrestler, the WCW World Champion in one of the most reviled moves in wrestling history.
Not even Tobey Maguire’s crying face could make me forget that.
Okay, maybe it can.
And there you have it! Got an opinion? Let me know at @Spennylove or @WCSportsCA!