With wrestling and cinema going head-to-head last night when WWE’s Fastlane went up against the 87th annual Academy Awards, I figured it’d be best to provide you with the definitive ranking of the best fictional wrestlers in movie history. I tried to hold back on this list until Luis Guzman’s Aztec Warrior was finally released, as I’m sure he would’ve provided with a memorable interpretation of a luchador, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen any time soon. First, a few honorable mentions.
The Revolting Blob, the man pictured at the beginning of this post is not included due to his inactivity as an actual wrestler. In Billy Madison, he’s already a retired principal struggling with his feelings for Adam Sandler. Also out: Rip and Zeus from No Holds Barred. Now, I know this is a quintessential movie in the canon of great wrestling films, but for one, Rip was basically Hulk Hogan shortened to one syllable, and Zeus literally came to life when he challenged Hulk Hogan in the WWF, no longer making him fictional. So if you’re running out of ideas for your custom roster in Universe Mode on WWE 2K15, consider creating these fictional superstars of wrestling cinema.
10. The Waterboy: Captain Insano
Captain Insano was basically Andre the Giant if he ate “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. Or Big Show cosplaying 1993 era “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. Either one works. The reason why he’s ranked dead last is because all we get from him is a promo. Although it ends with a memorable laugh and shows his lack of mercy for his 30-year-old virgin fans. Because Captain Insano shows no mercy. He would’ve been ranked higher had we been able to see the hyped-up match between Insano and the equally ridiculously-named Herculon.
9. The Naked Man: The Naked Man
Picture Slim Goodbody with muscles and blonde curly instead of dark curly hair, and you have Naked Man. Not quite the brazen exhibitionist that Naked Mideon was, Naked Man still left a little to the imagination. What he wasn’t shy about showing off was his killer instinct after having learned of his parents’ death and his pregnant wife’s comatose state. Sure, most of the wrestling moves he pulls off in his blind rage are the same ones you can find in a Bugs Bunny/Crusher match, but if you ever wanted to see a live-action movie in which a wrestler is planted head-first into the canvas like a flag pole then look no further. Plus, Naked Man also cuts a promo that would make Nick Bockwinkel and suit-wearing Chris Jericho proud.
8. Paradise Alley: The Salami Kid
The plainest wrestler on the list. And with good reason, seeing as the film is set in the 1940’s. Not sure why they went with The Salami Kid as a name though, when there were wrestlers with bad ass names, like Ed “Strangler” Lewis, around that time. But Salami made up for having such a wack name by beating the crap out of anyone who stepped in the ring with him. It also compensated for his lack of brains, since he was basically Lenny from Of Mice and Men. His innocent outlook on life temporarily clouded by visions of blood and bruises as he knocked heads with Frankie the Thumper (Terry Funk) for 22 rounds, in order to come out victorious.
7. The One and Only: The Lover
The movie is basically the made up, unauthorized story of Gorgeous George. Sort of. Actually, it’s more like the original Headlocked comic book by Michael Kingston in which an actor (in this case, a failed one) decides to lace up a pair of wrestling boots. After a string of unsuccessful gimmicks, including a Nazi one, Andy Schmidt found his calling as The Lover. So what if he was built like Colin Delaney? With his blonde locks, feathery robe, and an over-the-top entrance that went all-in on the spectacle of excess that Roland Barthes coined in his essay “The World of Wrestling”, The Lover was an instant star.
6. Spider-Man: Bonesaw McGraw
Okay, so Bonesaw McGraw was just Randy Savage with the exact same Team Madness color scheme, but with a bushier beard, and the tips of saw blades along the edges of his outfit. And with the same Macho Man cadence. Still, he was a bad ass character who was forcing dudes like bootleg Psicosis out of the ring in stretchers. What made him more bad ass was the fact that no regular human being stood a chance against him. It took f-----g Spider-Man to finally put him down by nearly crippling him, Chris Benoit style.
5. Rocky III: Thunderlips
The Ultimate Male. A much better selection than Rip. Thunderlips gave Hogan the opportunity to showcase that douchier side we would eventually know all too well. And his racist side, as he heeled it up by calling Rocky Balboa “meatball” throughout their match; an unfairly matched encounter at that. Prince Oberyn Martell had a better chance against The Mountain than Balboa did against Thunderlips. After showcasing his Ultimate Male dominance for a minute-long montage of high-impact wrestling moves, Thunderlips hurls Balboa out into the audience like he’s nothin’. Rocky fights back but to little effect. The match ends in a draw because unlike the Big Show, Thunderlips knew better than to lie down for a boxer who’s one-third his size.
4. Ready to Rumble: Jimmy King
Jimmy King was an even poorer man’s white trash Randy “The Ram” Robinson. Only difference was Jimmy King had abandoned his family and developed an alcohol addiction before he even became a megastar. Never mind that his body shared the same genetic makeup as the jobbers that found themselves on WCW’s Saturday Night. Somehow, Jimmy King was the top draw and WCW Champion. And further overlook the fact that he was a wrestler, in the year 2000, working a king gimmick that had more of an 80’s/early 90’s feel to it. Yet, he was unstoppable. Even Diamond Dallas Page couldn’t put him down in a shoot fight. It took one of the biggest beat downs this side of Yokozuna vs. The Undertaker at the 1994 Royal Rumble for DDP to finally beat him. Plus, he was a pretty damn charismatic country bumpkin.
3. Nacho Libre: Nacho
After making fun of a couple of other wrestlers for their misshapen bodies, I will not be fat shaming Nacho as his pear-shaped body was made to don a luchador outfit. With a can-do attitude, a deep religious belief, and no formal wrestling training, Nacho took the Oaxacan wrestling territory by storm. First, in tag matches with his partner Esqueleto, as he fought for the noblest of causes: orphan children. Then, by finally mustering up the courage to step to his former idol, Ramses. He not only beat him, but he flew off the top rope, further than any cruiserweight has ever jumped, soaring like an eagle, toppling Ramses then rolling him up in La Casita for the win.
2. Mad Bull: The Mad Bull
The wrestler that inspired the famous Bret Hart/Stone Cold double turn from WrestleMania 13. Probably, but most likely not. Inside the ring, The Mad Bull was the most despised of heels, but outside this divorced dad was trying to connect with his son while also giving love another shot. He showed us that heels are people too. His top rival, Jack Braden, was the WWE type of babyface who’s kind of a dick and takes more liberties than the average heel. Mad Bull finally got his revenge in an epic cage match that quickly turned into a shoot. As the match progressed the crowd realized that Braden was the real a-----e heel, going into business for himself instead of abiding by the rules of kayfabe. But with the crowd behind him, Mad Bull whoops Braden’s ass and ascends the cage to victory.
1. The Wrestler: Randy “The Ram” Robinson
The Ram is that 80’s era relic that reminds us of why we fell in love with wrestling in the first place. The neon gear, the bleach blonde hair, all loosely held together by a withered and broken body that partied way too hard. A veteran wrestler who yearns for the days of yesteryear when he was on top, and is willing to sacrifice everything all over again just to pop a crowd—the drug that originally hooked him in the first place. Randy “The Ram” Robinson was the embodiment of the all-too-sad reality we’ve come to learn of retired wrestlers who should be enjoying their AARP discounts instead of getting bashed in the head with a steel chair. The guys we can’t help but love and pity at the same time.