On Nov. 20, WWE fans will gear up for the 30th Survivor Series. From Goldberg to Brock Lesnar, some of the biggest names in wrestling will join the bloodbath.
Wrestling’s biggest stars, like “Furious 7” actor Dwayne Johnson, are known to fans worldwide for their in-ring personas. Some superstars, however, transcend the sport and develop careers that make them even bigger than their vaunted WWE characters. Here are 15 WWE stars who achieved greatness both inside and outside the ring.
1. Stacy Keibler
The world was first introduced to Stacy Keibler when she was hired as a Nitro Girl before Vince McMahon bought WCW and turned it into WWE in 2001. While long a favorite among wrestling fans, the tough but beautiful Keibler achieved mainstream fame in 2006, when she took third place on season two of “Dancing With the Stars.”
A dancer since childhood, the “Weapon of Mass Seduction” landed the first perfect score of the season on the show — her first of a record four flawless performances. She has 33 acting credits, including “George Lopez,” “Chuck” and “How I Met Your Mother.”
2. Jesse Ventura
Jesse “The Body” Ventura boasts remarkable careers both before and after his pioneering run as a superstar Hall of Fame wrestler. An elite Navy Seal and Vietnam veteran, Ventura joined the Underwater Demolition Team (UDT).
After his legendary wrestling career, he became a successful movie star, appearing alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Predator.” He then embarked on an equally successful career in politics, eventually becoming the governor of his native Minnesota.
3. Kevin Nash
Known as Diesel and Big Kev during his wrestling career, Kevin Nash made an unforgettable impression on fans and opponents alike, thanks in part to his nearly 7-foot, 300-pound frame.
Nash’s size, persona and celebrity helped him expand his show business career beyond wrestling, landing roles in mainstream hits like “Magic Mike” and “Magic Mike XXL.” Nash, who boasts nearly 120 acting credits, is currently a busy man in Hollywood, with seven film and TV projects in the works for 2016-17.
4. Dave Bautista
Dave Bautista became a wrestling superstar when he entered the WWE in 2002 as Batista. He then embarked on a career as a professional mixed martial artist. Currently, he has a record of 1-0 as a heavyweight.
After leaving the ring, Batista found success in Hollywood. He has nearly 50 acting credits, including roles in the blockbuster “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Avengers” franchises. Currently, he has six film projects in the works that are due out between 2016 and 2018.
5. Steve Austin
Blue-collar warrior “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is one of the biggest names in the history of the WWE. When he left the ring, he parlayed his celebrity into a successful acting career. His 88 credits include recurring roles on “Nash Bridges” and “Chuck.” On the big screen, Austin had roles in “The Expendables” and “Chain of Command.”
6. Dwayne Johnson
Perhaps no WWE star in the history of the sport engineered a post-wrestling mainstream career more successfully than Dwayne Johnson.
Widely known as The Rock, the handsome and personable Johnson went from wrestling legend to movie and television star, displaying talent across multiple genres. He’s starred in adventure films like “The Mummy Returns,” comedies like “Get Smart,” fantasy films like “Hercules,” action movies like “San Andreas” and the “Fast and Furious” franchise, animated films like “Moana” and sports films like “Gridiron Gang.”
Boasting nearly 100 acting credits to his name, Johnson currently stars in HBO’s “Ballers” and is working on eight film and TV projects due out between now and 2019.
7. John Cena
Fifteen-time WWE world champion John Cena — known to fans as the Cenation — remains one of the most visible faces of the sport. Cena, however, has show business talents that expanded his career well beyond the ring. He’s appeared on TV series like “Parks and Recreation” and “Psych,” as well as in movies such as “Trainwreck,” “Daddy’s Home” and “The Reunion.”
An avid rap enthusiast, Cena released a hip-hop album in 2005 called “You Can’t See Me,” which reached No. 15 on the Billboard charts.
8. Hulk Hogan
In the entire history of professional wrestling, one name rings out louder than all the rest. WWE stars come and go, but there can only be one Hulk Hogan.
His debut match in 1980 was against wrestling legend Andre the Giant. The 6-foot, 8-inch, 303-pound Hogan would go on to capture legions of loyal fans as Hulkamania swept the wrestling world. With more than 160 acting credits, Hogan has played bit parts in a number of movies, most notably “Rocky III.” He has also enjoyed a successful career in reality TV.
9. Roddy Piper
WWE Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper was one of the most notorious villains in the 1970s and 1980s, known as the Golden Age of professional wrestling. One of the most controversial and outrageous figures in wrestling history, Piper went on to rack up more than 150 acting credits in both the movies and on television.
In 2015, he died after a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma at age 61.
10. Ren Roussimoff
At 7-feet, 4-inches tall, Ren “Andre the Giant” Roussimoff towered over the sport of wrestling, both literally and figuratively. Undefeated for nearly 15 years, Andre was already a television personality and TV star in the 1970s. However, his biggest mainstream success came in 1987, when he was cast to play the gentle giant Fezzik in “The Princess Bride.”
Andre the Giant died in his sleep in 1993.
11. Bill Goldberg
Known throughout the wrestling world simply as “Goldberg,” Bill Goldberg played defensive tackle for the Atlanta Falcons before entering professional wrestling in 1998. With his patented finishing moves, the spear and the jackhammer, he roared through the league, defeating the biggest names in the business.
His massive, intimidating appearance appealed to Hollywood casting agents, who chose him for roles in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “The Longest Yard.” He has five movies coming out between now and 2017.
12. Jonathan Coachman
ESPN SportsCenter anchor Jonathan Coachman is one of the best-known broadcasters in sports, but he got his start when he left local TV for a career as an announcer in the WWE. He came out from behind the mic several times to enter the ring, wrestling legends like Ric Flair.
Coachman has hosted several popular shows on ESPN, including “Coach and Company,” “NBA Tonight” and “ESPN Friday Night Fights.”
13. Brock Lesnar
Hulking and intense, college wrestling phenom turned WWE superstar Brock Lesnar has enjoyed great career crossover success. In 2007, he tried his hand at mixed martial arts and immediately made his presence felt. He would go on to enjoy UFC superstardom, reshuffling the heavyweight division and becoming just the second fighter in UFC history to win a title in his fourth pro fight.
Lesnar eventually re-entered the WWE, where he remains a force of nature.
14. Chris Jericho
Known simply as Jericho to his legions of WWE fans, called Jerichoholics, Chris Jericho has enjoyed success in multiple side careers. He toured with the heavy metal band Fozzy and wrote several books. Additionally, his foray into acting led to roles in the campy classic “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!” and, most recently, the TV series, “The Thundermans.” He also performed alongside Cheryl Burke on “Dancing With the Stars.”
15. Randy Savage
Known to wrestling fans across the world as “Macho Man,” Randy Savage was one of the most outrageous and flamboyant personalities in the history of professional wrestling. His wild persona led to a second career as a pitchman for Slim Jim and an acting resume that includes roles in “Spider-Man” and “Walker, Texas Ranger.” He died unexpectedly in 2011.