WWE Studios has released quite a few popular movies that still hold up today or have gained a cult following, but some just haven’t aged well.
The WWE is often considered the worldwide leader in sports entertainment. They’re a large company involved with live shows, merchandise, and big monthly events. Regardless, they’ve always considered themselves more like Hollywood. Indeed, WWE owner Vince McMahon noted in the documentary Beyond The Mat that “we make movies.” The WWE branched out to Hollywood and produced a long list of movies dating back to the late ’80s. In the early 2000s, the company officially launched WWE Studios.
In some cases, WWE released popular movies that still hold up today or gained a cult following. However, they also produced several that haven’t aged well. A few movies did shockingly well, while others faded away into obscurity.
Timeless: The Marine
In 2006, WWE Studios released The Marine starring John Cena and Robert Patrick to negative reviews. Regardless, the film was a success at the box office and a hit with fans. The plot revolved around a retired marine on a mission to find his kidnapped wife. At the time, Cena was one of the WWE’s most popular stars and the movie helped him crossover to the mainstream and launched his future movie career.
The Marine was the WWE’s most financially successful movie at the time. It also did huge DVD sales numbers and resulted in several sequels. The Marine has since become a popular cult movie.
Didn’t Age Well: See No Evil
The epic horror See No Evil followed the ruthless Jacob Goodnight as he hunted down his prey. It starred then-WWE-superstar Glen “Kane” Jacobs and was the WWE’s first significant release.
It did well at the box office and was a financial success at the time. However, critics and fans gave the movie harsh reviews that still apply today. Unlike other WWE movies, See No Evil didn’t gain a cult following and is generally not remembered fondly. Nonetheless, a sequel was released in 2014.
Timeless: The Rundown
Before Dwayne Johnson became a world-famous movie star, he was the most electrifying man in sports entertainment. Johnson became a household name in the WWE as The Rock and soon found success in Hollywood. The 2003 action movie The Rundown stars Johnson, Rosario Dawson, and Christopher Walken. It helped launch Johnson’s Hollywood career and is still one of his most popular movies.
The Rundown revolved around bounty hunter Beck as he travels to Brazil to retrieve a client’s son. Upon its release, critics gave the movie primarily positive reviews. However, fans unanimously praised Johnson’s performance. He soon left the WWE behind to become a major Hollywood star.
Didn’t Age Well: Knucklehead
The 2010 movie Knucklehead followed a lovable giant, Walter Krunk, as he enters the world of MMA. The movie starred former WWE superstar Paul “Big Show” Wight, Dennis Farina, and Melora Hardin. It received universally negative reviews and was a box office bomb.
Unfortunately, its humor and characters failed to connect with audiences. Indeed, Wight’s performance and the movie, in general, haven’t aged well over the years.
Timeless: The Call
In 2013, WWE Studios released the psychological-thriller The Call starring Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, and WWE star David Otunga. It revolved around a traumatized 911 operator trying to help a teenage girl.
It’s one of the few movies to feature a WWE star in a minor role instead of the lead. Despite critics giving the movie mixed reviews, it remains one of WWE Studios’ best movies at the box office. It destroyed all previous records and is still a popular movie.
Didn’t Age Well: The Chaperone
Paul “Triple H” Levesque is a world-famous WWE superstar, WWE Executive Vice President, and NXT founder. At one point, he attempted to be a Hollywood star, but that didn’t pan out the way he had hoped.
In 2011, Levesque starred in The Chaperone, along with Ariel Winter and Yeardley Smith. The plot followed a getaway driver trying to repair his relationship with his daughter. Unfortunately, many critics felt that The Chaperone featured uninspiring characters and relied heavily on cliché, and it subsequentially flopped at the box office. As a result, Levesque’s movie career soon came to an end.
WWE Studios is hit or miss when it comes to the horror genre. Luckily, director Mike Flanagan’s horror movie, Oculus, was a box office hit and popular with fans. It starred Karen Gillan as Kaylie Russell and revolved around a mysterious mirror that might be harming Kaylie’s family.
However, the famous movie doesn’t feature a WWE star and instead relied on Hollywood star power. Nevertheless, critics gave the movie rave reviews and praised the cast, writing, and directing. It’s one of WWE Studio’s most successful movies, both financially and critically.
Didn’t Age Well: Leprechaun Origins
As noted, WWE Studios has struggled to find success in the horror genre. For example, in 2014, the studio decided to reboot the popular Leprechaun franchise but failed. Leprechaun: Origins, was a commercial and critical failure. Critics gave the movie negative reviews and noted it had a weak plot, little character development, and dated horror tropes.
It starred then-WWE star Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl as The Leprechaun. As a result, the reboot is considered the most disappointing installment in the Leprechaun franchise.
Timeless: Fighting With My Family
The biographical comedy Fighting with My Family is one of WWE Studios’ highest-grossing movies of all time. It hit theatres in 2019 to rave reviews and critics praised the directing, writing, and star-studded cast. The plot follows the life and career of retired WWE superstar Saraya-Jade “Paige” Bevis and tells a timeless tale of never giving up on a dream.
The critically acclaimed movie stars an impressive cast, including Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Vince Vaughn, and Dwayne Johnson. Johnson came up with the idea for the movie after watching a documentary on Paige’s career and family, The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family.
Didn’t Age Well: No Holds Barred
In the late ’80s, WWE attempted to release a major Hollywood blockbuster, but it didn’t go as planned. WWE superstar Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea starred in the 1989 movie No Holds Barred. At one point, Hogan was the most prominent mainstream star in the WWE. However, he attempted to branch out to Hollywood and starred in several movies, some better than others.
No Holds Barred is near the top of the list. The plot follows WWF Champion Rip Thomas and his feud with the head of the World Television Network. Critics gave harsh reviews focusing on the weak story and acting. The immature and crude humor failed to impress audiences in the ’80s and it hasn’t aged well.