As the child of divorced parents in the early aughts, I was primarily raised by basic cable television. Since we’re talking immediately post-9/11, most of them were also cop skewing: Law and Order, CSI, Castle, Psych, NCIS. I can go on. The greatest part of episodic television was the continual stunt casting—and I’m not talking physical on-screen stunts. The roster of a-listers to walk the halls of Law and Order include Angela Lansbury, Alfred Molena, Bradley Cooper. And that’s just in one episode.
As WWE’s allegiance to various cable networks has changed, they’ve frequently shilled out their wrestlers to appear in different franchises. Famous commercial star John Cena earned one of his first pure acting credits as Juliet’s brother in Psych. Although it was past his in ring days, Rowdy Roddy Piper appeared in It’s Always Sunny as the very memorable Maniac in an episode that honored pro wrestling as much as it honored being a batshit insane Philadelphian, two of my favorite things. As a connoisseur of USA marathons and anything they aired on an off-off-NBC network, I’m here to rate your favorite wrestlers acting their little hearts out. For these reviews, I’m taking into consideration the biggest factors: the wrestler’s importance to the story, their acting skill, and how many times they hit a finisher on screen.
To kick things off, I’m turning to a very old friend: Law and Order SVU. I was weaned on these heinous crimes, and the long running serial still holds a special place in my heart, even though it is a massively fictionalized version of justice in this country. Among the 23 years and 500 episodes of SVU, they’ve boasted several notable guest stars, including multiple legends of the squared circle. This week, we’ve got the man, the myth, the wannabe icon Bill Goldberg in season 8 episode 13 “Loophole.” Goldberg played the role of Cupid, a drugged out rapist who opens the episode with a rampage in the squad room. He absorbs a fire hydrant to the head, a taser in the crotch, and narrowly avoids being shot before he’s finally taken down with a (very safe) chair shot right to the back of the head. It’s harrowing stuff.
Bill Goldberg on Law and Order: SVU
15 years later and I think we're ready for the Cupid origin episode.
- Goldberg hits Elliot with a jackhammer through the squad window. It kind of rocks.
- Taking Stabler out of the equation opens the door for more Munch in this episode, which is always a good thing. Thanks, Bill.
- He gets billing in the main credits for an under-5 role. That’s some solid negotiating. Russo taught him well.
- Having been in a WWE locker room in the early 2000s, Goldberg really nails the portrayal of a predator on PCP.
- Cupid takes a taser to the balls with great ease. Shane McMahon eat your heart out.
- He then takes two chair shots from Ice T like a champ. Now I'd call that a future WrestleMania 40 main event.
- Cupid isn’t very relevant to the main story of the episode, although his decommissioning of Elliot gave Meloni some time off.
- There aren’t any vague wrestling references. I guess this was during the time Goldberg was trying to be a legit actor, but he didn’t even call Ice T a mark.