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From acting to the squared circle, Emmy winner Hauser is ready to rumble for Major League Wrestling

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LA Post: From acting to the squared circle, Emmy winner Hauser is ready to rumble for Major League Wrestling
May 15, 2024
DAN GELSTON - AP

Paul Walter Hauser thanked his parents, voters, agents and fellow nominees in his acceptance speech in January when he won an Emmy for his role in “Black Bird.”

Then, in a move more fitting for Sting than Stingray, Hauser cut a promo straight out of the squared circle.

“That’s a ‘what up’ to Jesus, he’s the soul owner. I own the body, I’m about to beat Matt Cardona,” he said.

Hulk Hogan or Roman Reigns sure never trash-talked a wrestling opponent from an awards show stage.

The 37-year-old Hauser lived up to his word two months later and lit a table on fire before ally Bully Ray slammed Cardona, a former WWE star, through a table at an independent wrestling show.

Much like his acting career — where Hauser is set to shake up the Marvel Cinematic Universe — his professional wrestling career is heating up, too.

Hauser has declared for the 40-man Battle Riot match on June 1 for the Major League Wrestling promotion card in Atlanta. He is among the wrestlers set to compete in a mashup of a battle royal and street fight at Battle Riot VI on YouTube.

“Paul is building something special with a two-track career driven by his passion and an unrelenting quality that separates the pretenders from the contenders,” MLW Founder and CEO Court Bauer said.

Wrestling is more than a publicity stunt for Hauser — it's his passion.

“The dream is to go win an Oscar for writing or acting in a film and the next night, I’m in front of 2,000 people in an independent show,” Hauser said in an interview with The Associated Press. “That’s what I want to be doing. I want to be accessible to all people and show them the real me, which is, I am a fan just like the rest of you.”

Hauser is just the latest in a growing list of celebrities — everyone from Bad Bunny to Johnny Knoxville to Shaquille O’Neal — who have had WrestleMania bouts and matches across the industry worthy of the main event on any card. Hauser — who counts past and current wrestlers Dean Malenko, Arn Anderson, Sami Zayn and Kyle O’Reilly among his favorites — has been training with former WWE star Paul London to prepare for his side hustle in acting.

“I believe I’m somewhere between wanting to do the reckless, heavier-set guy stuff that a Mick Foley does, entertain people while hurting my body, but also I study the technicians,” Hauser said. “I want to be able to get somebody in a Texas Cloverleaf as much as I’m going to go through a table or a chair.”

Hauser has appeared in various wrestling promotions over the last few years, including WWE and its rival All Elite Wrestling. Hauser, the “I, Tonya" and “Cobra Kai" star, took a guitar shot to the head from AEW heel Jeff Jarrett during an AEW appearance last year. Jarrett and his bad guy cronies then stole Hauser's Golden Globe award that he had brought to the ring.

Only in wrestling.

Hauser said he would wrestle more if not for a schedule that makes him one of the busiest — and, of late — most coveted actors in Hollywood. He’s set to play the late “Saturday Night Live” actor Chris Farley in a biopic, he’s filming a “Naked Gun” reboot with Liam Neeson, he snagged a role “that I cannot talk about” in Marvel’s “Fantastic Four,” and stars in the upcoming game show drama “Press Your Luck.”

As for his most popular role, his packed schedule means Hauser said he was just “making an appearance" in the final season of “Cobra Kai.”

“I show up, I can’t say much more than that,” he said. “It will be memorable and you’re always going to have a laugh with Stingray.”

Hauser has earned more fans in his frequent forays into wrestling — except, perhaps, among the people closest to him.

“My beautiful, patient, understanding wife and my agent are very much against it and wish that I would just buy some sidewalk chalk and go hopscotch in the driveway,” he said. “The reality is, this is always something I was going to do.”

While he's hopeful of a long, successful acting career, Hauser said he intended to wrestle only for the next 10 years.

“I really feel like the future is bright for me between the acting and wrestling, and it’s really about scheduling and finding great opponents and finding a great story to tell,” he said.

___

AP sports: https://apnews.com/sports

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