Summer is upon us, and the latest instalment of Planet Earth’s most beloved Hollywood saga, Fast & Furious, is currently smashing the box office harder than a group of drunk girls at a closed kebab shop window.
Twenty years on from the first F&F film, F9 has had the biggest box office opening since 2019 and the highest-grossing opening weekend of the post-pandemic era to date, which just goes to show: people only want one thing, and that’s fucking big ass vehicles colliding at high speed and volume, at the hands of sturdy individuals who look like they could rag you around like an empty tracksuit.
So, as the British public flock to their nearest IMAX or industrial estate chain cinema to pour vodka into an Ice Blast and over-stimulate themselves in droves, I asked WWE superstar and recent franchise addition, John Cena, to invent wrestling names and personas for each member of the Fast family. Behold his work:
Vin Diesel (Dominic “Dom” Toretto)
“So, we’re going to start with the easiest one: Vin Diesel. That name already says it all. He literally could be a WWE champion tomorrow.
“I think you have to have something that sort of encapsulates your persona, or provides the audience with guidance based on first impressions. Vin is in great physical condition, and the way he operates in fights – I would know firsthand! – he’s very forward and he’s got the torque and power of a Diesel truck. So I honestly think that’s a fitting name. You wouldn’t have to change a thing.
“The whole cast of F9 are kind of like WWE superstars in their own right. The movie is kind of built for that, and I think that’s one of the interesting things about the franchise. You look at both entities – WWE being globally successful and Fast & Furious being globally successful – they kind of stick to their core but aren’t afraid to expand. They’re very similar.”
“There are some wrestling identities that are just lay-ups and, like Vin Diesel, Ludacris is one of them. Ludacris would be great. With hip-hop, not only do you have to be skilled in what you do, you also have to create a personality for yourself, and Lud has done such a good job of creating that personality.
“Hip-hop superstars do run in very close correlation to WWE superstars, and I think he could literally snap and transition. Another great example of that is Bad Bunny; Bad Bunny came from music, had a performance in WrestleMania, and it’s like he’s been there forever. So I really think that Ludacris would do just fine!”
Michelle Rodriguez (Letty)
“Michelle is a difficult one, because she’s such a beautifully complex personality. She’s extremely brave and courageous and wants to defy all conformity in the best of ways. This is the one that I was racking my brain on.
“Honestly, if you had to encapsulate her personality in one word, she’s energetic, but she’s also so many other wonderful things, and I don’t want to say something like ‘The Destroyer’, because she doesn’t merely destroy, she has such solid purpose. You can tell I’ve really thought about this. I think I need to hit the button to phone a friend! She has this unbelievable curiosity about her, like you could get her whole story and you’d want to know more.”
Helen Mirren (Queenie)
“There has to be royalty involved here, like ‘Queen Helen’ or ‘Queen Mirren’, and she would be very full of pomp and circumstance and elegance. That would be her. She would sweep into the ring in a big cape, and she wouldn’t even take it off – she would have people holding the end of it. That sort of pageantry, I think, would be beautiful.”
Charlize Theron (Cipher) and Nathalie Emmanuel (Ramsey)
“I think Charlize and Nathalie would probably battle it out for the name ‘The Genius’. That’s already been a character in WWE, but I would love to see it reborn in two likenesses, because they both use their intellect to solve problems in Fast.
“I think we could call Charlize ‘The Evil Genius’ and Nathalie ‘The Genius’ – and now we have a makeshift WWE storyline ready to go! I can absolutely see them being rivals, and they would fight to see who’s smarter.”
Kurt Russell (Mr Nobody) and Michael Rooker (Buddy)
“I think Kurt and Rooker would battle it out for ‘The Last Outlaw’. They both have those stoic traits – Rooker’s maybe a little bit crazier, but what a square-off that would be. They could even be a tag-team called ‘The Last Outlaws’.”
Tyrese Gibson (Roman)
“This one is fun. Tyrese could actually be Roman – he could harken back to the Roman Empire and he could be announced with trumpets, to a king’s welcome. Interestingly enough, there’s a character in WWE called Roman Reigns, so if we could take Tyrese’s Fast character and evolve it into a WWE personality, he has a built-in main event storyline with one of the most known superstars in WWE at the present time.”
Cardi B (Leysa)
“Cardi B would be a hell of a WWE superstar too. What I admire most about her is she is authentically herself – through good, bad and indifferent – and I think that’s an admirable quality. To have enough confidence and love in yourself to be yourself in any given situation, I think that’s very impressive. She’s so identifiable as Cardi B, it would be tough for her to be anyone else. It’s not like Cardi B goes to record a track and then she’s a different person outside the studio – she’s always Cardi B. Cardi, Ludacris and Tyrese could all have their own entrance music!”