How Wrestling Prepared Mario Lopez For Hollywood Success

Host and actor Mario Lopez has long been interested in cardio and contact-heavy sports like wrestling, boxing, and jiu jitsu. In fact, with wrestling, Lopez took seventh in state as a high-school senior in California in 1991.

The former Saved by the Bell star, who’s currently promoting his “ICONIC Box” with Frito-Lay, believes it was the dedication it takes to be successful in wrestling, as well as the lessons it teaches young athletes, that helped provide him for what being successful in Hollywood demands.

“I think it’s the main factor that sort of helped me persevere and the way I approach work just in general,” the Access Hollywood personality said. “I think if you find a successful wrestler, you’ll find a successful guy in life. I can’t speak enough on the impact it’s had on me and will continue to and I love being able to share it with my kids.”

Team USA Wrestling previously announced that later this year Mario will be honored as the organization’s “Outstanding American” for 2022. Per the club’s website, “The Outstanding American award is presented to those individuals who have used the disciplines of wrestling to launch notable careers in other walks of life, such as science and technology, business and industry, government and the military, and the arts and humanities.”

“It’s an incredible honor and I’m incredibly flattered and grateful, I think it’s the best sport in the world and I think it helped form the man I am today,” Lopez said of the salute. “It has all the traits and I think it’s great for young men.

“I think it gives you obviously physical toughness and mental toughness, competing on your own, relying on yourself, confidence, psychologically, emotionally, you get stronger. My boys are in it, I’m glad they’re following in my footsteps and I can’t speak enough about the sport.”

Mario, who had recently reprised the role of A.C. Slater in Peacock’s Saved by the Bell reboot (2020-2021), opened up about the show’s recent cancellation.

“It was disappointing; it was surprising considering the warm reception. It got strong reviews, which I was happy about. Would have liked it to go on a little longer, but that’s show business, as they say,” Lopez said. “But I’m proud of the work we did and I loved the producers and the cast I got to work with.”

During the original series’ heyday, Mario was able to stay grounded while attending high school and starring as a high school student on a hit show in the late 80s and early 90s.

“It was a weird situation because I went to a regular public school with 3,500 kids and I got to wrestle and go to prom, graduate with my class and in the summertime I was just doing the show,” Lopez said. “It was popular, but it didn’t get really popular until I was already out of high school and it started going into syndication.

“So I somewhat had a relatively normal sort of upbringing, getting to experience things all high school kids get to. I guess I had a cool summer job.”

Lopez has another acting gig on the horizon in the upcoming Lifetime Christmas movie Steppin’ into the Holiday.

“We had a great time, we shot in Nashville, my wife (Courtney Lopez) was in that one with me too,” Mario said. “It’s got a musical component, a lot of dancing, a lot of music. I’m really happy with the way it’s turning out. It’ll be on Lifetime this Christmas. Probably my favorite one yet.”

So what’s in Mario’s “ICONIC Box”???

“It’s easy to talk about things you’re passionate about; I filled it with some of my favorite Frito-Lay snacks, some of my personal essentials to help people get into the summer with some jams and wireless headphones and [the] Fujifilm instant camera (with refill cartridges), so you can [capture] all kinds of memories this summer,” Lopez said.

“The snacks themselves, I’ve always liked Funyuns and Doritos, and my favorite is probably the Flamin Hot Cheetos, I like a lot of spicy stuff, and there’s hot sauce in there too, because I put hot sauce on everything.”

Mario’s “ICONIC Box” also contains an “Unbox the Icons” branded bucket hat, chip clips and pins and a one-year Spotify Premium subscription.

Fans can win one of the limited-edition Frito-Lay Variety Pack “ICONIC Boxes” by heading to Mario’s “ICONIC BOX” Instagram post now through June 5. For a chance to win, consumers must comment with their favorite Frito-Lay snack and use #UnboxTheIcons and #Entry.

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