Wrestling fans can easily get lost in the storytelling. For that reason viewers tend to buy in to some of the information provided. When it comes to a wrestler’s hometown, the WWE has a history of nixing the true location. At times this is done in order for a Superstar to conform with their gimmick. However in certain other cases the decision is truly bizarre. We’ll look at a variety of those examples throughout the article.
We’ll also take a unique look at certain stars the WWE lied about being from Canada. We also have examples of numerous workers you might have mistaken or assumed are from Canada due to their involvement on-screen. One performer in particular joined a Team Canada faction twice in his career during two different decades (90s and 2000s). Ironically the late performer has no connection to Canada. We’ll showcase similar examples throughout the article. We conclude with a hero from the Great White North that surprisingly holds a dual citizenship. Prepare to be surprised by some of these wrestlers who are and aren’t from Canada!
Enjoy the article folks and like always be sure to share it with a friend. Without further ado here are 10 wrestlers who are actually from Canada and 10 who surprisingly aren’t. We begin with a former performer billed to be from Calabria, Italy throughout his WWE career! Let’s get started.
20 From Canada - Santino Marella (Mississauga, Ontario)
Santino got the opportunity of a lifetime. With WWE hosting Raw in Milan, Italy, Vince McMahon requested a wrestler to fit the bill for the show. Now Santino is from Canada, however he does have an Italian background. Marella was chosen as a “fan” during the Milan show and he ended up winning the IC Championship. Talk about a debut, huh?
The WWE stayed true to his "origins" throughout his run with the company. He was always introduced from Calabria, Italy. However the truth is Santino is from Mississauga, Ontario.
The 44 year old is now the proud owner of an MMA gym in his hometown area. He is also typically showcased as a panelist for wrestling programming over in Canada on the network, The Score.
19 Not From Canada - Chris Jericho (Manhasset, New York)
Yup, mind-blown, right? With his father Ted playing in the NHL, Mr. Irvine did a bit of moving around during his time. When Jericho arrived it was around the time that his father was playing for the Rangers. Ted would eventually move the family back to Winnipeg for good, however Y2J is born in the New York area (because of the timing of it all).
Throughout his career rarely has Jericho mentioned his New York origins. Instead he’s typically billed as being from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. However he was once introduced as being from Hollywood, California in order to gain some heat with the audience in Canada, playing the role of a villain.
18 From Canada - Singh Brothers (Burnaby, British Columbia)
You would think that the two were both from India given their past names alone; The Bollywood Boyz, Bollywood Lions, Bollywood Brothers and Sihra Brothers. Heck, even their current name as the Singh Brothers might lead you to believe that they’re both born and raised in India.
However the two were both born and raised in Burnaby, British Columbia. Prior to their WWE days the duo spent lots of time training and developing out on the independent scene in Canada.
Since their WWE debut the two have been labelled to be from Punjab, India. That’ll probably be the case unless something drastic takes place with their personas.
17 Not From Canada - Jim Neidhart (Montebello, California)
The wrestling business lost a great man recently. Neidhart passed away in his Florida home on August 13th. He is mostly remembered for his time in the Hart Foundation. Due to the 90s gig, several fans might think he’s from Canada. Heck his daughter Natalya hails from the Great White North.
However this isn’t exactly the case. Neidhart grew up in California and he also played pro football with the Raiders and Cowboys prior to his WWE days. Following a release from the Dallas Cowboys Neidhart would head north and start his training with Stu Hart in Calgary. You might call Canada his pro wrestling home, though.
16 From Canada - Jinder Mahal (Calgary, Alberta)
Like the Singh Brothers Mahal is billed as being from Punjab, India. Similar to Santino earlier in the article, Mahal’s descent has a lot do with his success in the company. Mahal was given the chance of a lifetime being crowned the new WWE Champion. A lot of this had to do with WWE planning an expansion in the India market. Mahal capitalized big time on the opportunity.
The truth is Mahal grew up in Calgary, Alberta. He spent a big portion of his time on the north independent wrestling scene prior to inking a WWE deal. These days he resides in a warmer climate out in Tampa, Florida – a location most WWE stars call home these days.
15 Not From Canada - The Goon (Pecos, Texas)
WWE used some outdated form of storytelling back in the mid-90s. Fans were losing interest due to the WWE using these fictional gimmicks. WCW was countering this with personas that catered to real-life. It caused lots of viewers to change the channel.
A prime example of a bad gimmick in the 90s was Bill Irwin playing the role of The Goon. Chris Jericho admitted this was actually pitched to him initially.
The role was of a hockey player who got kicked out of one too many leagues for various brawls. Giving it to Jericho would have made sense due to his links to Canada. However giving it to Bill made no sense at all. How many hockey players do you know that are from Pecos, Texas?
14 From Canada - Vampiro (Thunder Bay, Ontario)
He got his start in the business way back in the early 80s. However fans usually forget about his brief time in Montreal and associate the start of his career with CMLL Mexico. He had a lengthy stay with the company and he’d continue with CMLL following his WCW run.
These days the 51 year old continues his work behind the scenes with Lucha Underground. Given that the promotion is littered with international flavor, few tend to forget that Vampiro isn’t from Mexico despite his lengthy history over in the country, and working with various stars such as Rey Mysterio, Pentagon Jr. and Fenix. Nonetheless he was born in Thunder Bay and he resides in the area as well these days.
13 Not From Canada - Jimmy Hart (Jackson, Mississippi)
Jimmy was one of the members of the Hart Foundation, managing both Bret Hart and the late great Anvil Neidhart. The team left a lasting legacy as one of the best duos of all-time, claiming multiple Tag Team Championship reigns.
Due to his involvement with the faction, along with the fact that his last name is Hart, some used to assume that Hart was from Canada. However the long-time manager is from Jackson, Mississippi and he’s currently residing out of Tampa, Florida, with no connection to Canada. Among his current interests includes the potential of working alongside a current US WWE star, Elias.
12 From Canada - Tyler Breeze (Penticton, British Columbia)
Since he changed gimmicks, Tyler Breeze has been billed to be from Daytona Beach, Florida. No reference has been made to his days spent in Canada while on WWE television.
However, true WWE fans might know that Breeze started in the business back at the Lance Storm Wrestling Academy in Calgary. The training facility is close to Tyler’s hometown of Penticton, British Columbia.
Breeze would get started with various indie promotions north of the border. He would move to Florida in 2010 inking a developmental deal with FCW. Once FCW rebranded to NXT, Breeze really started to make his mark in the company.
11 Not From Canada - Brian Pillman (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Here’s another late member of the Hart Foundation that might get confused for being from Canada. However despite his involvement with the faction, Pillman was not from Canada. Instead he was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Like Neidhart, Pillman went from playing football over in the US to taking his goals to Canada pursuing a pro wrestling career. He trained in Calgary with the great Stu Hart. He would later join the Stampede Wrestling organization.
Pillman was a tremendous talent back in the 90s and another face the wrestling world lost far too early. He is also recognized as the first WWE star to earn a guaranteed contract.
10 From Canada - Akam (Abbotsford, British Columbia)
Billed as being from Punjab, India, the mammoth 25 year old grew up in Abbotsford, British Columbia. However he is of Punjab descent. Prior to his WWE days, Akam was billed as being a strong prospect for amateur wrestling (in Canada).
The 25 year old won a gold medal at the 2009 Canada Summer Games. He just missed out on qualifying for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Shortly after Akam got contacted by WWE scout Gerald Brisco.
He would relocate from Canada to Florida reporting to NXT’s Performance Center. The young star is already on the main roster these days as a touring act for the Raw brand.
9 Not From Canada - Ted DiBiase Jr. (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
There might be some confusion with DiBiase’s origins. Prior to getting his start on the main roster, Ted briefly served time with the Hart Dynasty faction. This led some to believe that he's actually from the Great White North. However the former WWE star is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His father Ted, is from Miami, Florida.
These days the 35 year old is out of the business and making an impact with the youth needing some guidance and motivation. His decision to leave the WWE for a greater good is definitely an admirable decision. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.
8 From Canada - Kyle O’Reilly (Delta, British Columbia)
As you may have noticed, BC is the home to lots of great wrestling talent. Though it might be flying under the radar – some would assume a talent like Kyle O’Reilly is from the US, as he resides in St. Louis, Missouri these days. However Kyle is from British Columbia.
Prior to his indie success with ROH, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and New Japan, Kyle got his start in the business with a small territory of Canada, ECCW.
He actually spent lots of time with the promotion although he would appear sporadically. He first appeared in 2005 and his last appearance came all the way in January of 2017.
7 Not From Canada - Mike Awesome (Tampa, Florida)
The late Mike Awesome played the identity of a wrestler out of Canada back in WCW’s final days. He joined Team Canada alongside Lance Storm, playing the role of the faction’s enforcer.
Mike has no connection to Canada aside from playing the role on television. He was actually from Tampa, Florida.
Ironically, Awesome played the role of a Team Canada member twice during his career. Way back in 1993 while wrestling with Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling Mike joined the villainous Team Canada faction. Under the name of Gladiator the former ECW star was actually the one to launch the stable.
6 From Canada - Eric Young (Florence, Ontario)
Speaking of Team Canada, Eric Young was another member. He took part in the faction during his earlier days with TNA Wrestling. For that reason fans tend to forget this ever happened. Young also looked unrecognizable back in his days with the red and white.
Due to multiple character changes and the fact that he’s been billed as being from various parts of the US throughout his career, some fans forget about his real origins from Ontario. These days Young is billed as being from the place he currently resides in, Nashville, Tennessee. WWE stars Lana and Rusev also reside in the same city.
5 Not From Canada - Candice LeRae (Riverside, California/ Winnipeg, Manitoba)
This one might be a tad misleading, however let’s make it clear, Candice hails from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She would hit the road and pursue wrestling at a young age in the US markets. For that reason Candice typically identifies with her US side. California is acknowledged as her home state. Even during the Mae Young Classic WWE identified LeRae as a US citizen.
These days the NXT star hails from Orlando, Florida. Although she might be born in Canada she identifies with her US origins. Wrestling since her days as a teen in 2002 in the US area - this makes sense.
4 From Canada - Kenny Omega – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Let’s give Winnipeg some love. The destination has produced some terrific wrestlers in the past. However Kenny Omega might be at the top of the list.
Given that he’s always moving around and typically performing in Japan, many fans tend to forget that he is in fact from Canada. He returned to his native land just last year performing at an indie event in Winnipeg.
For now he remains an independent wrestler spending most of his time in the Japan and US markets. It remains to be seen when he’ll finally make the jump to the WWE.
3 Not From Canada - Elix Skipper (Roosevelt, New York)
Back in the final WCW days fans would have assumed that Skipper had a lot more Canada-like ways than Vampiro. However in truth this was not the case despite Elix’s involvement with Team Canada. WCW went as far as to create a bio that suggested Skipper played in the CFL and had a Grey Cup ring! Yup, the WCW writers went all-in with Elix and his background from the Great White North.
He did a really good job in the faction alongside leader Lance Storm. Unlike Elix, Lance is actually from Canada, hailing from Sarnia, Ontario. Storm currently resides in Calgary, Alberta running his own wrestling school, the Storm Wrestling Academy.
2 From Canada - Rosa Mendes (Vancouver, British Columbia)
Given her involvement as a cast member of Total Divas most would assume Rosa’s from the US. That’s especially true given that she now resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The WWE hadn’t made any mention of her Northern background either.
Places she was billed to be from by the company included Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and San Mateo, California.
In truth she grew up in BC attending the University of British Columbia. She would eventually drop out and pursue modeling on International stages. Mendes eventually caught the WWE’s eye through the Diva Search. The retired mom is now planning on returning to the business, however a recent leg injury halted the comeback attempt.
1 Bret Hart – Dual Citizenship
Given that his gimmick centered around Canada and his well documented love for the country, this one is particularly surprising. Hart isn't exclusively from Canada and holds a dual citizenship – his mom Helen is from New York. Hart actually takes pride in both nationalities that run through his bloodline. Hart’s family also has a bit of Scottish and Irish.
Although he found some great success in the US throughout his career, most fans will always link Bret to Canada. However it is still pretty surprising that Hart holds a dual-citizenship and one most fans likely aren’t even aware of.