When it comes to certain aspects of the business, WWE has some weird rules. A concept that has taken shape for decades now is the company lying about certain hometowns. In many cases we are led to believe that the wrestlers are actually from a specific location because of their gimmick. Seriously, why would the late great Jim Neidhart carry around a Maple Leaf flag if he isn’t even from Canada? Well as you’ll see in this article, he might have received his training in Canada, but he wasn’t necessarily born there.
On the flip side we’ll feature certain stars you’ll be baffled by that aren’t born in the US. Most of them now reside in the US, however some faces weren’t born there. Heck one of the names mentioned on the list recently ran for mayor of Knox County, Tennessee, and won. The irony is he wasn’t even born in the US. We’ll discuss that case in great detail in our first entry.
A hometown can also be misconstrued due to the WWE constantly moving around. The company is like a circus act; one day they’re in Shanghai while the next the show is in Australia. In 2018 alone, they went from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to Montreal in just a couple of days. The life of a wrestler is definitely a wacky one. We add to the wackiness with 10 wrestlers you didn’t know are from the US, along with 10 that surprisingly are. Enjoy and like always be sure to share the article. Let’s begin!
20 NOT From The US: Kane – Torrejon de Ardoz, Spain
This one is especially surprising considering Kane was recently voted in as the new mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. To be fair though, his Spanish roots shouldn’t be taken as seriously. Kane was conceived in Spain while his father was at a US Air Force base. Kane transitioned his life to the US growing up in Missouri and attending high school in the area. Kane thrived in English literature, along with seeing success in basketball and football. There’s a reason Kane has not only thrived as a wrestler, but he’s also considered one of the most brilliant minds behind the scenes.
At the age of 51, he’s now enjoying his new career as a political leader. He likely won’t make a similar run at office in Spain...
19 From The US: Rey Mysterio – Chula Vista, California
Growing up in Mexico and getting a start in the business with AAA, several fans tend to think Mysterio was born in the country. Heck he’s one of the most beloved Mexican athletes. However a little known fact is that
although Rey is proud to have a Mexican background in his bloodline he’s actually from Chula Vista, California. Rey stayed in Mexico during his earlier days. That all changed when he joined ECW and made a name for himself with WCW’s Cruiserweight Division.
His popularity reached new levels with WWE. Since leaving McMahon’s company Mysterio has taken on several gigs back in Mexico - though he remains in North America for most of his work. He’s expected to rejoin the WWE in the next couple of months. Since his departure the company has failed to find a proper Mexican representative.
18 NOT From The US: Nia Jax – Sydney, New South Wales
Typically fans tend to think that Nia is born in the same place she grew up in, San Diego, California. However you would be completely false in making such an assumption. Jax moved around quite a bit during her earlier days, but she’s actually born in Sydney, Australia. Jax later moved to Honolulu, Hawaii growing up in the area. She would eventually attend college in the US. Jax thrived as a basketball player with Palomar College.
These days the 34 year old continues to move around as a member of the WWE roster. However she’s settling down as of late due to a recent injury.
17 From The US: Chris Jericho – Manhasset, New York
Known as Canada’s best gift to pro wrestling, Chris Jericho actually isn’t born in Canada. Instead, Y2J is technically from the US, born in Manhasset, New York. His family moved to the area during his father Ted Irvine’s, run with the NHL’s New York Rangers. When Ted called it a career the family headed back North. Jericho would grow up in Winnipeg, Manitoba – the place he’s typically billed to be from.
These days Y2J’s all over the map whether it be touring Europe with Fozzy or working with New Japan. He might end up back in Canada with a rumored move to Impact Wrestling. The promotion holds some of their tapings in venues across Canada, such as the Rebel Entertainment Complex in Toronto.
16 NOT From The US: Kyle O’Reilly – Delta, British Columbia
Perhaps because of his fellow Undisputed Era stablemates, fans associate O’Reilly with having an American passport. Heck
he called ROH (a US promotion) his home for the longest time, not to mention he currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri. However a little known fact is that Kyle is actually from British Columbia, Canada.
The 31 year old first started in the industry back in 2005 working with ECCW, and among some of his other stops were Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and various appearances with New Japan. These days the Canada-born wrestler spends most of his time in Orlando, Florida with NXT.
15 From The US: Mustafa Ali – Bolingbrook, Illinois
Ali loves to promote diversity and equality outside of the ring. For that reason lots of fans assume he’s born and raised in Pakistan. However, Ali is of Pakistani descent, but he was born in Bolingbrook, Illinois. The 32 year old started off on the independents way back in 2003. It took him more than a decade but in 2016, he would finally join the WWE through the Cruiserweight Classic pipeline. WWE officials were impressed enough to sign the wrestler to a deal.
With WWE expanding their brand globally, Ali is a great representative for Pakistan. He’s proud of his heritage and he continues to make his family proud as a father of two.
14 NOT From The US: Rezar and Akam – Armsterdam, Netherland & Abbotsford, British Columbia
What might be more surprising than their background is their current age. The two mammoth men are both under 26 years old (believe it or not). Rezar is the youngest (at 24 years of age) while Akam is no oldie himself at 25.
Homegrown from the ground up at the Performance Center, some fans might have assumed that the two are both from the US. However that isn’t the case.
Rezar is from the Netherlands. He began taking part in MMA back home in his native land. As for Akam he’s born in British Columbia, Canada. He grew up in the area and became a tremendous college wrestler for Simon Fraser University.
13 From The US: Brian Pillman – Cincinnati, Ohio
Had it not been for the late great Brian Pillman, guaranteed contracts might have never taken shape in the WWE. With the company losing wrestlers to WCW far too often, McMahon put forward this clause when signing the late great talent.
Due to his involvement with the Hart Family during his WWE run, fans typically think of Pillman as a wrestler from Canada. Heck he got his start in the business with Stampede Wrestling, working alongside another late great Stu Hart. Instead Pillman grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and he was quite the football player prior to his wrestling career, playing with both the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills.
12 NOT From The US: Alundra Blayze – Milan, Italy
Back in the 90s Blayze was all about the US. However oddly enough she isn’t born in the country.
Instead Madusa is from Milan, Italy. She would later move to the US and in the mid-80s she began working on the independent scene for practically no money at all.
Looking at the current state of the women’s division, there likely isn’t anyone happier than Madusa. She enjoyed lots of success with WWE while fading during her WCW run. She left McMahon’s company on a sour note - though things are finally good between both sides since her Hall Of Fame induction.
11 From The US: Jim Neidhart – Montebello, California
First off, our deepest condolences go out to the Neidhart family – the wrestling business lost a great man far too early.
Similar to Brian Pillman, most assume Neidhart was born in Canada given his history as a member of the Hart Foundation. When he left the NFL Jim fled to Canada, training with Stu Hart in his Calgary Dungeon. He would later join Stampeded Wrestling. Once he made it to WWE Anvil was placed alongside Bret Hart typically carrying around the Maple leaf flag. However the late great wrestler is from Montebello, California. He passed away back home in Wesley Chapel, Florida.
10 NOT From The US: Eric Young – Florence, Ontario
It was a long journey for Canada-born Eric Young before finally landing a WWE deal.
These days he resides in Nashville, Tennessee - however growing up Young called Ontario his home. Believe it or not the SmackDown star began to wrestle in the late 90s. He would join TNA for more than a decade.
Finally in 2016 Young moved to Orlando signing a deal with WWE’s developmental brand NXT. He’s now a touring act on the main roster with SmackDown Live. He might be 38 years old but the veteran continues to show no signs of slowing down.
9 From The US: Sin Cara – El Paso, Texas
The original version of Sin Cara was played by Mistico, a wrestler who had quite the track record over in Mexico (his native land) prior to joining the WWE. Ultimately his run with the company was a total flop and he’s remembered more so for his botches. It was another failed attempt at creating a replacement for Rey Mysterio. Mistico would be replaced by the current act formerly known as Hunico.
Although his parents both hail from Mexico and Hunico made his pro wrestling debut in Mexico, he is in fact from El, Paso Texas.
He joined the WWE in 2009 but finally got to main roster under his Sin Cara alias.
8 NOT From The US: Tye Dillinger - St. Catharines, Ontario
The classic quote: “if at first you don’t succeed, try again later” fits perfectly for WWE star Tye Dillinger. He was a generic talent during his first run in the company. Dillinger failed to make an impact and ultimately he was shown the door. Touring around the world on the indie scene, Tye worked on his craft and it landed him back on the WWE’s radar. The talent would join NXT - he’s come a very long way (he's currently on the main roster).
Not only is he from Canada, but Dillinger played competitive hockey for a decade; it was his other love. He ultimately made the choice to join the Hart Wrestling School and as they say, the rest is history.
7 From The US: Zelina Vega – Queens, New York
Due to her involvement with Cien Almas, fans might think that Vega is from Mexico. In fact on WWE television she’s billed to be from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Don't let WWE fool you.
Although she is of Puerto Rican descent, she was born and raised in Queens, New York.
She got her start early in the business at the age of 17, wrestling for a promotion nearby in New Jersey. A decade later and a lot has changed – she’s now touring with the WWE’s main roster as a member of the SmackDown Live brand.
6 NOT From The US: Jinder Mahal – Calgary, Alberta
A former WWE Champion, Mahal gets mistaken for being from India due to his heritage, or the US due to his residence in the Tampa area. However Mahal is from the Great White North, specifically from Calgary, Alberta. Heck, Jinder’s uncle is the great Gama Singh – a Stampede Wrestling legend.
Jinder admits that he lucked into a WWE developmental deal. He attended a free tryout and made the company due to his size. Some might say he also lucked into a WWE Championship due to his Indian roots but that’s a debate for another day!
5 From The US: Tamina – Vancouver, Washington
The daughter of the late great Jimmy Snuka, some might have assumed that she’s from Fiji (like her father).
However Tamina is from Vancouver, Washington. She got her training at the Wild Samoan Center over in Minneola, Florida.
With a strong bloodline in the business Tamina joined the WWE working alongside the Usos. Unfortunately she enjoyed more success at the start of her WWE run. These days Tamina’s on the sidelines following a bad rotator cuff injury. At the very least the 40 year old is enjoying time off the road alongside her children.
4 NOT From The US: Tyler Breeze – Penticton, British Columbia
According to the WWE, Breeze hails from Daytona Beach, Florida. That destination has more to do with his gimmick rather than it being the actual place he’s from. Breeze is actually from Canada, born in BC. Tyler is another wrestler to get his training out of Calgary, Alberta, spending time at the school of WWE alum Lance Storm.
Signing with the WWE in 2010 Tyler would relocate to Florida. He would later call Orlando his new home with the opening of NXT.
3 From The US: Rikishi – San Francisco, California
Back in his day with the WWE, Rikishi was billed to be from the Isle of Samoa. Few questioned this due to his heritage as a part of the Anoa’i family bloodline. However
the Attitude Era star is surprisingly born in San Francisco, California. We barely heard anything about his actual place of birth throughout his WWE run.
He started off in Canada, then went to Puerto Rico, only to later land in the United States. These days he’s happily retired. The 52 year old calls Poinciana, Florida his current home.
2 NOT From The US: Kenny Omega – Winnipeg, Manitoba
Not only is Omega from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada but he also has a fellow Manitoba native to thank. According to Omega, Don Callis played a huge part in steering his career in the right direction;
“He saw something in me and he gave me an opportunity. He even allowed me to develop promo skills and mic time, so a lot of my early development is because of Don and he believed in me that I could be something.”
Ironically Omega’s biggest match took place against another wrestler who grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the previously mentioned Chris Jericho. Without a doubt arguably the best wrestler in the world today holds his hometown in high regard.
1 From The US: Lana – Gainesville, Florida
If you didn’t already know that Lana wasn’t actually from Russia, boy were you ever in for a surprise watching her on Total Divas. She’s her true self on the show without that fake accent. Though it should be noted that she did grow up in Latvia briefly, but her parents were from Portugal and Venezuela.
On WWE television she maintains her gimmick as the Ravishing Russian billed to be from Moscow, Russia. However in truth she’s from Gainesville, Florida and currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee. She’s often seen alongside her husband at Nashville Predators play-off games.