On Monday it was Thanksgiving in Canada. So in that spirit, let’s talk about some of the Canadian wrestlers that we can all be thankful for getting into a WWE ring.
Let’s start with a female that Jim Ross called Canada’s greatest export. Trish Stratus always has had the looks but during her time there, she became a good in-ring competitor and worker. She should be a role model of what a diva or female competitor can be, as far as a wrestler in terms of her hard work. Trish did Canada proud in being the female with the most title reigns in WWE history, with nine Women’s Title runs including in her retirement match against Lita in front of her hometown fans in Toronto at Unforgiven in 2006.
The Toronto area also produced the lovable daredevil duo of Edge and Christian. They actually started as mysterious, gothic figures that never talked but grew to be part of a tag-team revival in the WWE with the Dudley’s and Hardy’s that produced some of the most crazy, risk-filled matches in the history of the sport. The two would eventually break apart and have successful singles careers and along the way would be two of the WWE’s best comedic performers at times as well. Edge was forced to retire several years back due to injury and is now in the WWE Hall of Fame. Christian remains with the company and could wrestle according to some reports but is being held out of action after dealing with a concussion that has sidelined him for quite some time. Perhaps no two performers from Canada have given more of their bodies to this business than these two with all the many risks and blows they took over the years. They did it to be noticed, they were, and it allowed them to have long careers with many great moments along the way.
You can’t talk about Canada and pro wrestling without mentioning the Hart Family. Bret was the most successful of the group but his career is tied to one singular event more than anything else he did. The Montreal Screw Job you have to include when telling the story of Hart, Shawn Michaels and even Vince McMahon. His rivalry with Michaels is arguably one of the greatest of all time. Hart was the face of the companies “New Generation” and had classic matches with almost anyone they paired him with to wrestle.
Following in those large footprints was Owen Hart who at first attempted to enter the company as the masked Blue Blazer. Making it easier to no be caught in that shadow and allowing Owen to show his skills. He would lose the gimmick and the mask and have a fantastic feud with his brother and an all-time classic match to open WrestleMania 10. That feud lasted for some time before they came together as the Hart Foundation with brother in-laws British Bulldog, Jim Neidhart and family friend Brian Pillman. Owen was arguably just as skilled as Bret in the ring, but much more fun loving and far less concerned with his legacy. Sadly, that legacy will be tied to his premature death in fall at the WWE Over the Edge pay-per-view.
Chris Jericho is also one of us. Not the typical Canadian as he brags often and will be the first to tell you he was this first undisputed champion and beat The Rock and Steve Austin to do that in the same night. Before his days in WWE, he built a decent career in WCW and he was and still is at the core of it all entertaining. Jericho is a good worker in the ring but in some ways is an even better entertainer. He spends more time away from the WWE than in it these days until recently. His rock band Fozzy has taken off and is a success in its own right with songs making the charts and developing its own fan base.
There are many stars that were never billed from Canada but were in fact were Canadian. Perhaps, the most famous of those, the crazy man Rowdy Roddy Piper. He now calls Oregon home but he originally came from here.
The Canadian Football League has been the home for many guys that ended up being big stars in wrestling. Guys like Lex Luger as an example. Perhaps the most famous being Dwayne Johnson, a defensive lineman from Miami that tried out for the Calgary Stampeders. He would not make it and he would decide to take up the family business of pro wrestling. That’s when The Rock was born and go on to astronomical success in the WWE and now in his career in Hollywood.
Roman Reigns had a little more success than his cousin who never played a game in the CFL. Reigns played in five games for ironically the Stampeders rivals the Edmonton Eskimos.
There has been a massive gap in Canadian stars after Edge’s forced retirement. Christian is still there but he would soon not be around as much due to injuries. Jericho has been in and out of the WWE over the past few years. Natalya is around but not being used prior to Total Divas. Her husband Tyson Kidd was hurt until returning in the last year but has not been used much on the main roster but has been a big part of NXT in the last few months.
Sami Zayn and Kevin Steen have made their way from the independents to WWE developmental. In addition, some Canadian content on the broadcasting side with Renee Young and Kyle Edwards who worked up here, hosting a wrestling show for The Score television network among other things. Young has been a rock star since arriving doing more and more things in her short time with the company. Edwards was just recently hired and we will see what the future holds for him in the company.
The point to all of this is if you are Canadian or not, we all owe Canada many thanks for its contributions to the WWE over the years.
Hope you had Happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadians out there and best wishes to all of you and your families. Here is hoping you enjoyed the food and family.