O Canada: Canadian Wrestling and The Polite Revolution

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In the past few months, heated words from Takaaki Kidani, President of Bushroad, the parent company of NJPW, has shown that there are several battlegrounds emerging in “the Era of the Global WWE Coalition vs. Anti-WWE Alliance”. WWE is seemingly invading into European markets, while NJPW is attempting to invade North American shores with greater frequency in 2017. But looking at many of the impact players in multiple promotions, the invasion appears not to come from the United States or the Far East…it’s actually coming from the Great White North.

Canada has always had a strong connection to the world of professional wrestling. From early pioneers and World Champions like Whipper Billy Watson, Edouard Carpentier, or Gene Kiniski to the incredible influence of legendary trainer and promoter Stu Hart, Canadians have always been a mainstay in the world of wrestling, both onstage and behind the scenes. WWE has had an incredible amount of Canadian involvement in their rich history, from the masterful heel work from Hall of Famers Walter “Killer” Kowalski or Rowdy Roddy Piper to the boom in the ’90’s and ’00’s that saw such Canadians as Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart, Owen Hart, Edge, Christian, Trish Stratus, Chris Jericho, Lance Storm and Chris Benoit reshape the landscape, wrestlers from the Land of the Maple Leaf have always been poignant. Add in such legendary figures as Abdullah The Butcher, The Vachons, The Rougeaus, Archie Gouldie, and so much more, and you get the point.

But after the events of 2016 – widely regarded by many purists as one of the greatest years for the industry as a whole ever – when looking at the players, both main event and supporting, you start to see a pattern. That many of those leading on the forefront are actually those with Canadian passports, not American, Mexican or Japanese. Looking back at 2016 – and ahead to 2017 – here’s a look at 26 Canadians who are part of the boom of professional wrestling (with a few honorable mentions) right now (SPOILER: They all seem to come from Winnipeg).

Photo: NJPW

1. Kenny Omega, NJPW

From: Winnipeg, Manitoba
2016/2017 Highlights:
 IWGP Intercontinental Championship, NEVER Openweight 6-Man Championship (w/ The Young Bucks), G1 Climax Winner 2016, Headlined Wrestle Kingdom 11 against IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada.

Tough to argue that Omega may be the single hottest property in professional wrestling right now, from his barn burner of a year in 2016 – which began with assuming leadership of the Bullet Club following AJ Styles departure – to the insane amount of internet buzz the past few months since his 6-star match at Wrestle Kingdom vs Okada to the speculation of his WWE or Royal Rumble debut (which never happened), Omega is the buzz in wrestling.

2. Kevin Owens, WWE

Photo: WWE.com

From: Marieville, Quebec
2016/2017 Highlights: 
WWE Universal Champion (current), WWE Intercontinental Champion

A long standing indie darling from his days in Ring of Honor, PWG and more, Owens became the second ever WWE Universal Champion (Monday Night Raw‘s World Heavyweight title) after being anointed by the King of Kings himself, Triple H. His partnership with Chris Jericho has made them main event material for months now and his huge defence against heavily favoured Roman Reigns this past week at Royal Rumble ’17 has only added to the thunder of KO’s 2017.

3. Chris Jericho, WWE

Photo: WWE.com

From: Winnipeg, Manitoba
2016/2017 Highlights: 
WWE United States Champion (current), The List

As big of a year as Kevin Owens had the past year, he couldn’t have done it without his Best Friend, future Hall of Famer and 26-year veteran Chris Jericho beside him. Not only did he re-invent himself yet again, but he put over silk scarves and a LIST. His chemistry with Owens was infectiously lovable and they were one of the bright spots on Raw post-Brand Split. He recently captured his first US Championship (either WCW or WWE), a title he still currently holds.

4. Bobby Roode, NXT

Photo: WWE.com

From: Toronto, Ontario
2016/2017 Highlights: 
NXT Champion (current), “Glorious Domination”

Alongside fellow WWE employees AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and Eric Young, Bobby Roode is considered a TNA Original, from back in the glory days when they were still NWA affiliated. When he made the jump to NXT less than a year ago, many wondered if it was a smart move for a 39-year old professional wrestler, whose best years where behind him. Boy, were they wrong. Yes, he had an impressive resume in TNA – a two-time World Champion, 8-time World Tag Team Champion, longest World title reign. But when he debuted in NXT with that new theme song – “Glorious Domination” – he became a viral sensation. By the end of 2016, fans were singing along in full chorus. People were also skeptical of where Roode would place in NXT’s hierarchy – when he arrived, they had Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura, Baron Corbin, Apollo Crews. Would they use him as a veteran mid-carder, or worse? Turns out the opposite. Balor, Corbin and Crews left first, with Joe finally departing NXT for Raw this past Monday, leaving Roode the number one heel in the company…and the newly crowned NXT Champion. Glorious Domination, indeed.

5. Rosemary, Impact Wrestling, SMASH Wrestling

Photo: Instagram.com/real.rosemary.tna

From: Winnipeg, Manitoba
2016/2017 Highlights: 
TNA Knockouts Champion (current)

When Decay debuted on TNA Impact nearly one year ago to the day, their 90’s Goth Hot Topix Walking Dead shtick seemed a bit out of place in the world of DixieLand. But as the weeks progressed, the trio featuring former World Champion Abyss and Crazzy Steve (another Canadian) and their associate Rosemary began to captivate. In the early days, many thrilled as Abyss returned to the crazed monster of years gone by, and the duo of Abyss and Steve captured the TNA World Tag Team titles. Late summer, they took part in the twisted world of Broken Matt Hardy. But in the past four months, all eyes have been on Decay’s Queen of Horror, Rosemary, and her punishing matches against Jade over the TNA Knockouts title. From cage matches to Monster’s Ball matches, Rosemary has held onto that gold, like a rabid rat with a new penny – becoming one of wrestling’s most captivating characters in the process. And it’s not just on national television either. Last year she had an incredible feud in Toronto’s SMASH Wrestling alongside fellow Impact star Allie (also known as Cherry Bomb during the early part of said feud).

6. LuFisto, Shine, Beyond

Photo: FloSlam

From: Montreal, Quebec
2016/2017 Highlights: 
Shine Champion (current)

An icon in the world of women’s independent wrestling in North America, LuFisto is a 19-year veteran, who’s gone from the hardcore trenches of Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) – where she ended Kevin Steen’s 354-day reign as the CZW Iron Man Champion in 2005 – and IWA Mid South‘s Queen of the Death Match winner in 2007. She’s spent the past several years in women’s promotions like Shimmer, WSU, and Queens of Combat, but at Shine 40 this past January, LuFisto won her first major women’s championship when she claimed the Shine Championship in a triple threat against Mercedes Martinez and Allysin Kay (aka Sienna in TNA).

7. Michael Elgin, NJPW

Photo: ROH

From: Toronto, Ontario
2016/2017 Highlights: 
IWGP Intercontinental Championship

A former Ring of Honor World Champion, Elgin begin working more in NJPW last year and it paid off in spades. In June, he defeated Kenny Omega for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship and became a star in Japan, where his blunt force trauma style of wrestling was appreciated much the same way gaijin like Scott Norton or Stan Hansen were in past generations. So much so, that at the end of the year, Elgin left ROH to commit to NJPW. A broken eye socket last fall shelved him for the last few months, but he made his return at Wrestle Kingdom 11 and won the Pre-Show Rumble after entering first. By the end of WK11, Elgin sought out current IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito and challenged him to a match. It looks like this could be another big year for Elgin in Japan.

8. Tye Dillinger, NXT

Photo: WWE.com

From: Niagara Falls, Ontario
2016/2017 Highlights: 
The ’10’ Movement

The unlikeliest of heroes, we recently spotlighted the career of new NXT MegaStar Tye Dillinger. His NXT Takeover: Toronto match against Bobby Roode was one of NXT’s shining moments of 2016, after having seriously standout matches with Finn Balor, Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura earlier. Since then, his ’10’ count has accompanied referees throughout the wrestling world, from Raw and Smackdown events to indie promotions worldwide. It’s even shown up in WCPW and Ring of Honor. His Royal Rumble entrance – at No. 10 no less – showed that his crossover appeal has reached even the main roster. This year looks to be the Year of Dillinger, whether it be NXT or the main roster itself.

9. Allie, Impact Wrestling, SMASH Wrestling

Photo: Impact Wrestling

From: London, Ontario
2016/2017 Highlights: 
TNA Knockouts Champion

When word got out that indie darling Cherry Bomb had signed with TNA, everyone was proud for her reaching one of the bigger promotions. When she debuted as the seemingly talentless assistant to Queen of the Knockouts Maria Kanellis named Allie, many were left scratching their heads. How could one of the indies biggest names in women’s wrestling be portrayed as an unqualified buffoon, especially in an era where every promotion from WWE to Japan were acknowledging a universal kayfabe again. But over time, the cute story of Allie fighting the oppression of her evil boss warmed everyone’s hearts and along the way, she even picked up the TNA Knockouts Championship. With Allie gaining more momentum in her storylines now – seemingly pairing with real life boyfriend Braxton Sutter against Maria and her husband, “The Miracle” Mike Bennett – this year could be the year that Allie finally shows the Impact Zone what she’s capable of.

10. Kyle O’Reilly, Free Agent

Photo: ROH

From: Halifax, Nova Scotia
2016/2017 Highlights: 
ROH World Champion, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions (w/ Bobby Fish)

For years, Kyle O’Reilly was a singles technician in PWG (where he held the PWG World Championship) and a tag team specialist alongside Bobby Fish in reDragon, in both Ring of Honor and NJPW. After they lost their IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Titles early in 2016, O’Reilly and Fish began to separate, pursuing more singles opportunities. O’Reilly hit the ceiling in Ring of Honor last month, capturing the ROH World Championship at Final Battle. In January, shortly after losing the title back to Adam Cole at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 11, O’Reilly left Ring of Honor after 8 years. While rumours swirl that he’ll be heading to NXT once his no-compete clause expires, it’s safe to say that O’Reilly would only turn his back on more Championship gold in ROH if he had brighter options available.

11. Sami Zayn, WWE

Photo: WWE.com

From: Montreal, Quebec
2016/2017 Highlights: 
MOTY 2016 Candidate vs. Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT Takeover: Dallas

He was the face of NXT before Finn Balor arrived and showed that he could be a Superstar on the main roster as well. His match-up with Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT Takeover: Dallas last year made most critics’ year’s best and his lifelong feud with Kevin Owens continued on the main roster of WWE with the same passion and excitement as it had on the indies years before. Zayn lost a bit of his momentum when Owens entered the main event scene, but his recent win over US Champion Chris Jericho in a non-title match this past Raw shows that Zayn is still very much in the WWE’s bigger picture.

12. Davey Boy Smith Jr., NJPW, NOAH

Photo: twitter.com/DBSmithjr

From: Calgary, Alberta
2016/2017 Highlights: 
GHC Tag Team Champions (w/ Lance Archer, The Killer Elite Squad)

The son of late WWE Legend “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith and Hart Family member Diana Hart, Smith (whose real name is Harry) has continued to make his presence known in Japan. Following a short career in the WWE (where he still managed to capture the World Team Championship twice), Smith formed the Killer Elite Squad with former WWE Superstar Lance Archer in NJPW, as a new gaijin tandem within the villainous heel faction Suzuki-Gun in 2012. They would claim the IWGP Tag Team Championships twice before they joined the rest of Suzuki-Gun in an invasion against rival promotion Pro Wrestling NOAH. They spent years within NOAH, capturing their GHC Tag Team Championship for the bulk of their time there. Last month, the KES – alongside the rest of Suzuki-Gun – returned to NJPW intent to reclaim the promotion they’d left years earlier. It stands to reason that KES will be big players in the NJPW tag team scene for the foreseeable future.

13. Eric Young, NXT

Photo: WWE.com

From: Cambridge, Ontario
2016/2017 Highlights: 
SaNitY

Another of the TNA Originals who made the jump to WWE in the past year, for a while it didn’t look like Eric Young would actually be joining. Following an impromptu debut on NXT – with a match against Samoa Joe no less – Young disappeared from the television and the dirt sheets. He returned in the fall with a brand new faction, the post-apocalyptic doomsday dogs known as SaNitY, bent on the destruction of NXT and the conquering of all the titles. While he’s hardly been there long enough to make a huge dent, SaNitY has gained momentum over the past few weeks, with the addition of Big Damo (now Killian Dain) to the team and Nikki Cross embroiled in a battle with NXT Women’s Champion Asuka. But should NXT Champion Bobby Roode start getting the audience’s graces and turn face, Young is a perfect candidate to enter the main event title picture and try to take down his old friend (and foe) from their Impact days.

14. “All Ego” Ethan Page, Evolve, AIW, Alpha-1 Wrestling

Photo: FloSlam

From: Hamilton, Ontario
2016/2017 Highlights: 
AIW Champion

“All Ego” Ethan Page has become one of the indie scene’s most unlikeable heels, starring in two indie promotions main events, nearly simultaneously. A constant antagonist in Evolve, he spent the past year battling the likes of Zack Sabre Jr., Cody Rhodes, Dick Togo, Sami Callihan, Drew Galloway and more, recently bringing in CHIKARA‘s Devastation Corporation (Blaster McMassive and Flex Rumblecrunch) as his bodyguards, The Gatekeepers. At the same time, he was the defending Champion for Ohio’s Absolute Insane Wrestling (AIW) for most of the year (before losing it to Josh Prohibition in September), facing the likes of Brian Cage, ZSJ, Space Monkey and Candice LeRae. He also had stints in CZW and Chicago’s AAW as well. With the exodus of Evolve talent to NXT or 205 Live like Chris Hero, Johnny Gargano, Cedric Alexander, Drew Gulak and Tony Nese, there’s lots of room for talent to rise up and this should be the year that Ethan Page becomes Evolve’s dominant heel.

15. Gail Kim, Impact Wrestling

Photo: Impact Wrestling

From: Toronto, Ontario
2016/2017 Highlights: TNA Knockouts Champion, TNA Hall of Fame

If AJ Styles is the male wrestler who helped build TNA, then Gail Kim is the woman who built the Knockouts division. A 6-time Knockouts Champion, she won her last title at Bound For Glory last October (before vacating it due to injury a week later). She also became the first woman inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame last year. She returned to Impact this past week to help Jade in her battle against current Knockouts champion Rosemary, but got misted for her troubles. Now that she’s back, is there a 7th reign in the cards?

16. Candice LeRae, Shimmer, PWG, AIW, House of Hardcore, SMASH Wrestling

Photo: Candice LeRae/Twitter

From: Winnipeg, Manitoba

One of the world’s most in-demand indie wrestlers, LeRae has made intergender wrestling an artform over the past decade. She’s wrestled with and against her husband, WWE Superstar Johnny Gargano, as well as fought men around the world. This past year she faced Ethan Page for the AIW Championship, as well as locked up with Eddie Kingston, Tony Nese, Alex Shelley, and Frightmare, not to mention a who’s who of the best in female wrestling as well. Just last week, she was challenging Sami Callihan for the AAW Championship in Chicago. Don’t let the looks fool you either – Candice is no Diva. Her hardcore tag match with Joey Ryan vs The Young Bucks in PWG a few years ago is legendary. There’s a strong chance LeRae makes it in the WWE Women’s Tournament this summer and possibly onto NXT, but if not, she’s got plenty of options to continue to show her dominance.

17. Natalya, WWE

Photo: WWE.com

From: Calgary, Alberta

The second member of the Hart Family to make the list, the veteran Nattie “Natalya” Neidhart just gets better with age. While many may lament WWE’s treatment of Natalya over her nine year WWE career (who can forget that embarrassingly atrocious flatulence angle?!?), Natalya has remained the consummate professional in the ring, year in and year out. She’s definitely the Mother Hen in the locker room now and every minute she can spend with all of the women in the locker room will only make them all better performers. She’s currently in a feud with Nikki Bella (in one of Nikki’s most engaging and physical feuds ever), showing a mean streak and heel ability that many felt she had lacked before. When all is said and done, it’s not unlikely she ends up a trainer at the WWE Performance Center, most likely with her husband, Tyson Kidd.

18. Mauro Ranallo, WWE

Photo: WWE.com

From: Abbotsford, British Columbia

After years of dismay from wrestling fans following the departure of revered broadcaster Jim Ross, former MMA and NJPW announcer Mauro Ranallo became the lead commentator on Smackdown Live and it’s hard to not talk of the Blue Brand’s success of late without mentioning the exemplary broadcast work of Ranallo on the show. His professional dialogue and passion for the history and performance of the sport is infectious and refreshing, and his enthusiasm and emotion has helped immensely with Smackdown‘s overall storytelling. The only sad part is that he may move to Raw within the next year if reports are true that lead commentator Michael Cole is moving behind the scenes sooner than later.

19. Renee Young, WWE

Photo: WWE.com

From: Toronto, Ontario

Canadian wrestling fans knew of Renee Young years before she arrived in the WWE in 2012, under her real name, Renee Paquette, and co-hosting The Score‘s wrestling show Aftermath with former WWE referee Jimmy Korderas. It didn’t take long for the rest of the world to fall in love with her either. Young’s genuine fan-level excitement and knowledge of the industry was her strength – she always sounds more like a fan than a commentator. While many hoped she would finally get a position on the broadcast booth team, hosting Talking Smack, the talk show following Smackdown Live, has proven to be a surefire hit and truly ‘Must See TV’ on the WWE Network, especially since the recent kayfabe revelation of her real life relationship with Dean Ambrose hit the air courtesy of The Miz.

20. Tyson Dux, SMASH, AIW, Border City Wrestling

Photo: WWE.com

From: London, Ontario
2016/2017 Highlights: 
SMASH Champion (current), AIW Tag Team Champions (w/ Tracey Williams, Hot Sauce Entertainment), WWE Cruiserweight Classic

This nearly 20-year veteran finally returned to the international spotlight as an entrant in last year’s WWE Cruiserweight Classic, in a first round match loss to Zack Sabre Jr. But that wasn’t all he accomplished. He joined forces with Tracey Williams (from Catch Point in Evolve) in Hot Sauce Entertainment, capturing the AIW Tag Team Championship twice last year (which they still hold), while maintaining a regular spot in Windsor, Ontario’s Border City Wrestling. Up the road in Toronto, he’s the current SMASH Wrestling Champion, who’s had a solid run the past year facing Cody Rhodes, Sonjay Dutt (for the Global Force Wrestling NEX*GEN title), Moose, “Speedball” Mike Bailey, as well as a rematch with Zack Sabre Jr. Dux’s wrestling tactics are perfect for Evolve as well, so who knows? Maybe his AIW Championship partner Tracey Williams can get him into Catch Point.

21. Nicole Matthews, Shimmer, ECCW, RISE

Photo:

From: Vancouver, British Columbia

Another Canadian woman in high demand on the indies, Matthews cut her teeth (and still competes to this day) in Vancouver’s premier indie promotion Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling (ECCW), where she’s not only held the Women’s Championship four times, but the ECCW Tag Team titles twice and the ECCW Championship twice. South of the border, she’s made her mark in Shimmer, where she’s carried their Championship once (defeating Cheerleader Melissa) and their Tag titles twice (in the Canadian Ninjas, alongside Portia Perez). She’s also recently debuted in the upstart new women’s promotion, RISE, out of Illinois. She’s had a few enhancement matches in NXT the past year, so it’s not unlikely she ends up in the WWE Women’s Tournament this summer and possibly NXT by the year’s end.

22. Chelsea Green/Laurel Van Ness, Impact Wrestling, Shine, Stardom

Photo: Impact Wrestling

From: Victoria, British Columbia

Another product of Vancouver’s ECCW (along with Natalya, Nicole Matthews, Cat Power and Bollywood Boyz), Chelsea Green gained national attention as a contestant on the 2014 edition of WWE’s Tough Enough, but finished fourth. A protege of Lance Storm, Green had no trouble finding work, first through ECCW then on to stints for Shine, Stardom, and Shimmer. Last summer she joined Impact Wrestling under the name Lauren Van Ness and became part of Maria Kanellis’ faction, alongside Sienna (aka Allysin Kay) and Allie (aka Cherry Bomb). The future is bright for Green, whether it be in TNA or the other indies she’s shining in.

23. Steve Corino, WWE

Photo: ROH

From: Winnipeg, Manitoba

For the past few years, ECW icon “Old School” Steve Corino has been working behind the microphone alongside Kevin Kelly as the colour commentator for Ring of Honor television and PPV. The former ECW World Champion has retired from the ring (following his final match against Cody Rhodes) and recently departed ROH to take a position at the WWE Performance Center. While his position has yet to be announced officially, many speculate it’s a training position (the hoped announcement of him replacing Corey Graves as colour on NXT television seem to be dashed with the recent news that instead another former ROH personality, Nigel McGuinness, would be getting that assignment).

24. Akam, NXT

Photo: WWE.com

From: Abbotsford, British Columbia
2016/2017 Highlights: 
NXT Tag Team Championship (current) (w/ Rezar, in Authors of Pain)

Behind that grimace lurks former Canadian Olympic hopeful in amateur wrestling, Sunny Dhinsa. When Akam and Rezar debuted in NXT a few months ago alongside WWE Hall of Fame manager ‘Precious’ Paul Ellering (who guided the Road Warriors Hawk and Animal to multiple Tag Team Championships in the AWA, NWA, WWE and WCW), the wrestling world was intrigued. Their relentless assault in NXT got people’s attentions. This past weekend at NXT Takeover: San Antonio, when the Authors of Pain defeated Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa of DIY to claim the NXT Tag Team Championship, the staked their claim. Both dudes come from legit combat sports backgrounds and are mean machines. Expect the Authors of Pain to continue to dominate NXT for the bulk of 2017, before taking their wrecking crew to the main roster.

25. Maryse, WWE

Photo: WWE.com

From: Montreal, Quebec
2016/2017 Highlights: 
Guiding her husband, The Miz, to two WWE Intercontinental Championships

The world was stunned when former WWE Divas Champion Maryse returned to the company in April of last year. With the Divas term buried and the Women’s Revolution in full effect, bringing back someone who defined the very aura of what everyone thought was wrong about the WWE Divas experiment felt like a step behind. But Maryse didn’t return to wrestle. This time she returned as the valet manager for her husband, The Miz, during his sensational heel run (and two-time Intercontinental Championship year), following in the footsteps of such great WWE valets as Sensational Sherri, Miss Elizabeth and Terri Runnels. In a time when managers seemed like they were on the brink of extinction, Maryse proved that when used effectively, they can become impact players in the storylines.

26. Cat Power, Reina Joshi, Shimmer, ECCW

Photo: Cat Power/Twitter

From: Windsor, Ontario
2016/2017 Highlights: 
ECCW Women’s Champion (current)

Cat Power toiled in the Canadian indies, before landing in Shimmer in the late 2000’s. She failed to make much of an impact, so she headed to Japan, working with the Reina Joshi company and reinventing herself as the Joshi Slayer, while still working in Canada for ECCW, where she’s still currently Women’s Champion. While in Japan, she worked for Reina, Stardom, JWP and Diana, facing such legends as Command Bolshoi, Kaoru Ito, and Malia Hosaka. She recently returned to North America in the fall and returned to Shimmer, where she defeated Nixon Newell, Mia Yim (aka TNA’s Jade) and Kay Lee Ray en route to an unsuccessful Shimmer title match against Champion Kellie Skater at Shimmer 89 in November. She’s recently paired up with former ECCW foe Nicole Matthews to form the team Ninja Power, with her eyes set on entering the WWE Women’s Tournament this summer.

Honourable Mentions

Photos: Crazzy Steve (Impact Wrestling); Tyler Breeze (WWE.com); Bollywood Boyz (WWE.com); Aliyah (WWE.com); Vanessa Kraven (Twitter.com); Viktor (WWE.com); Don Callis/Jackyl (WWE.com)

There’s even more Canadians making a splash right now in varying degrees as well. Crazzy Steve (Montreal, Quebec) continues to be a success in Decay on TNA Impact following a run with the TNA World Tag Team Championship with Abyss last year; Tyler Breeze (Penticton, British Columbia) tasted some brief success in the WWE last year in his feud against Goldust and R-Truth with Fandango, but lately they’ve been reduced to jobber status on Smackdown Live; former ECCW standouts The Bollywood Boyz (Vancouver, British Columbia) entered the WWE Cruiserweight Classic last year in singles, but have since headed to NXT and the Performance Center to continue their journey in the WWE Universe; Toronto, Ontario’s Aliyah has been a rising star in the newly forming revamped women’s division in NXT; the monstrous Vanessa Kraven (Montreal, Quebec) continues her 12-year career as the reigning Shimmer Tag Team Champion alongside Tessa Blanchard in Mount Tessa, as well as appearances for Shine and elsewhere; The Ascension‘s Viktor hails from Calgary, Alberta (where he was trained by Lance Storm), but who knows if the Ascension will ever be taken seriously by Creative again; “The Jackyl” Don Callis (aka Cyrus the Virus), another Winnipeg native, recently replaced Steve Corino as the colour commentator for NJPW English broadcasts; Teddy Hart…well, that boy’s just plain crazy. But damn he can be entertaining.

The Secret Weapon

As if this isn’t proof enough that the Canadians are slowly taking over professional wrestling, they have one more secret weapon. The Beast Incarnate himself, Brock Lesnar. Lesnar now lives full time on a ranch in Saskatchewan, Canada, where he’s reportedly become a Canadian citizen, alongside his wife Sable and their family. At his UFC fight last year, he was announced from Canada and entered with the Canadian flag. He’s ours now, America. Although after seeing his last two confrontations with Goldberg, perhaps we can send him back. He appears to be damaged goods.

Photo: UFC

 

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