In Hindsight: TNA’s Team Canada Revisited

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Photo: Impact Wrestling

Wrestling factions have always been a part of professional wrestling, from Jimmy Hart‘s First Family to the Four Horsemen, the nWo to Bullet Club, factions of top stars have been proven money in pro wrestling around the world. But while most factions are created to assemble main event or high mid-card wrestlers, sometimes they are created to pair together emerging or debuting talent. WWE has it presently with The Riott Squad and Absolution‘s Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. WWE’s Nexus was a success stable that debuted many wrestlers who became well established veterans. But for every Nexus, there’s also a Natural Born Thrillers (WCW’s attempt at a young stars stable that featured Mike Sanders, Chuck Palumbo, Shawn Stasiak, Sean O’Hare and Mark Jindrak). While Jindrak is the reigning CMLL World Heavyweight Champion, the rest are more footnotes in pro wrestling history now. But one of TNA’s factions early in it’s existence, Team Canada lead by current Executive Vice President Scott D’Amore, have all gone to great things in pro wrestling every since, including a few World Champions. They may not have looked like much at the time, but they would go on to individually become impact players (no pun intended) in the world of professional wrestling, from the WWE to the North American indie scene.

Photo: Impact Wrestling

TEAM CANADA: THE HISTORY

Photo: Impact Wrestling

Team Canada began as “Coach” Scott D’Amore’s Canadian entrant into the 2004 America’s X Cup in TNA, captained Teddy Hart, that also featured Petey Williams, Johnny Devine and Jack Evans. Each team had four members, who would rotate participation in a series of rounds and matches, with points totals determining the winner. This then lead into the TNA World X Cup Tournament. The World X Cup was a tournament of Team TNA (Americans), Team Canada, Team Mexico and Team Japan. For the World X Cup, D’Amore made some changes to the roster, promoting Williams to Captain, and replacing Hart and Evans with Bobby Roode and Eric Young. Following the World X Cup, Team Canada remained a stable that continued to chase gold in TNA. In 2005, they added more muscle, bringing in A1, and in 2006, Roode was replaced on the 2006 World X Cup team with Tyson Dux. Throughout the team’s two year existence, they were made up solely of graduates from two of Canada’s best wrestling schools – the Hart Dungeon in Calgary, and D’Amore’s Can-Am Wrestling in Windsor, Ontario. An impressive list of names for the most part, here’s a look at where Team Canada sits in 2018.

“COACH” SCOTT D’AMORE (2004-2006)

Photo: Impact Wrestling

Scott D’Amore has been part of the pro wrestling industry for over 20 years, working for everyone from WWE to WCW, Stampede Wrestling to ECW. But his work behind the scenes is what’s been his true calling. In 1993, he helped found Border City Wrestling (BCW) in Windsor, Ontario, which continues to be one of Canada’s longest running indies. He began working for TNA early in its formation and was a huge part in re-energizing the Knockouts Division, before departing the company in 2010. He returned last year as part of Anthem’s takeover of the company and now, alongside Don Callis, is directing the future of Impact Wrestling, to critical acclaim.

Photo: Impact Wrestling

A1 (2005-2006)

Photo: Impact Wrestling

Accolades: BCW Can-Am Heavyweight Champion

A graduate of D’Amore’s Can-Am Wrestling school, A1 has been a fixture on the Canadian indies for nearly 20 years. From 2004-2007, he was part of Impact Wrestling, finding a spot in Team Canada when Johnny Devine was injured in 2005. He recently returned to Impact television at this month’s One Night Only: March Breakdown, where he teamed with Allie to face Braxton Sutter and KC Spinelli.

Photo: BCW

JOHNNY DEVINE (2004-2006)

Photo: Impact Wrestling

Accolades: Impact X-Division Champion, BCW Can-Am Tag Team Champion, Stampede International Tag Team Champion

A graduate from the Hart Dungeon, Johnny Devine debuted with Stampede Wrestling in the late 90s. Devine was a founding member of Team Canada and would go on to win TNA’s X-Division Championship in early 2008, winning the belt from Jay Lethal. Devine, who also trained at Can-Am Wrestling School with D’Amore, would joined the school as a trainer until last year. He’s since returned to the indie circuit

Photo: BCW

TYSON DUX (2006)

Photo: Impact Wrestling

Accolades: Smash Champion, BCW Can-Am Heavyweight Champion, BCW Can-Am Tag Team Champion (2x), AIW Tag Team Champion (2x)

Another of the Can-Am grads, Tyson Dux has become one of the most respected Canadian indie wrestlers of the past 20 years. Debuting in 2000 with BCW, he would go on to work with WWE, ROH, AIW, AAW and practically every Canadian indie promotion throughout his 18 year career. He represented Canada in WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic and is the longest reigning Heavyweight Champion in Smash Wrestling‘s history at 435 days. He also made a return to Impact recently, facing Pro Wrestling NOAH‘s Taiji Ishimori at last fall’s Bound For Glory, then appearing in matches against Matt Sydal and most recently, defeating Braxton Sutter at the Last Chancery event live on Twitch.

Photo: A Music Blog Yeah?

JACK EVANS (2004)

Accolades: Lucha Underground Trios Champion, AAA World Tag Team Champion (4x), PWG World Tag Team Champion, JAPW Tag Team Champion

The only American on Team Canada, Evans is another graduate of the Hart Dungeon, and Hart family friend. He debuted in Stampede Wrestling in 2001 and was a frequent tag partner of fellow grad Teddy Hart. It was alongside Teddy Hart that he joined Team Canada in 2004, although they were both replaced early on. Jack Evans has gone on to showcase his skills in such promotions as ROH, PWG, NJPW and AAA, but he gained real steam in the past few years as a part of Lucha Underground.

Photo: El Rey Network / Lucha Underground

TEDDY HART (2004)

Photo: Impact Wrestling

Accolades: Stampede International Tag Team Champion, JAPW Heavyweight Champion, JAPW Tag Team Champion (2x)

Considered by many within his own family as the most naturally gifted Hart in wrestling, his erratic behaviour has cost him chances with multiple promotions, including the WWF who signed him when he was just 18 years old. He became a huge fixture with Jersey All Pro Wrestling (JAPW) and has had stints with such promotions as WWE, ROH, AAA and more. But he’s been a phenom everywhere he’s wrestled and in the past year has made huge strides in reclaiming his name and spreading his glory once again.

BOBBY ROODE (2004-2006)

Photo: Impact Wrestling

Accolades: Impact World Heavyweight Champion (2x), NXT Champion, WWE United States Champion, Impact World Tag Team Champion (6x), NWA World Tag Team Champion (2x), BCW Can-Am Heavyweight Champion, BCW Can-Am Tag Team Champion

The most successful member of Team Canada is easily “The Glorious One” Bobby Roode. Another graduate of the Can-Am Wrestling School in Windsor, Roode debuted in 2001 with BCW and quickly got scouted by the WWF for some early matches. He joined TNA in 2004 and continued with Impact Wrestling up until 2015, when he departed alongside Eric Young. He quickly dominated NXT before getting the call up to Smackdown Live last summer, where he’s already won the WWE United States Championship.

Photo: WWE

RUFFY SILVERSTEIN (2004)

Accolades: PWA Heavyweight Champion (5x)

Probably the most forgotten member of Team Canada, was another Hart Dungeon graduate, Ruffy Silverstein. Ruffy debuted with Stampede Wrestling in 1999, before heading to BCW in 2001 to work with D’Amore. He worked some matches for WWE, but in late 2004, he briefly filled in as a member of Team Canada in TNA. He returned closer to his hometown of Toronto and became a mainstay with Pure Wrestling Association (PWA) in Barrie, Ontario, but seemingly retired in 2015.

Photo: PWA/Skullmaster Photography

PETEY WILLIAMS (2004-2006)

Photo: Impact Wrestling

Accolades: Impact X-Division Champion (2x), BCW Can-Am TV Champion, BCW Can-Am Tag Team Champion

The innovator of The Canadian Destroyer, and another Can-Am graduate, Petey Williams has been a favourite in Impact and around the world for ages. Debuting with BCW in 2001, Williams was a founding member of Team Canada, and took over the Captaincy when Teddy Hart left shortly after it’s foundation. He became a popular character in his first run with Impact from 2004 through 2008 (and again upon his brief return in 2013), as well as working with the likes of PWG and CZW. He retired in 2014, but last year made a shocking return to the sport and the new Impact Wrestling, where he’s immediately jumped back into the hunt for the X-Division Championship.

Photo: Impact Wrestling

ERIC YOUNG (2004-2006)

Photo: Impact Wrestling

Accolades: Impact World Heavyweight Champion, Impact King of the Mountain Champion (3x), NXT Tag Team Champion, Impact World Tag Team Champion (2x), Impact Global/TV Champion, NWA World Tag Team Champion (2x)

The wildly erratic Eric Young was been a fan favourite in Impact since he debuted in 2004. Another grad from the Can-Am Wrestling School, Young has been everything from comedic buffoon to insane psychopath, which lead to capturing a lot of gold with TNA and Impact Wrestling. Alongside Bobby Roode, he made the jump to NXT in 2015, where he currently leads the anarchic squad SaNitY.

Photo: WWE

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