America’s neighbors to the north, Canada have had a long, storied history with the world of professional wrestling. From Stu Hart to the newest Canucks like Tyler Breeze, regardless of their gimmick are known for being tougher than shoe leather, as good old J.R. might say.
The current crop of Great White North grapplers is as diverse as any group of Canuckleheads there ever has been. Gone are the days when most Canadians were part of the Hart family.
Nattie is still representing the Pink and Black attack and most stars from the country were more or less at least influenced by Stu’s brood. But there are, just like most other stars in the company, plenty that the WWE doesn’t want you to know – and it certainly has nothing to do with being Canadian.
Here are the top 15 things WWE wants you to forget about their current Canadian Superstars.
15 Ty Dillinger's Previous Gimmicks
The NXT crowd shouts Ten! Ten! Ten! at the top of their lungs for The Perfect Ten, Ty Dillinger. The Niagara Falls, Ontario native has made a real name for himself with this gimmick and has done what so many wrestlers hope they can do – get the fans behind him with a simple chant.
Working in the business since he first started training at The Hart Wrestling School and then with Eric Young before working on some of the Indy’s of the early aughts.
His whole gimmick revolves around how perfect he is, but he also straddles the line of being a favorite underdog. While it was mentioned in a video package once for the Perfect Ten, NXT has done a fairly decent job of keeping the fact that Ty Dillinger had come through the developmental system before, as “The Canadian Sensation,” Shawn Spears before being called to the ECW brand as Gavin Spears, which much like a lot of the developmental guys during this time was not very successful.
The fact that he left, made a decent name for himself, and came back and has truly won the crowd over might indeed make Dillinger the Perfect Ten.
14 Chris Jericho and the Brazilian Flag
Certainly the current Canadian roster’s most famous Canuck, the author of the List himself, Chris Jericho has been a veteran in the business for nearly 30 years now. Y2J will most likely go down as the last true globe-trotting Superstar there ever was, plying his trade in every single territory and continent.
Currently experiencing a career resurgence, he looks to be on a collision course with his former bestie and fellow Canadian, Kevin Owens at WrestleMania. Chris Jericho and his ability to constantly reinvent himself and maintain relevance is second only to the Undertaker’s.
Besides not being an actual Canuck (he was born in NY), the scarf-wearing-podcasting-rockstar-wrestler and the WWE would certainly like to keep the fact that as a heel, he pissed off any entire country under wraps.
In 2012, at a WWE live event in Sao Paulo, Brazil in an effort to generate some serious heel heat, he started crumpling up a Brazilian flag and kicked it out of the ring. Brazil PD forced Y2J to apologize, while the WWE levied a heavy fine and suspension against the first ever Undisputed Champion.
13 Maryse's Playboy Past
There must be no accounting for taste over in Montreal, since the smoldering sexy French Canadian, Maryse married The Miz. Or she’s blind. All kidding aside, since returning to the WWE last year to be at her husband’s side, The Miz and Maryse have been one of the best couples in the company.
She adds a new dimension to The Miz and he has been one of the brightest spots on the Smackdown roster. Seemingly their hard work will be rewarded with a big WrestleMania match against John Cena and his girl, Nikki Bella.
Maryse has always been a delicious vixen, who can’t help but be gawked at, but considering how family-friendly, the WWE is today, her former career as a model and then a Playboy model who once adorned the cover of the 2007 Girls of Canada calendar will probably never be mentioned on WWE TV ever again.
Please finish reading this article before doing any sort of nefarious tantalizing web searches.
12 Bobby Roode, The Jobber
Talk about making the most of an opportunity! After a (say it with me) "Glorious" debut at TakeOver: Brooklyn II, Bobby Roode has just been on absolute fire. Similar to AJ Styles and Samoa Joe, every single time Roode struts to the ring, he shows the world exactly what was wrong with Impact Wrestling under Dixie Carter - complete squandering and wasting of her own homegrown talent.
But TNA's loss is definitely Roode's gain as he is currently undefeated in NXT, and happens to be the current reigning and defending champion.
He might be a TNA Original, but before that that, the Ontario native spent six years doubling between traversing the indies and being a WWE jobber. Roode served as a jobber to the stars on many of their C-shows like Metal, Jakked, and Heat against the likes of Tommy Dreamer, Perry Saturday , 3-Minute Warning, and even Al Snow. He even once played security for the McMahon-Helmsley faction, which was a picture he tweeted shortly before his arrival.
11 Natalya's Flatulence
The Hart Foundation were once the premier tag team in WWE. Now take the unstoppable power of Jim "the Anvil" Neidhart and the technical prowess of Bret Hart and you get the petite powerhouse, Natalya. "The Queen of Harts" has sort of been the WWE equivalent to always a bridesmaid never a bride. She debuted around the time the old wrestling women's guard was changing into the eye candy that the women of NXT sought to dethrone and get back to actually wrestling. And now that the wrestling women are not just back in play but are completely crushing it, she is again on the back burner, serving as more of a veteran than the onscreen leader of the division. It's all just as well, since she's a very gassy lady and you can't have The Queen of Harts becoming "The Queen of Farts" at press conferences. That was the big character development that WWE creative had for her back in 2012, and the stunner would saunter around stage and rip one causing whoever was in the room. Not a good way to present a woman at all.
10 Sami Zayn as El Generico
Another Montreal, Quebec native on the list, Sami Zayn is a underdog sympathetic babyface the likes of Ricky Morton and Steamboat. Zayn is an NXT alum since 2013, but some fans might not realize how world traveled the guy is. We all know that he came up with and is best friends with Kevin Owens, but seemingly, everyone who gets the privilege to work with him knows full well that he, even at his young age has a world of knowledge to offer and a great mind for the business. His appearances on Y2J's podcast are proof of that fact. He's also been a spokesman of sorts for the Arab community as he is one of the few if not only Arab stars not portrayed as a villain or a stereotype. But the WWE doesn't really play up his past the generic Luchador, El Generico! In Ring of Honor and in the independent scene he was a masked Luchador. Luckily, he's a clean cut guy without any sordid past so while the WWE seldom mentions a superstars pre-WWE past to begin with, this facet seems to the only faucet they clocked when Zahn came to the WWE.
9 Brock Lesnar and the Court Hearings
The Beast Incarnate, The God of Violent Retribution, The Night Thayer of Suplex City, the man of a thousand Paul Heyman-created nicknames, Brock Lesnar is the newest member of the Canadian roster, having recently moved to Maryfield, Saskatchewan in the last few years. Before you protest Lesnar not being Canadian, remember neither is Chris Jericho.
But nevertheless, the Anomaly certainly fits that tougher than a two dollar steak mold that a lot of Canadian Superstars are branded with, despite the fact that 85 year old Bill Goldberg is booked to kick his tail in about 35 seconds every time they’re in the same ring together.
The second you saw his name on this list, you knew damn well that perhaps you’d be reading about the biggest blemish of the summer – Vince allowing Brock to compete at UFC 200, Brock winning but then testing positive for steroids and then destroying Randy Orton in a laugher of a SummerSlam main event. But what the company would really want under the table now and forever is that fact that when the two parties butted heads in court over Lesnar’s ginormous non-compete clause back that he signed when he left the company in 2004. According to the Judge who presided over the hearing, Christopher Droney would have ruled in favor of The Beast, which would have had many future released stars most likely cite this case as the reason that the non-compete clause is kind of BS.
8 Kevin Owens' Soft Side
After having one of the grandest debuts on the main roster in recent memory (by beating Super Cena no less!), Kevin Owens has been consistently showing the WWE Universe that you do not need to have the physique of a Greek God to get over in Vince McMahon's world. You just need to be a badass who will not be denied, which is exactly what Kevin Owens is.
Owens, like many of the current crop of NXT-WWE Superstars traversed the globe for years before finally earning a spot in the company. Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Ring of Honor, Combat Zone Wrestling, and several other companies and their fans spent years chanting "Kill, Steen, Kill" for the former Universal Champion.
But the guy who once was called "Wrestling's Worst Nightmare" and is currently one of only a handful of bad guys who know how to be an old school heel, is actually a big teddy bear and kind man in real life. A family man in fact. A lot of fans got to see video of his son Owen's reaction to KO appearing on Raw, but that side of him has been considerably toned down over time to make sure he is seen as a true villain and not someone whose just doing what he does to earn a buck for his family.
7 Tyler Breeze's Ability
As a graduate of the Lance Storm's Wrestling Academy in Calgary, Alberta Canada, we all know that Tyler Breeze can go in the ring. But that didn't always mean he was the compete package. Before becoming The Sultan of Selfies, Breeze worked for the most part under his real name or variations of it in FCW and in the early days of NXT.
At one point, he was flat out told, get a character or his days in NXT were numbered. Tyler Breeze was born. Essentially a new take on guys like Rick the Model Martel, the Breeze character would quickly take the NXT world by storm, and thanks to the obnoxious attitude of Prince Pretty, coupled with his ability in the ring shot him to the top of the card. He would have classic matches with the likes of Neville, Tyson Kidd, Finn Balor, and more. He even has the distinction of being the only person who ever faced Jushin Thunder Liger in a WWE ring
Vince McMahon seemingly doesn't watch NXT though, cause if he did then he would know the way he has used Breeze for his entire WWE run has shown that he doesn't want anyone to know just accomplished The Gorgeous One is.
6 Tyson Kidd's Career is Over
Along with his wife and several other Hart Family members, Tyson Kidd is the last brick in The Hart Foundation. One of the only a handful of grapplers to be formally trained by Bret, Kidd's style is very close to his idols, HBK and Bret himself - strong, fast, and painful.
A lifelong friend of the Hart family, Kidd more or less was just another kid running around the Hart abode in Calgary, until the day he married Natalya and went from being an honorary Hart to a Hart by marriage.
One of the best workers in the ring over the past few years came across Samoa Joe in one of The Destroyer's first matches. Unfortunately though after Joe gave him a Muscle Buster, Kidd's neck was severely broken in an injury similar to Christopher Reeves. For whatever reason, it has not been said at all that his career is over because of it. But in today's WWE world, more likely than not, he will never be cleared to wrestle again.
5 Steve Corino's Accomplishments
The King of Old School, Steve Corino got his biggest break in the late '90s when he debuted for ECW and would actually be signed to WCW by Dusty Rhodes right before they went under to WWE. He would eventually traverse the globe and really become an Old School style journeyman who worked all over the world, including by his own math 80-plus trips to Japan.
He worked many years for Ring of Honor and became a World Champion several times over and has even provided commentary for New Japan as Mr. Wrestling. He has bled buckets for this sport all over the world. Memorable feuds with Dusty Rhodes and Kevin Steen have peppered his career highlights.
As one of the newest trainers in the Performance Center, WWE hasn't said word one about the guys employment or his stories career and what he brings to the table. Not a very good way to treat a king at all.
4 Akam's Amateur Wrestling
When you’re one half of a tag team being managed by Precious Paul Ellering, the legendary Hall of Fame manager of The Road Warriors, you better look the part and are the part of an absolute monster.
Akam and Rezar, The Authors of Pain debuted at NXT TakeOver: The End and utterly dismantled American Alpha. From there the duo has run roughshod over all of NXT and is now currently the reigning and defending NXT Tag Team Champions. They have a tall task ahead of them at TakeOver: Orlando where they will defend the gold in the first ever (in NXT) Triple Threat Tag Team Elimination match.
If you’ve ever wondered anything about these two monsters, since the WWE hasn’t mentioned word one about them–Akam is actually from Abbotsford, British Columbia and at 6’3, 290 is a very accomplished, near Olympian-level amateur wrestler, who has won a gold medal at the 2009 Canada Summer Games and a silver in the 2011 Pan American games. Had he not been offered a contract, he was on track to try out for the 2016 Summer Olympic team as well.
3 Eric Young in TNA
From Florence, Ontario, Canada, Eric Young is currently the unhinged and unstable leader of the slightly insane SAni†Y stable, along with Nikki Cross, Killian Dain, Alexander Wolfe, and Sawyer Fulton. He even appeared on Velocity and Heat several times as “Showtime” Eric Young before moving onto TNA.
Like other current WWE and NXT starts A.J. Styles, Bobby Roode, and Samoa Joe, Young is a TNA Original, something that the WWE would currently like to keep under wraps as far as all of these guys are concerned. It’s understandable – they don’t have the tape library, therefore mentioning the (quasi) competition by name without any kind of footage is pointless.
In fact, the guy had a run similar to Daniel Bryan’s and while certainly not on the Yes Man’s grandiose level of a run, TNA did their best to position the guy as an ultimate underdog. For as long as they do not own the company or its tape library, pretty much every single bit of Young’s career before NXT will not be seen on the WWE Network.
2 Jinder Mahal Being Canadian
Like just about every person with brown skin that comes along, Jinder Mahal is a long line of “Middle Eastern/Arabian” Superstars who are booked as heels. Luckily for Mahal and for today’s much more friendly and PC/PG WWE, Mahal isn’t played up as a heel because he is Punjabi, just because he’s a jerk.
The nephew of Dungeon-trained, Gama Singh was trained by him as all. And don’t let the fact that he wear’s traditional turbans and Punjabi garb fool you; the guy is actually from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. And similar to other guys on this list and the roster in general is a lot more accomplished than Vince McMahon allows them to be in his Universe. Mahal is most likely just happy to be back where he can make the most money, even if not used as well as he’d like to be.
When you’re coming out to the ring in traditional garb of your “native” homeland, it’s better to be billed from there, as opposed to where you’re really from. Mahal has never been billed from where he’s really from and has always been portrayed as 100% Punjabi.
1 Mauro Ranallo's Disorder
Hopefully being groomed to truly become the voice of the WWE after Michael Cole retires, Mauro Ranallo is one-quarter of the current SmackDown Live announce team, as well as 205 Live. After a career that began at the ages of 16 for All–Star Wrestling in Vancouver, he would also lead on Stampede Wrestling with Bad News Allen.
Before coming to the WWE, Ranallo was the voice of Pride, Strikeforce, UFC, and several other fight sports before coming to Smackdown to start giving Cole a run for his money.
Unfortunately for Ranallo, he is one of the many people in the world who suffer from Bipolar Disorder. According to an article with Sherdog, the announcer has even tried to kill himself and his visualized his death many times while battling this affliction. Moreso than any other item on this list, let’s all hope that Ranallo continues to preserve and be not just a voice in the WWE, but help others who suffer from Bipolar Disorder.