There’s no secret that not everything in professional wrestling is truly what is advertised. This isn’t another one of those articles that talks about moments when wrestling’s once biggest secret about scripted outcomes and moves. But it does point out that biographies and backgrounds of the wrestlers isn’t always based on 100 percent fact.
Brutus Beefcake was never really a barber; not that we were looking for any barber/hairstylist certifications in his barber shop. We were probably too busy watching Shawn Michaels throw Marty Jannetty through the shop’s window to question things like legal papers. It was a character, albeit a goofy one. Just like some of the other occupations that have been portrayed on television.
Another thing that isn’t always true is where a wrestler is from. The announcers will throw it in with a wrestler’s weight as they walk down to the ring. The casual fan may not pay much attention to something like that. But smart fans sometimes realize that it’s a lie. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper was billed from Glasgow, Scotland, despite being born and raised in Canada.
The details of where wrestlers truly hail from a fudged a little bit. It depends on the type of character they are portraying. It’s common to say that a wrestler isn’t truly from “Parts Unknown” or “Death Valley.” In the case of some wrestlers, the WWE, WCW or other major promotions will try to pass someone off as being born in the U.S. when they are really born in another country.
The following are 15 wrestlers who have been billed hailing from the United States of American and were born elsewhere.
17 Val Venis
To be fair, most of what weren’t thinking much of when Howard Finkel announced that Val Venis hailed from Las Vegas, Nev., during the Attitude Era. Venis was an adult-film star character who had the suggested entrance and flirted with female fans during the show. Where else would someone like Val Venis hail from? The former European and Intercontinental Champion was actually born in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
But that would be the kind of town that someone who says “Hello Ladies” would come from. It doesn’t have the substance that Las Vegas does. So this was more of a situation where the WWE changed his hometown to better reflect the gimmick they gave Sean Morley. Since leaving wrestling a few years ago, he’s moved on to selling marijuana legally and has become an advocate for its use as medicine.
15 Rosa Mendes
Rosa Mendes wasn’t necessarily the biggest name in women’s wrestling during her 10-year run with WWE that started in August 2006. During that time, she was often billed from San Mateo, Calif. Considering her Latin background, it was another one of those hometowns given by the WWE that no one really questioned. Interestingly, Mendes was actually born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She even studied business at the University of British Columbia.
But then she discovered a passion for modeling and that eventually led her to a career in sports entertainment. She was also billed from Costa Rica and Puerto Rico at certain points in her WWE stint. She was not just a wrestler in the ring, she managed a variety of superstars like the tag team of Epico and Primo, as well as singles superstars like Adam Rose and Fandango.
14 Lanny Poffo
There are some wrestling fans who might not know that “Macho Man” Randy Savage has a brother who was also involved in wrestling. “Leaping” Lanny Poffo also competed in the WWE and WCW through the 1980s and part of the 1990s. But they were both born in different places. Macho Man was actually born in Columbus, Ohio, even though he was billed from Sarasota, Fla. His brother wasn’t even born in the states. Lanny Poffo was Canadian-born in Calgary, Alberta.
Their father, Angelo, was also a wrestler who toured different parts of the country. It just so happened that when Lanny was born in 1954, the family was in Calgary; just like when the family happened to be in Columbus when Randy was born. Both spent a good portion of their lives living in Downers Grove, Ill.; a suburb near Chicago.
13 “The Model” Rick Martel
For most of Rick Martel’s career in professional wrestling, he was honestly billed from Quebec City, Canada. He was even part of the Can-Am Connection with Tom Zenk to win the WWE World Tag Team Championship twice. But when Martel took on a narcissistic supermodel gimmick, he was announced as residing in Cocoa Beach, Fla. It still remains on his WWE.com alumni profile and saying he was a native of the city.
Martel maintained the gimmick and his new “hometown” through the 1990s and into a jump from WWE to WCW in 1997. Martel might not have had singles gold in WWE, but he had entertaining feuds with the likes of Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Shawn Michaels. Unfortunately, he run in WCW ended abruptly after a severe leg injury took place that forced him into retirement.
12 Cody Deaner
This one is a little bit more obscure because Cody Deaner was an easily forgettable character in TNA wrestling. He debuted in 2009 as the one lucky fan that ODB would pick to spend the evening with him. Deaner would then act as ODB’s manager and occasional tag team partner who was billed from Muscle Shoals, Ala. This “hometown” was kept through as he continues to compete on the independent circuit.
However, Deaner is actually a native of Canada and born in a small community of Port Bruce, Ontario. According to Deaner in an interview with Slam Sports, it was a trailer park town; not far from his character having come from Alabama. Deaner won several championships throughout North America, but he’s gotten involved in teaching in Canada.
10 Mike Dalton/Tyler Breeze
Tyler Breeze has been announced to live in a number of places. His supermodel character seems to have seasonal residences in places like Brazil and Italy, which fit the character perfectly. However, before he was Prince Pretty in the WWE, he competed in WWE developmental as Mike Dalton. The youngster debuted in Florida Championship Wrestling in 2011 and was first billed by WWE as hailing from Daytona Beach, Fla.
The truth was that he came to the WWE by way of Penticton, British Columbia, Canada. The Canadian-born wrestler was likely given the Florida hometown because of his blonde hair making him initially look suitable to someone from the Sunshine State. It was noted in his original FCW bio that he did spend time training in Canada with former WWE superstar Lance Storm.
9 Ezekiel Jackson
When Ezekiel Jackson first came onto the main roster in the WWE, he was an intimidating bodyguard for The Brian Kendrick. At the time, he said little and the same amount of information was known about him. But the WWE announced that he was from Harlem, N.Y. This continued as he would become the final ECW Champion in WWE and then make the move to SmackDown.
However, Jackson is actually born in Guyana in 1978. It is a smaller country on the northern coast of South America. When he was a child, he was moved to the United States. It was then when he became fascinated with professional wrestling and the WWE in particular. While maybe not the most successful Intercontinental Champion in WWE history, he didn’t do too bad in his overall career.
8 Stan Stasiak
Stan Stasiak was born in Quebec, Canada, in April 1937. But when he made his professional wrestling debut in the late-1950s, Stasiak was billed from Buzzard Creek, Ore. It’s more of a creek in the northern part of the state as opposed to being an actual hometown location. But being from the rugged outdoors of the Pacific Northwest fit the personality and character of Stasiak in his wrestling career.
Stasiak had a temper that wasn’t able to cut it on the ice when he played youth hockey. The man called “Crusher” was a physical striker known from being the master of the Heart Punch. Stasiak did win the WWE Championship in December 1973; only to lose it nine days later to Bruno Sammartino. While not born in Oregon, he seemed to like the area since he was in Portland when he passed away in 1997.
Whether known as Alundra Blayze or Madusa, Debra Miceli got her start in professional wrestling through the American Wrestling Association in Minnesota. Her travels took her to become a star female grappler in Japan and also for both the WWE and WCW in the United States. The three-time WWE Women’s Champion also won the WCW Cruiserweight Championship during her time as Medusa.
While she competed in WWE with red, white and blue attire inspired by the U.S. flag, she was not born in America. While she was announced to have come from Tampa, Fla, Miceli was actually born in Italy. Her childhood was rough as she moved around between a number of foster homes in Minnesota. She isn’t the first Italian-born wrestler to find success in the ring. But it was never part of any biography information through the WWE.
6 Steve Corino
Steve Corino, former Extreme Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion, has had an extensive history with several championships all over the independent wrestling scenes. He’s been a world champion through various National Wrestling Alliance affiliates and also for Major League Wrestling. Corino has spent most of the past decade with Ring of Honor as a competitor, manager and commentator. Through his wrestling career, Corino was announced as being from Sea Isle City, N.J.
However, Corino was actually born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He’s not the only one in the family as his younger sister Cathy competed as Allison Danger; hailing from the City of Angels. While it’s not officially saying she was from the United States, the City of Angles is a common nickname for Los Angeles, Calif.
5 Captain Lou Albano
Anyone who grew up watching professional wrestling from the 1980s remembers how unique Captain Lou Albano looked. When sharing the stage with physical specimens like Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant, he was quite different in his Hawaiian shirts, trademark facial hair that sometimes had rubber bands attached to it. He was billed from Carmel, N.Y., and he did spend a lot of his childhood in that part of the United States.
But he was actually born in 1933 in Rome, Italy. His family then made the decision to move to America and settled in New York. While he had some success in the ring, Albano made his mark as a manager for The Wild Samoans, The Blackjacks and other great tag teams. Albano was also portrayed Nintendo icon Mario in live-action and animated segments of a show based on Super Mario Bros.
4 Kane/Isaac Yankem
As Kane, Glenn Jacobs was never technically billed from the United States. “Parts Unknown” has never truly been established to be anywhere. He was billed from Decatur, Ill., when he first debuted in WWE as Isaac Yankem, D.D.S. – Jerry Lawler’s personal dentist. But Jacobs background actually takes place overseas in Europe. His father served in the U.S. Air Force and Jacobs was born while they were at an Air Force base located near Madrid, Spain.
Jacobs’ story gets more interesting as he went to college on a fully-paid basketball scholarship. He even graduated with an English degree before working in a group home that helped mentally challenged patients. Jacobs has a bright mind that also seems to be destined for the world of politics; running for the mayor of Knox County, Tenn.
3 Pat Patterson
Pat Patterson will go down in pro wrestling history as the WWE’s first-ever Intercontinental Champion; starting a legacy that included great title holders like The Ultimate Warrior, “Macho Man” Randy Savage and The Rock. Patterson was often in feuds with the likes of Bob Backlund and Ted DiBiase during the late-1970s and into the 1980s during his first stint with WWE. The WWE actually billed him from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
But when he was working for National Wrestling Alliance affiliates, Patterson was announced to hail from San Francisco, Calif. Part of this was likely part of his gimmick for the tag team Blond Bombers with Ray Stevens. He also debuted as “Pretty Boy” Pat Patterson where he wore lipstick and wore pink trunks. The San Francisco billing was likely to help get him over as a heel.
2 Tully Blanchard
Tully Blanchard grew up in Texas as his father Joe Blanchard was a big promoter and trainer in the Southwest part of the country. But long before the Four Horsemen member would make his own mark in professional wrestling, Blanchard was actually born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. During the early 1950s, his father played football in the Canadian Football League. From 1951 to 1953, he was with the Edmonton Eskimos before one season with the Calgary Stampeders in 1954; when Tully was born.
Blanchard never hid it as he brought it up in promos, although many promoters billed him being from Texas. It led to the insinuation that he was born in the United States. Back then, it was probably a tidbit of information that no one ever really gave a second thought. But it’s certainly one that some fans were surprised to learn.
1 Bruno Sammartino
During the 1960s and 1970s, Bruno Sammartino was the man in professional wrestling. He alone held the WWE Championship for the longest period of time with a 2,803-day reign that spanned from 1963 to 1971. He would follow that up with a 1,237-day reign from 1973 to 1977. A living legend in his own right, the Italian Strongman was often billed from Pittsburgh, Penn. However, he was actually born in Pizzoferrato, Abruzzo, Italy.
Now the WWE has stated that he was born in Italy, but through the years, he was often billed from the Steel City. However, it’s not too much of a stretch. Sammartino was discovered in Pittsburgh as he performed a number of strongman stunts that got him noticed by a local wrestling promoter who viewed Sammartino as a very marketable athlete. The rest is history as Sammartino became one of the top wrestlers of his era.