Since its inception, professional wrestling – and the WWE in particular – has had some unique characters from interesting, yet fictional hometowns. Surely, everybody can recall a wrestler who was hailed as being from “Parts Unknown” to further emphasize his mystique, but there has also been wrestlers billed from places such as The Cosmos, The Outer Reaches of your Mind, The Fifth Dimension, and Planet Funk. Oh, and who could forget the Dudleys being from Dudleyville? As kids, we might have bought in to the idea that these characters are actually from those places, but it’s now more interesting to actually know where a wrestler is from. For instance, we’re well aware of wrestling hot beds like Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where Stu Hart’s Dungeon produced the likes of Bret and Owen Hart as well as several other prominent Canadian wrestlers. There’s also large American cities like Chicago and New York that has given rise to numerous professional wrestlers.
But what about the small towns throughout the world? Not every professional wrestler is from a large city with plenty of resources and training centers available. Not that it’s easy to make it if you’re from those such cities, but it’s certainly easier than if you were born in a remote Newfoundland town or a small village in Tennessee. However, these 15 wrestlers didn’t let their place of birth stop them from achieving their dream.
15. Triple H (Nashua, New Hampshire)
When he debuted in the WWE as the upper-class, snobby Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Triple H was billed as being from Greenwich, Connecticut, which made plenty of sense as its a wealthy area that is home to multiple gated communities and prominent financial services companies. It’s also near the WWE headquarters in Stamford. However, The Game is actually from Nashua, New Hampshire, a town with a population of 87,882 according to the 2016 census.
Perhaps coincidentally, Nashua has a similar upscale feel as Greenwich; it was twice named the Best Place to Live in America by Money Magazine (1987 and 1998) and is the only town to earn the honor on two separate occasions. In addition to Triple H, Nashua is the birthplace of NHL defenseman Mark Fayne and singer and actress Mandy Moore.
14. Edge (Orangeville, Canada)
Many wrestling fans associate Edge with Toronto, especially because it’s where he was billed from and where he won his first ever title and because it’s the most popular Canadian city. However, the Rated-R Superstar and 11-time World Champion is actually from the small town of Orangeville, Ontario, which is over an hour’s drive outside of Toronto.
Whereas Toronto has a population of nearly three million (roughly 10 percent of Canada), Orangeville’s population is only 30,729 and, as of 1991, when Edge would have been living there as a teenager, there was only 17,921 people living there. His future tag team partner, Christian, was born in Kitchener, Ontario, but later moved to Orangeville. Given those population figures, it’s remarkable that two people from the same small town had such amazing careers in the WWE.
13. Kurt Angle (Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania)
Throughout his career, Kurt Angle has been billed as being from Pittsburgh, which is partially true. The Olympic Champion currently resides in Pittsburgh and is an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania’s Clarion University, but he was actually born and raised in the nearby suburb Mt. Lebanon Township of Allegheney County.
The township had a population of nearly 40,000 in 1970, but it has since declined drastically according to census figures. The 2016 estimate had its population at around 32,475, which makes it relatively amazing that one of its native sons would go on to not only win an Olympic gold medal, but also become an accomplished professional wrestler. Other notable people born in the township include Mark Cuban, actress Gillian Jacobs, and Groupon founder Andrew Mason.
12. Tye Dillinger (St. Catherines, Canada)
A very cool moment for me. While working my way to WWE, I religiously watched #Aftermath and always hoped I'd one day get to be on that show. Consider it checked off the bucket list. Thank you @realjimmykorderas @nugnahrgang and @themilanmiracle for having me and for the great conversation. The only thing missing was the one and only @jackieredmond but don't worry lady, the boys held down the fort 🙌🏻
If you didn’t know of a particular wrestler but knew they were from Canada, your first guess of their birthplace would almost undoubtedly be Calgary, Alberta. If you were told they were from Ontario, you would likely go with Toronto, given it’s the hometown of multiple WWE stars past and present. However, like Edge and Christian, former NXT standout and SmackDown Live roster member Tye Dillinger is from a nearby community.
The 36 year old is billed from Niagara Falls, but he’s actually from St. Catherines, where he grew up like most other Canadian children playing hockey. St. Catherines is the sixth most populated city in Ontario and is home to major parks, universities, a junior hockey team, and a National Basketball League of Canada team. In addition to Dillinger, it’s also the birthplace of former hockey player turned donut shop franchiser Tim Horton and NHL Hall of Famer Stan Mikita.
11. Wade Barrett (Penwortham, United Kingdom)
Signed by the WWE in 2006 and sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling, Wade “Bad News” Barrett debuted on the main roster with The Nexus and went on to become a five-time Intercontinental Champion and King of the Ring winner. He received his United States green card in 2014, but was released two years later and is currently the on-screen general manager of Defiant Wrestling. He resides in Manhattan, New York.
While with the WWE, Barrett was billed from Manchester, England, perhaps because it’s a recognizable city for North American fans. However, he’s actually from Penwortham, a small town in the county of Lancashire, which is more of a mouthful to say than Manchester. Penwortham has a population of 23,047 as of the 2011 population census.
10. The Sandman (Sandy, Utah)
Not only is The Sandman’s hometown lesser known than the hometown of the majority of professional wrestlers, especially those in the WWE, but it’s somewhat ironic given his name. He currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but he was actually born in Sandy, Utah, a city of 87,461. Presumably, he adopted The Sandman moniker as a homage to his hometown; it certainly wasn’t because his matches put people to sleep. The five-time ECW World Heavyweight Champion has been involved in a ton of high-profile matches with no shortage of violence and blood.
Although Sandy, Utah is certainly lesser known than other regions in the state like Salt Lake City, it is actually home to several well-known athletes, including NBA player Paul Millsap and professional golfer Mike Weir.
9. Jack Swagger (Perry, Oklahoma)
Jack Swagger is a former ECW Champion and World Heavyweight Champion who worked with the WWE from 2008 to the early part of 2017. In his final few years with the company, he adopted sort of an All-American, Pro-USA gimmick, although played as a heel, which was a different twist on the popular gimmick. Whatever town or city you might associate as All-American, it likely isn’t Perry, Oklahoma, which is where Swagger is actually from and billed from.
It’s a little strange given WWE tends to bill its wrestlers from larger nearby urban centers, but Perry has a small population of only 5,126 as of the latest census. Beyond being the birthplace of a world champion professional wrestler, it’s best known for being associated with the Oklahoma City bombing culprit Timothy McVeigh; he was stopped by a state trooper on April 19, 1995 on a highway just outside of Perry and arrested for carrying a loaded firearm. Three days later, he was identified as the subject of the much-publicized manhunt.
8. Ezekiel Jackson (Linden, Guyana)
We don’t even need to do any research without saying unequivocally that Ezekiel Jackson is the only former WWE wrestler to be born in Linden, Guyana. First declared a town in 1970, Linden is located along the Demerara River and has a population of roughly 30,000. The town is best known for its wealth of bauxite, an aluminum ore that is the main source of aluminum.
Jackson was born in Liden but relocated with his family to the United States at an early age. He returned to his native land in 2012 and a story from a local publication wrote about the historic visit – International Boxing Promoter Carwyn Holland who accompanied the wrestler in the motorcade around the city, touted Jackson’s visit as historic and a major achievement for Guyana. He pointed out that Jackson, a true son of the soil has risen in his designated field even as he retained his Guyanese heritage.
7. Kofi Kingston (Kumasi, Ghana)
The way the WWE handled Kofi Kingston prior to his joining The New Day is proof that the company really doesn’t know what to do with talented black wrestlers. Ignoring the fact he was likely due for a World Championship push on multiple occasions throughout his career, it was odd to see him begin his career as the first Jamaican-born wrestler to perform in the WWE, especially since he wasn’t from the country. It wasn’t the first time the WWE did that nor was it the last (see Jinder Mahal, who is from Canada but billed from India), but it was just lazy on all accounts.
Kingston, as most now know, is actually from Ghana. He grew up in the city of Kumasi, which is among the largest metropolitan areas in the African nation. Located in a rain forest region, it is affectionately referred to as “The Garden City.”
6. Seth Rollins (Buffalo, Iowa)
Buffalo is far from a lesser-known city. It’s known for having the worst professional sports teams of any North American city as well as the drunkest and most hardcore fans. But that’s Buffalo, New York. Seth Rollins was born in Buffalo, Iowa, which, unless you’re actually from Iowa, you likely never heard of before.
The 31 year old two-time World Heavyweight Champion and two-time Tag Team Champion is billed from Davenport, Iowa, which is actually where he lives now. However, he grew up in the small town of Buffalo, which is located along the Mississippi River and, as of 2010, had a population of 1,270. Rollins, at least the character, is a confident, outspoken individual, so it’s a humorous to consider him as a quiet straight edge kid of Armenian and Irish descent living in Small Town USA.
5. Shelton Benjamin (Orangeburg, South Carolina)
Signed by the WWE in 2002, Shelton Benjamin debuted on the main roster two years later as part of The World’s Greatest Tag Team with Charlie Haas and “Olympic Hero” Kurt Angle as their mentor. Perhaps because he was so naturally talented – and the fact he was being paired with Angle – Benjamin never really had much of a gimmick; instead, he played a version of himself.
In fact, he’s currently billed from his real-life hometown of Orangeburg, South Carolina, where he was a highly-touted amateur wrestler at Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School who accumulated a career high school record of 122-10 and became a two-time state champion. He wrestled at the college level with Lassen Community College and then transferred to the University of Minnesota for his junior and senior years.
4. Finn Balor (Bray, Republic of Ireland)
Spoiler alert: Finn Balor is from the Republic of Ireland. We know, that isn’t much of a surprise, but his hometown of Bray certainly falls into the category of lesser-known hometowns as, before Sheamus and later Balor and Becky Lynch, Ireland didn’t really have much of a presence in WWE aside from Fit Finlay. Balor, however, is much different than Finlay in that he is a high-flier capable of wowing crowds with an impressive arsenal of moves.
A lifelong wrestling fan, he has talked at length about his love of the industry since he was a child and how he would race home to check and see if his wrestling magazines had been delivered as that was one his only sources for following professional wrestling. Bray, where Balor grew up, is located 20 kilometers south of Dublin and is the ninth most populous urban area in Ireland.
3. Kane (Torrejon de Ardoz, Spain)
Kane has been with the WWE in some capacity since 1995, during which time he won three World Championships and was part of 12 Tag Team Championship teams. While he is currently back with the company seemingly to continue the effort to put over Braun Strowman (although there appears to be no more work required as he’s already Raw’s main attraction), he is heavily entrenched outside of the company in a race for mayor in his current hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Kane, whose real name is Glen Jacobs, is an American citizen, but believe it or not he was actually born on an air base in Torrejon de Ardoz, Spain, a city located 20 kilometers east of Madrid with a population of nearly 130,000. He obviously didn’t live there long, but, had the Kane gimmick failed, it would have been hilarious to see the WWE try a bull-fighting Spaniard gimmick on him. It couldn’t have been worse than Isaac Yankem, right?
2. Daniel Bryan (Aberdeen, Washington)
Inside the ring, Daniel Bryan is one of the WWE’s most gifted competitors. He was perfect for the PG Era as he embodies a lot of the qualities and characteristics that the WWE was looking for during that time, despite their initial reluctance to push him to main event status. If you’ve watched Total Divas or Total Bellas, you know by now what he’s like outside of the ring and, if you had to guess, you would likely say he’s from Washington or Oregon, wouldn’t you?
While the “hipster” label might not fit perfectly, he is a strong proponent of organic gardening and is quite, shall we say, quirky? He’s very Seattle, but he’s actually originally from Aberdeen, Washington, which has a population of just over 16,000 and has the official motto of “Come As You Are,” which is so fitting.
1. Kevin Owens (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada)
We don’t expect you to be shocked by this inclusion as the WWE makes no secret of the fact Kevin Owens is from the Canadian province of Quebec. Yet, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if he was from Quebec City or Montreal; instead, he grew up in the small northern community of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Whereas Montreal is a bilingual city in which most residents can actually speak English if pressed, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu is about as French as you can get, from the name on down to its residents and way of life.
In fact, in the Fight Owens Fight documentary released on WWE Network earlier this year, the former Face of America detailed how he actually learned how to speak English by watching WWE and listening to Jim Ross.
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