It’s well known that hometowns in wrestling rarely are true. Lots of wrestlers bill themselves from different cities than they were born (especially the ones pretending to be foreign). That’s not to mention weirdo origins like “Parts Unknown” or the Boogeyman from “The Bottomless Pit.” Plenty of guys have been changed their hometowns over the years to fit in with their characters while others just flat out lie. Ricky Steamboat always listed himself as from Honolulu but really born in New York. However, many are proud of their homes and will often boast about it, including in their characters
Some places are notable than others for how they show an amazing knack in producing great wrestlers. Some cities are really hot for wrestling and are able to show it off nicely. Other areas don’t have one major city but do still produce top guys to shine a lot. It was a reason why the old territory system flourished for so long, fans enjoying some local guys showing their stuff. It’s notable how some cities or at least areas are better producing top guys than others while some areas hotter to provide great stuff. True, you had guys from somewhat small and odd places (Randy Savage from Sarasota, Florida) but some places produce more of the top guys than others. Here are 15 cities or areas that have produced some of the best wrestlers and show why such places are key to the business.
This may seem an odd choice as one would think a bigger state would provide more stars. However, in addition to the bigger city of Cleveland, Cincinnati has produced some major names as well. Les Thatcher was a good worker but more famous for his broadcasting as well as being one of the biggest trainers the business has known. Brian Pillman is famous for his high-flying skills, his tough demeanor and the “Loose Cannon” act that helped shift the business.
The Windy City has always been a popular spot for WWE and WCW also doing great business there. Chicagoans are passionate for tough guys and thus wrestling does well there. Perhaps their most famous son is CM Punk, who wore his Chicago pride on his sleeve with everything from winning the WWE title there to championing the Blackhawks. Larry Zbyszko was born there as was Bobby Heenan, who became one of the best managers and commentators the business has known.
12 New York
It’s only natural the Big Apple would produce a lot of stars. Not just NYC itself but talents have been produced from the entire Empire State. While he bills himself as a top Canadian, Chris Jericho was actually born in the state. Mick Foley is among the more famous faces (several of them) to have grown up and brings a good humor to the proceedings when he returns there. Ricky Steamboat was born there as well, despite often being billed from Hawaii.
11 Mexico City
For decades, lucha libre has been a standout of the wrestling business. A mix of high-flying action and top-notch technical work, it’s famous for the masks worn by those in the promotions that make them true super-heroes for the fans watching. Naturally, Mexico City has been the home of many of the biggest stars of the genre. The biggest would be El Santo, who pioneered the use of masks (he never took his off in public) and was a major movie star as well to boost lucha libre up big time.
It’s a cold town to be sure but this Minnesota city was home to some major wrestling. Verne Gagne hailed from the area and pushed the AWA into one of the bigger promotions around. Gagne trained slews of great workers to become a major force and spread his fame around. While the Crusher got famous in Milwaukee, he also became a huge deal in Minneapolis. Likewise for Ole and Lars Anderson, the Minnesota Wrecking Crew, who were a sensational tag team.
Wrestling is quite hot in Canada and Toronto has long been a centerpiece for WWE. The crowds are great, things get spiked up there and the fanbase is truly passionate. That’s proven by their list of major stars. Edge and Christian are the biggest names, both starting as fans until they became tag team champions with Edge then going on to become one of the biggest stars in WWE.
Naturally, the capital of Japan has showcased the major way wrestling is serious business there. True, some stars (like Antonio Inoki) came from other Japanese areas but Tokyo is still the center of it all. The biggest is Mr. Saito, a multiple champion for several organizations who has paved the way for many a major star since. Several stars have included the first IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Shiro Koshinaka and numerous others who are currently tearing up the scene in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Like Toronto, Montreal showcases how hot wrestling is in Canada. It is still high on the list of wrestling hotbeds, made famous by the 1997 Survivor Series. Its list of major stars is highlighted (for better and worse) by Chris Benoit. But it also includes legendary hardcore worker Abdullah The Butcher, Pat Patterson, Maryse, Sami Zayn and the legendary Vachon clan. Kevin Owens also hails from the Montreal area, in the nearby town of Marieville.
2 North Carolina
Ric Flair loved to say that if Jim Crockett had just kept to the Carolinas, he’d have been in business longer. Flair himself is the best to come from the state, one of the greatest performers of all time and it was thanks to him that WCW managed to set up major roots and a fanbase there. That’s carried to daughter Charlotte, currently one of the best female workers in WWE. The Hardyz got into wrestling as kids back there and love to showcase it in their current TNA run. The Junkyard Dog was born in the region to become a major star in his own right.
There’s something about this small island that has been a factory for sensational wrestlers. Guys from there grow into serious bad-asses who are also fantastic workers in so many ways. The biggest, of course, are the Anoa’I family, who gave the world the Wild Samoans, one of the first “wildman” tag teams around. That’s led to The Headshrinkers and moved down today with The Usos and Roman Reigns (who, like it or not, is a major WWE star).
Then there’s Yokozuna, a huge man who became one of the biggest (in every way) WWE champions around and much better than most “big men” of his time. Obviously, Peter Maivia got a big break there and then his grandson, Dwayne, better known as The Rock would rock it to the stratosphere. Somehow, Samoans are just attuned to wrestling and ready to take off nicely and show how this small island has had a huge impact on the business.
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