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.
Another major star is Dean Ambrose who has become one of WWE’s biggest names. Randy Savage was born in Columbus while Dolph Ziggler, Perry Saturn and TNA star Abyss hail from Cleveland. Dana Brooke and Ethan Carter III also come from the state, showing that Ohio is able to give some major stars to help the business out big time.
The Steel City has long been known as the home of the Steelers and their many Super Bowl wins. But it’s also produced plenty of major wrestling stars as well. The biggest would have to be Bruno Sammartino, the longest-reigning WWE champion of all time who helped put the entire company on the map. Bruno was proud of his upbringing there and naturally, any show with him in Pittsburgh was a sellout. They also have Kurt Angle, the Olympic gold medalist who became one of the biggest stars and most decorated champions ever seen in wrestling. Not to be forgotten is Shane Douglas, the controversial man who helped forge ECW and still gets attention. Also, Johnny Valiant, one of the more famous heels of his time, all showing how the Steelers aren't the only batch of top champions to come from Pittsburgh.
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.
The Road Warriors were proud of their Chicago roots (despite having met in Minneapolis) and boosted the city up by their presence and showcasing its toughness. Colt Cabana hails from there as does Maria and ROH has a serious push in that area. It shows how the City of Broad Shoulders can carry a lot of wrestlers.
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.
Other names include Lex Luger, The Dudley Boyz, Jim Duggan, Tazz, Adrian Adonis, Marc Mero and Zack Ryder (using the “Long Island Z” motif to the extreme). Given how it’s among the bigger states and has the biggest city in the U.S., no wonder New York has granted wrestling so many big stars.
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.
The Guerreros got their start there with Hector leading the way. Slews of stars include Juventud Guerrera, La Mascara, Tigre Blanco and many more. Mistico also hails from there, the man who was once the biggest box office draw in the entire country. Together, they have made lucha libre a major force in wrestling and showcased how important it is to Mexico’s legacy.
The Motor City has had its ups and downs over the years (a lot of downs, mainly) in tough economic times. But somehow, the city has also provided some very top-notch stars. Kevin Nash was born there and still has some of that Detroit attitude in what he does. Sabu also hails from there as well as fellow ECW alumn Rhyno. The Steiner Brothers were born in nearby Bay City and both graduated from the University of Michigan. Sgt Slaughter and George “The Animal” Steele were also born there. Obviously, the Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley) came from the city and were proud of it. Rob Van Dam was born in nearby Battle Creek and the most famous name from there. While it’s had its bad times, Detroit does have a tendency to provide some major wrestling names to the business.
It might be surprising to some that there was once a Missouri championship and was considered tops among the various regional titles around. That’s because the state has provided a surprising number of very top notch workers who grew up there and helped the business immensely. That includes one of the greatest of all time, Lou Thesz, a man whose technical skills have influenced countless workers since. There's also, Harley Race, one of the best workers of all time and a multiple NWA champion who held both the NWA and Missouri belts several times. Evan Bourne hails from there as does the Orton clan with Randy Orton rising up as one of the biggest stars around. It may not be among the bigger states in the Union but it does showcase some of the best guys in wrestling.
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.
Jesse Ventura was born in the town and soon built up there as a star with many others like the Destruction Crew, Verne’s son, Greg and both Larry Hennig and his son, Curt, better known as “Mr. Perfect.” While the AWA is long gone, Minnesota still gives some great workers to boost the state among the best for producing great wrestlers.
The longtime home of Jerry “The King” Lawler, it’s no wonder Memphis has been a special place for wrestling fans. It’s a hot area with huge interest, built by the Continental Wrestling Association as well as the long-running USWA organization. Lawler is tops there in terms of fame but slews of great workers made Memphis home like Eddie Gilbert, Tommy Rich, Jeff Jarrett and slews of others. Memphis was home to some rather crazy antics and moments but still presented some great stars along with some top notch action. One of the last ones to arrive before the USWA went under was an unknown by the name of Dwayne Johnson. That showed how Memphis was the birthplace of many top workers and future stars and brought plenty of heat to the state of Tennessee.
Texas itself is home to slews of stars from Dusty Rhodes to Steve Austin and it's hard to cut it down to just one area given its massive size. This Texas town was the longtime home of the revered promoter Paul Boesch, who was respected and admired while bringing in some classic innovations like cage matches. While Dallas got attention thanks to World Class, Houston had its own share of big names from it that would go on to major fame. Booker T and Stevie Ray hailed from the area (Booker openly acknowledging how “Harlem Heat” didn’t really fit them) as well as The Undertaker. Also, several stars cut their teeth in training there such as Shawn Michaels and Stan Hansen. Booker T helps run a wrestling school there as Houston is home to a major push for pro wrestling in Texas that continues to be successful. The town can be overlooked at times by those outside of Texas but those in it know how huge it is for wrestling.
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.
Trish Stratus is another example, going from merely eye candy to one of the best female workers of her generation. Gail Kim joins her as another top-notch female worker. Also, Rocky Johnson cut his teeth in the industry in Toronto, after moving there from Halifax. It shows how big wrestling is in the Great White North and how many guys (and ladies) get a start there.
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.
The city is great with fans from around the world and continues to push the wrestling tradition there. From veterans to some major rising young stars, Tokyo is the center of wrestling in this region of the world and produces some of the best workers around.
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.
The Vachons are famous for going wild in wrestling from “Mad Dog” to Luna and showcasing the toughness of Canada. Their hometown may be known for the wrestling controversy that took place there, but it also shows the loyalty wrestling has in Canada and how this city has shown off some great stars.
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.
AJ Styles was born on an air base there and it still proud of it despite moving to Georgia as he ranks among the best in the business today. And, believe it or not, Vince McMahon was born in Pinehurst. That alone shows how this state is a huge part of the wrestling business with so many major names.
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.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!