The easiest way for WWE to be able to create heels back in the day was to introduce foreign superstars into the mix. The American audience would instantly dislike the newcomers who were representing a different nation and WWE would then be able to work in new storylines quite easily. This practice has endured decades, and audiences play into almost every time.
This means that over the past few years, WWE has pushed a number of superstars who aren’t actually from foreign countries to portray foreign heel characters on WWE TV. This is something that has become much more common over the past few years, but it seems that the WWE Universe has finally figured the company out. But even though we know the “foreign” heels are actually American, we still boo them just the same.
Many of the stars who are billed from outside of the United States are actually stars who were born in America and are just as American as the stars who they worked alongside. There are a number of stars who are also billed from the wrong place as well, where they are still considered foreigners, but from completely different countries.
The following list looks at just 15 WWE stars from the past few years that the company tried to make the WWE Universe believe were from completely different countries than the ones that they were actually born in.
15. Abdullah The Butcher
WWE Hall of Famer Abdullah The Butcher was always billed from a place outside the United States, with one of his most common nicknames being “The Madman from Sudan.” The Abdullah character was said to be from one of the most impoverished and dangerous areas in Sudan and with the scars all over his body and his never say die spirit, it seems that Abdullah lived up to the role.
Abdullah the character may have been from Sudan, but the man behind the gimmick was called Lawrence Robert Shreve and he was actually born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. For all of those years Abdullah was actually a lot closer to American shores than the WWE Universe knew and after his WWE career was over he went on to reside in Atlanta, Georgia, never Sudan.
14. Mr Fuji
Mr Fuji was the best evil manager of all time and he played the role better than just about anyone. Fuji was able to make any superstar he mentored into a heel just by standing at their side, which made him an icon. The WWE Hall of Famer looked the part, so it was easy for the WWE Universe to believe that he was actually from Japan. So the company decided to bill him from Osaka, Japan throughout his career.
Mr Fuji, just like many other superstars on this list, was actually born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii and when he retired from the wrestling business he resided in Clarksville, Tennesse. Mr Fuji is another superstar who had dual nationality from his Japanese parents, but he chose to remain in America and become an American citizen.
13. Gorilla Monsoon
Gorilla Monsoon was one of the most famous wrestlers of all time, and was successful both inside the ring and at the commentary desk. Gorilla’s obsession with always sitting just inside the curtain is the reason why wrestlers now call that spot the Gorilla Position, which shows just how much of an impact this man had on the business.
Gorilla was something of a beast during his days as a wrestler and was billed from Manchuria. He was said to be a man who would fight a variety of other beasts including bears. Of course, this was a time when wrestling was much more over the top when actually the man behind Gorilla, known as Robert Marella was from Rochester, New York. It was only when he got into the wrestling business that it was decided that he would be much more successful as the giant from Manchuria.
12. Bret Hart
Bret Hart is believed to be one of the best wrestlers to ever set foot in the squared circle, but a number of mistakes led to Hart leaving WWE and not returning for more than a decade. The Hart Family has always been seen as a family that has huge links to Canada with Bret himself being billed from Canada throughout his career.
Despite the fact that Bret cut a number of anti-American promos in the 1990s, he is actually an American himself. Bret’s mother Helen, who made a number of appearances on WWE TV, was actually born in New York and her citizenship has been passed down to all of her children, which means that Bret has dual nationality and can claim that he has just as American as he is Canadian.
11. The Sultan
The Sultan appeared on WWE’s radar in the 1990s and was managed by Bob Backlund and The Iron Sheik. He was a forgettable wrestler from that era with a backstory that stated that he had his tongue cut out which meant that someone always had to do the talking for him.
The Sultan was the first gimmick that was used by former Intercontinental Champion Rikishi before he went on to be a huge star in the company and he is now a WWE Hall of Famer. The Sultan was billed from an Arab nation when in actual fact Rikishi was born and raised in San Francisco, California. Many of the Anoa’i family will be making up this list since WWE likes to announce the family from Samoa when they all currently reside in the USA.
Umaga is another famous member of the Anoa’i wrestling family that has links to The Rock and Roman Reigns. But unlike these two stars, Umaga was always billed from The Isle of Samoa. Umaga was known as “The Samoan Bulldozer” and this was a gimmick that he was able to pick up and pull off quite well.
Umaga had his own advocate who would do all of the talking for him until the latter stages of his career. Despite WWE leading their fanbase to believe that Umaga was Samoan, he was in fact born and raised in America like most of his family, and after he was released from WWE back in 2009 he lived in Houston, Texas. Umaga sadly passed away back in 2009 merely months after he was released from WWE.
9. Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho is perhaps one of the biggest stars that WWE have ever created. Y2J calls himself “The Best in the world at what he does” to go with the fact that he was the first ever Undisputed WWE Champion. Jericho has also been able to perform at the highest level now for more than two decades when he is not taking time out of his schedule to tour with his heavy metal band Fozzy.
Jericho is pretty well-known for being billed from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, leading many of the WWE Universe to believe that Jericho was actually Canadian when in fact Jericho was born in Manhasset, New York and currently resides in Tampa, Florida. Jericho considers himself to be Canadian because that is where he was mostly raised and because he started his wrestling training in Calgary.
8. Jimmy Wang Yang
With a name like Jimmy Wang Yang, it was quite obvious that your character wasn’t going to be billed from California. Wang Yang was a star of the Cruiserweight Division in the late 1990s and early 2000s and was given a throwback gimmick of a cowboy that was billed from Austell, Georgia while he was on WWE TV.
It was believed that Wang Yang was from a ranch in the middle of nowhere and he actually pulled the character off quite well. While Yang was American, he wasn’t from Georgia and he wasn’t raised on a ranch, he was actually born and raised in Los Angeles, California where he remained until the end of his wrestling career when he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio and now runs a party bus company.
7. Santino Marella
WWE made a huge deal out of the fact that Santino Marella was apparently from Calabria, Italy. He was picked out of the crowd while WWE were on tour in Milan and he was able to win the Intercontinental Championship in his first ever WWE match. Marella was called “The Milan Miracle” for many of his early years with the company but it seems that even though WWE managed to pull off this story quite well, Marella isn’t actually from Italy.
Marella was actually born in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada and actually came through WWE’s developmental system before he was picked from the crowd on that night in Italy. Marella seemingly pulled off the character and the accent quite well, since not many members of the WWE Universe actually questioned his nationality.
Yokozuna was one of the first members of the Anoa’i family to make an impact in WWE and even though it is well-known now that he was part of the famous family, when he was first making waves in WWE there was not a lot known about the heavyweight.
Yokozuna weighed over 600 pounds, so it was easy for WWE to convince their fans that he was a Japanese superstar and gave him a sumo wrestler gimmick. Yokozuna had Japanese music, a Japanese manager in the form of Mr Fuji and managed to pull off the gimmick well enough that many fans believed it for a number of years. Yokozuna was actually born in San Francisco, California and sadly passed away back in 2000 at his new residence in Liverpool, England.
5. Triple H
It has become quite well-known over the past few years that Triple H is in fact American since he is now billed from Greenwich, Connecticut. Back when Triple H was just another WWE superstar trying to make it in the wrestling business he went through a number of different character changes and one of these decided to pay homage to the roots of his French surname.
Back in 1995, Triple H was known as Jean-Paul Lévesque after he was repackaged by WCW and seen as a French-Canadian Aristocrat with a fantastic accent. During his time portraying the French star, Hunter was billed from Sainte-Mere-Eglise, France. Luckily, back in the early 1990s, there wasn’t such a thing as the internet so the WWE Universe had to take everything they saw at face value, which meant that they actually believed that Triple H was a French national.
Sabu is perhaps one of the best-known wrestlers in the hardcore world. He is a superstar who puts his body on the line in every match he’s in and isn’t afraid to break the PG barrier when it comes to hardcore matches. There’s a reason Sabu is so respected, but it seems that when he made his way to WWE through the ECW rebrand, he was always billed from Saudia, Arabia.
As the legitimate nephew of The Iron Sheik, WWE were always going to want Sabu to play a foreign star just like his uncle, but it is still relatively unknown that Sabu was actually born in Staten Island, New York and currently resides in Escanaba, Michigan. That’s pretty much as far away from Saudia Arabia as you’re going to get.
3. Armando Estrada
Many of the WWE Universe will remember Umaga for always being accompanied to the ring by Armando Alejandro Estrada. He became the voice of Umaga throughout his time as the Samoan Bulldozer and while many of the WWE Universe thought that Estrada was Spanish because of his name, he was occasionally billed from Cuba.
Estrada seemed to have the accent completely nailed and was able to portray this character successfully throughout Umaga’s reign of terror, which is perhaps why many of WWE’s fanbase is actually aware that Estrada was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and still resides there to this day. It seems that Estrada wasn’t given the respect he deserved for being able to pull off a character of that calibre for so long without anyone suspecting that he was faking an accent.
Lana is perhaps the most famous example of a superstar who has been forced to portray a foreign superstar in order to gain heat from WWE fans. Lana debuted on WWE TV alongside her husband, The Bulgarian Brute, Rusev. Together the duo began cutting many anti-American promos in their early days with the company as Lana stated that she was from Russia and became known as The Ravishing Russian.
Lana has been part of Total Divas for a number of years now and she clearly forgot to put her accent on in the series, which gave away the fact that she was never actually Russian, even though her husband is Bulgarian. Lana was actually born in Gainsville, Florida and currently resides in Nashville, Tennesse when she isn’t travelling with WWE.
1. Ricardo Rodriguez
WWE has a history of hiring wrestlers who are good at accents so that they can go on to portray managers for whichever stars need someone by their side at the time and they are easily able to adapt and learn the accent.
It seems that this is what happened with Ricardo Rodriguez, who was Alberto Del Rio’s personal ring announcer for a number of years. Even though Del Rio was actually from Mexico, it seems that Rodriguez was billed from Guadalajara, Mexico when he was actually born in Los Angeles, California. Many of the WWE Universe will be unaware of this since Rodriguez was quite forgettable since he was fired by Del Rio and later went on to have a horrific run with Rob Van Dam that is better left forgotten.
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