Here’s our list on the top ten grapplers to ever come from Canada.
Honorable Mentions: Teddy Hart, John Tenta, Andrew “Test” Martin, and Jim “The Anvil” Niedhart.
10: “The Canadian Destroyer” Petey Williams: You wouldn’t normally find such an explosive nickname associated with a cruiserweight, but Petey Williams is a notable exception. With his variety of submissions holds, his aerial excellence and his namesake, the devastating front-flip piledriver known as the “Canadian Destroyer,” Williams can beat you in any way possible. He was a cornerstone of TNA’s X-division during their early years and is one of the men whom the X-division’s success could be attributed to.
9: Eric Young: Easily the best talent to have sprung out of Team Canada. Does he have the muscle of Robert Roode? No. Does he have a visually amazing finishing move like Petey Williams? No. He doesn’t need either. He’s a solid aerialist, an underrated mat wrestler and is remarkable at connecting with the audience, no matter what side of the spectrum. Cowardly heel? Got it. Goofy fan favorite? No problem. Arrogant and dark leader? Of course. His verbal versatility is his greatest strength. He will be an underrated cornerstone of TNA for years to come.
8: Abdullah the Butcher: The epitome of hardcore. He is the inspiration for such legends as Kamala, Sabu and Mick Foley. His bloody exploits are the stuff of infamy. Whether it’s using any implement available to leave his opponent a bleeding carcass, pummeling his enemies with chairs, or eating live animals, he was a monster’s monster. He was ECW before there was an ECW.
7: Killer Kowalski: He trained HHH, The Eliminators, Chyna, Kazarian, and Kenny Dykstra. That alone should solidify his place in history. He was a legendarily vicious wrestler and longtime heel. He was a master of the ever-popular finisher “The Claw,” often targeting either the stomach or, more painfully, the head.
6: Christian: Has been leading his “Peeps” for close to two full decades. And yet he looks to have another decade left in him. Such is the staying power of Captain Charisma. He is an example of someone who doesn’t need the world title to remain in the spotlight. A perennial upper-mid-carder and consistently viable titleholder, Christian can work with virtually anybody in a match and make it at least decent, if not spectacular. Whether it’s an aerial duel, a tag team match, or a straight up cage match brawl, he can work with anyone, at any time, in any situation.
5: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper: The name alone should bring smiles for the memories of his legendary “Piper’s Pit.” Easily one of, if not the, greatest talkers in the history of professional wrestling, Piper has an uncanny ability to make you laugh to the point of falling off your seat even while he insults everything you hold sacred. During his verbal prime he was as controversial as Charlie Sheen with the talent of Robert De Niro. And if someone called him out, he had the ring ability to back it up.
4: Chris Benoit: Had possibly the most well-deserved and hard-earned nickname of any on this list. “The Crippler.” He was a rare example of someone who could mix brilliant mat wrestling with vicious brawling. He was just at home applying sharpshooters and crossfaces as he was delivering a simple headbutt. Though his life ended in tragedy, the fact that remains that he was an animal of a man who could break you with both submissions and strikes. One look into his eyes and you could feel the sheer intensity that he emanated.
3: Bret “Hitman” Hart: The most famous and most successful of the Hart clan. The multi-time world champion, “The Best There Is, The Best There Ever Was, and The Best There Ever Will Be,” “The Excellence of Execution.” In his prime, he was a true ring general. His feuds are the stuff of legend. HBK. Stone Cold Steve Austin. Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler. His own brother Owen Hart. His matches and exploits are well-known and documented. Whether it’s his fantastic “I Quit” Match with Austin, his brilliant work as a tag team with Jim Neidhart, or of course the infamous “Montreal Screwjob.” Hart has cemented his legacy as a legend.
2: Edge: He has worn many hats throughout his career- brooding, gothic vampire, underling of the Undertaker, a goofy and rather inane catchphrase machine surfer dude, obsessive and unstable villain and finally, a beloved hero of the fans. Before his retirement, his spear could come out of nowhere and hit his opponents like a torpedo. Even as a hero, he never lost his mean streak, almost specializing in matches like cage matches and street fights, anything that allowed him to assault his opponent without restrictions.
1: Owen Hart: Bret Hart’s younger brother and the better of the two. While his mat skills weren’t quite as sharp as his brother’s, he by far exceeded him in his aerial prowess and his ability to connect to the fans. His relationship with the fans was his greatest asset. Whether he was battling with his brother, disparaging America, or whizzing around as the Blue Blazer, the fans ate it up. Even as he was fighting against their heroes, they loved to hate him. He was the greatest wrestler never to wear the world title.