While many see wrestling as loud Americans shouting at each other in their underpants, the first ‘W’ in ‘WWE’ stands for ‘World’, and it’s more global than you know. Following the arrival of the latest instalment, WWE 2K17, we go around the world in 80 graze.
Canada - Hart House, Alberta
A great many future Canadian Superstars earned their spurs in Stu Hart’s famed ‘Dungeon’ wrestling gym in Alberta, including Chris Jericho, Lance Storm, Edge, Christian, Bret Hart, Owen Hart and Chris Benoit, whoever he is.
Mexico - Arena México, Mexico City
Lucha Libre wrestling is huge south of the border, and many masked stars have made it big in America; La Parka, Psychosis, Rey Mysterio, Lizmark Jr, Juventud Guerrera to name but a few. Recent star Alberto Del Rio is one of the few to voluntarily unmask. The vain git!
Ireland - Belfast, Northern Ireland
Former champion Sheamus isn’t the only brawler to hail from the Emerald Isle; in the mid-noughties, Finlay terrorised WWE’s mid-card, playing up to his heritage by clubbing opponents with a shillelagh.
United Kingdom - Norwich, Norfolk
The UK's fair isle is overrepresented in the WWE history books. The most famous alumni is the late ‘British Bulldog’, Davey Boy Smith, but with up-and-comers such as the daredevil Neville and ghostskinned diva Paige wowing today’s crowds, that could one day change.
Spain - Torrejón de Ardoz, Madrid
Believe it or not, ‘The Big Red Machine’ Kane is actually ‘La Gran Máquina Roja’. The son of a United States Air Force worker, he was born in Madrid, Spain. Should be enough material for a comedy dancing gimmick before he retires.
Switzerland - Lucerne, Switzerland
The Swiss are famed for their craft; consider their intricate cuckoo clocks, or Toblerone chocolate, designed to cause maximum mouth-shreddage. No surprise then that the country gave rise to Cesaro, one of WWE’s most accomplished mat technicians.
Bulgaria - Plovdiv, People’s Republic of Bulgaria
WWE would probably have tried to pass Rusev off as a pesky Russian, had the ‘Bulgarian Brute’ not decided to have a whopping great Bulgarian flag tattooed on his bicep. Instead he became a Russian sympathiser.
Ghana - Kumasi, Ghana
The New Day’s Kofi Kingston hails from the city of Kumasi, Ghana, West Africa. If his name feels a little ‘Caribbean’, it’s because when he debuted on ECW in 2007, he was billed from Kingston, Jamaica. He dropped the comedy accent soon after.
South Africa - Johannesberg, Gauteng
Adam Rose’s ‘party animal’ gimmick may be inspired by eccentric Brits such as Elton John and Russell Brand, but in truth the self-anointed Leader of the Rosebuds hails from South Africa, and formerly played a bounty hunter type in NXT.
Iraq - Baghdad, Iraq
In 1990, in a perhaps misguided attempt to capitalise on the ‘popularity’ of the Gulf War, US hero Sgt. Slaughter turned his back on America and became an Iraqi sympathiser, flanked by Colonel Mustafa (former WWE champ Iron Sheik, actually an Iranian).
India - Dhiraina, Himachal Pradesh
Despite being, and we’re pretty sure this isn’t libellous, an uncoordinated oaf, The Great Khali achieved great success in WWE thanks to his wild popularity in India. Now retired, he recently appeared in an advert for cement.
Japan - Sōka, Saitama
Wrestling is big business in the far east, but language barriers mean Japanese superstars rarely achieve success on a global scale. NXT’s Hideo Itami has faltered thus far; maybe it’s left for Shinsuke Nakamura to be the next Great Muta?
Australia - Melbourne, Victoria
Until recently, Aussie wrestlers struggled to make it in WWE (Outback Jack and Nathan Jones being notable-ish exceptions). But there’s a mini-antipodean revolution underway, spearheaded by NXT diva Emma and tag team specialist Buddy Murphy.
New Zealand - Wellington/Auckland
Waaaaayyy!!! In the late ‘80s/early ‘90s The Bushwhackers blazed a trail of destruction through WWE’s tag team division. No fans’ foreheads were safe from being affectionately licked and no wrestler’s breadbasket was safe from their dreaded battering ram.
This article originally appeared in Xbox: The Official Magazine. For more great Xbox coverage, you can subscribe here (opens in new tab).