WWE: The 13 Most Anti-American Superstars in History
Today is July 4, the Independence Day for the United States. All across the country today, Americans are celebrating their pride with fireworks and barbecues. As millions of Americans wave the stars and stripes on the flag today, we pause to celebrate the effort put forth by our military services, much like what WWE has done as much as possible.
WWE has made it a point to keep themselves very patriotic, including great adoration of the country during many of its federal holidays and the patriotism put forth following the attacks of September 11, 2001. WWE fans on the whole are very patriotic themselves and are not very thrilled about superstars who do not have the same pride for the USA. Here is the list of the most un-American superstars in WWE history.
Photo courtesy of stormwrestling.com
When you talk about superstars who have been anti-American, it has to begin with The Un-Americans. Their name says it all. This faction built on English and Canadian superstars was together to show their allegiance to anything that was not American. This came after the 9/11 attacks, so they had to tread lightly with this gimmick.
The group consisted of Lance Storm, Christian, Test and William Regal and often included the members wearing t-shirts with upside down American flags, a sign of disrespect to Old Glory. In what was one of the more notable moments in the faction's existence, The Un-Americans attempted to burn an American flag in the middle of the ring, but were stopped from doing so by a returning Kane.
The stable began in June 2002 with Storm claiming that Canadian superstars were being slighted. With only one World Tag Team Championship reign to show for it, the group disbanded by September 2002.
Ludvig Borga was an Anti-American man billed from Finland who did two things well in WWE. The first was beat up on enhancement talent. The second thing was criticizing the United States as a country. Borga was more than just a "USA Sucks"-kind of guy. Borga talked about actual issues with the country, such as graduating high school without the ability to read or write well.
In the ring, Borga did well. He was the man who handed Tatanka his first loss in WWE after a streak of almost two years without a defeat. At a house show in 1993, Borga nearly became Intercontinental Champion. Sadly, Borga never held a championship, but his anti-American emotions and his dominant in-ring work make him memorable. An ankle injury ultimately cut Borga's career short.
It's easy to be a heel in WWE if you aren't American. All you really need to do is yell at the crowd in another language. Nikolai Volkoff did it so well that he became a member of the Hall of Fame in WWE. In the 1980s, Volkoff showed his allegiance to the Soviet Union. In what is still one of the best heel moves of all time, Volkoff became famous for singing the Soviet Union national anthem before each of his matches.
His tag team with The Iron Shiek is one of the most infamous combinations in WWE history, winning the titles during the first WrestleMania in 1985. Volkoff would also form The Bolsheviks with Boris Zukhov. While never winning anything, the most notable thing from The Bolseviks was a quick loss to The Hart Foundation at WrestleMania VI.
Following this time, Volkoff actually became a supporter of America, but it is his days as a foreign heel that has made him a Hall of Famer.
The team known as La Resistance actually was meant to begin in a completely different way. History will not remember that the match between Hulk Hogan and The Rock at No Way Out 2003 had Sylvan Grenier as the referee. Grenier had not debuted as a performer at the time. He had a hand in impacting the result of the match, which took place in Montreal, Grenier's hometown. Grenier was a referee for Mr. McMahon to get the results he wanted to see and, while that idea lasted, could have ultimately led to Grenier being a competitor himself down the line.
Grenier and Rene Dupree debuted as La Resistance and attacked Scott Steiner, who had compared France to hell just weeks earlier. As the team grew more and more hatred from the fans, they continued to force their French nationality on people. On Memorial Day in 2003, the duo appeared on RAW to interrupt Lillian Garcia singing America the Beautiful. After just one month on the roster, they would become the World Tag Team Champions.
Rob Conway would later join the group, but La Resistance never quite stuck with the fans and quietly disbanded over time.
The Iron Sheik
Name a legendary foreign heel and one of the first names has to be The Iron Sheik. In the 1980s, The Iron Sheik was about as bad of a man as you could be in professional wrestling. In 1983, The Iron Sheik would defeat Bob Backlund at Madison Square Garden to become the WWE Champion. After just four weeks as champion, The Iron Sheik would lose the championship to Hulk Hogan. He would later align with such men as Sgt. Slaughter and Nikolai Volkoff.
The Iron Sheik was never very great at speaking, but the Iranian used his broken English well enough to send fans into a frenzy. He would wave flags around to the crowd and tell fans to show respect to Volkoff while the Soviet Union national anthem was sung.
The Iron Sheik was a member of the 2005 WWE Hall of Fame, which is widely believed to be the greatest Hall of Fame class in WWE history.
The saga of Muhammad Hassan is an unusual one. Hassan was actually an American citizen, but was only arguing his treatment by fellow Americans in the post-9/11 world. Hassan was an Arab-American gimmick that was tired of being referred to as a terrorist simply by association for those who did the horrible tragedies in September 2001. Hassan brought on incredible heat, which only increased as the acts became more controversial.
The most controversial act of them all ultimately ended Hassan's career in WWE. On a taped episode of Smackdown, The Undertaker was attacked by masked allies of Hassan. After Daivari, the manager of Hassan, had sacrificed himself in a beating from The Undertaker, the masked men assaulted The Deadman, choking him out with piano wire and carrying off Daivari like a human sacrifice. Daivari was carried over the heads of the masked men and had his arms out like a religious cross.
On the day that the episode was set to air, terrorist attacks took place in England. It was unrelated to the actions of Hassan and his men, but enough similarities were made that brought mainstream controversy. The episode had already been aired in some countries and was too recent to be edited in time for the rest. UPN, the network showing Smackdown at the time, did not want the controversial character on anymore and Hassan was ultimately written out of storylines entirely.
The man who said he was the Best There Is, Best There Was and Best There Ever Would Be was very proud to be a Canadian. It became so much so that Hart would ultimately show how much better Canada was than the United States. As Hart was set to turn into a bad guy, he ultimately did something that was very rarely seen in wrestling. Hart was a heel in the United States, but remained loyal to his Canadian fans. It worked, as his Canadian fans continued to latch on to Hart.
Hart would continue to say that Canada was superior to the United States and would continue to berate American fans. It got to the point that Hart would have garbage thrown at him when he entered the ring. A SummerSlam main event with The Undertaker was headlined with the idea that Hart would not wrestle in the United States if he lost. He didn't and would become WWE Champion until losing it in the infamous Montreal Screwjob later that fall.
Sure, Sgt. Slaughter is an ex-American military drill sergeant, but he wasn't always so patriotic. In fact, one of the things that turned him away from his American upbringing was the fact that fans embraced Nikolai Volkoff as a good person. It was the 1990s and the Cold War was over, but for Slaughter, there was a lot of resentment. Slaughter would ultimately begin to sympathize with the Iraqi side of Operation Desert Storm and feud with uber American Hulk Hogan.
Slaugher achieved his greatest triumph as an anti-American, winning the WWE Championship from The Ultimate Warrior at the 1991 Royal Rumble. Hogan would challenge for the title at WrestleMania VII and take the title from Slaughter. Originally supposed to be held in the Los Angeles Coliseum, it was moved to the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. It's believed that threats from Slaughter's anti-American gimmick caused the venue change.