With the holiday weekend behind us, it is time to get back to work. As Canada and the United States (and a host of other countries) spent this time of year celebrating their nation’s birthday, I took the time to create a list of professional wrestlers that honor their country on TV.
To be patriotic, you must adhere to and promote the qualities and freedoms that your country represents. Here are top 16 wrestlers that fall into that very category.
He might’ve not been around as long as he had hoped but Hassan made an impact. It was his character that got him fired in the first place but that pressure came from networks.
He had masked men savagely beat The Undertaker on an episode of SmackDown. Since SmackDown was taped, there was no knowing that the same night this aired, the London bombings took place. UPN (station that aired SmackDown) told the WWE that they didn’t want Hassan’s character on the show, which led to Hassan’s release.
Although patriotism wasn’t necessarily shown by Hassan, the patriotism shown by the rest of the WWE and its fans was powerful enough for me to write this blurb and put Hassan on the list.
Although Yokozuna was Samoan, his Japanese sumo character was over with the fans for a while. He was a former WWE Champion and had a manager by the name of Mr. Fuji, who carried a Japanese flag to the ring.
When Hulk Hogan left WWE, Luger was chosen as the heir apparent to the “American Hero” role left vacant in the company. All you have to do is look at the work he did in this role and you see why he makes this list.
It is not at a high rank for such a patriot but considering the length of time he did it compared to most, Luger will sit at No. 14.
In and out of the ring, Borga bled for his native Finland. In his short stint in WWE, he portrayed another anti-American character and used the Finnish national anthem as a theme song. He had to leave due to injuries but his patriotism never left him as he became a member of Finnish Parliament.
I know a lot of you are going to hate me for this but I had to include John Cena on this list. Why? Well, as most of you know, Cena is a well-known supporter of the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and if that isn’t showing patriotism, then just watch him salute at the top of the ramp.
He also carries around dog tags given to him by an American soldier.
Another character known for being anti-American, The Iron Sheik is probably the most well known of them all. He was the man Hulk Hogan beat to signal in Hulkamania and he was a member of several stables that antagonized the American fans.
His pride for his native Iran gets him on the list.
"The American Dream" starts off the top 10. Dusty Rhodes played a character that showed that dreams do come true if you work hard enough, even if you are a common man. His patriotism resonates from a promo he cut during his feud with Ric Flair.
As Rhodes will tell you, he received so much attention from the American people after the promo, in which he discussed out-of-work steel workers, factory runners and other blue-collar individuals like the character Rhodes portrayed.
This man defined the working-class American on television and that’s patriotic enough to make this list.
The former WWE Champion had a knack for flipping sides. One day, he was as American as apple pie and the next, he was the very poison his character vowed to protect the WWE from. Slaughter fell down this list for that very reason in late 1990 when he took on the heel role of Iraqi sympathizer.
Otherwise, he has shown pride for the USA. In a time of war, what is more patriotic than a sergeant? Slaughter gets the nod at nine.
Whenever you rename a title belt after your home country, you earn a spot on this type of list. Lance Storm did just that in WCW, naming the US Title the Canadian Heavyweight Championship.
He was a member of the stable “The Un-Americans," further solidifying his pride for Canada and alienating the American people as a heel.
I’d like to be serious for a minute: Lance Storm earned No. 8 on the list.
A legendary figure in the WWE has shown plenty of patriotism throughout his career of 20-plus years. Undertaker showed his true side in between 2000 and 2003 when he was using the “American Bad Ass” gimmick. Having the American flag on the back of his motorcycles was enough to have him in the top 10.
He also showed his American spirit in ways outside the ring. Does anyone remember Taker and Kane on America’s Most Wanted? That episode was very popular and honestly, Undertaker’s gimmick helped Kane become less of a monster and more of a character that talks with a normal voice—but that’s not what this is about.
The Houston, Texas native takes lucky No. 7 on the list.
Del Wilkes used this persona through most of his wrestling career. The patriotism shown by him starts with his name, The Patriot. He wore a mask of stars and stripes. He carried around an American flag and he stood up for the American way. The Patriot was over with the American crowd and he eventually feuded with Bret Hart in his tenure with WWE.
You want to talk about fighting for one's country? He—and Vader—competed in a Flag Match against Hart and the British Bulldog at "In Your House: Badd Blood" in October 1997 (the same event as Undertaker/Michaels Hell in a Cell).
Another well-known fact is that his theme song while in WWE was the same one used by Kurt Angle throughout his days in WWE.
This WWE Hall of Famer earned a top-five finish due to the success he had portraying his character. The Russian frequently sang the Russian anthem—horribly—and even brought aboard The Iron Shiek in his quest to antagonize the American crowd.
Although Volkoff grew up in Croatia, his Russian character was without flaw and he earned his status as one of the WWE’s best performers.
It wasn’t Volkoff’s in-ring ability that got him up this list. Remember, it is a patriotic list and Volkoff was truly patriotic—and still is to this day. He sits at No. 5.
At the beginning of every one of his matches, he starts a chant of U-S-A! Hacksaw Jim Duggan is the rugged, average American who carries around a 2x4 and Ol’ Glory everywhere he goes.
Ranking in fourth seems high considering those ranked lower but the WWE Hall of Famer and first-ever Royal Rumble winner deserves it.
He’s as Canadian as hockey and maple syrup and he’s proud of it. The Hart family heritage resonates in Canadian lore, as Bret ascended the WWE as a world-class performer.
Throughout his climb, he always brought a Canadian flag with him. The man was followed in Canada as much as Hogan was in the USA. The Canadian people showed love for Bret and he sent it right back.
You want proof? Montreal Screwjob and the fallout from it. People in Montreal went years hating Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels and Triple H for the incident.
He was hated by American fans in the last portion of his WWE wrestling career, so much that fans would frequently throw debris at him during promos, entrances and matches.
Oh Canada, we stand on guard for Bret “The Hitman” Hart, No. 3 on this list.
The man won an Olympic gold medal for the USA in 1996. His wrestling tights are laced with Americana and he frequently brings an American flag to the ring. Angle earned his spot years ago as a main-event star and continues to do so in TNA.
I can’t say enough about this man and his love for his country, so I hope that ranking him second on this list does justice. If not, I’ll be keeping an eye out for my ankle.
“I am a real American!” That theme defined the '80s wrestling scene as Hogan was what every little American child wanted to be. Hogan was constantly fighting foreign heels like Nikolai Volkoff and even won his first WWE Championship from The Iron Sheik.
The man bleeds red, white and blue and carried the American flag down to the ring in every one of his matches. He’s more than deserving of the top spot on this list.