Despite Canada being a trove of incredibly talented wrestlers over the years, the country has only produced a handful of WWE Champion.
In fact, over the past few decades, only six Canadian wrestlers have held the WWE Championship. In fact, of the six only four of them even presented themselves as being Canadian.
There have been 54 different holders of the WWE Championship since the title was first won by Buddy Rogers in 1963.
After Sami Zayn almost became number seven, we will talk you through every Canadian wrestler who has been WWE Champion.
Let us know what you think and tell us which Canadian wrestlers you think should have become WWE Champion during their career.
Despite playing the character of “The Russian Bear”, Ivan Koloff was actually born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
He was famous for never breaking character, and some have even claimed he ordered things in Russian through the post to “work the mailman”.
On January 18, 1971, Koloff defeated Bruno Sammartino in Madison Square Garden for the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship by pinfall after a knee drop from the top rope.
He ended Sammartino’s nearly 8 year reign with the title, and giving Koloff the honor of being the first ever Canadian WWE Champion – not that he could ever talk about that fact.
Stan Stasiak was the Canadian wrestler who became a world champion in the WWE in 1973.
The Canadian star defeated Pedro Morales for the WWWF Heavyweight Championship, ending Morales’ nearly three-year long reign.
It was a huge shock for the crowd in Philadelphia, as Pedro Morales was a big star and a hero the Hispanic people.
His title run was only ever meant to be a transitional one. The WWE (then known as the WWWF) wanted to get the title back onto their long-time champion Bruno Sammartino.
However, it would not be a good look having him beat a beloved hero like Morales, so they needed a bad guy to take the belt in the meantime.
Stan Stasiak was more than willing and held the title for only nine days before dropping it to Bruno – a reign he called “The happiest nine days of my life”.
Arguably the greatest Canadian wrestler to ever live, Bret “The Hitman” Hart is a legend of the ring.
Considered one of the best wrestlers of his generation, he inspired multiple current-day stars which his incredibly technical skills and how he made the matches seem like a real fight.
The Hitman won his first WWE Championship in 1992. It wasn’t a huge event that took place at Wrestlemania or Summerslam, but rather a taping for WWF Superstars that was not even meant for broadcast.
He ended Ric Flair’s only run with the title in Saskatoon, Canada in a match that was later released on home video for hardcore fans of The Hitman.
He went on to win the title five times – 1992, 1994, 1995, and twice in 1997. He last reign ended in his final WWE match, losing the belt in Montreal at Survivor Series 1997. This was a match that would later be known as “The Montreal Screwjob“.
Since his retirement from concussions in 2000, Bret Hart has been honored by the wider wrestling world.
Bret Hart was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006, and is constantly referenced by CM Punk and FTR on AEW.
Chris Jericho won his first WWE Championship in 2001, beating The Rock and Steve Austin in the same night.
It’s something he doesn’t like to talk about very much so it may be a fact you haven’t heard before. He went on to win numerous world championships in both WWE and AEW, solidifying himself as one of the all-time great wrestlers.
Chris Jericho has won the WWE Champion, WCW Championship and AEW Championship in his career, becoming the only man to hold all three belts.
He held the first two belts at the time time, later unifying them into the WWF Undisputed Championship. He lost his first WWE Championship to Triple H in the main event of Wrestlemania X8.
Having won more titles than almost anyone in WWE history, Edge is one of the most successful Canadian wrestlers of all time.
He is an 11 time world champion and has held 31 championships in his long and storied career – even though he lost nine years due to a deadly neck injury.
He became famous as the fifth ever Canadian WWE champion when he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on John Cena.
As the first winner of the briefcase, nobody knew how Edge would pick his shot at the gold.
He chose the sneakiest way, attacking Cena after a gruelling elimination chamber match, picking at the carcass and pinning him after two spears to win his first WWE Championship.
Edge was also one of the few men to create his own custom WWE Champion. He added his Rated-R logo to the Spinner belt, making an iconic belt that is still remembered to this day.
By far the worst WWE Championship reign of his era, maybe even of all time. Jinder Mahal had no right to become WWE Champion and was only made so to try and grow the business in India.
He was born in India but is of Indian descent, so the WWE pushed that aspect of his character and refused to recognise his nationality.
He won the title very suddenly. Weeks before Backlash 2017, he won a Six Pack Challenge match to earn a shot at Randy Orton’s WWE Champion.
This was one of his only singles wins on Smackdown in years and catapulted him from complete jobber to title contender.
He defeated Orton in a huge shock win at Backlash, becoming the first wrestler of Indian descent to win the WWE Championship and the 50th titleholder overall. He also became the sixth Canadian to win the WWE Championship, even though that was never brought up on TV.
His reign lasted way too long. He beat a number of challengers, including Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura and Baron Corbin but finally lost the belt to AJ Styles.
This happened just before Survivor Series and was allegedly because Brock Lesnar refused to wrestle Jinder Mahal at the event,
Other Canadian World Champions
Whilst only six Canadian men have held the WWE Championship, there have been a few others who held equivalent world title belts in the WWE.
While the WWE Championship has been considered the main title for over 50 years, the company have employed two other different belts as their world titles during the brand split era of the company.
The first was the World Heavyweight Champion, which was established in 2002 to be the lead belt on Smackdown.
It was awarded to Triple H upon it’s creation but would not take long before a Canadian would hold it for the first time.
Less than two years after it was created, Chris Benoit became the first Canadian to hold the title.
He defeated Triple H and Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XX to win his first and only world title in the WWE, dropping it to Randy Orton a few months later at Summerslam 2004.
Edge and Chris Jericho would add to their world title collection by winning it multiple times, although it would take until 2011 before it had a new Canadian World Heavyweight Champion.
Christian won the belt twice in 2011, against Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio respectively, as he became one of the few Canadian world champions in WWE history.
The belt was absorbed into the WWE Championship in 2013 with their being no new Canadian holders of the title at the time.
The brand split returned again in 2016 and the company created a new world championship to be used on Raw.
The Universal Champion name was chosen, much to the displeasure of every single wrestling fan. They also hated how it looked and ruined a match between Seth Rollins and Finn Balor about just how silly it looked.
Finn Balor was the first title holder, although his reign lasted only a day. He was forced to vacate the title due to injury, with a new champion crowned in a fatal 4 way match on Raw.
That man was Kevin Owens, who became the first Canadian to hold the Universal Championship in the WWE. It was his first and so far only World Title, although his reign ended very anti-climactically when he was beaten by Goldberg in a short match,
There have been no Canadian holders of the title since then.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.