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   Sat, April 17, 2004

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Benoit won't fly Canadian colours

The grappler doesn't fall far from the tree -- the maple tree that is. Chris Benoit is Canadian to the core, but he'll still accept being billed as a U.S. wrestler.

The World Wrestling Entertainment's reigning world champion and transplanted Albertan is one of several on the WWE roster, including Winnipeg's Chris Jericho and Toronto's Adam "Edge" Copeland, no longer being billed from their Canadian hometowns.

Benoit is now being introduced as the guy from Atlanta, GA.

And while 'The Wolverine' does live there with his wife and three children, he still calls Edmonton his hometown.

And though he may prefer the days when he was pinned as a Canuck -- the wrestler is not about to take the issue to battle.

"It doesn't take away from the fact that I'm Canadian and from Edmonton," 36-year-old Benoit said during a visit to the Sun yesterday.

"I'll make the best of it, I've got bigger fights."

The shift to the all-American focus in Vince McMahon's WWE empire, a management change introduced about a month ago, was initially a bit of a blow.

Benoit even took it up with McMahon. He was told the change reflects and overall plan to make the show more reality-based and he's cool with that.

Besides, Benoit vowed, no American twist to his on-stage moniker could ever terminate the veteran grappler's patriotic ways.

"They haven't stripped me of my citizenship and are not knocking Canada," he said.

"When I plan on retiring I'll be up here in Canada, either Calgary or Edmonton."


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