December 27, 2008
Three cheers for Canadians
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun
WWE spent months turning Chris Jericho into a despicable heel.
While he didn't morph into the snivelling, whiny brat he'd come across as on previous heel turns, he had become a character fans loved to hate. Until he returned to Toronto for Monday's Supershow. Yep, the fans showed their love for Jericho, a Canadian icon.
American fans must have been spitting tobacco juice and spilling Budweisers all over their TV sets in anger.
After the TV broadcast ended, Jericho faced John Cena in a street fight. Jericho reminded the crowd that he was born in New York, was taken against his will to Winnipeg, and fled back to the U.S. as soon as he was old enough.
Good try, Chris. Just not good enough. The fans still cheered him. And they cheered another villain, Santino Marella. Problem is Marella is actually Anthony Carelli, a Torontonian.
"If you're from Wisconsin and you're working in California, nobody cares," Jericho recently told me. "But if you're working in Canada, anywhere from Moncton to Vancouver, they say, 'Hey, you're Canadian.' It's Chris Jericho the Canadian, not Chris Jericho from Winnipeg. That's the thing that's really cool about Canadian fans."
PROUD OF HIS ROOTS
Edge (Adam Copeland) is another Canadian who is proud of his roots.
"When I get home and drive down King St. in Toronto, I see the bars I used to wrestle in," said Copeland. "There were Indian reservations in Manitoba where we used to wrestle. Even at the time, I never looked at it as 'Holy crap.'
"Six of us would hop in a Jeep Cherokee to get to the shows. Even if it broke down, we had to get to the show. At times, I was paying to work. My wrestling licence would cost $75 and I'd get paid $35. If I came home with $100, I would think, 'That's okay. That's cool.' I didn't assume I'd get rich. My biggest year before WWE was $12,000."
And that's why these guys are so good ... so Canadian.
Tim Baines is the Ottawa Sun Sports Editor and writes a weekly wrestling column for Sun Media. He can be emailed at email@example.com.