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  Apr 16, 2000



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Flying the flag


By SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

 Canadians have never made a bigger presence in the world of professional wrestling than their current standing.

 The World Wrestling Federation, which has a branch office in Toronto, boasts a fine stable of talent from the Great White North led by Edmonton's own Chris Benoit. Joining Benoit in the "Canadian Mafia" are Winnipegger and European champion Chris Jericho, tag-team champions Edge and Christian, and Val Venis - all out of Ontario.

 Extreme Championship Wrestling has two Canucks in commentator Cyrus the Virus (Don Callis) and Calgary's Lance Storm, who is one-half of the World Tag-team Champion duo of the Impact Players with Justin Credible.

 The best-known Canadian contingent is, of course, the Hart family. Bret Hart (inset), sidelined right now with a concussion and leaning towards retirement, held every major title in the WWF and WCW and is regarded as one of the finest technical wrestlers ever. The late Owen Hart was an Intercontinental and Tag-team champ in the WWF.

 Quebec had its own version of the Harts, the Rougeau family, which made a splash for about three decades, thanks to the successful careers of (the Model) Rick Martel and strongman Dino Bravo.

 Old-time-wrestling names include the patriarch of the Hart family, Stu Hart, Whipper Billy Watson, Gene Kiniski, Montreal brothers Maurice (Mad Dog) and Butcher Vachon, and former CFL great Angelo (King Kong) Mosca.