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SLAM! Wrestling Editorial: The Canadian Conspiracy revealed
By JOHN POWELL -- SLAM! Wrestling

I feel guilty. The burden is too great. I must confess. I can no longer carry this secret with me and hope to live out the rest of my days with a clear conscience. Though my compatriots at SLAM! Wrestling tried to talk me out of it, I feel that I must come clean to preserve what integrity I have left.

Yes, it is true. I have been party to an elaborate conspiracy within the wrestling industry. A diabolical scheme that once revealed will shake the foundation of all that you believe to be true. Though I can never make up for my part in it, it is my hope that by finally telling what I know that I can once again look in a mirror without feeling shame or disgust at the reflection staring coldly back at me.

STORM On August 5th, 1997, Bret "Hit Man" Hart is swarmed by hundreds of fans as he arrives at P.I.A. Terminal 2 on his way home to Calgary. -- Mark O'Neill, Toronto Sun
This sinister plot I speak of began three short years ago. On November 10th, 1997, to be exact. A shameful day that Canadian wrestling fans will bitterly remember always. At the Survivor Series pay-per-view from Montreal, Bret Hart was made a fool of on his native soil. Vincent K. McMahon (code name Big Mac) screwed Hart out of the World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Title and made a complete mockery of his final match with the WWF, a company he helped establish as a major player in pro wrestling.

I needn't bother you with the details. You know what happened to whom and why. What you don't know is that on that night beyond the bright lights of the Molson Centre, Project Great White North was formed. It was time for Canadian wrestling fans to unite and fight a common foe. A small group of despondent promoters, fans and wrestlers got together at the Irish Rovers tavern, chugged a few brews and the GWN was born.

From its humble beginnings, GWN spread like a wildfire branching out all across Canada. Sully's Gym in Toronto, Canada, a wrestling school owned and operated by Ron (The General) Hutchison who trained such mat stars (GWN agents) as Edge, Christian, Tiger Ali Singh (our apologies) and Trish Stratus, was deemed the group's official headquarters. Out of that non-descript gym, Hutchison, a mastermind and devious tactician, worked closely with the other GWN cells to organize a decisive invasion. An incursion that would secure Canadians in prominent positions within the wrestling industry thereby making it easier further the GWN's agenda of taking over the business entirely.

Bret Hart's departure to World Championship Wrestling federation paved the way for other patriotic agents to slip into the United States unnoticed. Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit (The Chris and Chris Connection) were the first to follow Hart along with his then brother-in-law, The British Bulldog. The first phase was complete though an unforeseen factor threatened to derail the GWN's plans: the reemergence of the Ultimate Warrior (AKA: The Heatless Wonder). An American wrestling superstar, Warrior began nosing around.

EDGE Edge wins the WWF Intercontinental Title at SkyDome on Saturday, July 24, 1999. -- Greig Reekie, Toronto Sun
GWN agents soon launched a smear campaign against The Warrior filling up Internet message boards with false rumours. The campaign failed miserably as no one seemed to care about The Warrior in the slightest. Thankfully when The Warrior spoke to the authorities about what he had discovered, they couldn't understand a word of his incomprehensible blithering. Shortly thereafter, Warrior was "conveniently" booked in a snorefest of a feud with Hulk (Career Killer) Hogan. His comeback was derailed ending the threat he posed. Warrior still posts his incomprehensible blitherings on his Internet site and to this day still nobody has a clue as to what he's talking about.

Phase Two of the GWN's scheme had the organization extending its reach into the other promotions. Andrew Martin (AKA: Test, Slim), Val (The Politico) Venis, Adam Copeland (Edge, The Smiling Assassin), Jason Reso (Christian, The Suicide Blonde), Don Callis (The Jackyl, The Don), Robert Maillet (Kurrgan, The Enforcer) and John Tenta (Golga, The Crusher) entered McMahon's WWF. The crafty Big Mac soon blew the cover of GWN agents Maillet and Tenta. Acting swiftly, WWF booker (and Montreal-native) Pat Patterson sent them into hiding. With Thunder Bay's Vampiro in place at WCW, Benoit and Jericho went off to the WWF. Benoit's rogue agent status secured him in the McMahon's confidence leading to his partnership with Shane McMahon. Whether Benoit will reestablish his GWN ties remains to be seen.

STORM Bret 'Hitman' Hart, right, raises the hand of Lance Storm, centre, after Storm won his Canadian title match at the WCW New Blood Rising PPV in Vancouver, B.C. on August 13, 2000. Storm defeated Mike Awesome with a little help from special referee Jacques Rougeau Jr., left. -- Rik Fedyk, www.picthisphotography.com/
Fearing more of their agents would be detected, the GWN reassigned Callis to Extreme Championship Wrestling where he quickly rose up in the ranks to become the TNN Network liason. His success has earned him the rank of Number Two in the GWN, second only to Hutchison himself. Also in ECW, Special Agent Lance Storm had a fulfilling career there before moving on to WCW. Recognized for his accomplishments, Storm is the GWN's current top field agent in WCW garnering more success than even Bret Hart in the short time he's been there. Returning operatives, Carl Ouellet and Jacques Rougeau should provide the support Storm needs for that upcoming title match against Booker T. That's a promise.

Under the GWN's direction and guidance, Canadians are slowly but surely assuming control. Through GWN's misinformation division headed by Just Joe causing internal strife in the WWF, Lance Storm ascension in WCW and Don Callis firmly in charge of ECW, Phase Three is almost complete and it is only a matter of time before the GWN and Canadian wrestling fans are the rulers and masters of the world.

And if you believe Canadian fans are heels, we live in igloos, are fur traders and ANYTHING of what I wrote above, I've got some nice swamp land in Saskatoon I'd love to sell you.


Reader Feedback

  • August 10:Johnny is WCW's Ace in the hole


  • Excellent article!

    I've been a daily reader of this website for a couple of years and this is one the best columns I've seen. You blended your unique view with an excellent historical perspective of All Japan wrestling. As a 20-year fan of professional wrestling in North America, I consider a feat of three non-clean finishes in one decade incomprehensible. I only wish the fans of this continent had mainstream access to All Japan and the other great Japanese federations during the '80s and '90s.

    Patrick Ryan Jr

    Judging from the Mike Sanders finish on Thunder, Ace isn't perfect.

    D.H.

    "And who would have thought that a Japanese concept would help out a failing American company? Johnny Ace, that's who."

    AND LEE IACOCCA! (and that certainly didn't hurt THAT American company either)

    Great article, very informative!

    Brent Kellington

    Fair point and all, but haven't there been like three angles in Japan in the decade of the '90s? Run-ins are to advance storylines, without storylines, we'd be where we were 20 years ago and I don't think we want THAT.

    I agree that there should be a limit to these kind of things. Outside interference and inconclusive endings (particularly in WCW) have gotten WAY other the top in the past couple of years. You make out though that it would be an all-round better product if EVERY match ended in a pinfall. I might be twisting your words, but they still should exist. Raw and Smackdown! aren't about the wrestling -- they're about advancing the storyline, building up the next PPV. You can argue with such a concept, but the average fan laps it up with a spoon, so as much as the one-sided Japanese mark can disagree with that, they can't argue it's a more successful formula than the Japanese version.

    But rather digress, that leads me to ignore Raw and Thunder and Nitro and so-forth, and concentrate on the PPVs. In Japan, as far as I can tell, just by booking the matches on PPV (if they even have PPVs, I presume they have some sort of super-cards) the fans are quick to go watch them because they're happy to see a good match (and without saying all Japanese wrestlers are far better than those from North America, because they're not) because most wrestlers over there are very good to excellent, and that guarantees a good match.

    Now with the exception of King of the Ring, every WWF PPV this year has been good at worst, downright excellent at best (Backlash, Rumble) - they could slap on a HHH vs Kurt Angle match, a Jericho/Benoit match, an Edge/Christian vs the Hardys match and we KNOW these matches would be good, there's eight great athletes right there. But the typical American wrestling fan needs a reason to watch this (maybe it's because they're fussy, perhaps Japanese wrestling fans are very easily pleased) and this happens through the angles, which in turnabout lead to interferences and unclean finishes.

    Now we can skip that and go to these big PPV matches. Eight matches at Fully Loaded -- four were outright clean, one (the title match) was for all intents & purposes a clean finish, though the false finish (and a lot of the match before that) was full of Shane McMahon interjecting himself at random intervals, two (Euro and IC) ended in a pinfall but with outside help and one (tag title) ended in a DQ. Three out of eight ain't exactly bad, that's four matches which anyone can enjoy (Taker/Angle sucked) and everyone's happy.

    Bash at the Beach meanwhile had 11 matches. Let's ignore the wedding gown match (hey, I favour towards the WWF so don't anyone insult MY intelligence). Six out of the remaining 10 were completely clean (clean match, pinfall ending, everyone's happy, even if Vamp/Demon sucked), two (Kanyon/Booker and Buff/Douglas) had interference, one (US) was just plain stupid and we all know of the OTHER one.

    So what's to complain about?

    Chris Page

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