There’s nothing better than having hometown pride. Everybody should be proud of where they come from. In the world of wrestling, many wrestlers have different characters from different states, but we won’t be looking at that here.
We’re going to look at where these wrestlers were actually born (in most cases), and name the best wrestler to come from each state until we’ve hit all 50. In this article, we will cover the first 25, from Alabama to Missouri.
Bobby Eaton – Huntsville, AL
Dennis Condrey – Florence, AL
So it may be weird starting off with two guys for one state, but how can you split up the Midnight Express? Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey were apart of one of the greatest tag teams to ever grace the ring. Together, they won multiple tag titles in multiple promotions. Even though Condrey founded the Midnight Express with Randy Rose, Bobby Eaton would join Condrey when Eaton was traded to Mid-South Wrestling.
Honorable Mentions – Sherri Martel
Kenny Kaos – Anchorage, AK
Many of you may be saying “who?” and it may not be the last time you say it here. Kenny Kaos wrestled under WCW back in 1996 under the name Kenny Shaw. Kaos formed a tag team with Robbie Rage named High Voltage. Kaos would eventually become WCW World Tag Team Champions with Rick Steiner. Kaos retired from wrestling in 1999.
Honorable Mentions – N/A
Shawn Michaels – Chandler, AZ
What is there to say about The Heartbreak Kid? Mr. WrestleMania. Michaels began his WWF career in 1987, as a part of The Rockers with Marty Jannetty, and D-Generation X with Triple H and a slew of others. Michaels retired (for the second time) in 2010 after a 26 year career. He’s considered one of the greatest wrestlers of all time and has won multiple World Championships and Intercontinental Championships in his tenure.
Honorable Mentions – “Superstar” Billy Graham, Gory Guerrero
Sid Eudy – West Memphis, AR
Sycho Sid, Sid Vicious or just plain old Sid, Sid Eudy was a big name in WCW and WWF in the early 90’s, despite being seen as an overrated performer by some. Sid is a 6-time World Champion between WWF and WCW, and even main-evented WrestleMania and Starrcade on multiple occasions, spanning his 30 year career.
Honorable Mentions – Bobo Brazil
The Rock – Hayward, CA
California has provided us with a lot of amazingly talented wrestlers, but none of them bigger than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Rock made his in-ring debut at Survivor Series 1996, where he was the sole survivor of the match. The rocket was strapped to his back at that point. Rock joined The Nation of Domination as a newly turned heel and would go on to have one of the greatest careers in WWE history, becoming an 8-time WWE Champion.
Honorable Mentions – Rey Mysterio, The Young Bucks, Samoa Joe
“Dr. Death” Steve Williams – Lakewood, CO
“Dr. Death” Steve Williams was a former All-American football player at the University of Oklahoma. Williams teamed up with Terry Gordy and held the tag team titles in WCW, NWA and All Japan Pro Wrestling. Williams and Gordy were voted Tag Team of the Year in 1992, and Williams even received Match of the Year honors for his tag match between him and Johnny Ace against Mitsuharu Misawa and Jun Akiyama in 1996.
Honorable Mentions – N/A
Mercedes Martinez – Waterbury, CT
Mercedes Martinez began wrestling in 2000, and was a part of the inaugural event of the female exclusive wrestling promotion Shimmer Women Athletes, where she held their World title twice. Martinez had stints in ROH, World Xtreme Wrestling, and even took part in both WWE Mae Young Classic events, as well as AEW’s 2nd Casino Battle Royale. Martinez had a lot of success in the independent scene garnering a following of dedicated fans in her time.
Honorable Mentions – Matt Morgan, Velvet Sky
The Briscoe Brothers – Laurel, DE
Jay and Mark Briscoe have been a terrific tag team for some time. They currently wrestler for Ring of Honor, where they are ROH World Tag Team Champions for an ROH record 11 times. The Briscoe Borthers held the IWGP Tag Team Championships in NJPW. They were also named Tag Team of the Year in 2007. In singles actions, Jay is a two-time ROH World Champion, while Mark won the 2013 Honor Rumble.
Honorable Mentions – Brickhouse Brown
Hulk Hogan – Port Tampa, FL
So this is one of those “most cases” that I was talking about earlier. Technically, the Hulkster was born in Augusta, Georgia, however, his mother and father packed up and moved to Port Tampa almost the very next day. Hogan’s legacy on the wrestling business is well documented. He’s a 6-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, a 6-time WWF/E World Heavyweight Champion, as well as an IWGP Heavyweight Champion. His heel turn when he joined the NWO is regarded as one of the best heel turns in wrestling history.
Honorable Mentions – Lita, Michael P.S. Hayes, Robert Gibson
AJ Styles – Gainesville- GA
Here’s another one of those “most cases”. AJ Styles was born at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. However he moved to Georgia relatively after. Styles wrestled in Ring of Honor in 2002, before joining and eventually becoming the face of TNA in 2004. Styles is a two-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion, a 6-time X Division Champion, and also a 3 time NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Styles joined the WWE in 2016 at the Royal Rumble. As of writing this, Styles is a two-time WWE Champion, and a 3-time United States Champion.
Honorable Mentions – Cody Rhodes, Arn Anderson, Ron Simmons
Don Muraco – Sunset Beach, HI
Don Muraco debuted in the WWF in 1981 and would immediately win the Intercontinental Champion that June, under the management of The Grand Wizard. Muraco would also be voted Wrestling Observer’s Best Heel of 1981. Muraco retired from wrestling in 1995 as a two-time Intercontinental Champion, the 1985 King of the Ring and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004.
Honorable Mentions – Mr. Fuji, Jeff Cobb
Torrie Wilson – Boise, ID
Torrie Wilson got her start in WCW when she attended a show with her boyfriend in 1999. She was actually picked to walk Scott Steiner to the ring, when Kevin Nash was reportedly interested in a storyline involving Wilson. Wilson eventually made her way to the WWE, where she wouldn’t hold any championships, but would definitely leave her mark on the WWE fans. Wilson retired from wrestling in 2008, and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2019.
Honorable Mentions – N/A
CM Punk – Chicago, IL
We all know who he is, we’ve all heard his name chanted in arenas around the country, and for good reason as well. Punk’s WWE start took place in Ohio Valley Wrestling in 2005. Before that, Punk was a big name on the indies, even wrestling for Ring of Honor and TNA Wrestling. Punk would become a 3-time World Heavyweight Champion, and a 2-time WWE Champion, having one of the best WWE Championship runs in quite some time, before leaving the company in 2014.
Honorable Mentions – Bobby Heenan (Manager), Larry Zbyszko
Ultimate Warrior – Crawfordsville, IN
At one point, The Ultimate Warrior was wrestling. Everything about him was just beyond marketable. He was big and strong, he had tassels on his arms and colorful face paint and ran down to the ring like a mad man. People loved him. Warrior ended up becoming a two-time Intercontinental Champion and a WWF Champion. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014, however he unfortunately passed away just 3 days after his Hall of Fame speech. Warriors impact on the wrestling world will live on forever.
Honorable Mentions – Mick Foley, Terry Funk, Dick The Bruiser
Frank Gotch – Humboldt, IA
Many in the wrestling world believe that without Frank Gotch, wrestling wouldn’t be anything that it is today. Before Gotch, wrestlers still used the traditional Greco Roman style. However, Gotch wrestled a catch-as catch-can, or “shoot” wrestling style. It was more fast paced and was seen as more appealing to the eye. Gotch competed when contests were largely legit, and Gotch would incredibly hold the World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship from 1908 to 1913.
Honorable Mentions – Seth Rollins
“Cowboy” Bob Orton – Kansas City, KS
The Anoa’i Family, the Hart Family, and the Orton Family. Three of the most historic families in wrestling, and Cowboy Bob Orton is one of the most brutal wrestlers in all three. Bob Orton bounced around early in his career, making stops in the NWA, NJPW, WCW and the WWF/E. Most of Orton’s success came in companies other than the WWE, being a multiple tag team champion in multiple promotions. Despite this, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.
Honorable Mentions – Bobby Lashley
Ricochet – Paducah, KY
In an interview with the WWE, Ricochet said he was actually born in Alton, Illinois, however he moved to Paducah, Kentucky when he was three years old. And considering the alternatives, I just couldn’t leave Ricochet out of this. The wrestling world started taking notice of Ricochet during his time in Chikara, but would eventually make his way to Pro Wrestling Guerilla, where he spent a total of 8 years. Ricochet made his NXT debut in 2018, but was put on Raw a little over a year later, and just two months into his Raw career, captured the United States Championship. Ricochet is definitely going to be a mainstay in the WWE for years to come.
Honorable Mentions – N/A
“Big Cat” Ernie Ladd
Ernie Ladd was a baaaaad man. “Big Cat” was actually a professional football player, playing with the San Diego Chargers for 4 years. He won the AFL Championship with the Chargers in 1963, and was a 4-time AFL All-Star. Ladd got his start in wrestling in 1961 when local San Diego wrestlers challenged him to a match as a publicity stunt. Ladd made appearances in NWA, WWF and WCW. He was inducted into the WCW Hall of Fame in 1994, and the WWF Hall of Fame in 1995, and for several years was the only wrestler to be inducted into both halls. Ladd was also inducted into the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame.
Honorable Mentions – Jazz
Scotty 2 Hotty – Westbrook, ME
“Turn it up!”. I know what you’re probably thinking; “Scotty 2 Hotty?! Really?!” Yes, really. Even though he was seen as more of a joke wrestler, Scotty 2 Hotty was entertaining as all hell. The master of The Worm, Scotty started as a jobber in the WWF until he teamed up with Brian Christopher to form “Too Cool”. In his time with the WWE, Scotty 2 Hotty is a Light Heavyweight Champion, and a two-time WWE Tag Team Champion. The guy was fed a bad role, but made the best of it and was damn sure entertaining at the height of the Attitude Era.
Honorable Mentions – Fandango
Scott Hall – St. Mary’s County, MD
Scott Hall’s rise to the top came when he joined the WWF as Razor Ramon, and became one of the best Intercontinental Championships of all time. Hall eventually left the WWF with Kliq member Kevin Nash to join the competition in WCW, starting (once again) one of the best factions in wrestling history, the nWo. When WCW closed its doors, Hall had small stints in ECW and NJPW before returning to the WWE, but never really recapturing any of the shine he had during his run as Razor, or his run in WCW, but was a big part of TNA Wrestling at one point.
Honorable Mentions – Stacy Keibler, Eli Drake
John Cena – West Newbury, MA
Probably the biggest name in the WWE since Hulk Hogan, Cena made a name for himself from the first time he uttered the phrase “ruthless aggression”. Cena is a 13-time WWE Champion, a 3-time World Heavyweight Champion, and a 5-time United States Champion. He was Wrestling Observer’s Wrestler of the Year in 2007 and 2010 and won Match of the Year, and Feud of the Year in 2011 for his work at CM Punk, culminating at the 2011 Money in the Bank.
Honorable Mentions – Eddie Edwards, Sasha Banks, Tommaso Ciampa
Kevin Nash – Detroit, MI
Before he was “Big Daddy Cool”, Kevin Nash was known as The Master Blaster, and was then repackaged as Oz, which was pretty much the wizard from The Wizard of Oz in WCW. He would then be called Vinnie Vegas, before leaving WCW and becoming Diesel in the WWF, serving as the muscle for Shawn Michaels. Just like his friend Scott Hall, Nash defected back to WCW, forming the nWo, but would return to WWE after WCW folded. He had more success in his return to WWE than Hall did, but joined Hall in TNA, wrestling there for 11 years.
Honorable Mentions – George “The Animal” Steele, Rob Van Dam, Scott Steiner
Verne Gagne – Corcoran, MN
When you talk about wrestling, Verne Gagne’s name will come up. Gagne was an amateur wrestler for the University of Minnesota, where he captured two NCAA Championships, and was even selected as an alternate for the 1948 Olympic Games. Gagne would go on to run the American Wrestling Association (AWA) which was widely popular in the 60’s through the 70’s and became the companies biggest name. He finished a 10-time AWA World Heavyweight Champion, and a four-time AWA World Tag Team Champion. Gagne was inducted into the WCW Hall of Fame in 1993, as well as the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.
Honorable Mentions – Bob Backlund, Curt Hennig
Kamala – Senatobia, MS
Even though Kamala was billed from Uganda, he was actually born in the great state of Mississippi. According to Kamala himself, his upbringing wasn’t all that great, and it wasn’t until he moved to Michigan in his mid-20’s when he met up with Bobo Brazil who trained him in wrestling. Kamala went on to wrestle in many different promotions before joining the WWF at the suggestion of Andre the Giant. He left and returned to the WWF multiple times, even joining WCW at the suggestion of Hulk Hogan.
Honorable Mentions – N/A
Harley Race – Quitman, MO
The late great Harley Race is easily one of the top 10 wrestlers of all time. Race got his big start in Verne Gagne’s aforementioned AWA, before spending time with the NWA, the WWF and WCW. Race has one of the most impressive resumes of any wrestler in history. He has a total of 10 Hall of Fame rings to go along with a resounding 38 World Championships across multiple different companies. He was voted Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Wrestler of the Year in 1980 and 1981 and received their Match of the Year honors for his 1983 Starrcade match against Ric Flair.
Honorable Mentions – Nick Bockwinkel, Randy Orton
Be sure to check back to GCSN for the best wrestlers from Montana to Wyoming!
Featured Photo: Mike Rosa/GCSN
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