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Foreign Wrestling Heel
aka: Evil Foreigner

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Introducing first, from Bombay India...
"I'm not from here! I have my own customs! Look at my craaaaaazy passport!"
The Foreigner, Futurama, "Raging Bender"

The Foreign Wrestling Heel, a.k.a. Evil Foreigner, is one of the major stock characters of Professional Wrestling. He's from another country, and loves his own country and hates America. Usually, the reason for this is because Americans (and American wrestling fans specifically) lack something that his country has in spades (or so he believes). For example, Brits and Frenchmen may look down on Americans because they lack class and sophistication; Japanese, because Americans lack honor; and Canadians, because Americans lack respect for wrestling tradition. These are the most common varieties of Foreign Wrestling Heel, but far from the only ones; one particular instance, Ludvig Borga, was an evil Finn who hated Americans because he felt Americans lacked respect for the environment.

A Foreign Wrestling Heel will often feud with an All-American Face; the typical climactic match to this feud is a Flag Match, where the flags of the two nations of the participants are placed upon opposite turnbuckles, and the winner is the first man to recover his own flag and wave it. Clashes with the Foreign Wrestling Heel generally cause International Showdowns by Proxy like this, as he is usually the villain in those situations.

If the Foreign Wrestling Heel doesn't speak English — or, in cases like Wild Samoans, at all — they will have a Heel manager to speak for them and draw additional heat for them.

During the Cold War, many (perhaps most) Foreign Wrestling Heels were Soviets, and spoke proudly of Communism and Glorious Mother Russia. It was difficult to find a wrestling promotion that didn't have an Evil Russian or three kicking around. Perhaps the best known of these was Nikita Koloff, and he also became the biggest subversion of the trope; when his arch-nemesis, MagnumTA, suffered a career-ending injury in a car accident, Nikita decided Magnum was a Worthy Opponent, gained a new found respect for him, and all Americans by extension, and dedicated the remainder of his wrestling career to his fallen foe; he thus became the first Russian face and did so without renouncing Communism or the Soviet Union.

Note that it is possible to be foreign and not a Foreign Wrestling Heel; however, the instant one shows any pride in being from a country that is not the US, he starts down the path to becoming one. Canada's Bret Hart, for example, wrestled most of his career as a face with his Canadian-ness being treated as an afterthought (unlike, say, the obviously Canadian heel The Mountie), until his 1997 heel turn, when he became proudly Canadian and launched a feud with all American fans and wrestlers. This led to him being a hated heel in in the States, but unsurprisingly led to his becoming loved even more by Canadian fans. Also, it's not necessary for the Foreign Wrestling Heel to be an actual foreigner. Simply looking foreign or having foreign ancestry is often enough for a wrestler to be given a Foreign Wrestling Heel gimmick (don't think too hard about this when it comes to American wrestling).

Lest the gentle reader think this is solely a gimmick for culturally insensitive Americans, this trope is Older Than Feudalism. In Ancient Rome's Gladiator Games, it was common to advertise matches as representing a showdown between Rome's finest warriors and their Samnite/Gaul/Thracian opponents. In more modern times, consider the team of Art Barr, Eddie Guerrero, and Louie "Madonna's Boyfriend" Spiccoli, who wrestled as Los Gringos Locos in Mexican federation AAA, and were Evil American Foreigners. Likewise, many Japanese promotions have had their fair share of evil foreigners: All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling using them extensively for the first ten years of its existence, especially women from the USA based WWWA and AGWA, and New Japan Pro-Wrestling used this as the defining concept that began the launch. note 

This trope can also be played with if the wrestling company does shows in multiple countries. During shows in those other countries, the All-American Face becomes the heel, while the wrestler Americans vilify as a foreign heel becomes a beloved face, only to switch back when the company does a show in the U.S.

If a Foreign Wrestling Heel is particularly hated by the crowd, listen for them to chant of "USA! USA! USA!", even if his opponents that evening aren't Americans. If a Foreign Wrestling Heel's one and only heelish trait is his foreignness and non-American patriotism, he may end up popular in the nation he supposedly hails from, and even get temporarily treated as a face if his promotion does a show in his alleged home country.


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    Pro Wrestling 
  • Played straight with CHIKARA's rudo (bad guy) stable, Die Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (BDK), a group of malcontents and traitors, led by Swiss wrestlers Ares and Claudio Castagnoli. They came out to Rammstein's "Engel", and were introduced by their own personal ring announcer, Jakob Hammermeier, in German.
  • Claudio Castagnoli got signed by WWE and became Antonio Cesaro and later just Cesaro, an evil rugby-playing polyglot from Switzerland who really doesn't like Americans. Until he was made part of a Tea Party piss-take known as the "Real Americans." While the announcers still played up his Swiss heritage (This was a bit of a retread to the "Real American Heroes" Karl Anderson and Joey Ryan vs "Los Luchas" feud in the NWA). It was explained that Cesaro loved America, but hated Americans. Averted now that he's in AEW and part of the Blackpool Combat Club stable; while the stable has shifted from tweeners to heels to faces, its gimmick pretty much ignores nationalities.
  • In the 1960s, the UK was invaded by Ignatius and Tony, the Borg Twins of Malta.
  • In the '70s, the golden age of English Freestyle wrestling, villains were often Americans who thought they could bully everyone else 'cos their country was so big and powerful. Examples include the Iron Greek (played as American, not Greek) and The Mighty Quinn (may actually have been Canadian, but played as Brit-despising American).
  • In fact, Americans often play the Foreign Wrestling Heel abroad, particularly in Mexican wrestling. The WWF even did a "USA vs Canada" feud in the mid-90s where the face and heel roles were switched according to the country the matches were taking place in.
  • Stampede Wrestling in the 80s had manager J.R. Foley, who dressed up as Hirohito and Hitler at ringside.
  • Sgt. Slaughter played the All-American Face through most of his WWF career, but he Face–Heel Turn into the Foreign Wrestling Heel by becoming an Iraqi sympathizer amidst the Gulf War. Shortly after ending his Feud with Hulk Hogan, Slaughter did a Heel–Face Turn back into the All-American Face using a series of ultra cheesy "Winning America back" vignettes.
  • Mr. Fuji became an Evil Japanese manager when he retired, and his most famous client was the Evil Polynesian-born sumo wrestler Yokozuna, his only client to ever win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship while he was manager.
  • Wrestling has a long history of the Evil Arab (which may even be a trope in itself). However, most are of the silent mysterious type instead of the obnoxious Foreign Wrestling Heel type.
    • The Great Hossein Arab, who later became The Iron Sheik (Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, from Iran and not really Arab) set the standard for the obnoxious Foreign Wrestling Heel type, and his famous "Camel Clutch" has become the standard finisher for many Evil Arabs since, even though it was invented by Gory Guerrero and a staple of El Santo.
    • General Skandor Akbar (born Jim Wehba in Vernon, Texas, though of Lebanese descent) had a short wrestling career, but made up for it by becoming the Evil Arab Manager, and nearly inventing the heel stable during his feud with the Von Erichs in WCCW.
    • Muhammad Hassan, an Evil Arab—excuse me, Evil Arab-American—who appeared in 2004-2005 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks (ethnically Italian and Jordanian). Despite completely averting this trope, people accuse him and Daivari of playing a Foreign Wrestling Heel. His gimmick was so controversial that he was fired after the July 2005 terrorist bombings in London. Rumor has it Hassan was booked to win the World Heavyweight Championship before this happened. Then they turn around praise TNA's treatment of Sheik Abdul Bashir (aka Hassan's manager Daivari) even though he played the pretty much the exact same character that he did in WWE, only speaking more English. Then again, it was never the fans that were responsible for Hassan's firing; between his memetic value and the fact that he was one of the WWE's best heels at the time, fans loved to hate him.
    • There was also GLOW's Palestina, a sword(!?) wielding Palestinian (they speak Arabic) terrorist who would try to cut people when she got frustrated during matches.
    • Al Farat and Zuezah are an evil Arab tag team (Zuezah is an Indian and Al Farat is an Amerindian)
    • A bazillion percent averted (so far) in WWE's NXT with the Syrian-Canadian Sami Zayn. Once confronted the polyglot Cesaro by showing off his own linguistic skills in both Arabic and French, and wears a flag patch on his tights for every nation in which he's wrestled. He's presented as the nicest male roster member by a mile, to the point that his competitors have said that his lack of a "killer instinct" is what has kept him from winning in his biggest matches. It's likely helped by the fact that he doesn't "look" like an Arab because of his fair skin and red hair, but his worldliness is an integral part of the character. Even when he was turned heel on the main roster his ethnicity was never made part of his gimmick.
  • Fritz Von Erich (patriarch of the Adkisson wrestling family) used the "Von Erich" name as a gimmick with a tag team partner as "The Nazi Brothers".
    • Interestingly, the Von Erich Claw was originally named "The Iron Claw" to reinforce the Nazi gimmick. The Iron Claw became the common name for the move afterwards.
  • Subverted by the dual Foreign Wrestling Heel feud between "The Belfast Bruiser" Fit Finlay (Irish heel) and Lord Steven Regal (British heel) in WCW, one of the few times in wrestling history where the "USA vs the World" cliche was avoided, and some sense of the conflicts and hatred between other countries was actually recognized and addressed.
  • In the early days of wrestling in Japan, during a time where hatred and fear of the US is legendary (mostly due to the use of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki), white wrestlers were brought in to be beaten by Japanese wrestlers, the pioneer being Rikidozan, himself Korean born, and later continued in the legendary New Japan Pro-Wrestling (created by Antonio Inoki) and All Japan Pro Wrestling (created by Giant Baba). This was averted eventually and many wrestlers have obtained fame and respect in Japan (as fan favorites, no less) who wouldn't get it otherwise, way more than vice versa.
    • Subverted later when the psychology of professional wrestling asserted itself, and the Japanese fans began to appreciate good ring workers like Bruiser Brody, holding a parade in his honor at his funeral.
    • To this day, Big Van Vader [Leon White] is a legend in Japan. He's a good example of catching on because at first his wins were feared for causing riots. Later, he became one of the most popular wrestlers in the country.
    • Many Westerners, by sheer force of talent, have gained acceptance in Japan, and have been allowed to win titles and beat established Japanese wrestlers. The list includes "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, Chris Benoit, nWo Sting, Johnny Ace, Eddie Guerrero, and many more.
    • Mick Foley. His Cactus Jack persona and death matches are considered legendary in Japan.
    • But don't get the wrong idea, "Zenjo" wasn't the only promotion that relied on evil foreigners for a decade. All Japan had a notoriously shallow roster, the 1990s being largely summed up as "the four pillars" (Toshiaki Kawada, Mitsuharu Misawa, Kenta Kobashi and Akira Taue) fight gaijins while other native stars like Jun Akiyama fail to break into the main event.
    • While this formula was the default for much of 20th century Japanese pro wrestling, a few gaijin managed to subvert it as early as the 1970s. These were:
      • Billy Robinson, whose first significant work outside of Europe was for the International Wrestling Enterprise. The IWE, who leaned hard on their unique connections to European promoters to compensate for their slim native talent and lack of NWA membership, made him the first gaijin ace in puro history.
      • The Destroyer. The famed masked heel never became a babyface, exactly, but when he became the first gaijin ever signed to a full-time contract, his heel schtick became more endearing than villainous, arguably becoming one of the earliest examples of a comedy wrestler in puroresu. It helped that, for much of the time he was under contract, Destroyer was pulling double duty as a cast member on a popular variety show.
      • Mil Máscaras, whose "thousand masks" gimmick and lucha stylings made him very popular with Japanese children at his peak.
      • Finally, the Funks, Dory Jr. and Terry, particularly the latter. While the two were definitely heels in the first stretch of their work in Japan, this shifted after AJPW's 1977 year-end tag tournament, when Terry's legendary babyface performance in their match against Abdullah the Butcher and the Sheik shifted their perception overnight. By the time of Terry's first retirement in 1983, he was the biggest babyface a gaijin had ever been.
  • The Evil Japanese has also surfaced regularly.
    • Rikidozan, the father of Japanese puroresu, made a name for himself by touring in the US after being discriminated against for being Korean as a sumo wrestler in Japan, and yes, portrayed as a heel in the US.
    • The Great Kabuki would often use "the green mist" as a cheat during matches.
    • Keiji Mutoh, aka The Great Muta, was initially introduced in the National Wrestling Alliance as the son of the Great Kabuki, and also used the mist gimmick.
    • Hakushi, heel because he's from overseas and little else (a monk on pilgrimage, how vile!). However, the WWF later portrayed him, Shinja and Bull Nakano as unwitting pawns of Jerry Lawler, rather than being evil because of their ethnicity/nationality.
    • Yokozuna and Rikishi, both Samoan wrestlers, were given "former sumo wrestler" gimmicks, and Yokozuna spent the majority of his career as a heel. Also, Yokozuna's character was Japanese, despite Rodney Anoa'i being Polynesian. You'll notice Yokozuna almost never spoke except for his catchphrase "BANZAI!"; this is because Anoa'i was actually born and raised in California and could not pull off a Japanese accent. As a result, Mr. Fuji did all the speaking for him.
    • Antonio Inoki, a consummate professional and one of the "living legends" of Japan, was also given the heel tag in the US. However, given that he (beat) fought to a draw with Muhammad Ali in an exhibition match during Ali's "Take on all comers" world tour, he probably deserved it.
    • Ring of Honor averted this trope for a long time with Japanese wrestlers like the silent badass KENTA and guest stars from Dragon Gate (who were face or heel due to having pre-established gimmicks, rather than due to being Japanese). Then they brought in Pro Wrestling NOAH's Takeshi Morishima, a 300 lb. Lightning Bruiser who menaced the fans, disrespected his opponents, and aggravated Bryan Danielson's eye injury after promising not to. The xenophobia was never played up, but Morishima was very clearly an outsider (if only due to not working for ROH full-time).
    • Played straight by WWF tag team "the devils of Japan". The name says it all. However, they kept the name when they went back to Japan.
    • In the old days where pro wrestling was a legit sport, the first Japanese wrestling heel before Rikidozan was a man born Koujiro Matsuda, known in sumo as Torakichi and known to the American wrestling world as Sorakichi Matsuda after a corruption of his first name and sumo name. Probably the Ur-Example of Foreign Wrestling Heel in America.
  • Averted by one of the devils later when she went solo as Bull Nakano, who was still heel but not of this type. Then inverted when Nakano took the WWF women's title to AJW. She emulated the Unstoppable All American Face, and Alundra Blayze the hopeless foreigner.
  • Unlike Rikidozan, Killer Kim came to the USA in the 1980s, so he was allowed to still be a Korean when he was given the evil foreigner gimmick.
  • Gail Kim's hometown was changed from Toronto, Ontario, Canada to "A Native of Korea" when she was working for WWE and they started running shows in Canada.
  • English-speaking foreigners usually subvert or avoid this trope.
    • Any attempt to use Canadians or Mexicans for cheap Foreign Wrestling Heel heat has never lasted. The Hart Foundation, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Gino Hernandez, and others have had some heel turns, but the majority of their careers were as faces.
      • Played very much straight for Lance Storm in WCW and WWE, leading a Team Canada in WCW and going so far as to rename the US, Cruiserweight and Hardcore titles the Canadian, 100kg And Under and Saskatchewan Hardcore International Titles respectively.
      • In the WWE Storm formed a similar stable called the Un-Americans. The main difference is that while Team Canada was pro-Canada, the Un-Americans were blatantly anti-America, right down to multiple intentional attempts to burn the United States Flag.
    • British wrestlers, on the other hand, have had mixed success maintaining heel status. "Exotic" Adrian Street sees your brain damaged cowboys like "Wildcat" Wendell Cooley and their rodeos as competitions to show off who can ride the worst. You'd never see such clumsy horsemanship from a British man. Now go watch a fox hunt, colonials!
    • The British Bulldogs (singles or doubles) were always brought back as faces. William Regal has been a heel for most of his career (though he did have a brief face turn when he gained "special" wrestler Eugene as a tag-team partner and Morality Pet), as well as Fit Finlay. Finlay was intended to be pure heel, but ended up having his share of face turns because the no-nonsense gimmick of an Irishman who "loves to fight" appealed to fans... and then the WWE teamed him up with a leprechaun. Really. "Gentleman" Chris Adams started as a face and then took a long turn as a heel. The British Invastion (Brutus Magnus and Doug Williams) had a long heel run in TNA's tag division; after the breakup, both wrestlers have gone from heel to face.
    • All Pro Wrestling has had several evil Canadians, such as Aeon Flexx in the Florida company, who opposed the nation he wrestled in playing its own national anthem and the Ballard Brothers in the California company, evil hockey players.
  • Wade Barrett as well has spent his WWE career as a heel.
    • Australian wrestlers are virtually ignored, or if their immigrant status is known, it is not used as a source of Foreign Wrestling Heel heat.
      • Although this might not be the fault of the wrestlers themselves, Australian national symbols are rather inherently humorous. From 1957-1983, The Fabulous Kangaroos used "Waltzing Matilda" as their entrance music.
      • The Bushwhackers were The Sheepherders turned face. And they were from New Zealand.
      • The Sheepherders' manager, Lord Jonathan Boyd, drew major heel heat for his vitriolic anti-American comments during their time in Southwest Championship/Texas All-Star Wrestling.
      • There was also Nathan Jones, although he was more of a heel due to his criminal past rather than being Australian.
      • In his days with World-Class Championship Wrestling, the Ultimate Warrior was known as "Dingo Warrior" and tried to play up an assumed Australian origin for heel heat. It didn't last, partly because he signed with the WWF soon after.
      • The most notable aversion of this trope is Tony Garea, the New Zealand-born wrestler who spent virtually his entire wrestling career in the WWF, all as a face; today, he is a road agent for what is now WWE and still makes sporadic on-camera appearances.
    • The Mountie (Jacques Rougeau), who later teamed with Carl "Pierre" Ouelette as The Quebecers, and even had a theme song that spoofed The Mountie's, played the Foreign Wrestling Heel for laughs.
    • TNA had its own Team Canada, though it included nobody who had been in either the FMW or the WCW groups with the same name.
  • TNA stable World Elite was a gang of Foreign Wrestling Heels from all over the world who had come together as a global community to all hate America together.
  • Kaientai subverted this trope, as they turned face by turning up the evil foreigner gimmick.
  • A rare (white) South African heel: Colonel DeBeers (who made no effort to affect an appropriate accent).
    • Then in the late 90's there was the short-lived, pseudo-fascist Truth Commission, which was supposed to be a stable of South African commandos (who would refer to South Africa as the "Fatherland"). Once the head of the stable (The Commandant) was released, the South African angle would be eased up and eventually they would disband.
      • The WWF made the mistake of introducing The Commandant in a vignette that they aired.... while on tour in South Africa. In 1997, less than a decade after the end of apartheid. The crowd did not react well.
    • Leo Kruger, whose gimmick is similar to a poacher.
  • Evil Russian:
    • Vladimir Kozlov's was pretty much the bad guy because he was a native of the Soviet Union (born in Ukraine billed as Russian) even though he came to WWE long after the Soviet Union had dissolved.
    • As was Nikolai Volkoff, a Russian heel until he teamed with the Iron Sheik, then he was also a heel for his atrocious singing (always of the Soviet National Anthem). When paired with the Iranian Iron Sheik, the two formed arguably the most hated duo in the WWF, if not all of professional wrestling, particularly for their anti-American promos. (Surprisingly, two avowed Americans — "Classy" Freddie Blassie and Slick — went right along with their promos.)
    • Ivan Koloff, who was really from Canada, qualifies as well. Nikita Koloff mentioned above also counted before his face turn.
    • Colonel Ninotchka was yet another in the line of evil soviets whose face turn was brought on by moving to France, which apparently wasn't as evil a place to be proud of in the eyes of the audience.
    • Parodied in CHIKARA by MosCow, The Communist Bovine.
    • Evil Russian Alex Koslov works well enough in places like AAA, but was unexpectedly popular in ROH. When he demanded everyone to stand for the Russian National Anthem at NJPW Power Struggle 2012 the crowd complied and despite singing horribly they clapped!
  • Super Mex Hernandez played an evil Mexican in the USA and evil US American while in Mexico, back to back. For the record he is really Puerto Rican.
  • The Great Khali was an evil Indian with an evil Persian-American manager until Daivari was swapped out for another Indian.
  • Jinder Mahal was also an evil Indian, but as Khali was a face by then he was evil more because of his entitlement and bullying than for his nationality. He could have played the Canadian heel as well—while of Indian origin, he was born and raised in Calgary.
  • FWE made Sonjay Dutt into an evil Indian and billed him from Bollywood (his parents are originally from New Delhi, and he was born in Washington, D.C.).
  • Cheerleader Melissa worked in TNA as Awesome Kong's manager Raisha Saeed, who was billed from Syria.
  • Briefly inverted in 2013 in the feud between Jack Swagger and Alberto Del Rio. The former played an all-American athlete of the type who would typically be a face - except that he was managed by Dutch "Zeb Colter" Mantell, playing the part of a Tea Party extremist who despised immigrants and Latinos in particular. The latter, an openly and proudly Mexican aristocrat, was presented as an All-American Face who represented the ideal of America as a land of equality and opportunity. Once their feud ended, however, Del Rio would go back to playing a straight heel who hated Americans because they never cheered for him all that enthusiastically when he was a good guy.
  • Killer Khan crossed this with Fake Nationality, as he was a Japanese wrestler playing a Mongolian.
  • The Fabulous Kangaroos represented Australia and could provoke riots.
  • 2014 saw the WWE debut of Alexander Rusev, a Bulgarian strongman (who was in fact actually born in Bulgaria) who often enters the ring accompanied by the Bulgarian national anthem, cut promos in Bulgarian and Russian and was presented as speaking almost no English, and was accompanied to the ring by Lana, a steel-hearted Russian villainess (played by CJ Perry, an American who lived in the USSR/Latvia as a child, who later married Rusev in real life).
    • For a short time, they were paired with Aiden English. Prior to the group's Heel–Face Turn into "Rusev Day", all three would get taunted with "USA!"... despite Aiden English being billed from his actual home of Chicago, and English only being a last name.
  • Ring of Honor has Prince Nana, an evil Ashanti prince from Ghana, west Africa (he was born in the United States but moved to Ghana as a child).
  • In case you thought AAA was done with this trope, they would later bring out La Legion Extranjera, led by evil Cuban Konnan and containing Las Gringas Locas amongst its members.
  • Reached surreal levels in CMLL's when La Nazi teamed up with Los Boricuas. They've also been invaded numerous times by rudos from New Japan Pro-Wrestling known as La Ola Amarilla, though the first incarnation had All Japan's Shigeo "Anti-Mexico" Okumura as a founder. Okumura would later go on to form La Fiebre Amarilla, which was joined with La Ola when more New Japan wrestlers came in to continue the proud trouble making tradition.
  • New Japan of course has had to deal with its own groups of evil foreigners. The Bullet Club, a Multinational Team originally consisting entirely of Westerners and Pacific Islanders, made a lot of waves when it snatched up AJ Styles after he departed from TNA. Bullet Club are not necessarily heels because they are Western, but because they represent the Western style of wrestling and are seen as disrespectful in the Japanese wrestling world. They emulate American heel stables like the New World Order and D-Generation X (partly because their initial leaders were massive fans of The Kliq), and like those stables, they've gained a sizable fan following despite being the bad guys.
  • Christie Ricci was an evil USAmerican in Mexico, declaring war on "all Lucha Libres", whom she viewed as being resentful of her success. However it was somewhat subverted as she was warmly accepted by fans of the Monterrey enterprise LLF.
  • A more successful LLF example was American Angel, though she was the exception as The Killer Babes: April Hunter and "La Gringa" Nikki Roxx, Portuguese Princess Ariel, Canadian Dark Angel and just about every other foreigner they brought in got face pops, until finally Nina Monet got enough heat to play this trope straight and make Aja Perera into an evil Brazilian by association.
  • Caribbean television show International Wrestling and The Dominican Wrestling Federation had an evil Ecuadorian in Savinovich Hugo and an evil German in Hans Mueller.
  • Ray González lead an invasion of AAA wrestlers into WWC, only for the Mexicans to turn on him. WWC has also had trouble with Mexican America (which only had one Mexican in it, two members were Puerto Ricans playing evil foreigners in a Puerto Rican Promotion, which you can trace to their TNA origins)
  • The WWC also had a long running Dominican problem in El Bronco #s 1, 2 & 3 plus their manager, Eli Rodriguez. Hans von Doering would prove to be an even eviler foreigner when he attacked Bronco #3 after an upset loss to him and buried Bronco with the German flag.
  • The Puerto Rican IWA had the British Militia (who were not all British), The Dominican Revolution and the Arabians. They were big enough examples to turn El Illegal Chicano, a man who was openly acknowledged as not being Mexican but identified more with them after being told he looked like one, into a baby face.
  • The World Wrestling League has La Real Fuerza Aérea, a stable of narcissistic nationalistic Mexicans. However, WWL doing shows all over the world means they are the heroes when the promotion operates in Mexico.
  • When the World Wrestling League was in Mexico, El León' Apolo said that since Setzuco was not Puerto Rican she was not worthy of announcing his entrance on the grounds that Puerto Ricans dominate the "Mexican shorties" in all sports, listing several Puerto Rican boxers such as Wilfredo Gómez, Félix "Tito" Trinidad and Miguel Cotto, who had beaten Mexican boxers.
  • Roughly Obsess & Destroy, or RO&D, was a heel stable that ran roughshod over All Japan Pro Wrestling in the early-to-mid 2000s, consisting almost entirely of American ex-WWE wrestlers. See also the Voodoo Murders, which was a similar group that dismantled a newly-face-turned RO&D to replace them.
  • In the old days when pro wrestling was a legit sport, the second well known foreign wrestling heel was Yusuf Ismail a.k.a. The Terrible Turk from Turkey. He came along with two other countrymen to challenge the wrestlers in Paris, France and was unbeatable, showing to be a brutal wrestler even against his own countrymen. After three years of domination in Paris, he moved to America, where he continued to dominate with losses only by disqualification and finally beat Evan 'Strangler' Lewis for the American Heavyweight Championship winning $5000 and turning that into gold bars to carry home. He died when the ship he was on sank. His legacy was carried on by others who would be called The Terrible Turk, but none got as much success as Yusuf did.
  • Independent New England-based promotion WAW Wrestling loves to use evil foreign wrestlers. Some notable examples include Grimm (a violent gimp from Munich, Germany), Stellina Cardinale (billed from Sicily), and Morgan Kennedy Kilmarnock (from Windsor, Ontario, Canada).
  • Downplayed in the Japanese version SMASH, where most of the foreigners were good, or at least respected, and Yoshihiro Tajiri lead a campaign to introduce the fans to the legends of wrestling around the world. Played straight, however, with the Satanic Austrian Michael Kovac, who was responsible for turning, in one case via kidnapping, other foreigners to his brand of evil.
  • Kurt Angle generally played a condescending Jerk Jock during his WWE run, and American fans loathed him as much as anyone (except in Pittsburgh). During shows in Canada, Kurt continued to refer to himself as "your Olympic hero", which gave him a hint of being a foreign heel. After all, why was he saying this to Canadians when he won his medals competing for the U.S.?
  • One of the more nonsensical examples was Brian Adams aka Crush, who was born and raised in Hawaii and was originally a Face with a surfer gimmick and exaggerated Hawaiian accent. His Face–Heel Turn involved him allying with Yokozuna, emphasizing Hawaii's close relations with Japan, to the point that he even joined the "Foreign Fanatics" foursome during the 1993 Survivor Series despite being a white American. Whenever it was pointed out that Crush wasn't foreign, it would be quickly handwaved with something about Hawaii not being "really" part of the US. Seriously.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Often subverted in the Pro Wrestling themed manga/anime Kinnikuman, where many characters start out as Foreign Wrestling Heels, but later become allies of the title character. Strangely, they even had a few Japanese Foreign Wrestling Heels (since, while the series is made in Japan, the protagonist is a space alien), with Rikishiman, who wasn't evil so much as arrogant & later became a good guy & also The Ninja. Also subverted in that they have characters from numerous different nations whose gimmick has little if anything to do with their background, like Stecasse King, a living tape recorder who happens to be Belgian.
  • Tiger Mask:
    • A lot of them in many directions, as we are shown a lot of non-American heels in America (including two Japaneses) and many non-Japanese heels in Japan, with many being real-life wrestlers of the Sixties using their actual gimmicks. In a subversion, both in America and Japan there are foreign face wrestlers (the most notable being the Mexican brothers Mil Mascaras and El Sicodelico, wrestling in US, and the fictional South American Star Apollon, who faced Tiger Mask in Japan and gave him a desperate run for his money without a single foul), while the protagonist himself started playing this straight: his initial gimmick was that of the wrestler who fought only for money and greviously beat up the others so that the next time there would be more people paying in the hope of seeing him defeated, and got assaulted by civilians twice during the very first chapter (the first, being a child and the son of one of his victims, got the suggestion to train hard and try again in ten years, but on the ring. The second, being an adult with a knife, was unceremonously slapped on the throat as an example to what would happen to anyone attacking him without being a fellow wrestler on the ring or a child).
    • We also have Mr. X, the Foreign Wrestling Heel Manager: as a manager he's always seen working in Japan, his wrestlers are foreign heels trying to defeat Tiger Mask (only Miracle 3 didn't use a heel gimmick), and he himself identified himself as American on one occasion. He also took time to insult the Japan Pro-Wrestling Alliance (at the time the major Japanese wrestling promotion) when he showed up to organize the Maskmen World Championship, declaring that his maskmen would show Japan what real wrestling is, instead of the children game of the JPWA.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Wrestler has the character of The Ayatollah be the heel in the original Madison Square Garden fight that makes up the back story of the character.
    • Of course, behind the scenes, he's referred to as "Bob" by Randy, and has apparently made a successful career as a used-car salesman.
  • Rocky IV has the American lead going up against the Russian boxer, Ivan Drago.
  • The Ip Man series has these as its villains.
  • Huo Yuanjia (played by Jet Li) fights several of these in Fearless (2006). In the intro scene, he fights three Westerners who are all Sore Losers. In a flashback, he fights an American wrestler who starts out as just another Foreign Wrestling Heel but has a change of heart after Huo saves his life. True to this trope, the "American" was actually an Australian.
  • Gladiator: In Maximus' first battle as a gladiator, where he's set up to lose, he's given the title "Spaniard" just so the Romans in the audience will hate him.
  • Kayfabe: A Fake Real Movie About A Fake Real Sport: The final show has "The Ninja Assassin of Death" as a guest heel, with one of the announcers, Marco Pain, missing every mark by continuously confusing Japan with more Fascist or Communist countries.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "The Gang Wrestles for the Troops," Rickety Cricket (by now driven to homelessness by previous run-ins with the gang) is given the persona of "America's most hated terrorist, the Talibum!" He quickly Becomes The Mask, knocking Dee down with a chair as she's in the middle of singing a pre-match song and taking down Dennis and Charlie (playing a tag-team of eagle-themed All American Faces who were supposed to win the match) by throwing handfuls of sand in their eyes).
  • An episode of Quantum Leap has Sam leap into one half of a sibling pro wrestling team, who pretend to be Dirty Communists. They are fairly popular, but, when the time comes for the title fight, the promoter tells them that they have to lose. When the brother of Sam's host angrily tells him he wants to win, the promoter explains that the audience wants to see Americans triumph over "evil Russians". Sam ends up winning in the end, by putting the opponent in a sleeper hold.
  • In the Murdoch Mysteries episode "Crabtree Mania", the local wrestling stable has Vurugu, a "savage" in furs and a bone necklace who speaks no English and comes from Parts Unknown. Inevitably, he turns out to be Joe Jefferson from Indianapolis. There's also a wrestler called the Cossack, although to judge from the crowd reaction he may be a face, or at least more popular than Vurugu. He's not really Russian either, though.
  • GLOW (2017): Some of the girls' stereotype wrestling characters are based on their looks:
    • Ruth Wilder (American) plays Zoya the Destroyer (Russian), who "eats stars and stripes for breakfast".
    • Arthie Premkumar (Indian) plays Beirut the Mad Bomber (Lebanese). Unfortunately for Arthie they debut the character during the TWA Flight 847 hostage crisis and Arthie gets beer cans thrown at her head.
    • Regina Walsh (American) plays Vicky the Viking (generic Scandinavian).
    • Cambodian-American Jenny plays Fortune Cookie the Chinese Dragon Lady.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Parodied in the Strong Bad Email "yes, wrestling". Several of Strong Bad's old wrestling gimmicks make use of this trope, including "Sir Bolliver Turnbuckle" ("That was back in the days when pretending to be a pompous Brit was considered a premium gimmick."), "Il Cartographer", and one of his attempts at a tag team with Strong Mad, "the Wild Vacationers".

    Web Videos 
  • The WWE parody this in Southpaw Regional Wrestling:
    • One of Daniel Bryan's characters, René Beret, is an extremely nice, extremely French wrestler who makes it quite clear that he loves American culture. Everyone hates him, and acts as if he was insulting America. This puts him at odds with the local All-American Face, Dan Bandana (Also played by Daniel Bryan), who refuses to switch their Flag match to a normal match(which is what René asks for, as he just wants to see which one of them is the better wrestler), and acts as if René called all Americans stupid when he (justifiably, since they treat him with hostility when he treats them with kindness) says they are frustrating.
    • Big Bartholomew in the first season isn't one, as he says he will wrestle for "America, and all the southern countries". However, he's played by Rusev, who in the WWE is a Foreign Wrestling Heel, and who makes no effort to hide his Bulgarian accent. And his opponent is also American.

    Western Animation  
  • Parodied in the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Blind Bandit": Among the line up of Earth Kingdom wrestlers in Earth Rumble VI, there is a fighter named Fire Nation Man. He isn't actually from the Fire Nation, being an earthbender. His job was to go on stage with a Fire Nation flag, declare loudly his allegiance to Fire Lord Ozai, ask the audience to stand for the "Fire Nation National Anthem", and be thrown across the room by the Earth Kingdom contender "The Boulder" (voiced by actual wrestler Mick Foley). His parody of a heel goes as far as having a Russian (West Asian) accent that violates everything known about people in the East Asian-influenced Avatar world. On the DVD commentary they mention that he is actually an immigrant... from the deserts of the Earth Kingdom. Which is pretty well fitting too, considering the whole thing was a send-up of Pro Wrestling, with 'Fire Nation Man' being a deliberate nod to this character, right down to his Fake Nationality. Ironically, the notion of an earthbender who identifies more as a Fire Nation citizen (being born from mixed stock) became a major plot point in the sequel comic, The Promise.
  • The Futurama episode "Raging Bender", where the page quote comes from, has a similar parody. "The Foreigner" is shown as part of a montage of stock heel stereotypes who are quickly vanquished in turn by Bender. Judging from his accent, the Foreigner hails from the far-off land of New Jersey, as it happens. Considering Bender is, presumably, billed from New New York, New Jersey may be foreign enough for his fans.
  • South Park also had their fun with this trope in the episode "W.T.F.". Among other things, no one in the kid's league was from the country they were billed from.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Bart the Daredevil" has Rasputin the Friendly Russian, who apparently used to go by Rasputin the Mad Russian. Lisa muses that the fall of the Soviet Union impacted wrestling forever.
    • "Special Edna" has Bart watching a middle-eastern themed wrestler Osama Bin Rotten getting impaled with an American flag by All-American Face, Uncle Slam.

Alternative Title(s): Evil Foreigner