6 Things You Didn’t Know About the Creation of Team Canada

June 22, 2018

On IMPACT’s new retrospective podcast “Total Nonstop Recall,” available OKnow on iTunes or the podcast app of your choice, host Garrett Kidney interviewed IMPACT Executive Vice President Scott D’Amore about the original three-hour pay-per-view spectacular Victory Road 2004, and the formation of Team Canada, a group he was integrally involved with as “Coach D’Amore.” He had many interesting points to share about the surprising and unlikely way the team came together.

It Was Only Supposed to Last a Week

During IMPACT’s “Asylum Years” airing weekly events from the Nashville Fairgrounds, international competition abounded, beginning with the 2003 Super X Cup and followed by the America’s X-Cup in 2004, a tournament featuring four-man squads from different countries. Team Canada was created to have a ready-made opponent for the American team:

“I kinda pitched it half-joking, more as a one-week thing to give Team NWA a win before it heads into its next round against Team Mexico. (Creative heads) Jeff (Jarrett) and Dutch (Mantell) kinda took that idea and wanted to do a pay-per-view with Team Canada.”

Team Canada thrived for years beyond its original intended expiration date, racking up championship victories and making stars out of members Bobby Roode, Eric Young and Petey Williams.

Bret Hart was Originally Pitched to Be in Team Canada

While it’s now unfathomable to think of anyone else but D’Amore to have served as Canada’s abrasive “Head Coach,” before the group had been minted, D’Amore had a different idea of who should lead them.

“(Jeff, Dutch and I) started talking about who could be in it, and Jeff goes, “Hey, you know how Team Mexico has Antonio Pena who acts as the manager for them? We feel that Team Canada needs to have a guy like that, like a leader. Do you have any thoughts on who could do that?”

“Yeah, there’s only one guy who could do that.” And Jeff’s like, “We think the exact same thing.” I go, “Bret Hart.” And it gets kinda silent and Jeff says, “Well, we were kind of going a different way. We were thinking you would be the guy to do it.” I said, “Oh. So you obviously could not afford Bret Hart.”

Scott D’Amore Passed At First on Being Canada’s Coach

“I actually went into a very mature dialogue about how I was done as a performer, and I appreciated them thinking about me but it was really something that I was gonna pass on. And then Jeff got silent for a minute and went, “Okay. So let me rephrase it this way: this isn’t your buddy, J-Double, calling Scotty D asking what he thinks. This is the Vice President of TNA Entertainment calling a contracted employee telling him what he expects out of him. What do you think now?”

I said, “Well, what should I wear?”

The parting words were, “Scotty D, it’s a couple of weeks, don’t worry about it.” Those couple of weeks ended up being a few enjoyable years.”

The Original Incarnation Featured Teddy Hart and an American

While the first iteration of Team Canada featured now-familiar faces like Petey Williams and Johnny Devine, it also featured two others who didn’t last long in the group, including one who wasn’t even Canadian:

“The first Team Canada was basically meant to be a vehicle for Teddy Hart. He was the captain. And he had suggested his good “Canadian” friend Jack Evans, who it turns out, much like Teddy, God bless him, wasn’t always completely honest and played loose-and-fast with the truth.”

After being defeated in the 2004 America’s X Cup, neither would compete as a member of Team Canada again.

Eric Young Debuted as a Member of Team USA

On the flip side of the coin, Team Canada mainstay “Showtime” Eric Young saw his first IMPACT action as an “American” in January 2004, teaming with Shark Boy, Chad Collyer and Matt Stryker in a losing effort to Team AAA.

He would soon show his true colours and become part of the line-up that we fondly remember today.

Bobby Roode Almost Wasn’t Part of the Group

As a performer who’s gone on to multiple World Championship reigns and worldwide notoriety, Bobby Roode perhaps benefitted most from the spotlight of being in the group, and D’Amore wanted him on his team from the get-go.

“Bobby Roode was somebody that I felt strongly really had a big upside. I said to Jeff, “I don’t care if he’s an X-Division guy. He’s a star.” And to his credit, he said, “Book him.”

There was no question that Bobby Roode had all the tools. In baseball, they talk about “five-tool players.” Bobby could do everything.”

But he almost wasn’t part of the faction at all. As Roode was poised to make his television debut on IMPACT!, he was booked for a tryout with WWE, threatening to take him out of the group if signed.

However, his tryout morphed into a disappointing two-minute, one-sided match where he couldn’t properly put his talents on display. Roode called back to his suitors in IMPACT Wrestling and asked if he should just walk out before it happened.

“A couple of the guys, I think Edge and that, told him, “Grab your bag, leave, you don’t need this s****. Go down to TNA.” So he called us up, Jeff and I talked about it and said, “You know what, Bobby, you’re a professional. Do whatever they want. Smile, be respectful, be polite, then sign your damn contract and come down here and really make something really happen with us. That’s what he did, and you can see how it worked out for him, both in his career in IMPACT Wrestling and beyond.”

Listen to the entire podcast below, including Scott’s remembrances of “Macho Man” Randy Savage’s debut with the company, and sign up for the Global Wrestling Network today to relive every classic 3-hour pay-per-view!

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