Those who are not Americans by birthright but live on American soil have to fulfill a few requirements to obtain United States citizenship. These requirements include having a continuous residency and physical presence in the United States and demonstrating loyalty to the principles of the U.S. Constitution. It also includes being able to read, write, and speak basic English, among other things.
While they are still proud of their origins, these stars have expressed their happiness to become Americans after spending many years in waiting.
Here are six WWE/AEW stars who obtained United States citizenship.
#6. Former WWE Superstar/Current AEW Star Mero
AEW Star Mero (F.K.A Rusev) was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. In 2005, the 36-year-old emigrated from his native country to the United States to chase his dream of becoming a pro wrestler.
"When I was a kid, I watched Hulk Hogan on television and told myself, 'One day, I’m going to go to America and become a professional wrestler'. That stuck in my mind throughout my entire childhood. That’s why I learned English. America was my top priority, and wrestling was in my heart," Mero told Sports Illustrated.
In the United States, life was not easy for a young Miro. He took the first job he was offered, which was painting houses in the heated summer of Virginia. The former WWE Superstar, who lived in a house with 15 guys, had no experience in the job and was eventually fired in less than a month.
Miro did not just lose his job, but he was kicked out of the house too. While considering returning to his home country, some of the guys he painted houses with offered to take him in. Moving in with these guys rescued Miro's American dream.
The current AEW Star worked many jobs until he saved money to enroll in a wrestling school. Miro excelled at pro wrestling and has never looked back since. In 2010, he signed a contract with WWE, where he spent nearly a decade between developmental and the main roster. During his time in WWE, Miro became a three-time United States Champion.
In 2016, the Bulgarian-born wrestler married his fellow WWE Superstar Lana, who is an American citizen. Three years later, he finally obtained United States citizenship. In an Instagram post, the AEW Star stated that he was proud to be an American.
Miro was released from his WWE contract in April 2020. A few months later, he made his debut on AEW. He now holds the AEW TNT Championship.
#5. Former WWE Divas Champion Maryse
"In the summer of 2005, I went to see RAW at the Bell Centre with some friends and I was hooked. I always knew I wanted to work in TV or be an entertainer," Maryse told NHL.com.
After attending Monday Night RAW, the 38-year-old decided to pursue a pro wrestling career. She auditioned for the 2006 WWE Diva Search competition.
"Even though in 2006 I couldn't even speak English yet, I was determined to work in the WWE so I auditioned. My friends still can't believe that I was chosen among the 20,000 girls trying out to become a WWE Diva."
Although she did not win the Diva Search competition, WWE signed Maryse in 2007. The Canadian lady then moved to the United States.
Thanks to the Diva Search, Maryse also married an American citizen. The former Divas Champion fell in love with the 2006 Diva Search host, The Miz. The two wrestlers tied the knot in 2014.
Four years following her marriage to The Miz, Maryse announced that she had obtained United States citizenship.
#4. Former WWE Presenter Renee Paquette
Former WWE Presenter Renee Paquette (F.K.A Renee Young) was also born in Canada. She moved to the United States at the age of 19 to pursue a comedic acting career. However, she later returned to Toronto, where she tried her luck auditioning for several movies, music videos, and commercials.
"Being in Canada, I got stuck not getting lead role auditions, so I switched gears and got into hosting. I just needed a camera and myself to do that. I started producing my own show for a small network in Canada that was a lot of band interviews and stuff about extreme sports. I snowballed that into working for The Score," Paquette told WWE.com.
While working for The Score Television Network in Canada, Paquette started presenting pro wrestling shows. She then signed a WWE contract in 2012 and moved to The United States.
"I really wanted to come work in America. There are not a lot of places to work in Canada. It’s very, very limiting. My agent in Los Angeles helped get the ball rolling to land somewhere here. I knew WWE was looking for broadcasters. They flew me down. It was a very last-minute thing. I called in sick to work that day, caught a flight to New York, drove to Stamford, flew back home and carried on doing all my daily shows until the paperwork was done and I could come work here," she explained in her interview with WWE.com.
Paquette spent eight years in WWE. During that time, she became the main presenter. She also became the first female to join the RAW commentary team on a full-time basis.
Like Maryse, the 35-year-old Canadian also married an American colleague. Paquette fell in love with former WWE Superstar and current AEW Star Jon Moxley. They tied the knot in April 2017.
Earlier this year, Paquette announced that she had become an American citizen. The 35-year-old, who left WWE last year, recently began her podcast, "Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette." She also launched a YouTube channel.
#3. WWE Hall of Famer The Great Khali
The Great Khali is the most famous Indian WWE Superstar in history. The 49-year-old was born and raised in India. He worked as a roadside laborer and a security guard before joining the Punjab Police in 1993. The Hall of Famer then moved from his village of Himachal Pradesh to Jalandhar, where he started training in local gyms.
The Great Khali's hard work in the gym earned him a move to the United States to participate in specialized wrestling training.
In 2000, the WWE Hall of Famer kicked off his pro wrestling career. He wrestled in different promotions before signing with WWE in 2006. The Great Khali spent nearly eight in WWE, where he won the World Heavyweight Championship.
In February 2014, the Great Khali obtained United States citizenship. Later that same year, he left WWE after his contract expired. The Indian superstar made a few sporadic appearances in WWE in the following years.
The Great Khali was recently inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2021. Besides being a pro wrestler, the 49-year-old has also appeared in a few American movies, including The Longest Yard and Get Smart.
#2. WWE Commentator Wade Barrett
WWE Commentator Wade Barrett was born in the town of Penwortham in Lancashire, England. At a young age, he developed a passion for wrestling. After he graduated with a degree in Marine Biology from the University of Liverpool, Barrett started wrestling part-time.
"When I graduated from university I actually did move on and work in the field. Wrestling was a part-time thing and I was starving doing it. When the opportunity came up to wrestle with WWE and come to the states, it was a no-brainer. I dropped the marine biology immediately," he said in an interview with Naples Daily News.
In 2007, Barrett signed his first WWE contract. After spending a few years in developmental, he competed on the first season of NXT and won it. In June 2010, Barrett debuted on Monday Night RAW, among a few other NXT Superstars.
The 41-year-old spent nearly six years on the main WWE roster. During that time, he became a five-time Intercontinental Champion and the 2015 King of The Ring. In 2016, Barrett left WWE to focus on his acting career. However, he returned four years later to become a color commentator on NXT.
Earlier this year, Barrett announced that he had obtained United States citizenship after more than 13 years of living in the country.
#1. AEW Star Thunder Rosa
AEW Star Thunder Rosa was born in Mexico in 1986. At the age of 17, Rosa moved to the United States with her sister without their parents. They lived in San Diego with their aunt before later moving into their own apartment in San Antonio.
In 2010, the AEW Star graduated with a degree in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Four years later, she made her pro wrestling debut. Rosa started performing in different promotions, including Lucha Underground, Women of Wrestling, and National Wrestling Alliance.
In August 2020, Thunder Rosa made her AEW debut on Dynamite and signed a permanent full-time deal eleven months later.
Before becoming an AEW Star, the 35-year-old announced that she had obtained United States citizenship in 2019. Speaking to My San Antonio, Rosa revealed that coming to the United States was a struggle. However, she stated that she found comfort when she discovered her passion for wrestling.
Thunder Rosa currently has an on-going 23-match winning streak in AEW. Her latest victory came against Laynie Luck last Wednesday on AEW Dark.