May 16, 2004
Dupree talented beyond his years
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun
Rene Dupree has been dreaming about being a wrestling star for as long as he can remember. At age five or six, he went for ice cream with Harley Race.
He played soccer on a field with Japanese star Masahiro Chono.
Following in his father Emile's footsteps, the younger Dupree, whose real name is Rene Goguen, stepped into the ring for the first time at the age of 14.
And it's been full steam ahead ever since.
Now just 20, Dupree will face John Cena for the U.S. championship at tonight's WWE Judgment Day pay-per-view.
What a ride it's already been!
"I dreamed about getting here, but I never thought it would happen," said Dupree on the phone the other day. "I grew up in a wrestling family and I knew I wanted to be in it. I started working out with weights when I was 11. At 14, I was already 200 lbs.
"I begged my father to give me an opportunity to try it."
Try it, he did. And like it, he did.
Problem is the fans don't like him too much. In fact, they love to hate him.
"Even when I was trying to be a fan favourite, people booed me," said Dupree with a laugh. "It works for me. If my job is to get people to hate me, I'm doing a pretty good job of it."
Dupree says he was a bit overwhelmed at first, looking around and seeing major stars everywhere.
"It was nerve racking ... weird at first," he said. "But after a while, you get comfortable. They're just human beings too."
He says his favourite programs so far have been against Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. But facing Cena tonight will be another big notch in his belt.
"It's my biggest match to date," he said. "I don't think the fans will be disappointed."
Dupree says he does little outside of the ring except lift weights and watch old wrestling tapes -- keeping an eye on legends such as Rick "The Model" Martel, "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig and Shawn Michaels.
And what may come off as an aloof personality is Dupree just being his normal, quiet self. None of this haughty La Resistance persona he developed while partnered with Sylvain Grenier.
"I'm really shy when it comes to normal life," said Dupree. "I'm not very outspoken. There's a mistaken conception that I've got a big ego, but I'm just quiet. It's not because I'm arrogant or cocky ... it's just the way I am."
He's just letting his actions speak for him. And so far they've been speaking pretty loudly.
- Big news from Total Nonstop Action. TNA has landed a TV deal with Fox Sports Net, with a one-hour show, TNA Impact, airing each Friday afternoon, beginning June 4. One innovation: The ring will not be the usual four-sided one. Now the bad news: There's nothing yet worked out for Canada.
- Triple H (Paul Levesque) has agreed to play Conan in a John Milius-directed film.
- John Tenta, known as Earthquake in his WWF tenure, has retired from wrestling after finding out he has advanced bladder cancer. He will soon start chemotherapy.
- Reports have Brian Lawler (Grandmaster Sexay) being released by WWE. He was scheduled to compete in a 20-man Battle Royal on tomorrow night's RAW -- with the winner getting a shot at champion Chris Benoit. Maven will compete instead.
- Sable, the former wife of Marc Mero, and former WWE star Brock Lesnar are apparently a couple.
- Other Judgment Day matches: Eddie Guerrero vs. JBL; Booker T vs. Undertaker; Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio vs. The Dudley Boyz; Charlie Haas and Rico vs. Bob Holly and Billy Gunn; Jacqueline vs. Chavo Guerrero (who will have one hand tied behind his back); Torrie Wilson vs. Dawn Marie; and the debut of Mordecai.
- At a Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs NBA playoff game earlier this week, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Bill Goldberg were asked if they'd return to WWE. Goldberg said no, while Austin left the door open.
- The Hart Brothers Wrestling School in Cambridge has been sold to legendary Waldo Von Erich. For more details on the school, check out www.allchampionshipwrestling.com.