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Rougeau weds, wrestles, wins
By YVES LEROUX - SLAM! Wrestling


Jacques Rougeau Jr. and Nancy Menard. Photo by Karen Broadway


MONTREAL -- A Christmastime wrestling gala at the Verdun Auditorium has become the norm for Jacques Rougeau and his students, but Saturday night was different. Very different. Rougeau tied the knot with his longtime girlfriend, Nancy Menard, in the ring, then doffed the tuxedo to wrestle in the main event.

The last time a big-name wrestler got married in the ring (a genuine wedding that is, unlike what has been seen these last few years) was Uncle Elmer who exchanged vows on the old WWF show Saturday Night's Main Event on October 6th, 1985. In Quebec, it hadn't been seen since Paul Leduc, of the famed Leduc brother team with his brother Jos, did it in a ring in 1971 with his wife Pierrette.

On this night, in front of an adrenaline-filled crowd well above the 2,000 mark, the ceremony just before intermission was handled by Montreal city councilor Ginette Marotte. It was definitely a family affair: Rougeau had three sons in the ring, and Menard was accompanied by her three sons and two daughters, who sang a song as the groom and bride were exiting the ring. Many radio stations and Montreal major newspapers were on hand to cover the event. Even former Rougeau school wrestlers and even some from other local federations were on hand to witness it, amongst them Carl and Kim Leduc, Beef Wellington and Sexxxy Eddy. Many local radio and TV personalities were also present.

Even at 47, and having been in the limelight of WWE and WCW TV cameras for so many years, Rougeau couldn't hide the jitters of a newlywed and had a difficult time explaining it to SLAM! Wrestling. "I have been in front of tens of thousands of fans at a show, millions on TV, a few Wrestlemanias, but nothing compares to the level of nervousness I felt tonight, I thought I was going to melt away."

But the eternal pro he is, Rougeau's first question to this SLAM! Wrestling reporter was, "Did you like the show? Did my students performed well? Did the crowd enjoy it?" Although he could see the whole show backstage on closed circuit TV as it was being performed, his foremost worry was the crowd reaction.

Something that Rougeau, and most federations in Quebec have been trying to do for many years was achieved on this night as local cable, based in Laval, was taping the whole show for cable TV. It will also be available on their website by January 1st at www.tvrl.ca for free viewing. The colour commentator was Rougeau's right hand man, wrestler Eric Mastrocola, who couldn't wrestle as he was involved in a car accident a short while ago and has deep contusions in a shoulder. This is the same man who has had dark matches with the WWE in the past while they traveled to Montreal.

The wrestling card itself was the usual showcasing of Rougeau's students who are certainly getting better as time goes by, many of them having learned enough to attempt, successfully, some big-league moves. Carl Leduc, who trains students with his family in their FLQ promotion, appreciated the improved quality of the students. "I'm impressed in seeing some of the older students and the way they have really improved their wrestling skills. They had nothing to be ashamed about," he said.

After Santa made a surprise appearance arriving on a sparkling ATV, the evening got under way. The card was based on Rougeau's team going against Kurrgan's team as each match counted as a point for final bragging rights. Here's the rundown:

  • Johnny Boy was upended by Tapoche the Clown in "very" lightweight but entertaining match.
  • Uncle Paul, accompanied by his manager Prince Ahmed, won against Bad Dog.
  • Taloche the Clown, Tapoche's father, came to the ring with his son to take on Du-Rac James and his surprise partner, former WWF star Tiger Jackson, who took the win.
  • The last match before the wedding ceremony had Enigma getting the three count against Zero.
  • After the intermission, Predator took the match against an unnamed wrestler dressed as a football linebacker.
  • The semi-final of the evening, and one of the most entertaining matches of the evening, was a three way affair between Frankie the Machine, Velvet Valentine and J.J. Rougeau, which J.J. won after a long but well-prepared bout.
  • Finally, since the score was three to three, the last match had Jacques Rougeau, in splendid form, against a very nasty looking former WWE star Kurrgan. Although Kurrgan dominated the match, Rougeau took the win with his wits and crowd support.
After the show, all the wrestlers involved met with the crowd for pictures and autographs, which has become a must at every Lutte 2000 cards. This time, however, one important member was missing -- Rougeau was rushing to get to his wedding reception.

Rougeau's Lutte 2000 had an exceptional year in 2007 with over 15 shows throughout Quebec and he's looking at even more for 2008. His ever expanding wrestling school keeps getting new recruits longing to learn this great sport and many trips to the local pharmacy for rubbing ointment. You can find more information about his wrestling school and upcoming events at: www.jacquesrougeau.com.

Yves Leroux has been writing for SLAM! Wrestling since 2000. He is also willing to take on SLAM! Wrestling writer "Bloodthirsty" Bob Kapur for any female wrestler interview, as long as he doesn't hire SLAM! Wrestling's resident giant Jason Clevett as his manager.