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No regrets for Sylvain Grenier
By JASON CLEVETT - SLAM! Wrestling


At only 31 years of age, Sylvain Grenier has a fairly impressive resume. The former model turned wrestler is a four time WWE tag team champion and toured the world as part of La Resistance with Rob Conway and Rene Dupree. Since his release on August 13, 2007, he has kept himself busy as the French commentator for TNA Impact on RDS.

But fans haven't seen a lot of him in the arenas.

"I haven't done a lot of independent dates because I have been hurt twice, back to back three months off each time. I took time off and was doing the TV show every week," he told SLAM! Wrestling.

The commentary gig came along unexpectedly. "I was calling one of the guys on the show, as he was doing French promotion of wrestling in Quebec. He was just coming out of a meeting about Pierre Carl Ouelette leaving and he asked me if I was interested and I thought it would be fun. We had a meeting and the next week I was doing it. It is a great way for me to express myself because that is one thing they didn't let me do in WWE was talk too much. Everything was scripted, and I like to ad lib and entertain and this is a great way to do it. Too bad it is in French and a small portion of the wrestling fans can understand. But it is a great way to express myself as a character in wrestling."

There were many rumors surrounding the reasons for Grenier's WWE release, which he was quick to clear up.

"Rumors or not I think it was a timing issue. They had ideas for me and I did too. The last idea they had I was very positive and there were a lot of good things coming out of it," he said. "Maybe I am difficult and have a difficult attitude in some ways, not to some people because I get along with everyone. I am not going to bend over to please other people. In this business you have to be there because you deserve to be there, and if they don't think I do that is fine; I will find another stage to show off my talent. It is a big business. I was there five years, was champion four times, and they put me in that branch of tag team middle card guy and never seemed more into me. That is fine, that is business and I have to live with that. I have nothing against WWE, I enjoyed my time there and think they have done great things. It is a great entertainment company with a lot of power. Everything that has come out of that was good."

Grenier's name was also listed as a customer of Signature Pharmacy, an online drug firm that allegedly was an easy source for steroids and other pharmaceuticals. When the list came out, though, Grenier had already been released, so it had no direct impact on him.

"That was weird. I am not a big Internet guy but someone told me about it. At one point when I started at WWE I was told I needed to get a personal doctor [in the U.S.] because I was Canadian. I asked around about a good doctor and ended up using a doctor that was associated with the pharmacy. There was nothing illegal about it," he claimed. "There was a big issue about a lot of things because of the steroids, but I never got suspended, never did anything illegal, never tested positive on any of the tests and didn't get fired because of it. I don't think there is anything against me on that. I was just a patient of that doctor."

Grenier came to the WWE with virtually no wrestling experience, having wrestled briefly for NCW in November 2002. He was discovered by Pat Patterson while training and modeling in Florida. Grenier was taken under his fellow French Canadian's wing.

"Pat was a great influence, a great man and a great friend and always been a positive in my life," he said. "He is not getting younger so he has taken a lot of time off the past couple of years. He is a genius in the business and WWE needs him so bad. He helped me so much. Maybe I was not listening all the time so I didn't accomplish what he was telling me to do, but he always took me under his wing and took care of me."

Grenier made his TV debut in Montreal, as Vince McMahon's personal referee for the main event match between The Rock and Hulk Hogan at No Way Out in 2003.

"The match in Montreal at No Way Out was very special. I had never had a match at that time so I had no clue about wrestling and they had to teach me how to be a referee without saying to anyone in the company what I was doing," Grenier explained. "They asked Mike Chioda and several referees to train me on the road for a couple of weeks and they were very nice to me and helped me very much. It was very stressful; you have no idea how tough the job of the referee is! You control everything, have someone talking in your ear -- it is like being the director of a movie. It was very hard to understand everything that applied to that job, but with the good help they gave me it worked for that pay per view. It was very fun, especially with The Rock and my idol Hulk Hogan."

A month later, Grenier was at Wrestlemania XIX in Seattle. He rushed the ring during the match between Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon and punched out the referee before taking over the match. Being in front of 54,000 fans for the first time would be nerve-wracking for anyone, but especially for Grenier who played an important role in the match.

"I don't think I realized how big it was, I had to watch it on tape after because it was so stressful. They sent me at the wrong time so there was a misunderstanding. Nobody knew about the mix up, it still worked. I don't think I remember running to the ring and punching the other referee. Being punched by Hulk Hogan in the ring at Wrestlemania is not something many people can put in their books. I am privileged."

From there, Grenier formed La Resistance with fellow Canadian Rene Dupree, later joined by Rob Conway. The team had a great deal of success, including winning the tag team titles from Chris Benoit and Edge in Montreal in May 2004. Despite his tag team success, the team was eventually split up and Grenier admitted he would like to have had a different path.


Bonjour Monsieur Grenier!
"I wish it would have been different because I think I had more to offer. After we split up they were looking to push Rob a lot, and I think he had something to offer too, but he wasn't pushed in the right way and didn't connect. I ended up being on Smackdown not doing much and came up with a character that was close to me because of my past being a real model. It was not the right timing and it didn't really work out," Grenier mused.

"After that they came up with the Quebec Ambassador, which was another political issue and I don't like politics so it was hard for me to come across as a politician. It worked for a bit but when you are not comfortable with something it doesn't get across right. I just want to be me, you know? I think I am a character enough to be myself," he said. "It was frustrating but it was also partly my fault too. I didn't have the experience of past guys. I had never wrestled by myself and they gave me a lot of chances, maybe I didn't step up to the plate. I think I proved that I am capable of doing great things, but in this business you need to have a lot of people who believe in you and if some don't it's not going to work out. I always believed in me. I might not have the resources of some guys because I didn't have a wrestling background, but this business is about entertaining and I think I can be entertaining if I can just be me. I pitched a lot of ideas but timing is everything and the timing was not right."

On the February 20, 2007 edition of ECW, Sylvain returned and reformed the original La Résistance with René Duprée, defeating a pair of local wrestlers. Dupree was suspended at the beginning of March for violating the Health and Wellness policy. Dupree would team up with Conway again until Conway's release in May, once again leaving Grenier solo.

"ECW was a great thing for me and René, a great chance they gave us and it is too bad he was released, and it hurt me because I suffered from losing the team. That is what happens when you are a tag team -- you have to live with the good and bad things; it is like being in a couple. The tag team division right now is horrible. We always had great, natural heat and could have been there a long time but you need to renew yourself and always be fresh and we didn't have time to do that in one match in ECW."

Now that all three are no longer with the WWE, Grenier won't rule out a reunion on the independent scene, as he speaks to both of his former partners regularly.

"We had a couple of offers but I was hurt. Why not, you know? There wouldn't be a problem, we are all professionals and if business is good why not? I talk to Rob every other week. Rene and I just got back in touch because he was in England for a while. I think he is going to wrestle for his Dad in the Maritimes this summer. I may see him around September or so."

Grenier will be in action in September in Montreal, as part of a new promotion launching this fall. Grenier gave SLAM! Wrestling the scoop on what to expect.

"I am starting a company with [fellow TNA on RDS announcer] Marc Blondin called TOW. They had a show last summer that was a success and we are going to do it with a bigger picture. We have a show September 6th in Montreal with a lot of former WWE stars, but I cannot tell you who. It is going to be a great show, and I have four former WWE stars signed," he said, adding that fans can expect to see local talent as well. "There is a lot of great talent in Quebec. I just wrestled a guy named Nighthawk who was phenomenal -- very athletic and quick, we had a great match and I really enjoyed working with him. I am going to build a company to try and showcase that talent. We have the building rented for three or four shows so good things should come out of it. People should see the talent in Quebec mixed with professional talent because that is the best way to learn for those kids."

Since his release, Grenier has kept busy with several projects away from wrestling.

"There is no such thing as a normal person when you are a wrestler. You can't come back and do a 9-to-5 job, you are always going to be a wrestler and entertainer. I have three businesses going on, plus I like to wrestle and be on TV so I don't have much time off. I have my own security company I have owned since before I became a wrestler. I have a supplement company because I like to work out and like to help and I will be selling that through my website. I might open a gym pretty soon. And now I am starting to take bookings again. My green card is in the mail so I am going to start working in the States again. Being the guy I was before I started wrestling with modeling and TV commercials, I am looking to go that way again but I will always keep wrestling. I love to wrestle and there are people offering me the chance to perform, if there are people I will be there."

One thing that comes through clearly when speaking to Sylvain Grenier is that he is happy. While some would be bitter about not being with the WWE, instead he shows humility and has no regrets.

"I was always very lucky and had good timing in a lot of things, with WWE and in the past when I was modeling. My past is positive and it only paves the way for a positive future. I am looking forward to new challenges and opportunity whether in wrestling, entertainment, or other businesses. I enjoy a lot of things so I don't like get stuck," he said. "I had a lot of good chances and sometimes let the train pass by and didn't jump on it, which is my fault in a way. You have to learn from it, you can't look back and regret anything. I did what I had to do and that is what makes the man I am, so I have no regrets."

RELATED LINKS

  • June 18, 2008: Ouellette vs. Grenier match personal
  • March 12, 2005: Grenier toes the party line
  • May 24, 2004: Grenier expects hero's welcome in Montreal
  • Sylvain Grenier’ website

    Jason Clevett ne parle pas le francais ... after all, he's an Albertan.