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   October 22, 2014



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René Dupre

René Dupre
REAL NAME: René Goguen
BORN: December 15, 1983 in Moncton, New Brunswick
6'4", 260 pounds
AKA: René Dupre, René E. Dupre, René Rougeau

As one-half of the WWE Tag team Champions, Rene Dupre seems to have stormed onto the wrestling scene and gained success very quickly. However, while he may still be a young man, Dupre has been wrestling for several years.

Born Rene Goguen, Dupre began wrestling at the age of fourteen, while still a student at Louis-J.-Robichaud High School in Shediac, New Brunswick, primarily in the summer months after school ended. (One summer, Grand Prix, the organization Dupre was involved with, had to virtually shut down when Dupre had to attend summer school.)

He came by his involvement and love of wrestling naturally, being the son of Emile Goguen (a.k.a. Emile Dupre), a local businessman who has been promoting wrestling out in the Maritimes since 1962. It was Emile that introduced Rene to pro wrestling, taking him to matches as a child.

At the time Rene admitted that it had been interesting dealing with the teachers at the school. "I guess some of them could be a little intimidated by the fact that I'm a pro wrestler," he told SLAM! Wrestling after another day at school. "It's not everyday that you have a student that's 6-foot-4, 260 and bodyslams people for a living. They treat me like any other student. I don't think that I should be treated any differently just because I do this. For me, it's just like any other sport."

His friends didn't really treat him differently either, never really showing signs of jealousy because of his stature. "A lot of them would change places with me in a second. They love wrestling. I wouldn't say jealousy, but I don't have one friend who hasn't begged me for him to be my manager."

Rene quickly went from raw rookie to almost being one of the veterans in the young Grand Prix locker room. "I wouldn't call myself a veteran yet, but I've been there and it seems like everyone I've known has left." Each summer saw young wrestlers from Manitoba and Ontario joining youngsters from the Maritimes to fight across the territory in traditional Grand Prix hotbeds like Berwick, Yarmouth, O'Leary and Cocagne.

Frank Parker was a referee for Grand Prix when Rene first started, and said that the young son of the promoter grew up in a hurry. "He was a pain in the ass the first year he was in the business, at least until he learned how to act. Once he learned how to act, he was fine. He shows respect to the older guys who have been around and he took advice from guys. The best thing he ever did was wrestle Joe Legend one night. He learned more in that one match than he had the whole time that summer."

From the age of three, Rene used to go to the matches with his father. He grew up with wrestling, and with wrestlers all around him. Deciding to be a wrestler wasn't a surprise to him or his father, but it still required some courage to ask his dad about it. "I remember the first time that I asked him, I said, 'Do you think I would ever be able to be a wrestler?' And he saw that I was trying hard in the gym, I was working out almost every day, and I really wanted it. He taught me how to do a bodyslam in the garage and that was the first time that we actually got together on the whole wrestling thing. He was supportive. He trained me when I was 13 going on 14, and at 14 I had my first professional match in Woodstock, New Brunswick."

Wild Man Austin was his opponent in that first match, and it was a nerve-wracking night. "To be honest with you, that was probably the time that I was the most nervous in my life. I mean, there were about 300 people there -- it wasn't a jam-packed crowd, but it was still a crowd. I didn't know what to expect but when I got in there, I knew this is what I wanted to be."

He learned from many different opponents since that first match. "Throughout the years, we've had guys like The Cuban Assassin, Leo Burke, The Beast, guys who are veterans of the sport who can really show you around the ring. They've been there, they've done it. I've been lucky to have had the opportunity to work with people like that who really know the whole psychology, the whole aspect of professional wrestling."

He went out as Rene Rougeau the first two summers, and has never been anything but a babyface. The name was "catchy" according to Rene, and bore no relation to the wrestling Rougeaus from Montreal. When his popularity began to rise, particularly among the young girls in the crowd, the change to Rene Dupre was made. (When he arrived in the WWE, an extra "e" was added to make Dupre into Dupree.)

For Rene, there's nothing like wrestling in front of a hometown crowd, before friends and family who are hooting and hollering for him. "Every time that I go in front of a hometown crowd, it's pretty much exciting to feel that those people are behind you and they are supporting you 100%. Just being in the ring is a highlight enough. It's an honour to be able to call yourself a professional wrestler. And when you are working for a company like Grand Prix Wrestling, you are wrestling seven days a week, unlike other promotions where you just wrestle once or twice a month. So it's an honour for me to be in professional wrestling."

After graduating from high school, Dupre began sending out feelers to the WWE. At the age of 18, he became the youngest person ever signed by Vince McMahon's organization. Originally, he was signed to a three-year development deal but later was signed to a full-time contract.

As part of his training, Dupre was sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling, the WWE's developmental territory, arriving there in August 2002. In his Ohio Valley debut, he lost to Damaja. His Ohio Valley TV debut came in October, when he defeated Johnny Jeter.

In November, 2002, he made his WWE debut, losing to Chris Kanyon in Columbus, Ohio in a dark match during a Smackdown taping. A couple of weeks later, back under the Ohio Valley banner, he teamed with Lance Cade for the first time (losing to Matt Morgan and B.J. Payne) and although Dupre would have some singles matches over the next few months, he spent the majority of his time in tag action with Cade.

In March, the team of Dupre and Cade would lose to the Disciples of Synn in the finals of a tournament for the vacant Ohio Valley Tagteam titles. Meanwhile, on April 7th, 2003, the first vignettes featuring Dupree and Sylvain Grenier as La Resistance, a pair of anti-American Frenchman, appeared on a Monday Night Raw broadcast. Later that month, La Resistance would make their first appearance on Raw, attacking Scott Steiner. Their in-ring debut would come on May 2nd, with a victory over Maven and the Hurricane in Oshawa, Ontario.

Over the next month, La Resistance would get wins over Scott Steiner and Test but lost in their matches against Kane and Rob Van Dam, the Raw Tagteam Champions. That is, until June 15th in Houston, Texas when La Resistance won the titles at the Bad Blood pay-per-view.

Their first immediate challengers were the Dudley Boyz. Throughout the summer of 2003, La Resistance managed to retain the belts against the Dudleyz, thanks to the addition of Rob Conway, an American who became a "French sympathizer". However, the addition of Conway wasn't enough to stop the Dudleyz from regaining the tag belts in a handicap tables match at Unforgiven in September.

La Resistance remained a force in the WWE Raw Tagteam scene but Grenier and Dupre (now wrestling as "Dupree") were never able to regain the titles. At Armageddon 2003, they lost a Tagteam Turmoil match where Ric Flair and Bautista won the titles and at Wrestlemania XX, they watched as Rob Van Dam and Booker T retained the tagteam titles in a "Fatal Fourway" match.

After Wrestlemania, Dupree was drafted to the Smackdown roster. On his last night on Raw, Dupree lost to Chris Jericho, then was on the wrong end of "Sheriff" Stone Cold Steve Austin, with whom La Resistance had crossed paths with some weeks before.

Once on Smackdown, instead of being part of a tagteam, Dupree found himself in singles action, and took aim at the U.S. Heavyweight championship. He quickly entered into a feud with U.S. Champion John Cena but to date has been unable to capture the title. Meanwhile, Dupree has found himself in Triple Threat and Fatal Fourway matches with fellow U.S. title contenders Booker T(who would eventually take the title), Rob Van Dam and Kenzo Suzuki.

With Booker T and John Cena engaged in a "best-of-five" series for the U.S. belt, Dupree and Suzuki quickly turned their attention towards tagteam action, a unique combination joined by their in-ring hatred of the United States. The union paid dividends as Dupree and Suzuki defeated Paul London and Billy Kidman on the September 7h edition of Smackdown to win the WWE Tagteam titles.

Although it was never mentioned on WWE television, Dupree made some news when he was the victim of a series of stiff chair shots from Hardcore Holly at a live event in late November.

Just over two weeks later, Dupree and Suzuki lost the tag titles to Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio, Jr. Dupree appeared only sparodically on Smackdown after that, and did not received as big a push as he had in the past, losing to John Cena, the Undertaker and Booker T.

That may now change, however, as Dupree was part of the draft lottery and found himself headed to Raw. The change of scenery did little to improve Dupree's situation. He was on the lookout for a tag team partner, and seemed to have set his sights on Tyson Tomko but before that storyline could play out, he was sent down to Ohio Valley.

He met with more success in the ring in OVW, but he was plagued with hernia troubles, and there was talk, last December, that he might have to retire. However, he continued working in OVW, Deep South Wrestling and even dark matches on Raw and ECW as late as August 2006.

In June, 2006, Dupre returned to Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling where he teamed with his brother, Jeff, in a series of matches, mostly against Chad Dick and the Cuban Assassin.

-- compiled by John Milner, interview by Greg Oliver


Stories

  • Nov. 21, 2013: René Dupre stayed loyal to Mutoh, Wrestle-1
  • Jan. 3, 2013: Dupres relaunch Grand Prix Wrestling for summer of 2013
  • Aug. 17, 2010: Rene Dupree's passion lies in Japan, Europe
  • Sep. 14, 2004: Dupre happy for son René
  • May 6, 2004: Dupree talented beyond his years

    Memories

     There have been a couple of Dupre moments that stand out, like two years ago in Halifax when Rene fell awkwardly out of the ring and hit the back of his head on the concrete floor. Man, was that scary! Luckily, Rene was okay (much to the chagrin of certain slobs and idiots at ringside, who were sick enough to actually cheer when it was deemed a potentially serious injury).
     But last year was the one that I really remember, because it was the night that Dupre found out just how cruel wrestling could be. He was in a main-event tag-team match in Halifax with his "best friend" Chi-Chi Cruz, against "Wildman" Austin and "Mad Dog" McFly (wonder if he's related to Marty). Right from the outset of the match, Cruz seemed to be on edge and really mad about something. Rene and Chi-Chi won the bout when Cruz power-slammed Austin into the middle of next week, but Austin and McFly wouldn't settle it at that, and attacked Cruz after the match. Dupre rushed to Cruz's aid and set Austin up for a clothesline to be delivered by Rene, while Cruz held him. You probably don't have to guess what happened next. Dupre nailed Cruz instead, and apoligized profusely for mistakingly hitting his "best friend". Chi-Chi picked himself up off the mat, ready to accept Dupre's hand in friendship. Cruz then teed off on Dupre, nailing him with a vicious clothesline, then proceeded to pummel Rene with the help of his new "best friends", Austin and McFly. Dupre's butt would have been kicked all night except for the fact he was saved by Todd "The Bod" Douglas and Bobby Rude. Unfortunately for the fans, this feud never progressed as Grand Prix Wrestling shut down for several weeks shortly thereafter, and when it did start back up, Cruz was nowhere to be seen. Rene does have enormous potential, and hopefully will make it big in wrestling for
     himself. Good luck, kid!
     John Greeley, Halifax, Nova Scotia
     In reply to the post by Mr. John Greeley who said that on that fateful night in Halifax, when Rene Dupre (formerly Rougeau), was flung from the ring and slammed his head off of the concrete In the Halifax Forum Multi - Purpose Center, Mr. Greeley stated that "certain slobs and idiots at ringside, were sick enough to actually cheer when it was deemed a potentially serious injury)." Now , I don't know what match Mr. Greeley was at, but I happened to be in the front row in the exact spot where Rene's head hit the concrete and witnesed the entire event. And I can say, unequivocally, that the people of Halifax showed nothing but the utmost concern for the health and well being of Rene as I am sure he will attest to. There was no one "cheering", in fact that incident in essence ended the evening's event. Of course there were another couple of matches, but the mood of the crowd took an obvious somber tone. As for Mr. Greeley, I am not sure of his intentions of deliberatley mis-stating the facts of that evening, whether it be to further his own writing career or sully the reputation of the good people of Halifax, but regardless, shame on you.
     Corey MacDonald - Halifax , NS
     Regarding the follow-up column of one Mr. Corey MacDonald to my original column about the unfortunate accident involving Rene Dupre (then known as Rene Rougeau) two years ago at the Halifax Forum Multi-Purpose Center, let me first offer my sincerest and most humble of apoligies to those fans of Grand Prix Wrestling in Halifax that may have read that column and been offended. Please let me state that I had no intention of including everyone in the arena in my comments regarding "certain idiots and slobs at ringside". Note the word "certain", which that evening pertained to three individuals who sat directly in front of me when Rene fell out of the ring and hit his head on the concrete. Now I don't know about you, Mr. MacDonald, but anyone who made the comments these persons did, not to mention applauding when Dupre didn't get up right away, deserve to be called far worse than an idiot, or a slob. I know what I heard and what I saw. My column in was no way meant to pigeonhole all the people in attendance that night, or the good wrestling fans of Halifax. Whenever the kind folks at SLAM! Wrestling allow me to forward my memories of pro wrestling, what ever I send in is always the TRUTH, and I have never deliberately mis-stated anything. As far as my "writing career", Mr. MacDonald, it's news to me that I have one. I will say that Mr. MacDonald was bang-on correct on one point, that being the somber mood the matches took on after Rene was taken away on a stretcher to hospital. In closing, I would just like to say that the shame is not on me, but it should be on that very small group of "fans", who should not have said the things that were said, or did what they did that night.
      John Greeley, Halifax, Nova Scotia
     I have see Rene wrestle twice now (May 3rd 2001 and May 10th 200) at Grand Prix Wrestling in Halifax. I think Rene has the size and talent to go real far in this business. Both times I saw him wrestle they were against Mad Dog McFly. I also had the Honor to meet Rene's dad both times.
     Grand Prix Wrestling is in Halifax every Thursday nights at the MPC (right next to the Halifax Forum) Bell time is 7:30pm and tickets are sold at the door. Grand Prix needs the support of all the fans to be able to stay around, so please come out and enjoy your self every Thursday night.
     Harold Kennedy