June 27, 2010
SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame: Kurrgan
BORN: October 26, 1969 in Ste-Marie-de-Kent, New Brunswick
7'0", 350 pounds
Down the phone from Brantford, Ontario, the 7-foot, 350 pound Kurrgan isn't scary at all.
In fact, he's down-right pleasant.
A good Acadian lad from down New Brunswick way, Kurrgan -- whose real name is Robert Maillet -- was in Wayne Gretzky's hometown for a Renegade Wrestling Alliance spot show. He faced, and defeated, Giant Warrior -- "a good wrestler, with good moves. He has experience and all he needs is a break."
For Kurrgan, the break came while working the Atlantic Grand Prix circuit in the Maritimes. He met Leo Burke, who now lives in Calgary and is a good friend of Bret Hart's. Burke called Hart and soon enough Kurrgan was training with The Hitman, on his way to the big leagues.
He signed with WWF, and met his future Truth Commision partners in Stamford, CT. The Commision was sent to the USWA in Memphis in the spring of 1997 for conditioning and four months later, they got the call.
"I'm pretty fortunate to be there, pretty lucky," said Kurrgan, who is part-way into a three-year contract. "I still can't believe it's me, that I'm part of the WWF. That was my long-time dream"
Kurrgan always wanted to be a wrestler, after growing up watching the WWF in its 1980s heydey with Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart and Randy Savage. He met wrestler, and fellow Maritimer, Stephen Petitpas (aka Sheik Ali) at a hockey game, and convinced Pettipas to train him. What followed was "a crash course in wrestling" and a month later, Kurrgan was on the Grand Prix circuit, learning as he went. Trips to Japan, India and Mexico really opened his eyes and helped his skills.
Right now, Kurrgan is paired with another Canadian -- Don Callis, aka The Jackyl.
Kurrgan was more than happy to talk about his manager. "[He's] very smart. Knows what he's doing. Always thinking, very creative guy. Always thinking about stuff. He's a good talker. A good guy. He has his moments. [breaks into laughter]"
Truly a gentle giant, Kurrgan breaks into laughter easily and is very humble.
When asked about The Jackyl's comments -- "Kurrgan fears my intellect" and "Kurrgan fears looking into my eyes and seeing disappointment" -- Kurrgan almost responded with your standard hockey player quote.
"Well, you know, I guess it's right. I want to live up to his expectations," he explained. "Try to do my best for the team. [laughing] He can say whatever he wants to say. He's a smart guy, I can tell you that."
Working on Kurrgan's behalf behind the scenes are The Undertaker and Mick Foley (aka Dude Love, Mankind, etc). Foley told SLAM! Wrestling's John Powell the following in an earlier interview:
"Me and The Undertaker were on a flight and we were talking about Kurrgan in total agreement. We don't know if it's in wrestling but somewhere he's going to make some money. Me and Terry (Funk) used to sit there at three o'clock in the morning and just come up with ideas for Kurrgan. He is our own pet project."
Kurrgan was into volleyball in high school, as his school didn't have a football or basketball team.
Besides wrestling, he has also regularly worked as a doorman / bouncer at night clubs.
But the impression one gets over the phone is that Kurrgan really doesn't want to hurt anyone.
"I've always been a nice guy," he said. "I've always gotten along with everybody. I'm always quiet, not complaining about everything. That's the way I was brought up"
Being such a nice guy likely helped at the recent WWF house show in Moncton, N.B., not far from where he grew up. About 7,000 people showed up to the Coliseum, and Kurrgan joked that he knew about half of them.
"To be in front of your home crowd, it was fun. Some of them had never seen me before -- only on TV, never live. It was pretty exciting for all my family. It was pretty cool."
He went over D-Lo Brown in his hometown. The match report from the show filed to SLAM! Wrestling read as follows: "Kurrgan came out with a "new" theme song. Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People". The Jackyl got on the mic and said how you must be a loser to live in such a hell infested sewer (Moncton), and Kurrgan grabbed his hand and said, "I like it here!" The match was decent but nothing great. D-Lo took some real shots during this match. Kurrgan won with The Paralyzer. Kurrgan got a HUGE pop from the crowd. I would give this match a 6/10, too short but it was still good!"
Kurrgan's goal, like every wrestler, is to main event. But again, the big guy is quick to say "I'm not complaining, I'm very happy where I am. Of course my goal is to be in a main event at a pay-per-view. You have to have a plan. Someday I would love to be in that position. I have to learn. I have to be ready for it. The WWF gives me an opportunity to improve."
By GREG OLIVER, SLAM! Sports
I got to meet Kurgan after a WWF show when he was with The Jackyl. I got to talk to him for a few minutes and he signed my picture of him. He was a funny guy, he said he was very happy being a "monster" in the WWF. That same night he destroyed a jobber(Forget his name).
I was 13 years old and living in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, Canada. I remember watching Kurrgan then "THE ACADIAN GIANT". He was a monster and at the time very young. He wrestled alongside of the "SOARING EAGLE". He performed on a card with Leo Burke, Goldie Rogers, Big Stephen Petipas, and many other well known Canadian Wrestlers from Grand Prix Wrestling. He will definitely be remembered in my mind.
Mark Day, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia
I remember watching Kurrgan, when he was The Acadian Giant back in 1991 in New Waterford, taking on guys like Goldie Rogers and Bobby Blaze who now wrestles in WCW.
He was just breaking into the business and over the next year, he improved as he took on all competitors including guys like Eddie Watts, Ron Starr and Leo Burke. I knew he would make it to the big time eventually. Way to go Kurrgan!
I remember going to WWF In Your House: Breakdown in Hamilton at the end of September in 1998. During the day, my friends and I stoped for lunch at the restaurant Waltz, which was near Copps Coliseum where the show was to be held that night. We had just ordered our food, when we are all shocked when the 7 ft plus Kurrgan and his family (we assume) comes in to eat!!!!! We shook his hand as he went by. I remember that his hand was twice as big as mine. It was our highlight of the day and we'll never forget it.
I remember it was right after DX In Your House in December. Me and my friends stopped at Roy Rodgers to eat, and all of a sudden I see this extremely tall man walk by the window. Then, before I knew it, Kurrgan and The Truth Commission walked in. We got to say hi and stuff. He was really nice.
The thing that I will always remember about Kurrgan is the way that he dances with the oddities. That always makes me laugh to see that goofy look on his face when he's dancing!
I was at the House Show in Moncton N.B. last year. It was the first time I got to see the WWF live. It was really cool, and Kurrgan did get a HUGE pop. It is really nice to see a local boy make it big in the WWF. (I am from St.Stephen New Brunswick).
I remember going to a Grand Prix show in Sherwood, PEI around 1991 and seeing Kurrgan wrestle as the Acadian Giant. The crowd was just small, around 250-300 people, but that didn't seem to bother him. The thing that impressed me the most was that he actually bodyslammed "Moondog" Sailor White, who weighed in around 6,000 pounds for that match, I think. If Grand Prix ever makes a comeback a la Stampede, it would be great to see the Acadian Giant make a triumphant return.
You probably don't remember me, in Ste-Marie de Kent School, we used to scare you at the corner of the school, you were so scare, you were running away from us, couldn't catch us. We had fun with you because we could do anything with you.You were running to the teacher and rat on us, but big deal we keep on doing it. When they told me you were going in the WWF I couldn't believe my eyes, you were scared of everybody, how can you be a wrestler. But you surprise me because you're doing a great job. I could write all night but have to stop Ste-Marie School 1973
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK
I used to work at Blockbuster in Moncton and Robert and his wife would always come in on his days off to buy and rent movies. He is such a nice guy it's unbelievable. When Moncton had the home show we had an autograph session with Kurrgan, the Jackyl and Owen Hart (God rest his soul) It was terrific all the kids thought Kurrgan was the best.
Jeffrey A. Cormier
Christian and Edge have been favorites of mine upon entering the WWF. Low and behold one day as I was walking through the park outside my house in San Diego, I ran into them, and Kurrgan. They were just hanging out, shopping, killing some time before a show. I was startled to see them, but I think I startled them when i approached them. They were a great bunch of guys, extremely accommodating to a fan. Nothing like you see on the television with the brood. I took a picture with them and Kurrgan, all posing in a silly fashion (Christian has some sort of hand gesture around his crotch). I took one more picture of Christian riding around on my longboared(skateboard). We were all extremely amused by it. They left a lasting impression with me, and it is something i will never forget.
I remember working out at a gym with Kurrgan which I didn't know it was Kurrgan.
I knew when was the Acadian Giant and I had never put 2 & 2 together.
Kinda like people not catching on the Kevin Kelly was Nailz to battle with the Big Boss Man years back.
It was really good to see him make it.
Comment ca va? It's been years since I've seen you man. Was always wondering what you were up to lately. Wondered if you still wrestled or not. Wonder if you remember when you went to school with my little brother Pitou and me in Ste-Marie/Bouctouche. Hell of course you do. Really hope everything is going good for you bud. If you're ever out west I'll catch a match or something. You can E-Mail at this address if you ever get this message. From Saskatoon, your friend,
When I first met Kurrgan I also met Steve Blackman, the living legend Owen Hart and also the Jackal but I though the Giant Kurrgan was the best and he was very nice to all the people from Halifax but I did get him to sign my pic I even got a pic of him and the others. As I was saying I talked to him for a minute or so and then the next year at Grand Prix Wrestling when he seen me yelling his name it looked like he still knew me. Those are my great memories about the Giant or yeah to Owen. R.I.P God loves you
My Kurrgan memory took place a mere seven days ago. My name is Jeff Docherty and last Thursday, I attended a card presented by new Maritime Promotion Real Action Wrestling (R.A.W.) at the Charlottetown Civic Center. The card was very impressive from top to bottom and gave me an oportunity to renew acquaintances with my good friend Todd "The Bodd" Douglas (MacPhee). The card had many gimmick matches including two hardcore matches, a candle arm wrestling match and a ladder match. The highlight of the night was a battle of the giants as RAW World Champion Kurrgan (Now known as Goliath) defended the title against Kingman (Peter Smith - formerly Hercules of Grand Prix Wrestling). The match was very good on a whole but it was what happened AFTER the match that provided my memories. Kurrgan defeated Kingman and I decided to get a handshake from Kurrgan as he went back up the aisle. I had been sitting in the front row and turned to walk towards the aisle. All of a sudden without warning, Kingman literally threw me to the arena's concrete floor from behind saying "Get the F**K out of my way!" I hit the concrete knee first and had no chance to extend my hands to break my fall. Now I am 28 years old and weigh 285 pounds and to have all that weight land on the concrete on a knee that had been injured 10 years ago in a car accident...well, the pain was unbearable. I looked to my left from the floor and saw Kingman grab a young boy (probably about 10 years old) by the shirt and lift him up, shake and curse at him and then drop him on a ringside mat. After that, he proceeded to step over the top of me on his way to the dressing room. I have no idea what this boy said or did to produce such a rage in Mr. Smith but I felt the full brunt for no reason.
I sat on the floor with my friend and many others gathered around. I was there for about ten minutes and was in intense pain when all of a sudden an arm came under mine and lifted me up (which is no small task!) and held me up. I was to embarrassed to look up because I saw the big boot and knew it was the man himself, Robert Maillet (Kurrgan). Here was this Giant of a man stopping to help me up and taking the time to stand there and make sure I was ok. I sat there and the owner of the promotion (I believe his name is Scott Gallant) came over and sat down beside me and apologized profusely. He gave me a sweatshirt and a t-shirt which I told him he did not have to do as I know it was not intentional. He was really great and I hope his promotion does very well in the future! All I asked him was if he could ask Kurrgan to come back out later so I could thank him after everyone was gone. A few minutes later, I look over and here comes Kurrgan! He had no shirt on and still had his wrestling tights on. The funny part was, he still had on his wrestling boots and he had untied them so they were flopping around. He was dragging his feet much like a child would drag along in untied boots. He came out and shook hands and stood around and carried on with us for awhile and he had not even had a chance to shower after his match. We discussed his role in the WWF as well as the fun he had doing his bits for the WWF Attitude game. We shook hands and he signed an autograph for me as well. He was apologizing for what Kingman had done and almost putting the blame on himself by saying that he may have been upset over a botched chokeslam that had him (Smith) land on his shoulder instead of his back. (Awwww...poor baby!) Meanwhile, I spotted Kingman slipping out a side door and avoiding where we were standing all together!
I would just love it if you could include as much of the above story as possible on your website because I want the world to know what a true Class-Act Mr. Robert Maillet (Kurrgan) is. Thanks again, Robert! You are a true MAN in a sport where genuine men are few and far between!
I had the privilege of attending the Moncton N.B. house show last year, and was thrilled when I actually got to see "Kurrgan" in person for the first time! I never knew him as the Acadian Giant like my boyfriend, Dave, did (who is also a huge fan)... but none the less, it was just as exciting for me as it was for him! Even though I've never had the honor of meeting him, yet, I think the most frustrating thing for me is when Dave and I would go to Moncton to shop! I was told he was usually in Moncton most weekend with his wife, and constantly kept an eye out for him. So, of course, Dave would normally take advantage of this and say at least once every visit, "Look! It's Kurrgan!" How could I resist looking, even after he had done it so many times, when maybe this time it would be for real! All I ever wanted was, not to bug him for an autograph like most people, but to just walk by him to feel exactly how much bigger than me he really is! It might sound stupid... but all I've ever wanted was to see his real size up close and personal!
I recently attended R.A.W. (Real Action Wrestling) at the Civic Centre in Charlotetown. The promotion was owned by my cousin Amy and her boyfriend Scott. Kuurgan (a.k.a. Goliath) was there. He had a great match against Kingman (who was a real jerk). Kingman literally assaulted one of the fans, who Kurrgan helped out afterward. And while there was only about 300 to 400 people there, Kuurgan still gave it his all. But what ill remember most is when all the other wrestlers had left, Kurrgan stood in the ring and danced to the music of who i believe were the Spice Girls (I can't remember at the moment). We all cheered for him, he made the card really special that night, he is a really great guy.
I'll always remember Kuurgan as a wrestler who knows how to get get the job done.
David J. Cox
Hi Kurrgan, I mean Robert. You have seen me often when you were younger. We used to go shop at your parents' store. When you went to high school you were best friends with me. Sometimes I see you at the grocery store in Sainte Marie. We went to every wrestling match in Cocagne. We wish you good luck in your wrestling career.
Fernand Duplessis, best known as Melondelle, Fille1nb.nbnet.ca
Kurrgan and the Oddities rule!!!
But why did they leave the WWF???
I remember Robert from high school. We attended Clement Cormier in Bouctouch NB. He was in my grade 9 gym class, and even then Robert was the biggest and scariest looking guy of them all. One day I was goofing off with some of the guys and I had stupidly said something, not too kind to say the least, towards Robert. And just my luck, he heard me. Well he came after me and my big mouth, and I have to tell the truth, I ran my ass off trying to get away from this huge guy. I thought for sure that when we got into the locker rooms he was going to turn me into a pretzel, and fast. But when Robert approached me, he just started joking with me and swapped smartalec comments with each other. No hard feelings at all.
Now, me and Robert didn't hang out together or anything, but I always thought he was a hell of a guy. When I found out that he was making a living doing wrestling like he always wanted, I was happier than hell for him. If there ever was a person who deserved to achieve his dreams in life, it's Bob. All the best to you and your family Bob. You may not remember me, but you still have a pal in this former school mate.
Danny LeBlanc, Algona IA
I met Kurrgan in a hotel on a Saturday night in Yarmouth Nova Scotia and didn't realize who he was..... when I finally did I was outside and dropped my pizza and freaked out.
I met Kurrgan at a match in Korea. He was in Korea for the WWA. He was WWA world champ. He is very big and powerful. He is great!
I'm Tha Mad Kaiju!!
I recently saw Kurrgan at a Real Action Wrestling show in Quispamsis, N.B. It was a great show Kurrgan got DQed by using the belt on Kowboy, who was the world Champion.
I'm 11 and my name is Jonathan Mahoney and I have future hopes of being a wrestler so watch for me. The other night I talked to Kurrgan for a couple minutes after a R.A.W (Real Action Wrestling) show. He was very nice and BIG. When I shook his hand it was like 3 times the size of mine. And his thumb was like the size of two of my fingers put together. You guys probably already know but he was BIG. If anybody knows why Kurrgan left the WWF please email me.
Jonathan Mahoney, firstname.lastname@example.org
We have served him a couple of times, along with Kingman and a few other wrestlers at our Wendy's in Bayers Lake before Real Action Wrestling events down the road at Exhibition Park in Halifax N.S. I think he may be the tallest person ever to step foot in our store!!
Simon Glover, Bedford , N.S.