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  March 28, 1998



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Quebecers fiercely competitive, patroitic


  • Quebecers Photo Gallery
  • CNEWS: Canadian Unity Issue

    By GREG OLIVER -- SLAM! Sports
      If it turns out that Jean Charest is not the answer in Quebec, then maybe the Quebec Liberals should look to The Quebecers to save the country.

    Jacques Rougeau and Carl Pierre Ouelette are fierce patriots and are doing their own bit to keep Canada together -- while splitting heads inside the ring.

    "When I go to the States, or travel around the world," explained Rougeau in a recent interview at the CANOE offices. "As soon as we come into Vancouver or Calgary or Winnipeg or Toronto or Montreal -- as soon as we clear customs and land in Canada, we feel at home. We simply feel at home."

    Unlike a couple of years ago, the Quebecers now proudly wave both Quebec's and Canada's flag on their way to the ring. For Rougeau, it "was a natural thing."

    "We just wanted people to know we are from Quebec, Canada."

    Forever the tag team, even in an interview, Ouelette continued his partner's answer. "We're proud of Quebec. We're proud of the Quebecers -- our name is the Quebecers. But we're also proud of being Canadians."

    Both Rougeau and Ouelette come from families that have ties to the separatist movement. For Ouelette, his sister is "Bloc Quebecois, PQ bigtime, so she probably hates me for that." Rougeau's uncle Johnny Rougeau was a bodyguard for the founder of the Parti Quebecois, and later premier of Quebec, Rene Levesque.

    Perhaps the unity they show politically will help them in Sunday's WrestleMania 15-team battle royale in Boston.

    "We know pretty much what we have to do to win," said Ouelette . Their strategy? Stay close together, because it's a team battle royale, and if one member is eliminated, the other teammate must also leave the ring.

    "The bottom line is there aren't too many teams that have been together a long time, even the champions right now," explained Rougeau. "In five years, you get to know your partner a lot. I travel with Carl. I sleep with Carl. We each have our own bed. [Laughing.] We want to clear that up. I work out with Carl. We do everything together. When we start a tour, whether it's a ten or fifteen day tour, and we leave Dorval Airport in Montreal together, we're married for fifteen days ... whereas a lot of tag teams don't travel together, they don't work out together."

    Should they emerge victorious from the match, they would be entitled to a championship match against whomever wins Sunday in the tag title match -- the New Age Outlaws, or Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie.

    For the Quebecers, it's not a tough decision as to whom they would rather face. The Outlaws fit their style of wrestling better, while Jack & Charlie are too unpredictable -- "instead of a head lock, it's a chair lock!" joked Rougeau.

    Both men would like to see a title match in Montreal at the Molson Centre, where they are unbeatable.

    "With the fans behind us, it gives us that extra leverage," explained Rougeau. "Sometimes my pride will make me do things that I would never do elsewhere."

    Montreal is also where Jacques Rougeau scored the biggest win of his career -- a pinfall victory over Hulk Hogan in 1997 while both were in WCW.

    Rougeau said of the match: "It elevated my status in Montreal ... when someone mentions it, it gives me great, great pleasure"

    On that same card, Ouelette beat The Giant by DQ.

    Discussing the WCW Montreal show brings up the obvious question -- comparing the Quebecers' WCW days to their WWF days. In the WWF, they have help the World Tag Titles three times. In WCW, they didn't win any titles.

    For Ouelette, there's "no comparison when it comes to Canada." WCW only ran one show in Canada their whole time there. And for that one, they "had to push and push and beg and ask and knock on the doors and knock on the doors. It was not funny any more. It's unbelievable the work we had to do to get convince them to come and have a show in Montreal."

    "They didn't care about Canada," concluded Ouelette.

    "Vince McMahon and the WWF show so much more interest in Canada. And respect also," Rougeau added.

    Rougeau's memory of WCW isn't much better. "Eric Bischoff showed a lot of disrespect for me. And I mean disrespect by promising us a lot of things that would happen for the Quebecers ... It was like a zoo."

    He sees "a lot of WCW stars coming back to WWF" because Bischoff won't be able to control the situation. There are too many egos to massage and too many demands being made.

    Rougeau also thinks that too much is made over the scheduling of the WCW versus WWF. World Championship Wrestling has about 20 shows a month, with top stars working only a handful of those dates, mainly the TV tapings. The World Wrestling Federation works 25-30 shows a month, with everyone working about the same number of dates.

    "One thing that's going to hurt Bret [Hart], that hurt us, is the fact that we were wrestling so little," Rougeau said. "You're wrestling once or twice every two weeks. There's something about performing in the ring, that you lose your timing so fast. The falls that you take, and everything. Your body gets used to that. And it's the same thing when you don't work. Your body gets used to that too."

    He thinks the WWF has found the middle ground. Where he used leave his home and be on tour for 40 straight days, now when he leaves on a tour, it's only for about two weeks.

    So what's in the future for the Quebecers? Will there be a manager for them?

    "I was thinking about that," said Rougeau. "We're actually doing pretty well alone now. It's a different style of wrestling we have now. Where we used to cowardly back off sometimes to try to trick our opponents into thinking we were afraid. Using strategy that had no pride in it. We've changed our strategy. If we lose, we lose like men. If we win, we win like men."

    Ouelette realizes the way the WWF is going these days, with gangs and coalitions being a foundation for success, that allegiences may have to be made.

    "There's one guy that I think has a lot of potential, a lot of talent and he's from Winnipeg. And that's The Jackal," said Ouelette. "I think that it could be pretty good somewhere down the line if the Jackal would become the Quebecers' manager."

    Added Rougeau: "He would have to change his attitude a little bit."

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