Rougeau Gala invades Molson Centre
By ERIC BENNER-- SLAM! Wrestling
MONTREAL -- For the first time ever, wrestling fans bustled into Montreal's Molson Centre to watch a show promoted by neither the WWF nor WCW. Jacques Rougeau's Lutte International 2000 put on its Super Gala de Lutte Familiale this past Sunday, December 30, 2001. It was a strange feeling, filing into the massive building for a card that didn't feature Hulk Hogan or Stone Cold Steve Austin or The Rock. At this point, the Molson Centre almost felt like a WWF-owned building. Rougeau's promotion proved that Montreal and the Molson Centre are no one's domain and that its citizens are fans of all quality wrestling.
From a technical standpoint, the show was close to flawless. Thanks in no small part, I'm sure, to the equipment and know-how of the Molson Centre, the pre-match interviews, post-match replays, lighting, entrance music, and pyrotechnics went off without a hitch. From a wrestling standpoint, the show was quality fare, with well-choreographed matches and talented enough wrestlers to execute them. The finishes were creative, and Rougeau or whomever is helping him in booking these cards is clearly getting the hang of it.
Lutte International 2000 has improved dramatically in many respects since its first show two years ago, while at the same time maintaining its competitive advantages. Many of the matches on this card finished with a real eye toward developing future angles on future cards, something that was not present in the initial "one-shot" special events. Hopefully, this will help to draw even more fans in the future than the ten thousand-or-so in the building today. Also, more emphasis was placed on the undercard matches, which will help to build the fledgling promotion on the backs of the younger talent.
In the card's opening match, well-known veteran 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan defeated The Prisoner. The Prisoner has been a mainstay at Rougeau events, often is part of the appropriately named tag team 'The Prisoners'. "USA, USA" chants permeated this match, and Duggan used his whole arsenal of verbal and facial expressions. Duggan survived an onslaught of power moves and nailed The Prisoner with his patented lariat for the win.
Following that, Wabysha Wow Chung fought Super Style Maxim Boyer. Wabysha was accompanied by a valet with no discernable name. Both wrestlers were small and fought a fast match. The match was well choreographed and featured some great moves. Super Style looked like he was going to win but Wabysha's valet distracted the referee and gave Wabysha an opportunity to cheat, kick Boyer Tajiri-style, and take the win.
Sid came out for a quick interview, which essentially consisted of him explaining that his leg was still injured and that he was going to ref the match between his good friend Carl Oullette, and Kurrgan.
The next event was a three way match between Rougeau students: Handsome JF and Gorgeous Neil vs. Tornado Dylan Joffre and The Kid Kevin Steen vs. Dow Jones and Gladiator Serge Demers. The special referee was Bulldozer, who did a great job of reffing the match. This was a long match but it had some great high-flying moves in it. Dow Jones had a great gimmick going where he just wouldn't put his cell phone down to wrestle the match. This was his downfall as in the end, his own partner got fed up with him and pinned him, causing them to lose.
The next wrestler was advertised as a fourth generation Rougeau wrestler. Jean-Jacques Rougeau, the thirteen-year-old son of Jacques Rougeau, wrestled the next match against another thirteen year old, Mad Max. While JJ Rougeau was over a hundred pounds lighter than his opponent, he still fought a great match. Unfortunately due to interference from Little Broken, Rougeau lost this match. He was understandably furious.
After the intermission, there was the obligatory midget match between Little Broken and Tiger Baby. There was a special stipulation wherein if Tiger Baby lost, he would have to retire, while if Little Broken lost, he would find his short head of hair shaved. This match was entertaining enough, especially for the children in attendance, and consisted of all the usual midget hijinx. It ended with angry young Jean-Jacques Rougeau taking his revenge against Little Broken, causing him to lose the match and his hair.
The three Rougeau brothers came out in full force in the next match. They fought against Black Stallion Eric Mastrocola, Tank, and Crush. Interestingly, the Rougeaus were listed at a combined weight of 310 lbs. The crowd was definitely into this match and cheered on the Rougeaus throughout the match. Things went back and forth early in the match, until the heel team started to cheat to keep Jacques in the ring for the majority of the match. Several missed tags later, the Rougeaus took charge and performed all of their signature spots, several new tandem moves, and scored the win.
The second to last match pitted Earthquake against King Kong Bundy. Bundy was the definite heel in this match and egged on the crowd, offering to sign autographs for the kids after the show (for $10 US, since he didn't want anymore Canadian dollars as he already had plenty of toilet paper). The two wrestlers grappled and traded blows, power moves, and rest holds, until King Kong Bundy had enough and simply left the ring. Earthquake won this match by DQ.
The main event featured Kurrgan against Pierre Carl Ouellette with Sid as the special ref. Sid definitely favoured his "friend", Pierre Carl Ouellette, by being harsh with Kurrgan and giving him slow counts. Maybe I should have seen it coming or maybe it was subtly done, but Sid turned on Ouelette at the end of the match, blatantly stopping a count and then attacking Pierre. Kurrgan ended the match in a chokeslam and a willing three count by Sid.