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SLAM! WRESTLING: And Nothing but the Truth

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Eric Benner is SLAM! Wrestling's regular Friday columnist.

Friday, February 19, 1998

Rougeau puts heart into promoting

Eric Benner
By ERIC BENNER
Special to SLAM! Sports


A weekly
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You may remember him as one of the Mounties, one of the Quebecers, or even by his real name of Jacques Rougeau. Any which way you put it, you'd remember him as one half of a gifted pair of tag team champions. When his older brother Armand was asked if he could make a return to wrestling, he had this to say: "I really hope so. It's hard. Everything is so expensive. It's been his dream for a long time."

Expensive? If you thought I was referring to a return to a WWF or WCW wrestling ring, you might be confused by that statement. But I'm not. Jacques Rougeau is trying his hand, for the second time, as a promoter in Quebec. While his days of in-ring action are not over, they certainly aren't his greatest worry as he seeks to tackle the management of a wrestling company.


Referee Pierre Morrison declares Jacques & Raymond Rougeau the winners on the Rougeau-promoted show Feb. 14 in Montreal. The Rougeaus beat Abdullah the Butcher and Richard Charland to retain their Johnny Rougeau Memorial Tag Team Titles. -- Greg Oliver, CANOE
I ask again: expensive? Rougeau certainly had something to say about that. "A couple of years ago," he told Greg Oliver and I, after the first show of his second run, "I ran twenty shows in a row and I lost a lot of money. Being a promoter is risky."

The life of a promoter isn't one about catch-phrases and finishing maneuvers. It's not about crowd heat or in-ring personas. And unless you're one of two people, it's not about bumps or being where you don't belong. Jacques Rougeau's new life is about organization, planning, management, and marketing. "You can ask my kids," Rougeau said, then elaborated: "for the past two months, I've been working twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. They haven't even seen me for two weeks."

But they're not complaining. "I promised them I'd take them to Florida when it was over," Rougeau added.

Of course, it's never over. On the heels of his very successful show at the Pierre-Charbonneau arena on February 14 [click here for that story], he has another show coming up in less than four months. And if you figure he'll be with the kids at Disney World for two weeks, and it takes three months to plan these things out, then oh my, he doesn't get much of a break. But then, a break isn't quite as needed after a success as it is after a failure.

"At least I didn't lose any money," Rougeau commented, "[that] was my main concern."

But coming out even is not an accurate portrayal of Jacques Rougeau after his first show of 1999. The show was fantastic, a lot of new talent was given some exposure, and the fans went home very pleased. The only qualm anyone could have is that the arena wasn't sold out. "Out of 3,000, we sold 2,200 tickets," Rougeau said. "That's not a bad start."

It certainly isn't. And with the kind of crowd response they got this time around, those empty seats are sure not to be, the next time International Wrestling 2000 comes to town.

It only helps that the media was there in droves. Eric Nolin, naturally, was there representing CKOI with his crew. He emceed the show. CFCF-12, Radio Canada, and of course, SLAM! Wrestling were covering the show, too. "I was extremely pleased with the media responses to my show. Radio-Canada never shows up for this sort of thing." Well, they did for Jacques Rougeau.

The show went well, some might even say great, but like the wise man who learns from his mistakes while celebrating his victory, Rougeau has a lot to think about. "For one thing," he said, discussing some changes he'd make for the next show, "the next show will be in the evening. The video will be more visible and people will be more in the mood to come down if its a beautiful day like today. I'll also avoid putting my show on a holiday." Isn't the 20th of June Father's Day? "Maybe I'll move the show date," Rougeau replied.

All in all, things are looking good for Jacques Rougeau. Well, most things. "It seems," he confided in the locker room area after the show, "that King Kong Bundy wasn't happy at all with the outcome of the battle royale." Rougeau won it, hurling a charging Bundy over the top. "I know Bundy's going to want my ass."

Uh oh. I wouldn't want to be in the shoes of someone looking down the barrel of King Kong Bundy. That's because I'm not the wrestler he is, though. I'm not the promoter he is, either. But then again, I'm not Jacques Rougeau, am I?

MAIL BAG

Garrick McIntosh, from garrick@sprint.ca, writes:
*Hey, the "frankensteiner" was the name of a Scott Steiner finishing move. He used the move way back when, during the old Steiner Brother days. I don't know why he doesn't any more. Bobby Heenan didn't make it up. Just hought you might like to know.*

I knew that. I didn't claim that Bobby Heenan made the maneuver name out of thin air, but that he mis-applied it. Just like Tony Schiavonne refers to every other move as a sidewalk slam. There is such a thing as a sidewalk slam, but that doesn't make his mistakes any less wrong.

PSX Man, from nflgameday@hotmail.com, writes:
*Unbelievable! I can't believe that you actually wrote the above paragraph, let alone the whole column. Do you actually mean to tell me that you'd rather see Hogan trying to act 'cool', Nash & Konnan using great catch phrases while lumbering in the ring and Lex Luger's electric personality (note: sarcasm) over someone actually putting some effort into their match and doing something that actually requires some skills (ie, hurracanaranas, sentons etc etc)??? How much money did Hogan, Piper, Nash & all the lazy bums..er 'main eventers' paid you write this column, Jim Cornette?*

I don't want to see the luchas go. Not by any stretch of the imagination. But the way they are now, I think they're more of a detriment to the show than a boon. You know how when you eat a really salty food, that if you taste a sweet food right after that, it tastes funny? Well, if you were an ice cream establishment, you might not want to offer complementary salted french fries to your customers - not because salted french fries are bad, but because they would ruin the taste of what you specialize in. WCW doesn't have any room for the luchadores. When they want to build them up, the same way they do their heavyweights, the luchadores will become the best part of the show and maybe just what WCW needs to best the competition. Until then, they're just too salty.

Hey everyone, thanks for logging onto SLAM! and checking me out. I appreciate it - really, I do. Thanks especially for writing in with your comments. Everyone have a really great week, I'll see you in seven.

Send email to ebenner@hotmail.com.

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