Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
- Serge Niles
The summer months in
Atlantic Canada, featured some great wrestling action. Atlantic
Grand Prix Wrestling was the Hotbed of professional wrestling in the
Maritimes, since the early 60's. Every Saturday Night at 11pm,
at the beginning of the 70's was a must watch time, in practically every
house in the Maritimes. Whether you lived in New Brunswick,
Nova-Scotia or PEI. When that familiar beat began on the TV, you
would practically stop what you where doing, and enjoy an hour of Pro
Emile Dupree, better
known to US Fans as Golden Boy Dupree, was the promoter and owner of
Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling. Dupree was very well respected in the
wrestling business, and some of the stars he got to come over in the 70's
was proof of that. From John Studd, Randy Savage, Lanny Poffo,
Angelo Poffo and Andre the Giant. Dupree would run weekly
shows every summer between May and Thanksgiving Weekend in October.
You could hear long time announcer Bill McCaullah inform that fans that
the Stars of Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling would be in Moncton, NB on
Monday nights, Halifax, NS on Thursday's and Berwick, NS on Saturday
evening. In between these regular stops, you would have some
stops in other towns or village across the Atlantic Provinces, you would
often see Antigonish, NS, Summerside, PEI, St-John, NB, Sydney, NS and
many more small villages.
Every summer, we would
have our returning heroes and heels. From the lights of Leo Burke,
Stephen Petitpas, the Beast, Bobby Bass, Killer Karl Krupp and the Cuban
Assassin. To stars, that would only come on certain summers like
"Rotten" Ron Starr, "Bulldog" Bob Brown, The Spoiler,
Ron Ritchie, "Dr. D" David Shultz and many, many more.
There was 2 major
titles every summer, that they would compete for. The US Heavyweight
Title and North American Tag-Team Titles. Secondary titles, as the
European Heavyweight Title (Mostly held by Killer Karl Krupp) and
the Maritime Heavyweight Title (which was mostly held by Stephen Petitpas,
in the middle to late 80's) were defended regularly. The
U.S. Heavyweight title became known as International Heavyweight Title in
the middle to late 80's.
On a couple of
occasions the NWA World Title would be defended on local stops, during the
summer months in regular stops. Some that I remember off hand was
Leo Burke defeating Terry Funk, in Halifax, NS at 55 minutes, by DQ, when
Funk threw Burke over the top rope. Ric Flair also came down a few
times to defend his title against the very best that the Maritime
wrestling scene had to offer.
During the upcoming
months, I will hopefully educate all of you, in what the Maritimes had to
offer. From their greatest matches, to the year that a new promotion
almost shut down Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling.
I hope that you will
enjoy these monthly columns.