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INTER-PROMOTIONAL INSURRECTION Part 3: International vs. WWF

In the two previous installments in this series, I have documented repeated instances where wrestling fans (both in Quebec and other territories) have clamored for a single champion and unified promotional direction only to have those dreams thwarted by either deliberate political maneuvering, ego, greed, personality conflicts, irrationality and/or just plain stupidity.  Sometimes a combination of all of these elements. 

Nevertheless, the territory system had somehow not only remained intact throughout all of this, but even thrived. Although Eddie Quinn may have helped splinter the NWA, he didn't destroy it. Johnny Rougeau and the Vachon brothers only managed to destroy each other and everybody else seemed to gang up to eliminate Eddie Einhorn.  

Therefore, as we pick up the story for the final chapter, the Quebec territory pretty much lay in ruins, yet some seeds were being planted for an eventual renaissance. Little could anyone have realized that a shade over ten years from this point, the wrestling landscape as we knew it would come to have three unforgettable letters emblazoned upon it: W - W - F.

If 1971 to 1975 could be likened to the World War II years for Quebec wrestling fans, then 1976 to 1980 must have seemed like its nuclear winter aftermath. The IWA national experiment in the U.S. had failed, both the Grand Prix and Celebrity Wrestling promotions were dead, the barely-remembered
Grand Circuit group was so far underneath the radar that you needed sonar to even know it existed, and Johnny Rougeau's All-Star company was on the verge of collapse. 

By mid-1976, Rougeau reluctantly made the painful decision to sell the promotion which he had nurtured through so much triumph and turbulence since he opened up shop in 1965. The group was re-christened "Superstar Wrestling" but retained the International title lineage, talent roster and TV
production. Of course, the problem was that uncharismatic ex-Grand Prix mid-carder Serge Dumont was the reigning heavyweight champion and the only names they could afford as headliners were aging stars like Tarzan Tyler and Billy Two Rivers. Crowds dwindled even further so that by the end of the year the company was sold again, this time to a group headed by Roger Jutras.  Grand Circuit also had a new head in one Robert Methot, but what exactly he was head of was anyone's guess at this point. 

It didn't really matter. By the beginning of 1977, both companies mercifully expired and the absolute destruction of Quebec wrestling as a result of the
most bitter promotional war we had ever seen was now complete. 

For those few fateful months as winter began to fade, the only professional wrestling in Quebec consisted of weekly repeat broadcasts of Superstar
Wrestling's dying days on CFCF channel 12. But help was soon on the way as Montreal-born George "Crybaby" Cannon's fledgling "Superstars Of Wrestling" show hit the airwaves in March. A former wrestler, manager and booker (with Einhorn's failed IWA), Cannon and new media partner Milt Avruskin had gotten their feet wet the previous year with the short-lived Ontario-based "Universal Wrestling" TV show before striking out on their own. Though short
on cash, they were fortunately long on opportunities and Avruskin set about securing local Canadian television deals from an increasing list of defunct
promotions across the country. Already established in Ontario and the Maritimes, Cannon now added Montreal to his syndication list.
 
The first few TV installments seen here in Montreal featured mostly Ontario/Michigan-based wrestlers such as "Wild" Bull Curry, Luis "Arriba" Martinez, "Pretty Boy" Anthony and Chris Colt. The show was produced in Windsor by the Global TV network. That arrangement soon changed when a fellow named Paul-Emile Desmarais formed "Super-Catch Promotions" to run house shows in Montreal. Since Cannon owned the CFCF-12 contract and he was unable to secure a french-language TV deal for himself, Desmarais decided to use Cannon-booked talent (many of whom were regulars on Dave "Bearman" McKigney's Ontario independent circuit) at the top of those first few cards in order to
retain continuity with the "Superstars" television show. Shortly thereafter, Quebec-based talent began showing up regularly on Cannon's TV. 
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