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JACQUES ROUGEAU: THE CHAMPION WHO NEVER WAS

If someone would have woken up after a 16 year sleep last December 30th, that person probably would have thought all was right with the wrestling world.  Aside from the fact that the venerable Montreal Forum had been replaced by the spacious Molson Centre, Jacques Rougeau was promoting a huge show in the city's major venue. On the surface, promoting in Quebec was exactly where Rougeau should have been following a fine mat career. But a closer examination of the realities of the local wrestling scene suggests that the lineage from 1985 to 2002 was anything but smooth and clear.

For Jacques himself, the sheer audacity of booking an independent show in an arena the size of the Molson Centre in this day and age is enough to warrant some sort of award but it shouldn't have been that way. Had the WWF of Vince McMahon not come along in the 80's to forever reshape the wrestling landscape, Jacques Rougeau definitely would have been the heir apparent to the crown of Quebec's top grappling superstar. Realistically speaking, that's a title which Jacques actually does hold today but it is really only because he is the lone big-time Quebec player left on the scene, with Dino Bravo now gone and Rick Martel out of the business. What should have been a natural ascension from the legacy laid down from the 1930's onward was instead pretty much a coronation by default. Jacques definitely deserves to be regarded in a better light than that.

The rich history of 20th century wrestling in Quebec really begins with Yvon Robert, who is generally regarded as the greatest superstar this province has ever produced. Holding many regional titles over the course of his career, Robert was also a World champion and even headlined numerous cards in Europe.  In his home province of Quebec, the man was a true legend on at least an equal footing with hockey's Maurice "Rocket" Richard. Partnered with the mercurial promoter Eddie Quinn, it was Robert who spearheaded the incredible popularity of wrestling in Montreal right up to the moment he retired. Beginning in the late 1930's right up to the 1950's, this city - despite claims by other hot territories of the era - really was the mecca of the pro game.  More...

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