Late pro wrestling great Mad Dog Vachon
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Late pro wrestling great Mad Dog Vachon
By jkiel001 on Jan 11, 2014 03:19 AM
Late pro wrestling great Mad Dog Vachon once battled Andre the Giant here in the capital
Maurice Dog Vachon accepts his induction into the 2010 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, March 27, 2010, in Phoenix, AZ.
The Canadian wrestler died Thursday at the age Brandon LaFell Womens Jersey of 84.
"He became a legend and it was well deserved," his brother, former wrestler Paul "The Butcher" Vachon, told the Citizen on Thursday. "He would not want us to grieve. I know he wouldn't, so we're not. We will miss him."
Mad Dog Vachon, the second of 13 children of a Montreal policeman, stood only five feet, seven inches tall, although he wrestled at about 230 pounds. Paul Vachon, who is six two, said Mad Dog was the shortest in their family.
"All of www.shoppanthersnfljersey.com/Authentic-Brandon-Lafell-Jersey his brothers were taller than him, but believe me, he was the toughest of us all, and he proved it."
Vachon began as an accomplished amateur wrestler, representing Canada in the 1948 Olympics in London. But it was in professional wrestling, where he could make use of his gifts for showmanship, that he really found his place, spending 40 years as an iconic character.
Vachon's famous Mad Dog moniker is one that he picked up after a match in Portland, Ore. His opponent showed up late, leaving the fans lots of time to boo him as he waited in the ring. He responded with rage, throwing the opponent, once he finally showed up, out of the ring. Then he threw the referee out, also along with a policeman for good measure. The furious promoter called him a mad dog. He liked the sound of that.
The story hints at a secret about the trade. Everyone knows that professional wrestling is fake, but not everyone realizes that it's also a little bit real. Things can get unpredictable in a wrestling ring, a place where there is plenty of testosterone and ego, and the athletes don't always agree on exactly how a match will play out. Vachon knew how to work with that chaos.
Vachon was also a bit more involved with official Ottawa than might be expected of a professional wrestler not just because he had a brief notion of entering federal politics with the Liberals in 1992 (Paul ran, himself, unsuccessfully, as a federal NDP candidate).
In 1985, after he did TV beer commercials, Mad Dog got into a battle with the Canadian Radio television and Telecommunications Commission, which objected to celebrity alcohol endorsement.
But prime minister Brian Mulroney was a fan of Mad Dog's. In 1987, the wrestler was in a terrible accident in Iowa and lost his right leg to a hit and run driver. Wrestling historian Greg Oliver says that Mulroney helped arrange a private plane to pick Vachon up and bring him back to Canada.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper tweeted out his condolences to the Vachon family.
Oliver said that for Vachon, Ottawa was a big part of his early career.
"His first real break came in the Ottawa Valley," where he wrestled in places such as Renfrew, Oliver said. "That was an important breeding ground for talent. That was his first big wrestling break after he became pro."
Later, in the early 1970s, when Vachon and his brother were promoting their own wrestling circuit, Ottawa was one of their mainstays.
"The heyday for wrestling in Ottawa was in the early 1970s and we were running Grand Prix Wrestling out of Montreal," Paul Vachon said. "In Ottawa we had some tough matches, definitely, with the Leduc brothers, Mad Dog and I.
"Ottawa crowds Brandon LaFell Game Jersey were always pretty wild crowds."
They also wrestled often in Hull, he said.
One of the memorable matches, in 1973, saw Mad Dog, Killer Kowalski and Don Leo Jonathan take on Edouard Carpentier, Dominic Denucci and Andre the Giant, then known as Jean Ferre.