Where Are They Now? The Mountie
"You're late," Jacques Rougeau said as he answered WWE.com's phone call in the living room of his home in Quebec.
An uneasy silence followed. After all, this was The Mountie — the man who defeated Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship, the man who electrocuted his fallen opponents with a cattle prod, the man who once punched out The Dynamite Kid's teeth — and he was angry. (PHOTOS)
Quickly, a long list of apologies was offered up, but Rougeau simply laughed them off and said, "It's okay."
A sigh of relief. It was the first sign that the former Superstar was not, in fact, a maniacal Canadian lawman who took cruel pleasure in tasering his victims. Rather, he was a gentleman. Funny and quick with a story, Rougeau was not only personable, but possessed a serious love of sports-entertainment — a fact that shouldn't surprise anyone.
Like Bret Hart and Eddie Guerrero, Jacques Rougeau was born into wrestling. His great-uncle, Eddie Auger, competed in the '40s. His father, Jacques, Sr., and uncle, Johnny, were the original Rougeau Brothers, a pair of French Canadian good guys who are revered as legends in their province.
Rougeau grew up in this strange world of gymnasts and giants, surrounded by amazing personalities like Abdullah the Butcher and Killer Kowalski. As a child, he would sneak into the background of promotional photographs for his father's upcoming matches, so his smiling face could be seen beyond the tense staredown between his old man and his next opponent. He started competing himself at a young age and by the time he was 17 he was active in WWE Hall of Famer Stu Hart's fabled Stampede Wrestling in the frigid western reaches of Canada. Here, Rougeau would cross paths with future rival Bret Hart for the first time, although their meeting wasn't in the ring.
"Actually Bret was driving the bus at the time," he remembered with a laugh.
Stu proved to be a valuable mentor for Rougeau, but there was still much more for the young competitor to experience, so he set about discovering the North American territory system. Over the next four years, the Montreal native competed everywhere from Nashville to Mexico City to Atlanta, honing his skills alongside hardnosed grapplers like Tommy Rich and Ole Anderson.
In 1982, a seasoned Rougeau returned home to Montreal where he formed a tag team with his older brother, Raymond. Carrying on their family legacy, the siblings became beloved heroes in their hometown and caught the attention of WWE. The pair was signed in 1985 and soon locked up with teams like The British Bulldogs and The Killer Bees in arenas all over the globe.
"It was off to Australia for the first tour with Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan and Jake the Snake," Rougeau remembered. "It was something."
Fan favorites at first, Jacques & Raymond were talented, but often got lost in the shuffle during a time when WWE's tag division was overflowing with memorable teams. This would change in 1987 when the duo linked up with slimy manager "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart. Now billed from Memphis, Tenn., The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers became a pair of phony patriots who pretended to love America in order to mock it. The fans hated them.
"The Rougeaus have never been [bad guys] in three generations of the family," Jacques said. "The first time we turned, I know my dad was going nuts and my Uncle Johnny was turning in his tomb, that's for sure."
The notoriety may have been jarring for the siblings at first, but they soon began to embrace their newfound infamy. At the same time, The Rougeaus had their best matches yet, tearing the house down night after night against teams like The Rockers and The Hart Foundation. But for Jacques, his most memorable brawl of the '80s would happen outside of the ring.
The story of Rougeau's rivalry with The Dynamite Kid is an involved one with conflicting sides, but Jacques tells it like this — after The British Bulldogs stole equipment from his gym bag, Rougeau told a fellow Superstar that he planned to bring it up to management. When word of this got back to Dynamite, the aggressive competitor viciously attacked Jacques in the locker room. Humiliated, the Montreal native considered quitting WWE, but then he finally made his decision. He would get his revenge.
This would not be so easy, though. Admittedly not a street fighter, Rougeau was going up against a hard man with hulking muscles and a bad attitude. Terrified, he practiced throwing jabs with his brother for a week before coming face to face with Dynamite Kid in a hallway. Then, with nothing left to lose, Jacques reared back and knocked his rival's teeth out with one punch. The trick of it was he had a roll of quarters clenched in his fist — a move he'd made on the advice of his father.
"It was something I had to do, which I didn't want to do," Rougeau admitted. "I wanted to save the image of my father, my uncle and all the Rougeaus. We always were respectable guys, but we never let anybody [push us around]."
The brazen act earned Jacques a new level of respect amongst his peers and lent some credibility to the nasty persona he debuted in 1991. With Raymond retiring in '90, Rougeau was now a singles competitor again and he needed a look that would stand out.
"[Mr. McMahon] came up with the idea of The Mountie," Rougeau revealed. "What a great character!"
An evil twist on the respected Royal Canadian Mounted Police, The Mountie was a vile, anti-American jingoist who used a "shock stick" to zap his opponents into submission.
"My shock stick was a real one," he said. "My friend built it for me from a lawn mower coil and the fuse would make a big fire."
This dangerous weapon was used on The Mountie's most hated rivals like Tito Santana and Big Boss Man, the latter of whom Rougeau faced in a Jailhouse Match at SummerSlam 1991. This unique bout called for the loser to spend the night in a New York City slammer. The Mountie lost and was taken to jail by the NYPD in a series of memorable vignettes that aired throughout the show.
"It was an incredible night," Rougeau remembered. "One of the highlights of my career."
Not long after, The Mountie had his greatest success when he defeated Bret Hart for the Intercontinental Championship in January of 1992. The reign was a short one — he lost the title to "Rowdy" Roddy Piper two days later — but it was proof that Rougeau had made it on his own as a WWE Superstar.
In the months that followed, he would stumble in singles competition before disappearing from the ring. Rougeau would not be gone for long, though. In the summer of 1993 he returned with a new partner and prepared to dominate the tag ranks yet again.
1 | 2