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Catching up with The Mountie: Part 2
The Mountie had been a successful persona for Jacques Rougeau, but one that burned out surprisingly quickly. A little less than two years after debuting, he was out of WWE and working shows in Puerto Rico for Carlos Colon. It wasn't exactly the big time, but it is where he met Carl Ouellet, a young French-Canadian grappler hungry for his big break. Rougeau liked the youngster and saw an opportunity to recreate the tag success he'd experienced years ago with his brother, Raymond. (PHOTOS)
After reaching out to Mr. McMahon, Rougeau and Ouellet were brought on as an obnoxious pair of Canadians known as The Quebecers. The duo won the World Tag Team Championships from The Steiners in their debut match and would go on to hold the titles a total of three times over the next two years. Their battles with teams like The Headshrinkers and Men on a Mission were hard hitting, but Rougeau had difficulty relating to the younger competitors. Soon, he'd part ways with WWE for a third time.
"Things change in our business and I couldn't adapt to it," Rougeau admitted. "That was pretty much it for my career in the big leagues."
After a brief stint in World Championship Wrestling — where he famously defeated Hulk Hogan in Montreal — Rougeau retired to Quebec and opened a successful gym. The money was good, but the experience left him feeling empty.
"I was at the same place at the same time everyday doing the same thing," he said. "I'm an action kind of guy. Sitting in a gym from 9 to 5 everyday just wasn't my bag."
Realizing that his true passion was sports-entertainment, the former Intercontinental Champion opened a wrestling school in 1999. The following year, he started his own promotion in Montreal. Called Le spectacle familial Jacques Rougeau (French for Jacques Rougeau's Family Show). The events are geared towards families with young children and promise no kicks, no punches, no girls, no blood and no beer. It's a risky recipe for success, but it's been paying off for Rougeau after years of perseverance and positive buzz.
"For the first couple of shows, I had arenas that held 2000 people and there was like 200 people there," Jacques said. "But the year after that there were 500 people. Then it went from 500 to 1000 then 1000 to 1500 to 2000. The last five years, all my shows have been sold out."
Utilizing high-flying action, colorful characters and familiar faces like former WWE Superstar Kurrgan, Rougeau's family friendly events have gone from putting him in serious debt to affording him and his family a very comfortable life.
"I started something that is now a goldmine," he said. "It's amazing."
Rougeau doesn't take all the credit for this success, though. In fact, it is very much a family business. The former Superstar's wife is in charge of all the finances while his three sons are the promotion's biggest stars.
"J.J., my older son, is a real acrobat. He's a real Édouard Carpentier," Rougeau said. "Then there's Cedric, who's 17-years-old, 6'5" and 250 pounds with abs. He's a monster. And my 11-year-old, Emile, he's got charisma. All the girls are going to fall in love with him."
An active member of the roster himself, Rougeau is getting ready to leave the ring and is currently on a retirement tour so he can say goodbye to the many Canadian fans that have supported him throughout his career. In his final match, he will team with his oldest son, J.J. From there, he hopes that his boys will carry on the Rougeau family legacy.
"What a great thing it would be if J.J. and Cedric became the third generation of The Rougeau Brothers in WWE with myself as their manager," he said.
Jacques has a plan for the boys mapped out even further — they will become the first WWE Tag Team Champions to win the titles without using kicks or punches. It's a unique idea and one that could very well come true during a time where talented second and third-generation Superstars rule the ring.
But for now, Rougeau is very happy running his promotion and his school and giving lectures to students throughout Quebec. Over the last five years, Jacques estimated that he's spoken to more than 30,000 children about family values and staying in school. These talks have made him an in-demand speaker — mostly because of the way he finishes his presentations.
"I bring a big mat out and I beat up the schoolteachers at the end with powerbombs and suplexes," Rougeau said with a laugh. "That's the reward I give to the kids."
These lectures have gained Rougeau a great deal of admiration in his province — something Jacques truly realized when people began stopping his legendary father on the street to talk about his son's speeches. The man he grew up idolizing is very touched by Jacques' accomplishments and it clearly means the world to him.
"Can you have a better trophy in life than having your father come and tell you that he's proud of you?"
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