Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
The Mountie in WWE
Currently Known For:
1990 - 1992
June 13, 1960
The Mountie in WWE
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The WWE has had wrestlers in the past that have had a law enforcement gimmick, even with a little international flair. Quebec, Canada native Jacques Rougeau had one of the more memorable ones, known for his run as the villainous Mountie. Before that, Rougeau had been wrestling with his brother in Canada as part of Stampede Wrestling, which was ran by the father of Bret Hart.
In 1986, the Rougeau brothers made their way south to join the WWE (then WWF) to form a tag team that would even have a brief run as the WWE Tag Team Champions, as well as teaming up with Jimmy Hart as their manager. The tag team had some decent success though they weren’t classified as big time stars of the company, and people were interested to see what would happen when Jacques’s brother, Ray, retired in 1990.
Rougeau would end up leaving professional wrestling for a brief time, but then came back the next year in a full Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform, carrying a cattle-prod to the ring, where he was introduced as The Mountie. It was one of the many interesting gimmicks of the early 1990s in the WWE, even if Rougeau legally couldn’t use his new gimmick in his native Canada because of legal issues that surrounded portraying an officer.
The Mountie actually had some memorable feuds that included one with American police officer character Big Boss Man, but the one thing that people will always remember is the shocking upset that The Mountie pulled off over the great Bret Hart. Not only was it a surprise loss to those watching, but it happened to give The Mountie the WWF Intercontinental Championship.
It would be a short lived celebration, however, as The Mountie dropped the belt just two days later. From there, Rougeau was quickly pushed toward the lower end of the card each week, distancing himself from his brief run as a champion. He left once again in 1992 after trying to claim the World Heavyweight Championship from Hart, but would return once again in 1993.
This time around, Rougeau was paired with Pierre Ouellet as The Quebecers, who had success in their run as three-time Tag Team Champions. They then went on to WCW as The Amazing French Canadians and he even defeated Hulk Hogan in a match, which was an extremely rare occurrence. In 1998, Rougeau and Ouellet were back in WWE for a brief period and had one more run in WCW before getting out of professional wrestling in 2000 when Rougeau announced his retirement and turning his attention elsewhere.
Rougeau attempted to lend legitimacy to his Mountie gimmick after leaving wrestling as he moved to Montreal and tried to join the police department. The only problem was that Rougeau never officially finished high school, making him ineligible for a role as officer. At the same time, he opened a wrestling academy and even started his own wrestling promotion called Jacques Rougeau’s Family Show.
It was wrestling that was supposed to be wholesome in a time when the Attitude Era was reigning supreme, which was borderline R-rated television. Unfortunately for Rougeau, people weren’t quite looking for family friendly events just yet. “For the first couple of shows, I had arenas that held 2,000 people and there were like 200 people there,” Rougeau told WWE in 2011. “But the year after that there were 500 people. Then it went from 500 to 1,000 then 1,000 to 1,500 to 2,000. The last five years, all my shows have been sold out.”
Rougeau also has two sons that he’s hoping can eventually make a splash in the WWE. In 2016, there were reports that his son, Cedric, received a WWE tryout. The youngest Rougeau that would be a third-generation pro wrestler, is 6’8” and 285 pounds. At just 23 years old, there’s a lot of potential there and his father’s excited. He even wants to come back and be his manager if he makes the WWE.
We have yet to see Cedric and his brother Jean Jacques (J.J.) make it to the WWE, but the youngsters still have potential. Jacques even thinks that they can eventually become WWE Tag Team Champions. Rougeau knows that it might take some time, and he’s certainly keeping himself busy meanwhile. He’s not only running his own academy, but also has another gig that has him on the road.
Rougeau travels around schools in Quebec as a public speaker, teaching children about the dangers of drugs, bullying and smoking. Rougeau knows that his era of pro wrestling had rampant drug use, and though he didn’t take drugs, he saw the damage that it did to some of his friends in the business. As for smoking, Rougeau’s wife passed away several years ago from lung cancer, so it’s another subject that hits close to home.
Rougeau also notes that bullying can affect people harshly, especially in pro wrestling where hazing has made the news for decades. After getting beat up as a “prank” in the locker room, Rougeau said that he almost quit wrestling for good. “It was one of the scariest moments in my career,” he said when trying to decide whether or not to retaliate against the “Dynamite Kid” Thomas Billington. “I went a week without eating, a week without sleeping...I was afraid to do my comeback. I’m not a fighter, I’m an entertainer.”
These are just some of the many life lessons that Rougeau passes along to schoolchildren now as he’s experienced all of these subjects personally. He’s hoping that his family friendly ways of going about becoming a pro wrestler and molding the youth of Canada can bring forth a positive experience. He uses mats to show youngsters some of the moves that he perfected, and uses wrestling as an experience to help in many other ways besides athleticism.
If you’re lucky enough to be enrolled in a Quebec school, there’s a chance that Rougeau might swing by and offer up some valuable life lessons, and wrapping up his speech with a powerbomb to one of his assistants to show you how it’s done safely. People might look back on The Mountie gimmick in a ridiculous light now, but there’s no doubt that Rougeau had a memorable career and continues to be one of the success stories of life after wrestling. Those can be rare to come across, so it’s great to see him doing so well both inside and outside of the squared circle.