The wild and crazy Jos Leduc has finally been stopped.
A lung infection killed the 54-year-old former wrestler on May 1 in Atlanta, Georgia.
In the early ’70s, Jos teamed with his older brother Paul to form a killer lumberjack team that terrorized Canada. Despite the fact that they weren’t related in real life, Paul LeDuc was instrumental in getting Jos LeDuc started in wrestling. Jos LeDuc, whose real name was Michel Pigeon, took judo, worked for the Quebec provincial police and dreamed of becoming a pro wrestler.
The two future ‘brothers’ met in 1965, and became friends. A couple of years later, the much-smaller Paul LeDuc called up his friend and encouraged his friend to start training so that he could join him out in Portland.
In collaboration with Jack Britton, the Montreal promoter at the time, Pigeon trained and made promotional tapes for Don Owen’s Portland promotion. In the tapes, he talked about how he was coming cross-country to take care of his little brother Paul, who was getting beaten up on a fairly regular basis.
When he finally arrived, a legendary lumberjack tag team was born. The LeDucs tore up the continent, and became superstars in Quebec in battles against the likes of Jacques & Johnny Rougeau, Mad Dog Vachon & Killer Kowalski and Mad Dog & Butcher Vachon.
Paul & Jos were billed as brothers everywhere they went, and were very successful in the illusion. When Jos passed away in May 1999, Quebec talk shows were abuzz with the news that the brothers weren’t actually related.
Later in his career, Jos Leduc became even more famous for his feud with Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler throughout the Memphis-based territory. In 1995, Leduc was inducted into the Memphis pro wrestling hall of fame along with Jackie Fargo, Eddie Gilbert, Phil Hickerson and Billy Wicks.
His career wound down in the 1980s, though he made a couple of nostalgia shots in Memphis in the mid-nineties.
Pigeon was a bit of a wild child on the road, and in later life suffered from diabetes. He had numerous operations over the years on his knees and his back, and died from complications related to diabetes.
He is survived in wrestling by his brother Paul, who is involved with Jacques Rougeau Jr.’s International Wrestling 2000, and Paul’s son Carl Leduc.
Jos had two daughters, Nadine and Michele, and a son named Robert. He was born Aug. 31, 1944.
In lieu of a burial, Jos Leduc asked to be cremated, and his ashes released into the air.
With thanks, and condolences, to Paul Leduc, and Michele Renee for their help with this story.
I was 12 years old when Joe drew an axe across his arm and swore a “blood oath” to kill my childhood hero. I lived in true fear for Jerry Lawler for weeks.Then a moving van pulled up right next door and I lived in true fear for myself. I could hardly sleep at night knowing that maniac was less than 50 ft away with his AXE.Joe lived there for a little over a year and turned out to be a real nice guy and we always hade free tickets to Monday night wrestling (long before it was raw).
I will never forget seeing Jos Leduc when he was in Grand Prix in the early 80’s. My grandmother used to take the entire family to see the shows and Jos was one of my favorite. On May 1, 1999, a great man was lost. Heaven must have needed some champions this week as Rick Rude, Jos and hockey player Steve Chiasson all lost their lives. They will all be missed!
F. Norman Robitza, Highlander1783
Joe Leduc, I remember him when I was a young lad he was in the ring in Hull, Quebec when he as six man pulling a rope on each side is of him. I said to myself, wow he is so powerful. My dad, grand-papa and my three brothers when to see him and Paul lots of times. They were great wrestlers. I will remember him for all the good times we spent and all the good thing about our outings. My condolence to the Leduc family
As a kid, Jos used to terrify me when I watched Florida Championship Wrestling with Gordon Solie back in the late 70’s. I remember his feuds with Jimmy Garvin and his crushing bear hugs. The Canadian Freight Train won’t soon be forgotten.
My name is Michele Renee’ LeDuc, I am the daughter of Jos LeDuc. I want to tell everyone thank you for caring still, and for the memories you have shared. My father was a very special man and I will miss him very much!!
I plan to keep my fathers memory alive, and I know I will never forget him! And I hope you won’t either. If you have any memories you would like to share with me, please do so. I am only 21 years old so I wasn’t around to see very much.
My Father Jos LeDuc… I remember him being a great man, father, wrestler, and a wonderful friend! I miss my father very much and he will be missed dearly! To every one out there…. Thank you for remembering him.
Michele Renee’ LeDuc
Hello There, Wrestling Fans! My name is Robert J LeDuc and I am Jos’s oldest son. Unlike my little sister Michele, I WAS around to see alot of my dad’s great matches, both in Canada and in the States. If you have any special memories about that special “UNFORGETTABLE” match, please share them with me.
I want to personally thank Greg Oliver of CANOE for putting the Web Page together. I also want to thank all of you for your warmest wishes and memories. My dad was not easy to forget and I’m sure that he will be in our memories for a very long time.
From the LeDuc family, Thank You All! Please e-mail any responses to firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert J LeDuc
My favourite wrestling show as a youth in Ontario was Jim Crockett’s Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling. The big Canadian Lumberjack was over 300 pounds and was very powerful — his finishing maneuver was a devastating backbreaker. Jos was over as a heel and was very feared at the time (early 80’s). I recall reading an early 80’s PRO WRESTLING publication (the sister magazine to PRO WRESTLING ILLUSTRATED). Jos Leduc was listed in a special article on the 10 most dangerous men along with the likes of Roddy Piper, Greg Valentine, Abdullah the Butcher, Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen. Quite an elite group to be part of. I was sorry to hear Jos passed away at such a young age.
My memories of Jos. Leduc were of his lumberjack persona and his immense strength. There was a video clip he made that was shown prior to some Grand Prix wrestling matches. Jos. would prevent a car from taking off by holding on to a chain, attached to the vehicle, while sitting down. His feet were steadfastly abutted against two fixed blocks to prevent him from being pulled away. The incredible size of his shoulders and arms made him into one of my all-time French Canadian icons. By the way the clip had the song “Metal Health” by Quiet Riot as its background music. The coolest thing I have ever seen. Please if anybody can tell me where I can find this I would very appreciative.
When I was a kid in Florida in the 70s, a grappler came on to Gordon Solie’s Tampa-based Florida Championship Wrestling that made a lasting impact. Joe Leduc, “The Canadian Freight Train” (Great Moniker!) was as exciting a performer as they came. He seemed to alternate between hero and heel, befriending or opposing greats such as Dusty Rhodes, The Assassin, Jack Brisco, etc. I’d never seen a dude tough enough to shave his head and have a beard – and back it up. I saw him live at the Robarts Sports Arena in Sarasota, FL one time. I think he fought Pak Song but I don’t remember. God he was a crowd pleaser! Long live Joe LeDuc!
I punched in Joe Leduc on a search and came across your site, I’m glad to not be alone in the world as a fan of Leduc’s. Back around ’77 or ’78 Joe was wrestling in Memphis Tennessee. A tougher wrestler there has never been. If Joe had a vendetta, he would take an axe, and carve about a 4-inch cut across his forearm, a little reminder to him. His greatest feud had to be against Jerry Lawler. Once, he threw Lawler so far out of the ring it broke the top femur in Lawler’s right leg, after surgery about 3 weeks later, Lawler’s guts were bigger then his brain and he tried to get revenge on Leduc at a match in the Mid South Coliseum in Memphis. Leduc beat the hell out of the fan favorite Lawler, ripped the leg out of Lawler’s tights and proceded to rip the stitches out of Lawler’s leg with his teeth. I can still remember the people getting sick at ringside. No one bled more for the sport then Leduc, or terrorized their opponents as much. Thanks for the graphic memories Joe.
T. Coleman, tengu
My biggest memories of big Jos LeDuc are from the 1984 Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling season when Jos was brought in to battle Archie “The Stomper” Gouldie in an epic feud of big men. The Stomper was terrorizing the area, and LeDuc showed up as “Crazy” Jos LeDuc, the angle being Jos was mentally unstable. But Jos was the babyface nontheless. Stomper would make claims that LeDuc escaped from the Gray House in Quebec City, a supposed mental institution, and the two would interfere in each other’s matches on a regular basis. During a Grand Prix t.v. taping, LeDuc put on a strength display, having six men on both sides of him pulling a rope that Jos was tied to. Suddenly, Stomper appeared out of nowhere and bashed a metal trashcan over Leduc’s head. Stomper then quickly left the studio, and Emile Dupre rushed to LeDuc’s aid. A bloody mess, Jos swore revenge against Stomper, threatening to “break his back” and “bust his neck”. That was basically the end of the feud, as the next week Stomper himself became a babyface as he was attacked in a tag-team match by Sweet Daddy Siki and Cuban Assassin. Then LeDuc soon left the promotion. It was a great pleasure to see this Canadian wrestling legend in action, brief as it was. Thanks for the memories, Jos.
John Greeley, Halifax, Nova Scotia
I remember Joe LeDuc very well. As a bloody rulebreaker/babyface he tore Kentucky apart in the 70s and 80s. Riding hard through Appalachia I can totally remember his lawless battles with Mongolian Stomper and One Man Gang Ron Garvin.If anyone has footage of LeDuc’s era in the Appalachian region[Southeastern Championship out of Knoxville]I’d love to get some footage.
I also remember the famous scene when Mr. LeDuc took the blood oath to kill Mr Lawler, it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen, I thought “Now here is a guy that IS tough!” and a few years ago hearing Mr Leduc had passed away I was saddened by it. My Sympathy goes out to the LeDucs on this loss.
In the early 1970s He was called the Freight Train. Around 1972 through 1974 he wrestled a lot in Florida .I remember when Dusty Rhodes was a bad guy and Jos Leduc was the good guy, he beat the hell out of Dusty Rhodes ( believe it or not). A few years later he just wasn’t near as good and I saw him lose to Dick Slater in Jacksonville.