Moderator: Welcome to the Emile Dupre chat. Before we get going, just a reminder that you can find out more about Emile’s career on our SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame page. Now, on to the chat!
Sheldon MacLean: Pound for pound, who is the greatest wrestler to ever come through Grand Prix Wrestling?
Emile Dupre: It’s hard to answer that. We had some great ones come through. One of the greatest attractions we had here was Andre the Giant. If you want to talk about one of the best wrestlers as far as technique, the legendary Edouard Carpentiner, comes to mind. We had so many. Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Leo Burke. So I can’t say which one, there were so many.
John Pollock: What advice do you have for people wanting to get into wrestling?
Emile Dupre: Number one, if you want to be a pro wrestler, as a promoter, what I’m looking for is the size, first of all. Ability as a pro wrestler. Being in great shape, naturally, is very appealing to a promoter and the fans. I always liked the body building types. But we also had Haystacks Calhoun. Get in shape. Find the best school you can. Your teacher can be the big plus.
Wildman Austin Mark: Will Grand Prix be televised on ASN, or any other station this year?
Emile Dupre: I must say this — it’s still in negotiations. There’s a few roadblocks right now. But it’s still close to being ironed out, I hope. We were on TV for 17 years here and it was a very successful program.
Terry Harris: Your thoughts on Randy Savage and his brother Lanny Poffo working in your promotion.
Emile Dupre: It was one of the most success promotions that I was ever involved in. Also their father Angelo Poffo was involved too. They were great for business. They had a lot of experience with TV, especially their father, he’s been around as long as I have. We ran a very successful, entertaining program in 1971 or 1972 or 1973.
Terry Harris: What wrestler have you ever had in your promotion for one reason or another never made it to the show, but in your opinion could have been a major star if given the chance?
Emile Dupre: There’s wrestlers today not with WWF or WCW or the other programs, there could be a 100 out there that to me, could have been big. Some of them missed out. It has to do with being at the right time at the right place. To name one, there’s too many. If the Cuban Assassin were a few years younger, he would have been a big star with WWF or WCW. He’s always been a great attraction for us, and is on the tour which starts Friday. Even Bret Hart speaks on TV about Leo Burke being the greatest. One more name would be Killer Karl Krupp, even though he’s passed away. He was one of the attractions here. He took the Maritimes by storm. Now, if he was with WWF, he’d be one of their top stars, there’d be no doubt.
Sheldon MacLean: Do you have any big plans lined up for the fans of GPW this summer?
Emile Dupre: We have a great card right now. A few of the guys on the card I haven’t met personally yet, but have seen tapes of. I’m still negotiating with Randy Savage. I’m still trying to lure him down here for a tour. He’s still putting me on hold for that. He did show some interest. I wouldn’t mind having him back here. We’d have packed houses everywhere. Naturally, I’m always open to known names who might show an interest in coming in.
hsumair: How does an Ontario indy superstar like myself go about getting booked for your tour?
Emile Dupre: I don’t know what kind of superstar you are, but the best way to get on this tour is to send in some pictures, some tapes, some answers — how big is he? Weight trainer? How long wrestling? Send tapes to Box 75 Gould Beach Rd, Point Ducheme, NB, E4P 4J8
email@example.com: Any chance of a new TV deal or a best-of video release?
Emile Dupre: Grand Prix Wrestling really had some classic shows. It would be great to have those shows back on. A video is an idea.
troy m.: hello, my name is Troy and I am a big fan of A.G.P.W. I write because I’m wondering when it’s coming back to Halifax, even if it doesn’t come back, that’s ok, ’cause I’m going to see it in Lantz, I just want to see it more than once, and Halifax is close to where I live, so if you could tell me when it’s coming back, that would be good
Emile Dupre: Halifax we’re looking at going back to. I’m negotiating for appearing at the Forum. I should know by the end of the week. It will be mid-June, most likely.
Rob MacCormick, AGPW Fan from Wayback, Truro, NS: Who owns the rights to 17 years of footage you or ATV ? I would love to see classic matches every Saturday again on ATV it would be great to take a trip down memory lane !
Emile Dupre: Unfortunately, when the contract was made up years ago, the finished product actually belonged to ATV itself. If I had to do it all over again, I would surely do it a different way. I understand that they have kept some of the tapes.
spike: What was it like wrestling in Austraila under Jim Barnett?
Emile Dupre: As of a matter of fact, I was on the original tour of Australia with Jim Barnett and Johnny Doyle, two promoters being partners. At that point in time, to me, he was one of the best promoters. We’re talking 25, 30 years ago. I was there 3 times. It was one of the best promotions I was ever on. The lineups we had! We went in there and only did TV for 6 weeks. When we opened the gates, the lineups were unbelievable. Sometimes they had to hold up the show to let every one into the arena.
DTC: What are your thoughts about “Sports Entertainment”? Do you like what pro wrestling has turned into?
Emile Dupre: Well, I have to answer this in a very honest way. You can’t knock success. You could say I’m from the old-school. I used to like the old chain wrestling, not the fancy stuff today. I still like the old style. You see a wrestling match now, it seems you have to talk for 10 minutes and wrestle for five. You don’t see as much wrestling, wrestling holds, technical wrestling. I know wrestling is entertaining no matter how you look at it. You can call it entertainment or entertaining. I remember promoting wrestling and seeing the kids eyes open up when the say the first match. That has never changed, really. It didn’t need WWF or WCW to do that. It was there anyways.
John Pollock: Do you feel too many Indy companies feel they are the next ECW and go too fast and hurt themselves in the long run?
Emile Dupre: I think they should take one step at a time. Myself, personally, I started in 1956 at 17, I wrestled for over 30 years in the ring, six or seven nights a week. I lasted all these years. I’m looking at some of the style today, ECW, the big three, the style they have today, if they last 5, 6, 7 years, they’ll be lucky because they’re taking too many chances. If a wrestler wants to have a long career, the old style was much better than what we have today.
Wingman: In all your years of being involved in wrestling what is your favorite memory or moment, or one that sticks out the most in your mind?
Emile Dupre: There’s been many. I’ve got to say this. I’ll pick this one out as an answer. I had been wrestling for other people, like Jim Barnett, Johnny Doyle, and had travelled North America. I was even banking money. But when I brought in Andre the Giant as a promoter, we’re talking about profit. I made as much money in 10 days that I had or put away in my first 10 years of wrestling. That’s the one that sticks out the most.
Norm Robitza: I grew up on Grand Prix Wrestling and now take my daughter to the shows. I was wondering if Grand Prix will be in Amherst, Nova Scotia this season, and what is needed to get involved in the booking side of the business?
Emile Dupre: There’s a possibility for Amherst. Right now we’re starting into the tour, it’s only 5 or 6 weeks into the tour. Saint John’s isn’t on the tour, Amherst, there’s many towns. During the summer, they will most likely be added on.
As for booking, you almost have to be the promoter. You’ve got to know, have experience in this business to start booking. You don’t just come off the street and say you’re going to be a wrestling booker.
MR $ex: I came across a rumor that Dynamite Dave is not going to be working on the tour this year, is there any truth to this??
Emile Dupre: No, he was interested in being on the tour, and I thought about it. Apparently, he got another job. But there is a chance of him getting added to the tour.
Anonymous: Did you ever want to go into wrestling in the WWF, WCW, or ECW?
Emile Dupre: My deal was before WWF or WCW, I had my career already. I retired 10 years ago. Now that my son, Rene, wanted to be involved in wrestling. He’s a young and up and comer. That’s the only reason I got involved in it again. After all these years, I still enjoy going back to these towns, and meeting the people that I met back then. I still enjoy every minute of it. I retired and am very happy that I came back to it.
Shane “Fitz” Fitzgerald: Is Chi Chi Cruz going to main eventing? If not he should be. He is a great talent and will probably be the best wrestler on your tour this summer. Also, how about adding extra matches to the card, we pay ten dollars to get in we should get more bang for our buck.
Emile Dupre: Chi Chi Cruz has been a main eventer here for the past 2-3 years. He certainly will be this year. We have many main eventers here. He might be a main event tonight, but not tomorrow. Cuban Assassin is a main eventer, Rick Valentine Jr., Wildman Austin, Rene Dupre, Todd the Bod are all main eventers.
Let’s not forget that we go into smaller towns. People are getting a good two hours of wrestling or over. WWF is charging $25 or more. We’re charging $10 for adults, $5 for kids under 12. They’re getting as much entertainment out of ours. We wrestle for 2 hours, not an hour and 45 minutes of talk. It’s a steal versus any other wrestling outfit.
Willy: Is “Iron Man” Cliff MacDonald ever going to win a match?
Emile Dupre: He is a very up-and-coming wrestler. He has won quite a few matches already. He’s got real good potential too.
Cowboy: Did you feel threatened in November when Real Action Wrestling started up? Did you expect them to be more sucessful then they were?
Emile Dupre: No, threatened, no. There’s been a lot of promotions in the Maritimes. I’ve never felt threatened. After their promotion, they wound up losing $11,000 in their short, two-week booking, and they cancelled a lot of shows. In the end, they got the shock of their life. Lack of experience was the biggest thing. That’s why I was not threatened one little bit by this tour.
Cliff Mcdonlad’s biggest Mark : Will the Mighty Hercules be on the tour this summer?
Emile Dupre: There’s a possibilty at a later date. We’re trying to introduce a lot of new faces. We don’t overload the card. We’re doing a lot of small areas, but we’re still bringing a 5 match card that is over 2 hours. As we go along, we could add names like his to the show.
“toolman”Tim Cook: I’ve been a long time Grand Prix mark!!! i was wondering if there will be any old time Maritime legends returning this year??
Emile Dupre: Naturally, most of the guys we had last year — The Beast, No Class Bobby Bass. There’s a possibility of having Hercules Ayala Cortez. Even Leo Burke might make the scene, but maybe just as a referee. I’d like to bring Malumba if I could nail him down. He was a big attraction here. There might be some others. We’re always negotiating to bring a bigger, better show.
Jo e mark: will Joe Legend and his valet be on the tour this year?? I heard something about him being in the WWF??
Emile Dupre: He has signed a contract with the WWF. He has been here the last couple of years. Not so long ago he called to negotiate to maybe appear here again until the WWF needs his services. He’d like to keep in shape and tackle some of the stuff we have here.
Wingman: A few tours back Grand Prix was kind of a feeder system for the WWF, any chance of having a similar kind of arrangement with either the WCW, WWF, ECW?
Emile Dupre: As a matter of fact, last summer we had Leo Burke and some other scout come here to look for talent for WWF or WCW. They asked me to send some tapes of guys who have great potential. And I do. I just like to see them make it.
Brad Young: Emile, have you given any consideration to running a tour across Newfoundland?
Emile Dupre: I’ve been approached. I might even consider that in the future. When you’re taking a crew up there to Newfoundland, there’s boats going across. You almost have to have a guarantee from a promotion at that end. If you want to talk about a hurdle, that would be it.
Paranoia: is there a Grand Prix website or e-mail adress?
Emile Dupre: No, not really. Down the road, maybe, we could think about doing that.
firstname.lastname@example.org: Do you recall your most memorable season of Grand Prix, and why it was most memorable?
Emile Dupre: I think a good question would be the names I saw would be better. If I could name a few. Andre the Giant, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Big John Studd, Kurrgan, Cuban Assassin, Edge and Christian Cage, Rick Martel, Joe E. Legend, Killer Karl Krupp, Harley Race, Bulldog Bob Brown, Don Leo Jonathon was a big attraction, Edouard Carptentier, Bad News Brown, and on and on and on. Too many to mention really. Grand Prix Wrestling was fortunate to bring in that many big names.
Zoe Lake: Any chance that Bobby Bass is going to be doing shows with Grand Prix this summer?
Emile Dupre: Yes, there is. I was talking to him in the last few days. Probably end of June or July. He’s on vacation in England. His tour will probably 10 to 15 days, which would take up the major places we go through.
Scott Ripper: Hey Emile, Why don’t you put padding underneath your ring? I know you told Don Callis that Andre didn’t need padding but he was 500 lbs! Don’t you feel this could result in injury to some of your smaller wrestlers. Also how about using some theme music, I know your promotion is old school but even old school wrestling had theme music. Thanks
Emile Dupre: Don Callis should probably put on 10-15 pounds and make his own padding. It’s a funny thing that Don Callis is the only one complaining. All those names that I just mentioned wrestled in the same ring and never complained. If he wants a mattress, he has to look somewhere else.
This year we’ve got a special guy to make the tour with us which has the music. In the arenas we go, they don’t have the right sound system for us. This guy brings in his own stuff and he’s a professional announcer. That’s what we answered on for Grand Prix 2000.
Cowboy: If you could chose only 1 current wrestler from WCW or the WWF to be added to this tour, who would it be?
Emile Dupre: I’d take Austin or The Rock or one of them if I could add on anybody. Or Randy Savage even. There’s many top attractions. What makes a top attraction on TV is exposure on TV. Let’s not forget that.
Moderator: Thanks to everyone who participated in the chat and submitted questions. And thanks to Emile for taking the time to answer questions from the fans of Grand Prix Wrestling. Good luck with the tour this season!
Emile Dupre: I want to thank everyone for their interest in Grand Prix wrestling which has been going on for years. We hope to see the fans at their local arenas — they’ll see the best of professional wrestling as it is today. Friday we start in Black Harbour and then in an old favourite place, Berwick, Nova Scotia.