LAVAL, Québec — True to Lutte 2000 tradition, a wrestling card at Christmastime is to be expected from Jacques Rougeau’s federation. This year was no exception.
The Dec. 27th card held at the famed Colisée de Laval was promising to be different than all of Rougeau’s usual Lutte 2000 cards, as he included wrestlers from a few other independent Québec-based indy federations. The card, nicknamed “Luttemania” included wrestlers from the Internet Wrestling Syndicate (IWS), the Fédération de Lutte Québecoise (FLQ), the Canadian Championship Wrestling (CCW) and the CPW.
The card got under way with a match pinning two longtime Rougeau’s wrestling school student, Patrice “Crush” Brisson and Serge “Le Gladiateur” Demers. This match featured many clotheslines and throwing-into-the-ropes tactics as the two big men grappled. Crush lifted up his opponents a few times after the two count — obviously he was influenced by the numerous visits by King Kong Bundy to the past shows. But ultimately, The Gladiator won with a top rope splash.
The second match of the evening, arguably the best match of the show, had The Scorpion Kid against Zack Wylder. Scorpion Kid has shown steady improvement since his debut with Lutte 2000 and last night was a great example. Zack Wylder has also been a great addition to Jacques’ stable of good, young wrestlers and he worked the crowd against him with veteran-like experience. The match was non-stop action with many high-flying moves from both men, inside and outside the ring. The Scorpion Kid took the victory but only to be attacked by Handsome J.F. and Eric Mastrocola, who battered and kicked off both wrestlers. The dastardly duo took to the microphone to berate the Rougeau Brothers, giving them a chance to quit before their match started, all the while making sure the crowd was raging against them.
Then, the battle royal started, showcasing Rougeau’s younger students from his wrestling school. The following wrestlers took part in the match and this is in order of elimination: Santino, Steele, Lucky Wind, Justin Sain, the eight-year-old Bone Crusher, who took many incredible falls for such a young gun, Mike Skills, Mike Montana who was barely in the ring, when he got thrown out over the top rope about two seconds later, Jacques’ younger son Cédric Rougeau, Bad Dog, Wallace Mart & Kenneth Mart – The Superstores, Big Stan Francisco, the fire throwing Firestorm, Rage, J.J. Rougeau, who continues to impress many with his high-flying moves, and finally the winner, Ronnie Kruger. The match was entertaining although many moves were missed by the younger students. The eight-year-old Bone Crusher had a tattoo on his arm giving homage to recently departed Road Warrior Hawk, his idol.
The last match before the intermission had Johnny North against Kurt Lauderdale (from the IWS). North had a difficult time selling his heel persona and the match was long and slow with many holding moves on the mat. The best moment of the match was Lauderdale’s rear side suplex to get the win.
After the 20-minute break, the first match involved Sunny War Cloud, a veteran of indy wrestling in Québec, against a great shaped Jake “Paranoid” Matthews. Both wrestlers came from the Québec City-based CCW and sold each other quite well. Even though Sunny may not have been in the best shape of his life, he was still moving very well for a big man, and hasn’t lost one step in his showmanship abilities. Jake was accompanied by a young beauty by the name of Lollie Pop, who interfered many times during the match, only to be kissed by Sunny after getting on the corner to complain to the referee. Jake really got the crowd raging against him with many finger pointing comments to younger kids in the attendance. Sunny won the match after his famed Indian dance.
The next match, which was for both the FLQ Québec championship and the Rougeau singles wrestling school championship, had Carl “XL” Leduc, who trained at the famous Hart Dungeon in Calgary during his passage at Stampede Wrestling, against Ice. It was an excellent match, with non-stop action, a good mix of high flyer moves and suplexes and chops. The young Leduc, whose father Paul was an active organizer of this event, along with Jacques, had quite the fan club cheering section on the ground floor ring section.
The grand final of the evening had the Fabulous Rougeaus, Jacques and Raymond against the Lutte 2000 tag team champions Eric Mastrocola and Handsome J.F. with their manager Méchant Ludger. The Rougeaus had Bob Berger in their corner. Berger is the owner of the Laval Chiefs (Remember the movie Slap Shot?) of the Québec semi-pro hockey league, who play their home games at the Colisée. Both teams sold themselves very well, although Handsome J.F. really showed he was the best with microphone skills, often getting the crowd raging against them. There were many of the usual tactics by manager, and even had manager Berger slugging Ludger with a couple of jabs that sent him into the ring stairs quite heavily. Although Mastrocola threw powder in Jacques’ eyes, the Rougeaus regained the tag team titles after a long fought battle.
The mixed federations formula seemed to predict a bright future for Lutte 2000 and the Québec wrestling scene, although lots of refinement is still needed. The lack of American stars might have had something to do with the approximate 1,200 in attendance, but most fans interviewed after the show by SLAM! Wrestling didn’t seem to mind at all.
Hopefully, Lutte 2000 can take last night’s positive and negative and build from it. The formula is refreshing and innovative but needs to be examined carefully for continued improvement. Maybe a show in the next two months might be just what the doctor ordered with all these new resources.