At the end of June, Emile Dupre will celebrate 50 years in the pro wrestling business. And what better way to celebrate than with another tour of Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling.
“It’s my 50th tour, if you want to call it that,” joked Dupre, 69, who confessed he had no plans of wrestling himself. That’s for his son, Jeff, to do, who has spent some time in Louisville at Ohio Valley Wrestling.
Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling has only been going for about 30 of those years, and not every year either.
The senior Dupre’s first match was June 28, 1956 in Shediac, NB, where he still lives. An outfit from Boston was running the Maritimes, and they needed an extra body that night. Emile got the slot and never looked back. A short while later, he was learning the business in Boston.
This year, Dupre is working on his “anything that’s different” philosophy, and bringing in women wrestlers and the midgets to work for much of the tour.
The women are Krysta Hanakowski, from Halifax, who Dupre has renamed Krysta Kiniski, and SheNayNay (Athanasia Alexopoulos) from Ottawa. Both are looking forward to really testing their skills on the busy tour.
“I have never been out east, nor have I ever worked as many consecutive days,” said SheNayNay. “Mentally and physically, I am ready for this. I have been training for the past three years at the Battle Ground Academy under Dave ‘Cornerstone’ Dalton’s supervision, so to be able to take some time off from my day job and live out my dream…even if it’s only for a month is a dream come true.”
Hanakowski has only been learning wrestling since January. “I am so excited to have the opportunity to go on tour and wrestle seven nights a week with Grand Prix. I was very fortunate to have an amazing trainer — ‘Wildman’ Gary Williams. Thanks to him I really feel ready to go out there and show everyone what I can do,” she said. “I am honored that I have the opportunity to start my wrestling career with Grand Prix. So many big names have worked for Grand Prix over the years and I am just so excited that I am going to be part of the tour. I have a lot to learn still and this is the perfect opportunity for me to do so.”
Women haven’t been a part of Dupre’s Maritime tours since the 1980s. “I’m excited to show the fans in the Maritimes that women can wrestle just as well as men can,” said Hanakowski. “Gary refused to train me ‘like a girl’ and I think we can go out there and prove that women’s wrestling can be more than just cat fights.” SheNayNay concurred. “I am definitely not like your typical wrestling diva and what that means is for every fan to find out on their own. And if you think that girls can’t wrestle, I dare anyone to face off against ME in the ring.”
The midgets are veteran Frenchy Lamont of Northern Ontario, and Montreal’s Little Pete.
“I think we’ll have a good tour,” said Dupre. “I think that this tour is going to go good.”
Some of the other names on the tour include The Cuban Assassin #2 (the original’s son, “they look exactly alike,” said Dupre), “Wildman” Gary Williams, Wrestling Spiderman, Dupre’s son Jeff Dupre, and Chad Dicks, who was part of the Dicks tag team in WWE.
Here are the confirmed dates:
May 26 Souris, PEI
May 27 O’Leary, PEI
May 28 Minto, NB
May 29 Cocagne, NB
May 30 Baie Ste Anne, NB
May 31 Sackville, NS
June 1 Sherbrooke, NS
June 2 Bridgewater, NS
June 3 Berwick, NS
June 4 Truro, NS
June 5 Georgetown, PEI
June 6 Borden, PEI
June 7 Sunny Corner, NB
June 8 Neguac, NB
June 10 Petit Rocher, NB
June 11 New Carlyle, PQ
June 12 Cocagne, NB
June 15 Florenceville, NB
June 16 St. George, NB
June 17 Lameck, NB
Shows are also planned for Sussex and Saint John, NB, and Antigonish and North Sydney, NS.