The tournament of all indy wrestling tournaments is making its return for its third consecutive year. Jacques ‘The Mountie’ Rougeau, has announced this year’s Lutte Académie dates.

Lutte Académie is a wrestling tournament that picks four winners to win a cash prize alongside a bonus training session. It is run by Rougeau and his girlfriend, Natalie Thibodeau. It is a two-person army, where Rougeau handles the promoting and recruiting, while Thibodeau controls the website.

President and Founder of Lutte Academie, Jacques Rougeau.

President and Founder of Lutte Académie, Jacques Rougeau.

Since its first tournament, Lutte Académie has continued to grown and expanded, especially outside La belle province. The first tournament had 40 participants, 21 of whom were Quebec natives. This year, there will be only 11 Quebecers and 61 participants from across Canada.

The inspiration for Lutte Académie spawned from a story a guest told him after a podcast episode. The guest entered the TV show called Star Academy, where singers competed for a cash prize at the end.

“When the guest left, my girlfriend and I looked at each other, thinking, wouldn’t it be great if we did a wrestling academy?” Rougeau recently told Within days, he started sending invitations to Canadian wrestling promotions.

There were four winners in the first contest and Rougeau gave them each $5,000 CDN. But he wanted to add more, so he contacted QT Marshall and asked if he could have the winners join the wrestling school, Nightmare Factory, for a weekend. In return, Nightmare Factory would get promoted by Rougeau on any podcast he did. Closer to the event, Marshall told Rougeau that he’d been getting flooded with phone calls and emails about Nightmare Factory, which then Marshall proceeded to offer the winners a whole week with the school.

The more podcasts and promo that Rougeau did, the more he was questioned about the legitimacy of the rewards. Rougeau asked Marshall if he could record a video or audio to play for a live podcast in Montreal; when the video was played during the show, Marshall gave a surprise to Rougeau and said the winners would no longer be winning a week’s worth of training at Nightmare Academy, but it was changed to three months. The shock Rougeau had on his face could only be replicated by a Disney character; not only was the reward legit, but it became significant.

The first year’s winners got to work with “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes and QT Marshall and received the cash prize. The winners being Jeremy Prophet, Matt Black, Dylan Davis, and Jessika Black. Last year, the winners received a $10,000 cash prize; they were Shaun Moore, Kat Von Heez and Jesse V.

Jacques Rougeau( middle), QT Marshall (left) with the winners of Lutte Academie 2023, Shaun Moore (middle left), Kat Von Heez (middle right) and Jesse V (middle far right).

Jacques Rougeau, QT Marshall (left), and Michel Monette (right) with the winners of Lutte Academie 2023, Shaun Moore (middle left), Kat Von Heez (middle right) and Jesse V (middle far right). Photo: Lutte Académie

The prize money is provided by sponsors. Rougeau said he calls in favors to get sponsors for Lutte Académie. The more bigger the tournament gets, the more sponsors they get, the bigger the money the champions will receive.

Rougeau also mentors the wrestlers before the event through Zoom. He also enjoys this part of the learning experience the most.

“It’s very simple. My favorite part is looking at them and asking, Are you happy?” Rougeau said. He relishes their smiles of satisfaction and shows of confidence. “They simply say ‘Yes,’ and I respond, ‘Now let’s go and show the people what we got.'”

The goal for Lutte Académie is to have someone make it to the big leagues, said Rougeau.

“That’s been my hope from the start,” Rougeau said. “I want this to be a trampoline for Canadian talent to have a platform to be seen by a big federation. I want this to be a platform where they can do dark matches or whatever, then go to a federation, and people can say, ‘Wow! Look at that talent,’ and they wouldn’t have seen it without Lutte Academy.”

He mentioned training Kevin Owens for four years, beginning when Owens (Kevin Steen) was only 14. Rougeau is proud of Owens’ accomplishments and acknowledges that Steen learned more after his time with Rougeau, but a base is a base.

Lutte Académie and Nightmare Factory worked together for the last two contests. This time around, Lutte Académie will be working with World Big Lucha and Bandido’s Gym. This means the winners are going international and heading south to Mexico City to learn and train. Rougeau has plans to expand to have people outside of Canada participate in the tournament but is still determining when and how exactly to do so.

The system used to advance the wrestlers is by performance through the eyes of three judges. Each judge will vote on who they think should move on. There will be two male winners and two female winners.

This year’s judges will be Jacques Rougeau, his brother Raymond Rougeau and Gino Brito. The winners will receive $10,000 each, and their training will be in Mexico City.

Lutte Académie 2024 will be hosted on different days. Quarterfinals will be on Sept. 28 and Oct. 26. Semifinals will be on Nov. 2, and finals will be on Nov. 16. All events will take place at Centre Leonardo da Vinci in St. Leonard, Quebec. Tickets are available on the Centre Leonardo da Vinci website.

TOP PHOTO: QT Marshall defends his belt against Bobby Sharp in bonus match at Lutte Academie 2023. Photo: Lutte Académie