by Ryan Rider
It’s a sad day for Montrealers, as one of our own, Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon has passed away.
Maurice was born on September 14th, 1929, and grew up idolizing Yvon Robert. He trained for amateur wrestling at the YMCA in his youth, and at 18 years old competed in the 1948 Olympics. He finished 7th place at the Olympics and then went on to win a gold medal at the 1950 British Empire Games.
In 1954, he made the move to professional wrestling and the rest is history. He started his pro career wrestling in Quebec and Ontario, capturing many championships in both provinces.
Before long he was recruited to join the prestigious American Wrestling Association. His disregard for rules and his illegal tactics in the ring earned him the name Mad Dog.
On May the 2nd 1964, Mad Dog became the World Heavyweight Champion defeating Verne Gagne, and went on to become a 5-time world champion.
He was a tremendous tag team with his brother Paul the Butcher Vachon, winning the Tag Team championships from The Crusher & The Bruiser in 1969, and holding them undefeated for 2 years. His sister Vivian and daughter Luna were also great female competitors.
In October 1987, Maurice suffered a tragic accident when he lost his leg after being hit by a car while jogging near his home in Iowa.
But ever the eccentric one, Mad Dog came back for one night only at WWF In Your House in May 1996 and helped Diesel retain the WWF Championship against Shawn Michaels…by using his fake leg!
In 2010, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Vachon had a 40 year career in professional wrestling, winning over 45 championships across the world. On July 14, 1973, he fought opponent “Killer” Kowalski in front of 29,127 spectators at Jarry Park, breaking the Montreal attendance record. His wrestling style and character terrorized fans for decades and influenced an entire generation of wrestlers.
A true legend, our condolences go out to the friends and family of the one and only, Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon.