Throwback Thursday – Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling

I grew up in the Maritimes. For those unaware, “the Maritimes” is an area of eastern Canada that is comprised of three provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. I got my initial taste for professional wrestling from the Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling promotion in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

Historians know about Grand Prix Wrestling because it was such a hot-bed of activity. The promotion would run weekly events at numerous cities and towns in the area and the promoter, Emile Dupree, would bring in talent from around the world.

Dupree brought in various stars like “Leaping” Lanny Poffo, Andre the Giant, and “Dr. D” David Shultz on a semi-regular basis. I remember thinking that “Leaping Lanny” was one of the greatest performers I’d ever seen. Of course, that changed somewhat when I finally began watching WWE on a regular basis. Still…a lot of “would-be” stars appeared from time to time.

Then Dupree would have regulars who were famous elsewhere like WWC star “Rotten” Ron Starr

…Central States star “Bulldog” Bob Brown

…the ORIGINAL Cuban Assassin (Angel Acevedo, who trained in Florida under Eddie Graham)…

Sweet Daddy Siki

…and “Hustler” Rip Rogers.

And the local talent was pretty great, too. We had “No Class” Bobby Bass (from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; he was our version of Bobby Heenan or Jimmy Hart except for the fact that he would get into the ring and wrestle, too)…

“Big” Stephen Pettipas (a Shediac, New Brunswick native who once wrestled Ric Flair in 1984 for the NWA title as the territory’s number one contender)…

Hercules Ayala Cortez

…arguably the biggest star in the territory, Leo Burke (an international star originally from Memramcook, New Brunswick who was one of the first trainers of Bret Hart)…

Killer Karl Krupp (a “German” wrestler who would always begin his interviews with announcer Bill McCaullah by calling him ” Mr. McCluckCluck”; he also had a nice little run in Memphis with Jerry Lawler)…

“Stompin’” Paul Peller

“The Beast” Yvon Cormier

…and my personal favourite at the time, The Great Malumba!

Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling was definitely one of the hottest indy promotions from the 80’s. And judging by the crowds that WrestleCentre has been attracting lately (pictured below), I’m hopeful the area can become a hotbed once again.

WrestleCentre in Halifax, Nova Scotia


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