Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon
As an amateur, Maurice was a champion middleweight wrestler, representing Canada at the 1948 Olympics in London (future pros Verne Gagne, Dick Hutton, and Joe Scarpello were on the U.S. team that year). He was a gold medallist at the 1950 British Empire Games in Auckland (Pat O'Connor won the heavyweight title in his home country).
Paul "Butcher" Vachon
Began his pro career a few months after his Empire Games victory, wrestling as a junior heavyweight. Won a 1954 tournament in Sudbury promoted by Larry Kasaboski for what was billed as the North American junior heavyweight championship.
In 1955, Maurice held the NWA Texas tag title with Pierre Lasalle -- better known as Eddie Auger, the uncle of Johnny & Jacques Rougeau. That was also the year that his younger brother, Paul, began his pro wrestling career. Both brothers made their Maple Leaf Gardens debut in a tag match in July 1959. After another Toronto appearance the following month, they didn't come back to the Gardens until 1971.
Maurice says he was given the "Mad Dog" name in the early 1960s by Portland promoter Don Owen. He was always known as a legit tough guy, even though he was only 5'7".
Won the AWA world title five times between 1964-1966, defeating Gagne twice, Mighty Igor, Dick the Bruiser, and Crusher. With Paul, Maurice was AWA world tag champion for an uninterrupted 2-year run from 1969-1971.
In the 1970s, Paul was one of the promoters of Grand Prix wrestling in Montreal -- a hot promotion in the early 1970s. After Grand Prix shut down, he got a fair push in the WWWF, including title shots against Bruno Sammartino in main events in Philadelphia and Long Island. The following year, he had a memorable feud in Los Angeles with a young Roddy Piper.
Mad Dog's last match in Toronto was in 1981. Maurice and Paul both wrestled for the WWF in the mid-1980s. Paul was a prelim guy better remembered for his appearances on the WWF talk show TNT where he sang and got married in a wrestling ring. Paul made his final Maple Leaf Gardens appearance in 1984.
Maurice jumped to the WWF from the AWA in June 1984, but his age and lack of size did not make him a credible opponent in the eyes of most WWF fans of the Hulk Hogan era. Mad Dog had a retirement show in Montreal in September 1986 at age 57. His brother also retired that year.
Just a year later, Maurice lost his right leg below the knee after being hit by a by a hit-and-run driver while walking on the side of a road in Iowa. He filed a suit against the state of Iowa and three doctors in 1991, claiming that they were negligent in their treatment. It as a rough period for the Vachons: in 1990, Maurice's son was convicted of raping a woman at gunpoint and the following year their younger sister was killed by a drunk driver.
That sister, whose real name was Diane, wrestled as Vivian Vachon (known as Viviane in Quebec), starting as a teenager in the late 1960s. She was the star of the film Wrestling Queen in the early 1970s and was recognized in some areas as the women's world champion. She was considered by some to be the best women's wrestler in the early 1970s.
Vivian retired in the mid-1970s after marrying wrestler Buddy Wolfe. She made a brief comeback in Japan in 1986. She and her daughter were both killed by a drunk driver in August 1991. Vivian was 40 years old.
In 1992, there was talk about Maurice running for the federal Liberals, but nothing ever came of it. He now lives in Nebraska. On April 28, 1996, he was involved in a WWF angle on a pay-per-view show from the Omaha Civic Center -- the same building where he had won the AWA title three times in the 1960s. In the main event between Diesel and Shawn Michaels, Diesel attacked Vachon, sitting at ringside, and removed his artificial leg. Michaels was able to get it from Diesel, and hit him with it, setting up the winning pin.
Paul's daughter Gertrude wrestled as Angelle Vachon and made a bigger name as Luna Vachon, including a stint in the WWF and a long career in indie wrestling. She is married to David Heath, best known as Gangrel in the WWF. Paul unsuccessfully ran for the NDP in federal elections in 1988, 1993 and 1995 (he received 13% of the vote in 1988, 2% in 1993, and only 1% in 1995).
"Vivian Vachon is young but she has already captured the recognition of being the top girl wrestler in the business. Vivian has the wrestling ability that her brothers instilled in her. She is a beutiful woman, without a doubt the most beautiful girl in professional wrestling, but once she gets in the ring, she wrestles with all the skill of a male wrestler."
(From WRESTLING MONTHLY, 1972)
"Mad Dog (Maurice) Vachon, who hung up his leotards a few years ago after 10,000 matches and almost four decades on the professional wrestling circuit, is a restaurant critic for a Quebec City television station. What qualifies him for the job? "I've eaten in almost every gas station restaurant and roadside diner in North America," he said following his retirement. "I'm one Mad Dog who knows his chow.""
(CANADIAN PRESS, April 7, 1987)
As a team:
- NWA Texas tag champions, 1960
- NWA Southern tag champions (Charlotte), 1961
- Midwest tag champions (Omaha), 1969
- AWA World tag champions, 1969-71
- Grand Prix tag champions (Montreal), 1971
- NWA Texas tag champion, with Pierre Lasalle, 1955
- NWA Texas tag champion, with Duke Keomuka, 1960
- NWA Pacific Northwest tag champion, with Fritz Von Goering, 1962
- 6-time NWA Pacific Northwest champion, 1962-68
- 5-time AWA World champion, 1964-67
- 2-time International champion (Montreal), 1967
- Midwest tag champion (Omaha), with Bob Orton, 1968
- 2-time Grand Prix champion (Montreal), 1972-73
- Grand Prix tag champion (Montreal), with Killer Kowalski, 1972
- NWA Central States tag champion, with Baron Von Raschke, 1976
- AWA World tag champion, with Verne Gagne, 1979-80
- NWA Texas tag champion, as Nikita Zolotoff, with Ivan the Terrible, 1957
- NWA Hawaiian tag champion, with Hard Boiled Haggerty, 1960
- 3-time NWA Southern tag champion (Georgia), with Stan Vachon (Pulaski), 1967-68
- NWA World tag champion (Georgia), with Stan Vachon, 1968
- 2-time NWA Georgia tag champion, with Stan Vachon, 1968
- NWA Americas tag champion (Los Angeles), with Chavo Guerrero, 1976