BY KIRK STARRATT
Kings County Register
It’s been 52 years since legendary Maritime pro wrestling promoter Emile Dupre first laced up a pair of wrestling boots - and he plans to keep the tradition alive this summer as he takes Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling back on the road.
The date has been set for Grand Prix’s return to the Berwick Arena.
Son Jeff Dupre, who will headline the tour that kicks-off May 30, has been busy helping organize it and says his father’s legendary promotion would be keeping one particular tradition of Maritime pro wrestling alive and kicking: women’s wrestling.
Atlantic Grand Prix was a mainstay on ATV for nearly 20 years, and many of professional wrestling’s top female stars and valets made appearances on the show. The shows were taped at arenas across the Maritimes and, on occasion, in ATV studios in Halifax and Moncton. “Grand Prix Wrestling has had all the top talent in female pro wrestling, and valets and managers,” Jeff said.
The late, great Fabulous Moolah (Lillian Ellison), the longest reigning women’s world champion of all time, from 1956 to 1984, regaining the title for brief periods later in the 1980s and in 1999; once performed for Grand Prix. She was well known as a valet as well for the likes of “King” Harley Race and the late “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers. Moolah had a hand in training Trish Stratus, Sable and Lita - some of the top female stars of the last decade.
Jeff said “Perfect In Pink” Penelope Paradise had a famous bout against Leilani Kai from Honolulu, Hawaii. Kai, a former world champion, wrestled at the first Wrestlemania in New York’s Madison Square Garden and made a comeback at Wrestlemania 10 in the same venue.
Jeff says the late, great Miss Elizabeth, valet for Randy Savage; visited the Maritimes with the “Macho Man” and many fans would remember Peaches, famous for seconding “Rotten” Ron Starr.
More recently, top independent female stars were featured on Grand Prix’s 50th anniversary tour in 2006, including She Nay Nay (Athanasia Alexopoulos) and Krysta Kinisky (Krysta Hanakowski). Jeff says both stars will be making their return as part of the 2008 tour.
Dupre says all the stars of Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling are excited to be coming back to the Valley - including the most recent signing of Robert Maillet aka Kurrgan, the Acadian Giant. The tour rolls into the historic Berwick Arena Saturday evening, June 7. The following night, Sunday, June 8; the stars visit the Antigonish Arena. Doors open in Berwick around 7 p.m. and the opening bell is at 7:30 p.m. Antigonish's show starts at 7 p.m., so the doors will be open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is payable at the door.
BY KIRK STARRATT