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Thursday, November 21, 2013

R.I.P. Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon

R.I.P. Mad Dog VachonWWE Hall of Famer and one of the true old school wild men of wrestling, Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon has passed away at the age of 84.  Vachon was the exact type of wrestler that we often question as to why they don't seem to exist anymore; wild brawlers that can literally strike fear into the heart of fans due to the realism and brutality on display.

Many may not realize and probably wouldn't even think of it based on his appearance and persona, but Mad Dog Vachon was once an Olympic wrestler that competed in the 1948 Olympic Games.  It was his background as an amateur that initially brought him to the pro wrestling world.  The "Mad Dog" nickname fit Vachon due to his style and look, but also because he worked that style while only standing 5'9.  At first glance he may have looked smaller than most of his opponents, but his brutal style that involved breaking all the rules and using anything he could grab as a weapon before the term "hardcore" was ever imagined quickly did away with any question about his size.  Vachon was a 5 time AWA champion and built a legendary status in the promotion during his feud with fellow Hall of Famer Verne Gagne.

Later on in his career, Vachon garnered fan support and became a wildly popular figure even though he never changed his wildman style.  WWE even capitalized on Vachon's popularity by booking him on shows in the Midwest and Canada which were areas where his popularity was at its height.  After his retirement, Vachon was involved in a car accident that ultimately lead to his leg being amputated; a fact that would became part of a memorable WWE moment when in 1996 Vachon sat ringside for a Shawn Michaels vs. Diesel WWE title match that saw Diesel remove Vachon's prosthetic leg and use it as a weapon.

In 2010 WWE inducted Mad Dog Vachon into their Hall of Fame, and his legacy of being an innovator in the lost art of being a "wildman" wrestler will always be remembered.  Vachon's family (including brother Paul "Butcher" Vachon and niece Luna Vachon) will also be remembered as one of the most unique in wrestling history.  Below is the great Hall of Fame piece done by WWE when they inducted the one and only Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon:


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