The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers vs. The Young Stallions
June 6, 1988
WWF Prime Time Wrestling
- Reviewed by Jon Hernandez (@OldJonHernandez / VOW Author Page)
- Gifted by Reuel Castillo (@CapoCastillo on Twitter / VOW Author Page)
Sometimes pro wrestling is just, well, very pro wrestling. It’s hard to explain to folks who aren’t big fans, but for me, the degree of pro wrestling-ness that any pro wrestling displays is critical to my enjoyment. And it can take so many forms! Sometimes it’s sprinkled in, like the charmingly artificial inflection in Jay Lethal’s promo voice. Sometimes there’s just a certain umami to it, like in Lance Archer’s hairstyle.
In this match though, it’s as if it were squeezed out of an industrial-size tub of Ranch dressing.
From the outset, you are walloped by tremendous personalities. Gorilla Monsoon introduces the match alongside a groaning Bobby Heenan. Ray and Jacques Rougeau, dressed in sequined jackets that make them look like figure skaters, wave tiny American flags over their heads. They were doing a gimmick where, as French-speaking Québécois, they wanted to be seen as “All-American Boys.”
The Young Stallions, Paul Roma and Jim Powers, are jacked beyond belief, like Hasbro figures come to life. On commentary, “Superstar” Billy Graham is ranting and raving about their physiques. He won’t stop until the match is over. It’s a comfort to know that Graham, Roma, and Powers are all still with us today when I think about everything that has been injected into these men’s asscheeks.
We’re looking at a sold-out Madison Square Garden in the WWF’s golden era. The Rougeaus offer handshakes that the Stallions are slow to accept. Graham wonders if it’s some kind of Canadian intimidation. This is all VERY pro wrestling. Readings are off the charts.
But for all the subtlety this era of professional wrestling lacks (and God bless it for that), these four men piece together a clever little yarn of a match.
The Rougeaus are perfectly obnoxious — Jacques helps Powers back into the ring when he falls through the ropes, and he offers Roma a handshake after failing to win on a sneaky small package. When they do bend the rules, it’s only ever so slightly. Maybe Ray goes for an ankle pick too quickly after a rope break, or Jacques stays in the ring just slightly too long after a tag.
Tensions are rising. Billy Graham is still talking about the Stallions’ musculature. Play-by-play man Roger Kent is finally forced to acknowledge it: “Yes…rhomboid muscles standing out, latissimus dorsi, the trapezius, the whole works.”
They work the majority of the match around ring control and mat grappling. No strikes are thrown until Ray sneaks in on a blind tag and clocks Roma in the back of the head with an elbow. Immediately, you can feel the tone of the match shift.
The Canadians get bolder with their underhanded tactics, and Jacques comes in to break up the pin on a thunderous Paul Roma power slam. For the first and only time in the match, all four men are in the ring. While the referee tries to get Powers back to his corner, Jacques maneuvers his brother on top of Roma for the winning pinfall. After the bell, the Rougeaus go for one more handshake. They are firmly rebuffed.
I had a good time with this match. It’s big, loud, and colorful, but above all, it makes a strong case for the tag team wrestling of yore. Tag team wrestling from back when we respected the ref, the rules, and the rhomboids.
My guess is that it came from Jeff Hawkins.