Mad Dog Vachon passes away

Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon, a legendary tough guy and one of the greatest promo men in pro wrestling history, passed away at about 4 a.m. this morning.

Vachon was 84.  Vachon had been in poor health for years.

Vachon's wrestling career ended in 1987 when he was walking or jogging and hit by a car.

He was an amateur great, representing Canada in the 1948 Olympics as a 19-year-old.  He then garnered a reputation in Montreal as a bouncer, being reputedly the toughest guy in town, even though he was not a big man.  Stories of Vachon being the living embodiment of the Tazmanian devil as a street fighter were legendary in wrestling during the 50s and 60s.

Billy Robinson once stated that if Vachon was in his prime today, he has no doubt he would be the UFC middleweight champion.

He first made his name outside his native Quebec, with his most success coming as one of the biggest career rivals of both Verne Gagne and The Crusher in the AWA, including five relatively short runs as AWA champion.

The Minneapolis TV studio angle with Crusher and Vachon, one of the bloodiest on record, is among the most famous angles in AWA history.

During the 60s, he returned to his native Montreal as a pro wrestling superstar and became something of a cultural icon by the 80s.  While working in Montreal, he took a young amateur wrestler names James Raschke under his wing as a tag team partner and created the character of Baron Fritz Von Raschke.

Vachon is a member of every single pro wrestling Hall of Fame as well as the Quebec Sports Hall of Fame.

In addition, the tag team of Maurice & Paul "The Butcher" Vachon had a very successful run as AWA world tag team champions.

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