Jos LeDuc (left) and tag team partner Paul LeDuc (right)
August 31, 1944|
|Died||May 1, 1999
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Jos LeDuc
|Billed height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Billed weight||280 lb (130 kg)|
|Billed from||Godbout, Quebec|
|Trained by||Jack Britton
Michel Pigeon (August 31, 1944 – May 1, 1999) was a Canadian professional wrestler better known by his ring name, Jos LeDuc. Wrestling with a lumberjack gimmick, he debuted in Stampede Wrestling with his kayfabe brother, Paul LeDuc. The pair later won several titles in Montreal, where they feuded with the Rougeau wrestling family, and Florida, where they held the NWA Florida Tag Team Championship. After an injury ended Paul's career, LeDuc competed as a singles wrestler and involved in a heated feud with Dusty Rhodes. LeDuc then moved to Tennessee, where he had a rivalry with Jerry Lawler over the NWA Mid-America Southern Tag Team Championship, notably legitimately breaking Lawler's leg when he threw him over the top rope onto the announcer's desk.
LeDuc spent many years traveling between Florida and Tennessee, and he won belts in both locations as a singles wrestler and as a tag team competitor. He also spent time on wrestling tours of Japan and New Zealand. One of LeDuc's biggest storylines was with manager Oliver Humperdink, who LeDuc accused of stealing his money. This led to a feud, during which LeDuc won the NWA Television Championship from one of Humperdink's wrestlers. LeDuc continued to split his time between singles and tag team wrestling, and he resumed his feud with Lawler in Tennessee. In his later career, LeDuc competed in Puerto Rico and had a brief stint in the World Wrestling Federation. Altogether, LeDuc held 32 championships—15 singles belts and 17 tag team titles. He died of a lung infection on May 1, 1999.
Prior to entering professional wrestling, Pigeon gained combat sport experience by studying judo. He worked for the Quebec Provincial Police until the mid-1960s, when he decided to become a wrestler. His friend Paul LeDuc had competed as a professional wrestler in Mexico and wanted a tag team partner. He convinced Pigeon to train as a wrestler, and Pigeon trained under Stu Hart in Calgary, Alberta.
Along with Paul, Pigeon began wrestling in Hart's Stampede Wrestling in 1968 under the ring name Jos LeDuc, Paul's tag team partner and kayfabe brother. The LeDucs' gimmick was inspired by "Yukon" Eric Holmback, a professional wrestler who had died three years earlier. They portrayed stereotypical Canadian lumberjacks and wore flannel shirts to the ring. They received a push from the promoters and won the Stampede International Tag Team Championship in 1969, but they lost the belts later that year.
After moving to the Montreal area, the LeDucs debuted in the International Wrestling Association with a scripted attack on local wrestler Johnny Rougeau. This led to a feud between the LeDucs and the Rougeaus (Johnny and his real-life brother Jacques). Jos LeDuc was booked to win the Montreal version of the International Heavyweight Championship by defeating Johnny Rougeau in 1971. The bookers also decided to give him a run with the International Tag Team Championship that year, which LeDuc won while teaming with Tony Baillargeon. While in Montreal, the LeDucs also competed for Grand Prix Wrestling and were booked in a feud with the Vachon brothers (Mad Dog and Butcher) as well as Killer Kowalski. The LeDucs had two reigns as the Grand Prix Wrestling Tag Team Championship in 1972 and 1973.
Southern United States (1973–1980)
LeDuc's next stop was in Championship Wrestling from Florida (CWF), where he resumed teaming with Paul LeDuc. Wrestling under the name The Canadian Lumberjacks, they were soon pushed to win the NWA Florida Tag Team Championship in December 1973 by defeating Dusty Rhodes and Dick Slater. They defended the belts for two months before dropping them to Slater and his new partner Stan Vachon, a kayfabe brother of the Vachons from Montreal. This was the final time the LeDuc's held a title together, as Paul LeDuc sustained a legitimate injury that forced Jos to wrestle without him. Jos LeDuc also wrestled as a singles competitor in Florida. He was booked to win the NWA Florida Southern Heavyweight Championship by defeating Rhodes in late 1973. He dropped the title back to Rhodes in January 1974, however. LeDuc and Rhodes were placed in a heated feud at this time, and they frequently faced each other in Death matches.
LeDuc made his AWA television debut on August 2, 1975 defeating Angel Rivera. LeDuc was given wins over Buddy Wolff and Boris Breznikoff (Nicolai Volkoff) before forming the team with Larry Hennig. Leduc and Hennig first teamed on September 12, 1975 in Denver, Colorado losing to Jimmy and Johnny Valiant. Leduc and Hennig feuded with the Valiant Brothers for several months before entering a feud with Baron Von Raschke and Mad Dog Vachon. Jos and Larry also received a few title shots against AWA tag champs Blackjack Lanza and Bobby Duncum in August 1976. Probably his most memorable accomplishment while working for the promotion was a bus-pulling stunt filmed in Minneapolis that was also used in promo videos while appearing in the Memphis and Atlanta territories, among others. LeDuc departed the AWA in September 1976.
Wrestling in Tennessee in 1977, LeDuc teamed with Bob Armstrong to win the NWA Southeast Tag Team Championship in September. They were put over Bob Orton, Jr. and Mr. Knoxville for the belts but lost them in a rematch. While in Tennessee, LeDuc gained notoriety from a worked feud with Jerry Lawler. Wrestling as a heel, he faced Jerry Lawler, who was a favorite in the state, in many matches throughout the year. LeDuc was placed with a new partner, Jean Louie, to win the NWA Mid-America Southern Tag Team Championship in May. They faced Lawler and Jimmy Valiant on May 22 to defend the belts, but the match was declared a no contest and the title was vacated. Lawler and Valiant won the belts in a rematch the following week, but LeDuc and Louie regained them the following month. In September, LeDuc and Louie dropped the belts once again, this time to Lawler and the Mongolian Stomper.
LeDuc returned to Florida in 1978 and was given a title reign as the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship after defeating Mr. Uganda on December 18. He held the belt for two weeks before dropping it to his old kayfabe rival Dick Slater. He was soon a champion again, however, as he and Thor the Viking were booked to win the NWA Florida United States Tag Team Championship in early 1979. They dropped the belts to Killer Karl Kox and Jimmy Garvin, but LeDuc soon regained the title by teaming with Pak Song. LeDuc and Song vacated the title shortly after winning it, but LeDuc teamed with yet another partner, Don Muraco, to win the belts back later that year.
During this stint in Florida, LeDuc made a scripted turn from face to heel. Garvin claimed that LeDuc was aligned with heel manager Sonny King, but LeDuc denied the claim. Garvin then showed video footage to prove that LeDuc had secret dealings with King. LeDuc responded by attacking Garvin in front of the crowd, solidifying a heel turn for LeDuc. In a storyline several months later, LeDuc and King Curtis Iaukea attacked Buddy Rogers, a veteran then working as a face. The injuries Rogers received were said to be so severe that he was forced to retire, although, in reality, Rogers had simply moved to another wrestling promotion.
Later that year, LeDuc wrestled in Japan during a brief tour. He was successful during several matches on the tour, but his wrestling style was noticeably different from the traditional Japanese style. In the Japanese media, he was referred to as "maniacal" and "demented".
LeDuc had more success in Southeast Championship Wrestling after returning to the Tennessee area. He was pushed to win his first NWA Southeast Heavyweight Championship in a victory over Killer Karl Kox in March 1980 before losing the belt back to Kox in a rematch. In October, he regained the Southeastern Tag Team Championship while teaming with Robert Fuller. They lost the belts to Super Pro and Ron Bass, but LeDuc teamed with Armstrong again to regain the belts.
New Zealand (1981)
LeDuc travelled to New Zealand to wrestle in 1981. While there, he was booked in two title reigns. On April 23, he won the NWA New Zealand British Commonwealth Championship by defeating Steve Rickard. He dropped the belt to Mark Lewin one week later but regained it in a rematch on July 9. His second and final reign came to an end when he lost the belt to Rickard in mid-August.
Return to the Southern United States (1981–1984)
Later that year, LeDuc returned to Southeastern Championship Wrestling and was given two more tag team title reigns while teaming with Fuller. Ultimately, however, the team split up and vacated the title. LeDuc was then booked in singles competition, winning the Southeastern Heavyweight Championship twice more with victories over Jacques Rougeau, Jr. and Terry Gordy. He was also put over Terry Gordy to win the NWA Alabama Heavyweight Championship in May 1982, but LeDuc dropped the title that summer to Austin Idol.
In the early 1980s, LeDuc wrestled in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, where the bookers had him join Oliver Humperdink's "House of Humperdink" stable. Under Humperdink's management, LeDuc was booked to win the NWA Television Championship by defeating Jimmy Valiant in 1982. The title reign did not last long, however, as the belt was soon taken away because of an angle that saw LeDuc cheat in a title defense against Johnny Weaver. Eventually, the storyline had LeDuc claim that Humperdink had stolen his money, and LeDuc left the stable. This led to a worked feud between LeDuc and the members of Humperdink's stable, although the main rivalry that was portrayed was between LeDuc and Dick Slater. As part of the feud, LeDuc and Slater faced each other on April 30, 1983 in a Lumberjack match. At this time, LeDuc received a push and won the match and Slater's NWA Television Championship.
LeDuc then returned to Florida, where he was kept mainly in the singles division. In October 1983, he was put over Scott McGhee to win the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship for a second time. He dropped the belt to Barry Windham the following month. In a rematch with Windham the following night, LeDuc won the belt once again. His final reign as Florida Heavyweight Champion was short-lived, however, as the bookers had him drop the belt in a rematch with Windham the next night.
Another short stint in Southeastern Championship Wrestling followed, with LeDuc being given two more reigns with the Southeastern Heavyweight title. He was put over his former partner Bob Armstrong for the belt in August 1983 and began a feud with Robert Fuller, another former partner. During the course of this feud, the belt changed hands twice. Fuller was booked to win the belt from LeDuc, but LeDuc won a subsequent match to win the title for his sixth and final reign. LeDuc held the belt until vacating the title when he left the promotion.
On March 12, 1984, LeDuc teamed with former kayfabe rival Jerry Lawler to win the AWA Southern Tag Team Championship from Elijah Akeem and Kareem Muhammad. In a six-man match the following week, LeDuc teamed with Lawler and Jimmy Hart, who was their manager but wrestled on occasion. During the match, LeDuc revealed that his reconciliation with Lawler was a setup, as LeDuc and Hart turned on Lawler by walking away to leave Lawler by himself. As a result, the tag team title was vacated and the feud was rekindled.
Puerto Rico (1986)
While wrestling in Puerto Rico, LeDuc was booked in his final championship reign. He defeated Hercules Ayala on January 6, 1986 to win the World Wrestling Council's North American Heavyweight Championship. He held the belt for just over two months before dropping it to Al Perez on March 7.
Later career (1988–1995)
LeDuc wrestled for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1988. He started off in the WWF wrestling as Butcher LeDuc before switching back to the name Jos LeDuc. Later that year, he wrestled under the ring name The Headbanger during an episode of WWF Prime Time Wrestling. He lost by disqualification to Brian Costello in an angle that saw him disregard the referee's warnings about headbutting his opponent. While in the WWF, he was occasionally managed by Frenchy Martin. He disappeared from the WWF in mid-1988.
The following year, LeDuc returned to Japan for another brief wrestling tour. He wrestled primarily in tag teams with Masanobu Kurisu. They were booked to lose each of these matches, however. LeDuc's only victory in Japan came when he was put over Tarzan Goto in a singles match.
Following his stint in Japan, LeDuc retired from wrestling. On June 10, 1995, he wrestled one final event, teaming with Phil Hickerson to face Lawler and Valiant at the United States Wrestling Association's "Memphis Memories II" event. The match built upon the storyline feud between LeDuc and Lawler, and Lawler won the match for his team by pinning LeDuc.
LeDuc's first wife died in a car accident in 1981. He remarried and was married at the time of his death in 1999. He had three children: two daughters, Nadine and Michele, and a son, Robert.
LeDuc had many problems with diabetes toward the end of his life. While visiting his son in Atlanta, Georgia, LeDuc slipped in the shower. As a result of the injuries, he developed an infection that ultimately led to his death. He died of a lung infection on May 1, 1999 in Atlanta. After his death, the revelation that he and Paul LeDuc were not related caused a minor scandal on talk shows in Quebec.
Championships and accomplishments
- Championship Wrestling from Florida
- NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship (3 times)
- NWA Florida Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Paul LeDuc
- NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (Florida version) (1 time)
- NWA United States Tag Team Championship (Florida version) (3 times) – with Thor the Viking (1), Pak Song (1), and Don Muraco
- Grand Prix Wrestling (Montreal)
- Grand Prix Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Paul LeDuc
- International Wrestling Association (Montreal)
- NWA Mid-America – Continental Wrestling Association
- NWA New Zealand
- Southeastern Championship Wrestling
- Stampede Wrestling
- NWA International Tag Team Championship (Calgary version) (1 time) – with Paul LeDuc
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- "1988". The History of WWE. Retrieved 2009-09-19.
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- Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
- "Cauliflower Alley Club Posthumous Award: Yukon Eric". Cauliflower Alley Club. Archived from the original on 2007-12-07. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
- Asheville, Doug; Jerry Lawler (2002). It's Good to Be the King...Sometimes. Simon and Schuster. p. 218. ISBN 0-7434-7557-7.
- "Stampede International Tag Team Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Jos LeDuc: Lebenslauf". WrestlingData. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "World/International Heavyweight Title (Montreal)". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
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- Oliver, Greg (2003-07-12). "Remembering Grand Prix's Jack Curran". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
- "Championship Wrestling from Florida #5". Kayfabe Memories. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
- "Florida Tag Team Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
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- Sugar, Bert Randolph; George Napolitano. The Pictorial History of Wrestling: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. p. 165. ISBN 0-8317-3912-6.
- "NWA Southern Heavyweight Title (Florida)". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Watts, Bill; Scott Williams (2006). The Cowboy and the Cross: The Bill Watts Story: Rebellion, Wrestling and Redemption. ECW Press. p. 117. ISBN 1-55022-708-4.
- "NWA Southeastern Tag Team Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
- "Memphis/CWA #40: Page 2". Kayfabe Memories. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "NWA Mid-America/AWA Southern Tag Team Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Florida Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "NWA United States Tag Team Title (Florida)". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Championship Wrestling from Florida #5: Page 2". Kayfabe Memories. Retrieved 2008-02-07.
- "25 Greatest Angles". Championship Wrestling from Florida Archives. Archived from the original on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2009-09-19.
- "Event: Hollywood on October 17th, 1979". Championship Wrestling from Florida Archives. Archived from the original on 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2009-09-19.
- "NWA Southeastern Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
- "British Empire/Commonwealth Heavyweight Title (New Zealand)". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "NWA Alabama Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "NWA Mid-Atlantic Television Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Sir Oliver Humperdink Interview: Part 1". Mid-Atlantic Gateway. Archived from the original on November 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
- Sugar, Bert Randolph; George Napolitano. The Pictorial History of Wrestling: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. p. 164. ISBN 0-8317-3912-6.
- "SECW #6: Page 2". Kayfabe Memories. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
- "WWC North American Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Kampfbilanzen für Jos LeDuc". WrestlingData (in German). Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- "Memphis/CWA #21: Page 2". Kayfabe Memories. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- "Memphis Memories II". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- "Profil von Jos LeDuc". Cagematch: The Internet Wrestling Database (in German). Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "The Wrestler Actor Database". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Finishing Moves List". Other Arena. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
- "Jos LeDuc: Fakten". WrestlingData. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Sir Oliver Humperdink Interview: Part Four". Mid-Atlantic Gateway. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Matt Mackinder (January 17, 2008). "Sir Oliver Humperdink recalls career of yesteryear". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
- "House of Humperdink". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
- "Memphis Hall of Fame". Wrestling-Titles.com. Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
- Jos LeDuc biography at SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame
- Jos LeDuc obituary at SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame
- Jos LeDuc at the Internet Movie Database