Francine (wrestling)

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Francine
Francine Fournier in 2009.jpg
Francine in 2009.
Birth nameFrancine Fournier[1]
Born (1972-02-19) February 19, 1972 (age 46)[1][2]
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States[1][2]
Spouse(s)
Joseph Meeks (m. 2008)
Children2[3]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Francine[4]
Miss Montgomeryville[3]
Billed height5 ft 7 in (170 cm)[1][4][5][6]
Billed weight126 lb (57 kg)[5]
Billed fromDover, Delaware[5]
Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania[3]
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania[4][6]
Trained byJ.T. Smith[7]
Debut1994[3]

Francine Meeks (née Francine Fournier; born February 19, 1972), known by the mononym Francine, is an American semi-retired professional wrestling valet and occasional professional wrestler. She is best known for her appearances with Extreme Championship Wrestling from 1995 to 2001 and with World Wrestling Entertainment in 2005 and 2006.[1][2][3][4] During her tenure with ECW, Francine managed several of the promotion's top wrestlers.[8]

Early life[edit]

Francine was born on February 19, 1972. She grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she attended a Catholic school. She became a fan of professional wrestling as a teenager, attending events at the Spectrum.[2][3]

While working for a life insurance company in 1993, Francine saw a television commercial for the "House of Hardcore", the professional wrestling school run by Extreme Championship Wrestling, on SportsChannel Philadelphia and decided to enroll as she "didn't want to be stuck behind a desk".[7]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Extreme Championship Wrestling (1994–2001)[edit]

Francine trained with J.T. Smith at House of Hardcore. During her training she made a handful of appearances on the independent circuit.[2] After seven months, she began appearing on ECW house shows.[9] Francine made her first ECW in-ring appearance in 1994 under the name "Miss Montgomeryville", portraying a beauty pageant winner who acted as a guest timekeeper until being chokeslammed by 911.[3] Early into her ECW career, Francine was approached by the World Wrestling Federation about joining the promotion as "Sister Love", a valet for Brother Love.[10]

In the summer of 1995, Francine debuted on ECW television at Wrestlepalooza as a devoted fan of Stevie Richards and later became his manager and on-screen girlfriend.[7] The new partnership angered both Richards's tag team partner Raven and Raven's valet Beulah McGillicutty. This rivalry eventually led to several catfights between the women including a match in which Richards eventually turned on Francine due to the influence of Raven and Beulah winning the match.Then after the match Beulah gave Francine 2 Wedgies and a Piledriver.

Francine (right) with Chris Candido in Extreme Championship Wrestling in 1998.

Francine then allied herself with The Pitbulls tag team, who had left Raven's Nest, adopting a leather-clad dominatrix persona to fit with the Pitbulls' gimmick. She led The Pitbulls to a victory over Richards and Raven for the ECW Tag Team Championships on September 16, 1995. At Cyberslam '96 Francine and the Pitbulls defeated The Eliminators and Richards in a Dog Collar match when Francine pinned Richards after he was superbombed by The Pitbulls. She also led Pitbull #2 to win the ECW Television Championship from Shane Douglas, who had insulted her earlier in the program.[1] On July 13, 1996 at ECW Heat Wave, Francine turned on The Pitbulls and became the manager of Shane Douglas. The Pitbulls gained their revenge by superbombing her through a table.[11][12]

Francine managed Douglas from 1996 until his departure from the promotion in 1999. Referred to as his "Head" Cheerleader, she twice helped him become ECW World Heavyweight Champion. During this time, she could also occasionally be found at ringside in support of Douglas' Triple Threat teammates Chris Candido and Bam Bam Bigelow. Bigelow, however, legitimately broke her pelvic bone while performing a press slam on her. In November 1997, she was by Douglas' side when he defeated Bigelow for the World Championship. She remained Douglas's manager until he left ECW in 1999.[13]

In 1999, Francine began managing Tommy Dreamer. In mid-1999, Francine feuded with Steve Corino, who she defeated in multiple singles matches.[13][14] Her partnership with Dreamer lasted until March 2000, when she left Dreamer after he accidentally DDT'd her while temporarily blinded, aligning herself with Raven.[15]

On April 22, 2000 at CyberSlam, Dreamer defeated Taz to win the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. Following the match, Francine and Raven came to ringside to congratulate him. As Dreamer celebrated with Raven, Justin Credible and Jason attacked them, resulting in an impromptu championship bout between Dreamer and Credible. The match ended when Francine aligned herself with Credible by low blowing Dreamer, enabling Credible to pin him for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.[16] Francine went on to manage Credible until ECW closed in April 2001.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2002)[edit]

On June 26, 2002, Francine participated in the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) lingerie battle royal for the Miss TNA Crown. On TNA's debut weekly PPV, Francine and Elektra had an in ring argument, leading Elektra to name Francine the reason for ECW's bankruptcy. In the match, Francine was eliminated by Elektra, Shannon and Miss Joni. She was upset that she lost, so she began to whip Ed Ferrera with his own belt. Francine then got back in the ring and started to whip Taylor Vaughn with Ferrera's belt after she won the match.

The next week the two women had a match against each other. Francine took a leather strap out of her boot and started to whip and choke Taylor with it. Referee Scott Armstrong grabbed it and took it away but Taylor grabbed it from the him and proceeded to whip and choke Francine with it. Armstrong tried to stop her, but Taylor hit him too causing her to be disqualified. Commentator Ed Ferrara got into the ring to help Francine, telling her she was the winner. Francine then put Ferrara's hand on her breast and slapped him for touching it, then whipped him with the leather strap.

Two weeks later Francine attacked Jasmine St. Claire while she was being interviewed by Goldy Locks. The two had a match later that night which resulted in both women being stripped to their underwear. It ended in a disqualification after interference by The Blue Meanie and Francine was taken away on a stretcher. This was her last appearance in TNA.

Independent circuit (2002–2006)[edit]

She made appearances with Major League Wrestling in 2003 as Michael Shane's manager and was later involved with the Women's Extreme Wrestling and Hottest Ladies of Wrestling promotions. In 2003, she also appeared in Delaware Championship Wrestling, where she feuded with Talia Madison and Noel Harlow. In 2004 Delaware Championship Wrestling changed its name to Dynamite Championship Wrestling.

On June 10, 2005 Francine appeared at the ECW reunion show Hardcore Homecoming, where she acted as the valet of Shane Douglas.[7]

World Wrestling Entertainment (2005, 2006)[edit]

Francine in World Wrestling Entertainment in 2006.

On June 12, she appeared at World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) produced ECW One Night Stand reunion pay-per-view, interfering in the main event of Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman versus The Dudley Boyz. After she kicked Dreamer in the crotch, Francine was attacked by Dreamer's wife and former valet, Beulah McGillicutty. On June 19, Francine apologized to her fans via her website for not disclosing that she was going to appear at One Night Stand, stating that the WWE had asked her to keep her appearance a surprise.

Francine then signed a contract to appear on the newly created Extreme Championship Wrestling brand. She made her first appearances with the promotion in house shows, normally competing in bikini contests with Kelly Kelly. Francine eventually began acting as the valet of fellow "ECW Original" Balls Mahoney in his feud with Kevin Thorn to even the odds against him and Ariel, Thorn's valet. Francine made her return to television on the September 19, 2006 episode of ECW on Sci Fi. On the following week's show, she made her in-ring debut as she wrestled Ariel to a no-contest in an "Extreme Catfight." She was released from her WWE contract on October 12, 2006.[17]

Semi-retirement (2006–present)[edit]

Following her release from WWE, Francine announced her imminent retirement from professional wrestling on November 9, 2006. She also made appearances with Women's Extreme Wrestling (WEW) and made frequent appearances at autograph signings.[18] In WEW, she managed Amber O'Neal.

On June 27, 2009, Francine held an ECW reunion show entitled "Legends of the Arena", with proceeds from the show being donated to the American Cancer Society.[19] On August 8, 2010, Francine appeared via pre-taped video at Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's ECW reunion show, Hardcore Justice.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Francine is of French Canadian heritage.[7] She is from a Catholic family.[18]

Francine married Joseph Meeks in 2008. The couple have two children: a daughter born in 2009 and a son born in 2012.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Harris M. Lentz III (2003). Biographical Dictionary of Professional Wrestling, 2d ed. McFarland & Company. p. 111. ISBN 978-1-4766-0505-0.
  2. ^ a b c d e Thom Loverro (2007). The Rise & Fall of ECW: Extreme Championship Wrestling. Simon & Schuster. pp. 91–92. ISBN 978-1-4165-6156-9.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Bobby Melok (December 22, 2014). "Where are they now?: Francine". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d "Francine". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Francine". Women's Extreme Wrestling. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Francine Bio". ECWWrestling.com (via Wayback Machine). Extreme Championship Wrestling. January 19, 2001. Archived from the original on January 19, 2001. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e Bob Kapur (June 4, 2005). "Francine pumped for Hardcore Homecoming". Canoe.com. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  8. ^ Dean Miller (2017). The WWE Book of Top 10s. Dorling Kindersley. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-241-31440-1.
  9. ^ Scott E. Williams (2016). Hardcore History: The Extremely Unauthorized Story of ECW. Sports Publishing. p. 82. ISBN 978-1-61321-873-0.
  10. ^ James Guttman (January 29, 2009). "Former ECW valet Francine reveals that she was approached by WWE to be part of the Brother Love act". ProWrestling.net. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  11. ^ Scott E. Williams (2016). Hardcore History: The Extremely Unauthorized Story of ECW. Sports Publishing. p. 148. ISBN 978-1-61321-873-0.
  12. ^ Missy Hyatt; Mark Goldblatt; Charles Salzberg (2001). Missy Hyatt: First Lady of Wrestling. ECW Press. p. 150. ISBN 978-1-55022-498-6.
  13. ^ a b Bob Kapur. "Francine". Canoe.com. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  14. ^ Philip Kreikenbohm. "Francine – Matches". Cagematch.net. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  15. ^ "Match Results – March 2000". TheRavenEffect.com. 2014. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  16. ^ John Powell (April 22, 2000). "Credible ECW champ at Cyberslam". Canoe.com. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  17. ^ Jon Waldman (October 12, 2006). "ECW "original" released by WWE". Canoe.com. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  18. ^ a b Bob Kapur (June 9, 2009). "Dawn Marie & Francine heading down different paths". Canoe.com. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  19. ^ a b Bob Kapur (June 9, 2009). "Francine brings ECW stars together for a good cause". Canoe.com. Retrieved January 27, 2018.
  20. ^ James Caldwell (August 8, 2010). "Caldwell's TNA Hardcore Justice PPV results 8/8: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of ECW-themed PPV headlined by RVD vs. Sabu". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved January 27, 2018.

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