Pro wrestling to hit Middlebury
MIDDLEBURY — Pierre Vachon is a familiar face around town. He’s lived in Middlebury for almost three years and works as a bouncer at Two Brothers Tavern four nights a week.
But on Saturday, Jan. 30, audiences will get the opportunity to see him in another light: He’ll be competing as “The Beast” in a professional wrestling show that he is putting on at the Middlebury Municipal Gym.
This is not the first time Middlebury has hosted a pro wrestling show. When Vachon, 34, told his father, Paul Vachon, that he was thinking of bringing a show to Middlebury, he learned that the elder Vachon himself had staged a show to the same gym more than 40 years ago.
“So I decided, why not?” Pierre Vachon said.
And after he had set his sights on the municipal gym, he realized the show could also have a benefit for the community.
“We like to work with charities, and we like to do stuff for groups,” he said, speaking for himself and the Massachusetts promoters he works with to put on shows. “We heard about the gym here, and how the rec. department didn’t have many funds.”
So Vachon worked out a deal with the town: The show will take place in the gym, and after paying travel costs for the wrestlers, all of the proceeds will go to the Middlebury Recreation Department.
“It’s a larger profit than they’d make just for a rental, so it’ll help out for repairs and whatever programs they’re doing. It’s a way to give back to the town.”
Apart from raising money for the Recreation Department, Vachon is eager to bring a new form of entertainment to the area. He has been advertising the show from Rutland north to Burlington, and west to Port Henry, N.Y. He says the tickets have been going quickly.
There are more than 25 wrestlers in the show, which Vachon describes as “the triple-A of pro wrestling.” Many are on the professional circuits in Quebec, Boston and New York, and one tours in Japan. They’re wrestlers who make a living traveling and competing, but who don’t qualify for the 90 wrestling slots that World Wrestling Entertainment offers.
The benefit of shows like these, to Vachon, is that they provide entertainment for everyone who attends.
“People have a really negative connotation for wrestling,” he said. “But old-fashioned pro wrestling, classic wrestling, is much more family oriented. It’s wrestling, so there is an element of action, but no different than you’d see in a PG movie. So long as kids have their parents with them, it’s not sexual and there’s no vulgar language.”
And even the parents who come to bring their children tend to find themselves pulled into the action.
“You get caught up in the crowd,” said Vachon. “And the wrestlers, they’re just phenomenal performers. Pro wrestling is for people from five years old to 95 years old.”
THE WRESTLING LIFE
Vachon has never been a stranger to wrestling. His father and uncle, known as “The Butcher” and “Mad Dog” Vachon, respectively, were both prominent wrestlers in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. His sister, Luna Vachon, is also a professional wrestler.
“It’s part of my blood,” he said. “Whatever happens to me, I’ll still be in the wrestling business in some way. No wrestler every really retires.”
Vachon has been wrestling full-time for more than a decade, and it’s also gotten him involved in other aspects of show business. At times, he was competing five days a week and doing acting jobs as well — recently he was a guest star on the MTV show “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila.” But recently, he’s scaled back to wrestling two or three days a week.
“Now it’s time for me to sit back and enjoy it,” he said. “For a while there I was looking at it like it was a job, but now I’m starting to get my groove back and remember why I do what I do.”
So Vachon is especially looking forward to having an event so close to home, and to having an opportunity to show people here exactly what he does.
And if Saturday is a success he hopes to put on more shows in Middlebury as benefits for other local charities and organizations.
The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30, at the Middlebury Municipal Gym. The doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at NAPA Auto Parts and the Recreation Department offices both in Middlebury. Reservations are also available at (802) 922-7975.