Sylvain Grenier

Last updated

Sylvain Grenier
SylvainGrenier.png
Grenier in 2005
Born (1977-03-26) March 26, 1977 (age 43) [1]
Varennes, Quebec, Canada [1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) M. Canada [1]
Sly [1]
Sylvain [1]
Sylvan [1]
Sylvain Grenier [1]
Billed height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) [2]
Billed weight250 lb (113 kg) [2]
Billed from Montreal, Quebec, Canada [3]
France [3]
Trained by Dory Funk Jr. [1]
Rocky Johnson [3]
Debut1998 [1]
Retired2018

Sylvain Grenier (born March 26, 1977) [1] is a retired Canadian professional wrestler. He is currently working with WWE as a producer since 2020.

Contents

He is best known for his time wrestling for WWE between 2003 and 2007 where he was part of La Résistance and became a four-time World Tag Team Champion (once with René Duprée and three times with Rob Conway). After his release from WWE, Grenier became a French language commentator for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) Impact! for a number of years and continued to wrestle on the Quebec independent circuit.

Early life

As a child, Grenier lived with his mother in Varennes, Québec. Grenier played baseball, tennis and hockey at an amateur level. Grenier worked as a model.[ citation needed ]

Professional wrestling career

Grenier made his professional wrestling debut in 1998. [1]

World Wrestling Entertainment

Early appearances (2001–2003)

Grenier auditioned for series one and two of Tough Enough , the reality television program produced by World Wrestling Entertainment in 2001 and 2002, but was unable to attend the selection process due to visa problems. [4] While he was in Florida training and taking part in a modeling shoot, Grenier met WWE producer Pat Patterson, with whom he became good friends. Patterson invited Grenier to attend WWE events for a few tryout matches under the ring name "Sly Grenier". Following a match, Grenier was offered a contract by WWE, and assigned to WWE developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling.

During this period, Grenier made two appearances for WWE, the first at No Way Out in 2003 as a referee during the match between The Rock and Hulk Hogan in which he helped The Rock to win that match; the other at WrestleMania XIX during the match between Hogan and Vince McMahon. [5]

La Résistance (2003–2005)

On April 28, Grenier returned to WWE, debuting on the Raw brand alongside fellow French-speaking Canadian René Duprée. The duo were collectively known as La Résistance , and were billed as Frenchmen who were highly critical of American efforts in the War on Terror. Grenier and Duprée made their first appearance on the April 28 episode of Raw as La Résistance by attacking Scott Steiner who had recently made remarks comparing France to hell, offending Grenier and Duprée. [6] La Résistance went on to feud with Scott Steiner and Test (who was being forced to be Steiner's tag team partner by Stacy Keibler) until the Judgment Day pay-per-view where La Résistance defeated Steiner and Test. [7]

Grenier and Duprée went on to win the World Tag Team Championship from Kane and Rob Van Dam at the 2003 Bad Blood event. [8] [9] After that the decision was made to add Rob Conway as a third member who began by posing as an American serviceman being abused by Grenier and Duprée until the Dudley Boyz came out to save him. Once the Dudley Boyz had their backs turned to Conway, he attacked them with the American flag they had given him before tearing it off the pole and laying it on top of them. The trio began carrying the French flag to ringside and singing the French national anthem before their matches. [10] During their time together the trio feuded with several tag teams; including the Dudley Boyz, The Hurricane and Rosey, and Garrison Cade and Mark Jindrak.

They held the titles until Unforgiven 2003 when they dropped them to The Dudley Boyz in a three-on-two handicap tables match. [11] During the match, Grenier suffered neck and back injuries, and was diagnosed with a broken neck a month later. [3] The trio eventually reunited on the edition of March 15, 2004 of Raw. when Grenier returned. This reunion only lasted a week, as Dupree was drafted to SmackDown! on March 22, 2004 during the Draft Lottery. [12]

Without Dupree, Grenier and Conway continued to team together as La Résistance on Raw. With American-Franco hostility subsiding, WWE ceased billing the team as being from France and instead promoted them as being haughty French Canadians who carried the flag of Quebec to the ring, with Grenier often singing the Canadian national anthem. Grenier has later said that he preferred teaming with Conway over Duprée, stating "Rob made me love wrestling again". [13]

The team held the World Tag Team Championship three times. [14] [15] [16] Their first title reign began when they defeated Chris Benoit and Edge on the May 31, 2004 episode of Raw in Grenier's home town of Montreal. [14] [17] They dropped the championship to them at Taboo Tuesday when Benoit was able to defeat both Grenier and Conway, despite Edge abandoning Benoit during the match. [18] La Résistance re-captured the championship on the November 1 episode of Raw when Edge walked out on Benoit again. [15] Two weeks later, however, in a three-way tag team elimination match, William Regal and Eugene were the last men standing, beating both La Résistance and the team of Tajiri and Rhyno. [19] Their final Tag Team Championship win occurred at a Raw house show in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on January 16, 2005. La Résistance defeated William Regal and Jonathan Coachman (who substituted for Eugene due to suffering an injury). [16] La Résistance dropped the championship a few weeks later on the February 7, 2005 episode of Raw in Tokyo, Japan to William Regal and his new tag team partner Tajiri. on the March 14 episode of Raw, La Résistance were defeated by The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) in a Rockers's Reunion. at WrestleMania 21, Grenier competed in a 30-man battle royal where he was eliminated by Heidenreich.

La Résistance repeatedly attempted to regain the title, mainly on Sunday Night Heat , but fell short during each one. La Résistance were given another chance at Regal and Tajiri during a Tag Team Turmoil match involving five teams during Backlash. In the match, La Résistance managed to eliminate the current champions but were defeated by the last remaining team, Hurricane and Rosey. [20]

The team split in mid-May 2005 after repeatedly quarreling over which of them was the superior wrestler. Grenier and Conway went into singles competition with announcers claiming that the members of La Résistance were trying to "one up" each other in singles matches without the other man in their corner. This saw Conway defeat a jobber and Val Venis, while Grenier was defeated by both Val Venis and Chris Jericho before both men competed in a triple threat match (with Intercontinental Champion Shelton Benjamin for the title), Benjamin won the match after the La Résistance members began to argue and fight with each other. [21] The altercation between the two led to a main event match for the edition of June 12, 2005 of Sunday Night Heat. This match saw Conway portray the heel, and defeat Grenier. [22]

Brand switches (2005–2007)

Grenier was a last minute trade in the 2005 WWE Draft, forcing him to leave Raw and go to SmackDown ending his already shakey tag team partnership with Conway. [23] After being traded he was not seen on TV for a few months, eventually re-debuting on SmackDown on September 1, 2005. [24] He was repackaged with a gimmick of a narcissistic male supermodel known simply as "Sylvain", though his name was later tweaked to "Sylvan", the same spelling that was used in the original La Resistance vignettes. His new gimmick saw him speak with a light French accent, wear sunglasses and use techno music for his entrance.

Sylvan soon began a brief feud with Hardcore Holly, which saw Sylvan determined to protect his "perfect face" at any cost. Sylvan gained a victory over Holly on the October 7 episode of SmackDown with help from Mr. Kennedy. [25] At No Mercy 2005 after Kennedy defeated Holly, Sylvan came out and continued his feud with him by attacking the injured Holly, which led to Sylvan losing a singles match on an episode of Velocity and a hardcore match the following week on SmackDown, ending an almost two-month feud. [26] [27] Sylvan entered the 2006 Royal Rumble, but was quickly eliminated by Bobby Lashley. [28] After this, Sylvan slowly reverted to using anti-American tactics while still retaining his model gimmick. However, this change was short-lived and he was soon taken off of television, where he began wrestling in dark matches before SmackDown! tapings and in OVW.

On the June 16, 2006 episode of SmackDown vignettes designed to look like vacation promotion videos for Quebec and starring Sylvan ("the Ambassador at Large for the Beautiful Province of Québec", or "the Ambassador of Québec" for short) began airing. On July 7 he appeared in-ring to cut a promo attempting to "make peace" with the US fans by welcoming them to visit his home province. The fans responded with a chorus of boos and a loud "USA" chant. [29] In the coming weeks he continued to appear backstage, telling everyone within earshot how much better Québec was than where ever they were from. He made his ring return with this gimmick on the July 28 SmackDown with a win over Tatanka. [30] Sylvan would go on to job against the likes of Tatanka, Vito, and Batista under this gimmick. [31] [32] [33] Sylvan's losing streak ended on the first CW Network episode of SmackDown on September 22, 2006, when he defeated Tatanka again by using the ring ropes for illegal leverage. [34] The following week on SmackDown, Sylvan defeated Jimmy Wang Yang, who had insulted Canada the week before. [35] The next week, Sylvan cheated again to take a lead in the feud. [36] The following week, Sylvan finally lost to Yang in a six-man tag team match. [37] After disappearing for a couple of weeks, Sylvan finally returned to cost Yang a match versus Gregory Helms. After that match, Matt Hardy came out to help Yang ward off Helms and Sylvan. The following week, Hardy and Yang defeated Helms and Sylvan, ending Sylvan's feud with Yang.

Sylvan returned to OVW on November 15, making a surprise appearance as Sylvain Grenier, teaming with Rob Conway to reform their La Résistance. The reformed team defeated Cody Runnels and Shawn Spears to earn a shot at the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship, but were unsuccessful in the title match. On the December 22 episode of SmackDown!, he disguised himself as Santa Claus and attacked World Heavyweight Champion Batista with a steel pipe. This resulted in a match with Batista that Sylvan quickly lost and would end the "Ambassador of Québec" gimmick as Sylvan disappeared from television after this. [38]

On the February 20, 2007 episode of ECW , Grenier returned and reformed the original La Résistance with René Duprée, defeating a pair of local wrestlers. [39] Due to Duprée getting suspended at the start of March, however, and being sent to rehab after violating the Health and Wellness policy, the team was quietly disbanded. At the August 7, 2007 taping of SmackDown!, Sylvan made his televised return under his old model gimmick in a match against Kane, which he lost. This would turn out to be Grenier's final match for WWE, as he was released from his contract on August 13. [40]

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2007–2009)

On November 29, 2007, Grenier debuted as a French language commentator for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's (TNA) Impact! television show on Réseau des sports (RDS). [41] During his time with TNA, he embarked on a feud with former commentator Pierre-Carl Ouellet, with Grenier claiming that he was the better commentator. They settled their feud in a match in Hawkesbury, Ontario on June 21, 2008, in which Ouellet was victorious. Greiner was released in 2009.

Independent circuit (2008–2018; 2018–2019)

Grenier returned to the independent circuit in January 2008 at International Wrestling Syndicate's Praise The Violence where he lost to Kevin Steen in an IWS Heavyweight Championship number one contendership match. On August 30, 2008, Grenier reunited with Rob Conway to reform La Résistance, and they defeated Karl Briscoe and Jay Phenomenon to win Northern Championship Wrestling's Tag Team Championship. [42] before losing them to Kid Rock and Gorgeous Mike on October 25. [42] On December 20, at NCW's Noël D'Enfer event, Grenier defeated Samson to win the Quebec Championship. [43] He would hold the title for over 50 days before losing it to Nova Cain on February 7, 2009. [43] On April 17, 2009, he appeared for Ring of Honor, competing in a six-man tag match, in which he teamed with The American Wolves (Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards) in a loss to Bryan Danielson, Kevin Steen and El Generico. On November 22, 2009, Grenier defeated Darkko to win the Combat Revolution Wrestling (CRW) Quebec Championship. He lost the championship to Darkko on February 21, 2010.

On March 5, 2010, Grenier debuted as a new gimmick, known as Iceman at his TOW Wrestling show. In a match at a CRW show, he defeated the highflying Van Hawk, a mainstay in the independent circuit of Quebec. Later that night, in his usual persona, Grenier recaptured the CRW Quebec Championship by defeating Darkko and Dru Onyx in a casket match at a TOW show, before losing it to Darkko two days later. In November 2011, Greiner toured several European countries as part of American Wrestling Rampage, where he predominantly teamed with former La Résistance partner René Duprée.

On November 1, 2012 Grenier decided he will be taking a break from wrestling for a while. On November 13, 2012 Grenier came to the rescue of Alex Shelley on a PPV event. Grenier made an announcement on November 1, 2012 that he will have a few matches. Grenier faced Juice Robinson, Jay White on November 16, 2012 in a handicap match. On November 18, 2012 Grenier had a match against Kushida but lost to Kushida by distraction of Kyosuke Mikami, Katsuyori Shibata, Cliff Compton coming to the ring. Grenier became the World Lutte TOW Wrestling Champion for 389 days, but lost it to Thomas Dubois.

On January 19, 2018, Grenier announced his retirement via Twitter, but ended his retirement on October 27, 2018, returning to the ring for La Lutte C Vrai against Franky the Mobster. Grenier continued to compete on the Quebec independent wrestling circuit before returning to WWE.

Return to WWE (2020–present)

On January 19, 2020, it was announced that Grenier had returned to WWE as a backstage producer. [44]

Personal life

An August 30, 2007 article by Sports Illustrated named Grenier as a wrestler who received illegal steroids not in compliance with WWE's Talent Wellness Program during his tenure with the company. Grenier received somatropin, nandrolone, genotropin and stanozolol between February 2005 through July 2006. [45] [46] Grenier refuted the accusations in an interview on the Whole Effin' Show with Joey Numbers and Boom Boom, stating "All I was, was a customer at a pharmacy and I did nothing wrong". He also states that contrary to other reports, he came to terms with WWE on his release and would consider working with them in the future. [47]

In July 2016, Grenier was named part of a class action lawsuit filed against WWE which alleged that wrestlers incurred traumatic brain injuries during their tenure and that the company concealed the risks of injury. The suit is litigated by attorney Konstantine Kyros, who has been involved in a number of other lawsuits against WWE. [48] The lawsuit was dismissed by US District Judge Vanessa Lynne Bryant in September 2018. [49]

Other media

Grenier appears as a playable character in WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2006 .

Championships and accomplishments

Grenier (right) with Rob Conway celebrating with the World Tag Team Championship Laresistance.jpg
Grenier (right) with Rob Conway celebrating with the World Tag Team Championship

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