Former WWE Superstar René Duprée has revealed that he was fined for performing one of his signature taunts in the ring while in his home country of Canada.
Duprée competed for WWE between 2002 and 2007 and is most notable for his run in the La Resistance tag team with Sylvan Grenier. With relations at the time between the US and France at an all-time low, La Resistance made the perfect villainous tag team to talk down and besmirch the American people.
As a villain, René Duprée should have been doing everything he could to elicit jeers from the crowd but as any wrestling fan knows, the rules go out the window for any competitor when they enter Canada. Canadian’s cheer their own like no other, many fans fondly remember the building-shaking reception the Hart Foundation received at Canadian Stampede in 1997. Despite Duprée portraying a Frenchman, those in the know knew that he hailed from the Great White North.
When SummerSlam came to Toronto in 2004, the Canadian fans in attendance took every opportunity to cheer their countrymen whether they were villains or not. Duprée explained that the fan’s reaction to his antics in the ring cost him a pretty penny in conversation with the Rewind, Recap, Relive YouTube Show.
Duprée explained how a signature dance move of his raised the ire of longtime WWE producer, Michael P.S. Hayes:
“Well, it was SummerSlam, right. It was the pre-show before [SummerSlam]. It was in Toronto, 2004. It was me and [Rob] Van Dam on the Sunday Night Heat that led into the pay-per-view, and then I did it [French Tickler dance] and it got a huge pop and then as I get — Michael Hayes goes, ‘I want you to quit doing that.’ I was like, ‘Okay!’ So I did it anyway, me being me, and then it’s the most weirdest thing because I get to the — it was the following day, a SmackDown taping. So as I go through the Gorilla Position, Vince [McMahon] is there with a big [thumbs up] because all he cares about is a reaction and getting over. So I pass him, I’m like, ‘Alright, the guy who signs my check just gave me two thumbs up’ but then here comes Michael Hayes saying, ‘I told you not to do that. I’m fining you a thousand dollars.’ I was like, ‘Okay well, my boss, the man who owns the company just gave me two thumbs up but you’re gonna fine me?’”
“I think it’s because they wanted me to be a heel and they didn’t want me to get over, you know what I mean? But at that time, I had already been a heel for two or three years and I’d rather be a babyface because then you get merchandising and then you make a lot more money. If I’m gonna be up there and playing by your rules, I want to make as much money as I can, sorry.”
Despite his wishes, the former WWE Superstar never got to play a fan favourite on WWE television, although he did find some success as he won both the WWE and World Tag Team Titles with Kenzo Suzuki and Grenier as his partners respectively.