Mad Dog Vachon, Maurice ‘Mad Dog’ Vachon, a onetime Olympian who became a WWE Hall of Famer and is credited with being one of the first wrestlers to play to the TV cameras, died this week at his home in Omaha, according to reports. He was 84.
Vachon wrestled for Canada in the 1948 London Games and won gold at the 1950 British Empire Games. But he had perhaps his greatest success as a growling, gap-toothed villain in World Wrestling Entertainment, where he battled Jesse Ventura and many others.
“He was the first wrestler to understand the power of television,” said Yves Theriault, who directed a 2009 documentary on Vachon. “He was the first wrestler to speak to the camera.”
Vachon retired in 1986 and kept from making a comeback by a jogging collision with a car that cost him a leg the following year. But like a true wrestler, he made a memorable cameo at a 1996 WWE event, where he allowed another wrestler to use his artificial leg to beat an opponent.
He was inducted into the Hall in 2004.