His talent allowed him to be noticed by Robert Lepage and Cirque du Soleil.

His talent allowed him to be noticed by Robert Lepage and Cirque du Soleil.
His talent allowed him to be noticed by Robert Lepage and Cirque du Soleil.

Shattering the record of Édouard Carpentier, a wrestling legend who had been, for 974 days, champion of a major federation in Quebec, propelled the career of Marko Estrada. His talent also allowed him to be noticed by Robert Lepage and Cirque du Soleil.

“I beat him with 1,374 days,” proudly recounts Marc Roussel, his birth name, who works as a wrestler and correctional officer at the Quebec Detention Facility (Orsainville prison).

“In a federation, it’s hard to always remain champion, with the crowd, will the fans get tired, the character get exhausted […] When I lost [mon record]I was a little sad.”

Originally from Le Goulet, a small coastal village in New Brunswick, the Acadian remembers that he dreamed, at a very young age, of one day living in wrestling.

In his family, we loved working out and we were into bodybuilding. He was also a hockey player, and was also recruited by a major junior team in Moncton.

Unattainable dream

His dream of becoming a wrestler, however, remained very present, even if it seemed unattainable. This was all the more true for a teenager who had grown up in a fairly isolated environment.

He was a big fan of wrestling shows, which he watched on television with his friends. He dressed up as a wrestler and one day had the idea of ​​building a wrestling arena. “I collected old mattresses that people threw on the side of the road, it wasn’t very clean, but it was necessary,” he remembers.

He and his friends gave performances, which were very popular with the girls of the village, he says, which motivated them. They filmed themselves and their performances were even projected on the big screen at the nightclub.

Then one day, he participated in an amateur wrestling gala, after giving a VHS tape of these performances to a promoter in Moncton. “I told him: my dream is to wrestle, to perform in the arena. He told me: next time we come, we’ll take you. It might have been lip service, but a year later he gave a friend and me the chance to perform. We filled the arena. I was shaking!”

He therefore chose to abandon everything to become a wrestler, despite the prejudices that this aroused in his community. It was also a choice that his father doubted a lot when he announced it to him, he remembers with a laugh.

To Quebec

He had to find his place, which was not easy at times. He learned the techniques at the wrestling school in Moncton, with coaches who used the hard method. “I didn’t give up, I said that I hadn’t come for nothing. Many gave up, I was there three months, and I had my first professional fight in Prince Edward Island.”

He chose his stage name, Marko, as his father called him, and Estrada, thinking it was a star name but referred to a famous Mexican wrestling family.

After several fights in New Brunswick, in his early twenties, he turned to Quebec. He was unable to earn his living as he wanted, and noticed that there were several wrestling federations in Quebec.

After just a month, he caught on and promoters started asking for him. He became the character of Champian of the Mandea nod to his Acadian accent.

With Robert Lepage

In 2016, when he broke Édouard Carpentier’s record, he was also approached by creator Robert Lepage while he was training at the gym.

He invited him to come see him at the Horizon Center, where he was one of the headliners at a gala. “He told me: I’m coming from Europe on this day, I’m going to go there. I tell myself: he won’t come, he will come back from Europe.

To his great surprise, Robert Lepage was in the room during the gala. He in turn invited him to see his plays at the theater. They also traveled to New York and Las Vegas to see performances. “That’s where we realized that wrestling is not far from theater and the circus, and it mixes well. We talked a lot, Robert and I, and during dinner, he told me that he was building the Diamond.”

Marko suggested that he have some wrestling at the Diamond, and Robert Lepage agreed. The wrestling shows at the Diamond have since become extremely popular. Tickets are flying like hotcakes.

“Since Robert Lepage is interested in wrestling, that brings credibility.” A new clientele too. “That’s what’s beautiful, to see the world mix and shout nonsense […] The public is so important in wrestling.”

Cirque du Soleil

More recently, Robert Lepage invited him to take part in the development of the show SLAMwhich combines wrestling, circus and theater at Le Diamant, with FLIP Fabrique and Ex Machina.

He also worked on the exhibition Struggle. Quebec in the arena, presented at the Museum of Civilization. Conceived and produced by Robert Lepage and Ex Machina, the exhibition explores the world and history of wrestling, a fragmented world from which numerous characters have emerged.

“Working with Robert Lepage opens doors,” he emphasizes.

As proof, Marko Estrada was also approached by Cirque du Soleil for a new production entitled Songblazers: A Journey Into Country Music. He became a writer and coach for this show.

As he mentioned at the outset, the wrestler also makes his living as a correctional officer.

Reconciling the two jobs is proving to be more and more of a headache, but he is holding on for the moment, anxious to continue to make the fight shine in Quebec.

“I hope it doesn’t stop,” says the man who will participate in a North Shore Pro Wrestling gala on June 15, at the Center de foires de Québec.

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