Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
- Serge Niles
When you talk about Maritime Wrestling Legends and most popular
wrestler in the Maritimes, the name Leo Burke normally comes to mind.
Burke as wrestled in the Maritimes since the early 70's and he would
always stand up for what was right, and never backed down from a
challenge. But, in 1992 that all changed.
Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling was now known as Canadian Championship
Wrestling, and they where on a role. Burke and Petitpas started the year
by winning the CCW Tag Team Titles, and one of the best teams in the
Maritimes where dominating the Tag Team scene, however, that’s where
strange things began happening.
In the month of June, Burke and Petitpas where upset by the team of
the Cuban Assassin and Butcher Vachon, when Paul Peller made his return
to wrestling by hitting Leo Burke with a pair of brass knuckles costing
the team of Burke and Petitpas the Tag Titles.
In the following weeks, Burke began a quest to capture the CCW
Heavyweight Title from the "Texas Outlaw" Rick Patterson. In
those matches, Burke was more aggressive and would often break the rules
resulting in a few DQ loses to the champ, but most importantly Burke was
like a madman in the ring. After a few failed attempts, Burke finally
captured the title in Sydney, NS and in the process he injured
Patterson, forcing him to leave the Maritimes.
Now Burke was champion and everybody thought that the old Leo Burke
would be back, but Burke continued his uncontrollable tactics and would
barely stop at nothing to hold on to the title, but this was just the
beginning of the shocking events that where about to happen.
During this spell, Todd McPhee was on a quest to capture the Jr.
Heavyweight title from "Bad Boy" Eddy Watts, and it appeared
that McPhee had captured the title in a Steel Cage Match in Cocagne, NB.
But, a complaint by Goldie Rogers and Bobby Blaze resulted in McPhee
getting weighted in the ring, and it was determined that McPhee was over
the weight limit, and the title would return to Watts. McPhee went
ballistic in the cage and began hitting everything in sight, Watts,
Rogers, Blaze and referee Danny Marsh all got hammered. The Soaring
Eagle and Leo Burke came out from the back to try to calm McPhee, but
both got hammered by the enraged McPhee. Burke got up, and immediately
applied the sleeper hold on McPhee trying to calm him down, the Soaring
Eagle grabbed McPhee’s arms to try to help, but Burke released the
hold and clobbered Eagle. The crowd was stunned, and didn’t know what
to do with what was happening. Following this, Burke took the microphone
and told McPhee that he was sick and tired of getting hit, when he’s
trying to help and issued a challenge to McPhee for the following week.
That week arrived, and everybody in the arena was buzzing about the
possible wrestling clinic we where about to witnessed. The match started
out cleanly, and went a good 10 minutes with both men putting on a
display. Then, Burke took advantage of McPhee while punching him in the
ropes. Burke then took every dirty trick he knew, and he wouldn’t shy
away from using them to keep his advantage. McPhee did manage to fight
back, but Burke got the pin with his feet on the ropes. The crowd was
stunned, that Burke would use the ropes for leverage during the pin.
McPhee issued another challenge to Burke, and won the title in PEI, but
re-lost the title in Halifax 2 days later.
A rematch was set for Cocagne, the following week, and this time Burke got disqualified for hitting McPhee with a chair. Burke continued his assault on McPhee with the chair, until the Acadian Giant (Kurrgan) came out from the back. Burke quickly bailed from the ring, and watched for an opportunity. Burke, then snuck in the ring, and smashed a chair to the back of the Acadian Giant, but that shot did not faze him. Burke, then immediately ran for cover in a neutral dressing room. This would set up a series of match between the now hated Leo Burke and the Acadian Giant. They would go at it, and tear into each other like there was no tomorrow. Burke would be having trouble against the Giant, and when everything would appear to be over for Burke, he got help from an old friend....Paul Peller. Peller would become a close ally to Burke as they would do anything possible to attack the Giant and take him out. The Giant would get help from Leo’s former tag team partner Stephen Petitpas. Every time, Petitpas would charge the ring, Burke would leave and would not want any contact with Petitpas, and would state: "Stephen, I’ve got nothing against you, and this as nothing to do with you." Then he would leave to the dressing room. More...