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Final N.S. competitor eliminated


The last Nova Scotian in a national pro wrestling competitio­n didn't make it to the finals but says it was a great learning experience, and he'd do it again.

Jeff Ferguson, 25, was eliminated from the Lutte Académie (Wrestling Academy) competitio­n following his semifinal match at Montreal's Club Soda on Aug. 20.

However, the Halifax resident said he was “stoked” to make it to the semifinals, an accomplish­ment no one can ever take away from him. It meant a lot to meet and work with such talented wrestlers and he felt all the interactio­ns he had along the way were wonderful.

“The biggest learning experience I took away from Wrestling Academy is you never know what to expect until your name either does or doesn't get called,” said Ferguson, who wrestles under the name The Upperclass­man Jefferson James.

Ferguson advanced following his May 7 quarter-final match, where he teamed with Salsa King Jon Gonzales and K.L. Shock to take on The King Brandon Bright, Eli Surge, and Tomer Shalom.

His Aug. 20 semifinal was a three-way match against Jesse Bieber and Gonzales. Ferguson said it was a challengin­g match where he had to have eyes in the back of his head.

“Despite a few errors, the crowd was very electric and made the match that much more enjoyable,” Ferguson said.

He now plans to focus on his overall health, continuing to improve with every match booking, and perhaps most importantl­y being “happy with myself.”

Ferguson, who now has six years of profession­al experience, said he would “absolutely return” to the competitio­n next year if the opportunit­y presented itself. If he gets picked again, Ferguson plans to increase his intensity on the mic and in the ring. He said he'll make sure he doesn't come up short and that he walks out a winner.

Lutte Académie is a national competitio­n initiated by Canadian wrestling icon Jacques Rougeau. The 2023 finals will be held at Club Soda in Montreal on Sept. 17.

Three finalists, two male and one female, will receive a $10,000 prize and three months' training at the Nightmare Factory in Atlanta, Ga. Trainers there include All

Elite Wrestling (AEW) star Q.T. Marshall, wrestling legend Daddy Ass Billy Gunn and WWE superstar Cody Rhodes.

Considerin­g his own eliminatio­n, Ferguson predicted the two male finalists will be Bieber and Bright. His pick for the female finalist is K.C. Spinelli.

Ferguson has upcoming matches for New Breed Wrestling on Sept. 23; and Red Rock Wrestling on Sept. 29.

Rougeau said the Aug. 20 semifinal was perhaps the best show they've had in their two seasons. The competitio­n is getting more intense and has piqued interest throughout the wrestling world.

“In wrestling, you have good nights, sometimes you have bad nights, and once in a blue moon you have nights like we had,” he said.


Rougeau said they grow to love their contestant­s as they

advise them and work closely with them toward improvemen­t. When he sees them reacting positively to that coaching and experienci­ng profession­al growth, it's “heartbreak­ing” to see them get eliminated.

When asked what he thought of Ferguson's Aug. 20 performanc­e, Rougeau said he did great, and he's thankful the responsibi­lity of judging belongs to Marshall.

“We don't always have the same choices, me and Q.T., so I'm not sure I would have

taken Jefferson James out of the competitio­n,” Rougeau said.

He said Ferguson is very good at what he does, and his character has grown on them. He described Ferguson as a gentleman and said he's very profession­al, always seeking advice on how to improve. He finds Ferguson very coachable and encourages him to reapply this fall to come back and be part of the 2024 competitio­n. Rougeau said one piece of

Ferguson advice he would give is to hit the gym hard and work on building his strength and physique. Rougeau said he is against the use of anabolic steroids and recommends taking a natural approach to building mass and muscle tone.

He said Ferguson doesn't need to add a lot of bulk but working on this aspect could improve his chances if he returns to the competitio­n next year. Rougeau said Ferguson's confidence, look, attitude, ring presence, and interviews are great.

“He has everything. He's a total package. He just needs a little more mass. That would be my advice to give him.”


There were two other Nova Scotian wrestlers involved in the 2023 Lutte Académie competitio­n, Coldbrook's Brett Stubbert, a.k.a. The Juggernaut Thad Howatt, and Cogmagun's Cody Brown, a.k.a. Lil' Blay. Both were eliminated following their respective June 4 quarter-final matches.

Rougeau said he is inviting Brown and his tag-team partner in The Mutiny, Giant Orion, to return to Montreal for the finale in September to square-off against each other in a one-on-one match. Orion was also part of the 2023 competitio­n, having been eliminated in the quarter-finals following his bout against Clutch Jessie V.

Rougeau said he could envision Brown and Orion putting on a great match and he wants to give each the opportunit­y to perform in front of Marshall, who is a vice-president of AEW and Nightmare Factory trainer.

Rougeau said he believes that whatever Orion may currently lack, the trainers at the Nightmare Factory could give him, and he has the rest of the tools to make it to the big leagues. Brown has already wrestled his first match for AEW, in Regina, Sask., in


When asked about the upcoming opportunit­y at the finals, Brown said, “I'll be there.”

For more informatio­n on Lutte Académie, or to watch videos of the shows, visit www.wrestlinga­

 ?? FILE PHOTO ?? Jeff Ferguson, a.k.a. (The Upperclass­man) Jefferson James, says he will return to the national Lutte Académie competitio­n in 2024 if he gets picked again.
FILE PHOTO Jeff Ferguson, a.k.a. (The Upperclass­man) Jefferson James, says he will return to the national Lutte Académie competitio­n in 2024 if he gets picked again.

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