Induction: Alex “The Pug” Porteau: Hugs are Better than Pugs

33 Submitted by on Thu, 21 February 2013, 18:56


With the Monday Night Wars heating up in 1996, WWF was forced to abandon a staple of its flagship program: the squash match. No more on Monday Night Raw would the likes of Reno Riggins, Kenny Kendall, and Mike Bell be trotted out for a quick paycheck and a trouncing by WWF superstars. From then on, every match would feature nothing but contracted, name talent.

Well, sort of. Instead of recruiting local wrestlers to take dives whenever Raw came to town, the WWF hired a slew of wrestlers in mid-1996 who would debut as if they were superstars (and appropriately enough, on the syndicated WWF Superstars) with their own entrance music and gimmicks, only to end up counting the lights and putting over bigger stars after a week or two. Pretty clever! There was Tom “Salvatore Sincere” Brandi, Tracy “Freddie Joe Floyd” Smothers, Tony “TL Hopper” Anthony, Bill “The Goon” Irwin, and today’s inductee, Alex “The Pug” Porteau. Unlike the rest of the “Kiss of Death Five,” Porteau got to wrestle under his real name, which, considering his role in the company, may not have been the best career move.

Porteau’s “Pug” gimmick saw him portray a no-frills amateur wrestler with good sportsmanship (this was around the same time the Steve Austin was becoming Stone Cold). In his promos, he claimed to have experience in the world of amateur “wristling” and looked forward to the competition in the “World Wristling Federation.” While Porteau did in fact wristle (or wrestle) in high school, earning a varsity letter does not exactly qualify you as an elite in the world of sports (although, if teen movies are to be believed, it could earn you a date with the head cheerleader; Francine was not available at the time, though). Rounding out his “amateur athlete” image, the Pug entered the ring to the Steiner Brothers’ old theme.

pug porteau

split screen

the pug intro

Whatever money the WWF saved on music and ring attire, they didn’t invest in a dictionary. When asked exactly what a pug is, Jim Ross responded that it’s “a fighter, someone who’s tenacious that never gives up.”

No, JR. It’s a dog. I know this because my mom happened to be in the room at the time and pointed out this glaring factual error, and to this day I cannot hear the word “pug” or see that particular breed without saying, in a JR voice, “A pug is a fighter!”

Still, being named after a dog isn’t so bad, except when the dog breed in question looks like this:

I guess Alex “The Dachshund” Porteau just had too many syllables.


Porteau claims that he had two ideas for his nickname: “The Pug” and “The Pitbull.” Unfortunately, WCW’s Craig Pittman was already going by “Pitbull,” plus there were the Pitbulls in ECW, so “Pug” it was.
And to think that Porteau could have been named not for a wrinkly toy dog breed but for a notoriously vicious breed like a pit bull.
pit bull

Is this really the most intimidating pit bull photo available? Well, in that case, if you would like to adopt a pit bull, consult your local animal shelter today!

pug debut

 hug horowitz

Armed with the endorsement of Jim Ross and a nickname suggesting that he could nip at your ankles pretty good, “The Pug” made his auspicious WWF debut (if you ignore various losses as a jobber in the months and years prior) on Superstars against Barry Horowitz. The two had a competitive match and, at the end, Porteau scored a victory with a pinning combination to the surprise of the announcers. McMahon and Perfect were shocked that the newcomer could defeat a formidable veteran like Horowitz (whose gimmick until the previous year had been that he lost every single match). The two then shook hands and hugged following the match, showing what a nice young man Porteau was and how grateful he was for having upset Barry Horowitz.
The momentum from this tremendous win would not last long, however. Soon, he would lose to Vader in a handicap match where The Pug would suffer the indignity of having a jobber stacked on top of him before eating a Vader Bomb.

vader bomb porteau

sultan clutch

Porteau would then be on the losing end of matches against Goldust, Mankind, The Sultan, Justin Hawk Bradshaw, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and Faarooq Assad.

Who didn’t beat The Pug?


Who did beat Alex Porteau at a Miami house show.


hug horowitz

After a loss to that big lug, I’m sure The Pug needed a hug.
The Pug did get a moment in the spotlight when his tag team partner Bob Holly scored an upset pin to defeat the Smoking Gunns, but he hit rock bottom when, in the Headbangers’ WWF debut, Porteau teamed with Aldo Montoya in a losing effort. A high school sports star like Porteau should never have been made to team up with Aldo, who, with that jock strap on his head, looked like someone being hazed by The Pug’s high school wrestling team. aldo


All in all, the feisty pug got treated like a run-of-the-mill jobber, despite the fact that he had is own theme music! Well, the Steiners’ own theme music, anyway. After a loss to fellow jobber-to-the-stars Salvatore Sincere, The Pug left the WWF in early 1997, proving that an amateur wrestling-style gimmick would lead a person absolutely nowhere in the new, edgier world of the Federation.


Kurt “The Spaniel” Angle


Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at:
33 Responses to "Induction: Alex “The Pug” Porteau: Hugs are Better than Pugs"
  1. CarlMarksGuy says:

    After seeing the top picture of Alex “The Pug” Porteau…I’m pretty sure he was the model for the man they call BELT:

    Anyway, cool induction. I’m always glad to read about the jobbers (or the “unsung heroes”, according to Tuesday Night Titans)

  2. John Rike says:

    I’m trying to see exactly how Alex Porteau’s stint in the WWF was worthy of induction based on his role. He was in the role of ‘putting guys over’, which is not exactly a bad way to earn a living (look at how long JTG has been employed)

    Now If it was comparing to how he was used in the GWF, then I could understand it since he was sorta of a big deal in that promotion.

  3. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    I demand a “Give hugs, not pugs” t-shirt.

  4. Johgaryn MJoatrixJohhfkjlfjsdfl says:

    Say “No” to Pugs.

    • JohhfkjlfjJohn Matrixsdfl says:

      My apologies for the alphabet soup. My name wasn’t showing up in the name box and I was randomly pressing keys trying to get something appear.

      • 80sGuy says:

        Yeah, that’s a pretty ridiculous, annoying glitch on this site. Can’t see what the hell’s in the boxes.

        First time it happened to me, I thought my computer was f’n froze or something.

        C’mon, people, fix the glitch. Or at least give it its own induction.

  5. Yohannes says:

    This is better in “Jobber of the week” section.

  6. Peter says:

    Him and Waylon Mercy would have made a great tag team, they both loved to shake hands. Alex could have tried to calm him down after he snapped. Heck, they might have even won some matches. Ahh, what could have been.

    • KevinKlines75thCousin says:

      It baffles me how random people on this site can come up with more intriguing ideas for wrestler angles than WWE creative team.

  7. Lyle says:

    This isn’t wrestlecrap. He was a jobber with a bad nickname. That’s it.

    • Peter says:

      The fact that WWE dressed up a jobber (or if you count TL Hopper and The Goon, some jobbers) in a gimmick and fed the fans that this was indeed a WWE Superstar, most definitely makes this crap.

  8. Lyle says:

    Though I will say that this was a very funny induction. The Who joke in particular was great.

  9. John Vairin says:

    Porteau is actually a great guy. He graduated from the same high school I did back in 1988 in Bossier City, Louisiana, and I have been a friend of his for years. He was nice enough to celebrate my first Wrestlemania I attended in Houston back in 2009 with a dinner, where he told me the story about him being considered the “Pit Bull” and “Pug” names. He even joked that it could have been worse…it could have been Alex “The Chihuahua” Porteau!

  10. RD Reynolds says:

    Ah, I remember the first time I wrote about something that folks claim shouldn’t have been inducted. Stay the course, Art!

    I’m RD Reynolds, and I approve of this induction. 🙂

  11. Escape says:

    Hilarious induction! I remember being excited by Superstars every week in the summer of 96 as the WWF introduced this parade of jabronis. My buddy and I laughed endlessly about these characters – even still to this day.

    You guys need to do an induction for Who’s music alone. I’ve been trying to find it for years. It was an original (why bother??) and it’s hands down the weirdest and stupidest entrance theme quite possibly in the history of the WWF. There’s someone singing “Whoooooo” in it!

  12. Faux Danny Davis says:

    Ha! I remember back on the original site’s message board, someone once asked about what Porteau’s gimmick was and if he would ever get inducted, and RD said “His gimmick was that he was a (gasp!) WRESTLER. And no, he will never get inducted.” Yet, here he is. Good thing the induction is REALLY funny. 🙂

  13. RD Reynolds says:

    I said that? Wow, what a wishy washy goof I am! LOL

    I think you just hit the nail on the head Faux DD: it was FUNNY. That’s the key to inductions, just to make people laugh. We’ve inducted other things that were great (At Home with Dr. D!!!!!), the goal is to make people chuckle a bit, not to be an end-all be-all condemnation of what is or isn’t bad.

    • "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

      I think this is a really great induction, myself. Nicely done. 🙂

    • Art0Donnell says:

      RD, that’s like billing a match as “once in a lifetime” and then putting on the exact same match at the same event the following year.

      • I'm Not Using My Real Name says:

        I say WWE is missing the chance for a great 007 tag line. Last year it was ‘Rock vs Cena: Once in a Lifetime.’ This year ought to be ‘Rock vs Cena: You Only Live Twice.’

  14. Matt Soileau says:

    Alex Porteau’s from my home state of Louisiana. He’s from Bossier City. Despite EWR thinking he’s Canadian…

  15. Y_Set says:

    According to Wikipedia, he played as one of the Cena clones at Wrestlemania 25.

  16. big says:

    In Jericho’s first book he talked about being offered a spot as one of these better than most light counters and realized that he might be better off waiting to see what came along next. I wonder if the Pug had second thoughts.

  17. Dustin DuNicholsDustDUstin says:

    Porteau actually got started in the GWF, and was calling himself “The Pug” way back then. After leaving the WWF, he worked for WCW for a bit as a jobber, still wrestling as “The Pug”.

  18. James says:

    Fear Otis!

  19. Tommy Guerrero says:

    alex was pretty good in the GWF…the dopey surfer dude gimmick aside, he had skills. he pinned a few future legends. and other famous names too while holding some belts. check out the win he had against booker t. perhaps he should have waited for something better than jobbing for vince to come along.

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