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Leo Burke


Real Name - Leonce Cormier

Birthdate - 6/29/48

5’11” 230 lbs. - Memramcook, NB


Athletic Background - n/a

Teacher(s) - The Beast, Rudy Kay

Professional Background - Stampede(`66-`68), Vancouver(`67), Kansas City(`68), Stampede(`68-`69), IW(Maritimes)(`69), St. Louis(`69-`70), IW(Maritimes)(`70-`76), Stampede(`74), Amarillo(`74), Kansas City(`76), Stampede(`77-`80), New Zealand(`78-`79), IWE(`79), Mid-Atlantic(`79), Stampede(`80-`83), AGPW[Maritimes](`81-`83), Kansas City(`81), Toronto(`82-`84), Montreal(`84-`85), SWCW(`84), AGPW[Maritimes](`85-`90), Stampede(`85-`88), All Japan(`88-`89), WWC(`89-`90), Indies(`91-), India(`93)

AliasesRed Shadow, Tommy Martin, Batman, The Atomic

Groups - none

Peak Years - `74-`83


Finisher(s) - 

- Sleeper


Favorites -

- Abdominal Stretch

- Leg Lariat

- Hip Toss

- Kneedrop

- Measured Punch



Ringwork Rating - 

 Move Set
 Science
 Aerial
 Power
 Strikes


Intangibles Rating - 

 Entertainment
 Selling
 Bumping
 Carrying
 Heat
 Legacy


Place in History - The Maritimes of Canada has an unusual place in pro-wrestling’s eclectic history.  Its seasonal tours, its tried and true booking approach and its variety of talent made it almost parallel All Japan during that same period.  The area was run by the Cormier family, similar to the Harts in Calgary, with many family members having a role.  Leonce followed in the footsteps of his big brother Yvon, but took a different name, which, curiously enough, all the brothers chose to do.  As Leo Burke, he competed across Canada, mainly in his home of the Maritimes and his adopted home of Calgary.  He adopted the name Tommy Martin in the States, where he found great success in Kansas City, often forming a team with his brother Terry (Romeo Cormier aka Bobby Kay).  Burke developed into a reliable worker who was competent as a face and a heel, a singles or tag team competitor and he could go under the hood if need be.  As a result, Burke was able to climb into the ring with many of the best and improve his own game accordingly.  After only a few years under his belt, Burke was already blossoming into one of the best pure workers of his era.   In the Maritimes, the Cormiers incorporated a curious arrangement where the four brothers were never quite acknowledged as brothers, yet they were always tied together.  Rudy Kay (Jean-Louis) was promoting, but he and Bobby were often the fall guys for the latest heel in the area.  Burke was the premier wrestler and The Beast (Yvon) was a monster babyface.  Those two exchanged roles in who won out over the heel during the annual season.  Since the territory only ran in the summer, Burke was able to travel out during the rest of the year and work in Calgary with runs in Amarillo, Kansas City and New Zealand filling his booking sheet as well.  By the late 70s, Burke was primarily competing for the Stampede promotion and was at the peak of his abilities.  As a heel, he worked on top with all the young talent and drew great heat as a French-speaking conniver. He unquestionably shaped the careers of many up-and-comers, most notably Bret Hart.  Leo Burke continued to go strong into the early 90s.  He was a local legend in the Maritimes and often worked for Emile Dupree’s Atlantic Grand Prix outfit.  In between runs there, he worked for other Canadian offices and branched out to Japan and Puerto Rico.  By the mid-90s, Burke was semi-retired and living in Calgary.  Bret Hart recommended Burke to train new talent for the WWF and he was pivotal in the development of Edge, Christian, Mark Henry, Ken Shamrock and Test.  Leo Burke has continued to remain semi-active in the business doing appearances back in the Maritimes and even stepping in the ring on occasion.  Due to the areas he worked in and his absence from WWF and WCW undercards, Leo Burke is not often held up as the great worker that he was.  Bret Hart is the loudest of those former opponents of his who can speak to his greatness.  He was a world class talent who tended to stay in second-tier promotions, so there is not the footage or nostalgia and therefore he has been forgotten over time.  Despite those realities, Leo Burke is probably the greatest wrestler to ever come out of the Maritimes with only his brother, the Beast, rivaling that distinction.

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