Frankenstein-meets-fairytale at age 52 as pro wrestler PCO earns title he long craved
BY COURTNEY DEVORES CORRESPONDENT JANUARY 09, 2020 02:34 PM
At the age of 14, Pierre Carl Ouellet told his parents hed someday win pro wrestlings world championship title.
In December, after 30-plus years in the business, that promise came true: At 52, PCO (as hes known in the ring) bested seemingly unbeatable 31-year-old luchador Rush (pronounced Roosh) to capture Ring of Honors World Championship.
I defeated a huge Mexican superstar who had like 77 victories, 0 losses, he says. Since then, its been super- crazy.
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On Monday, he was honored by the NHL during a Montreal Canadiens game.
The greatest dynasty in sports honored me, showed me on their big giant screen showing the belt to 21,000 hockey fans, and let me explain my journey to them in a couple of minutes, Ouellet says of the hometown-heros welcome.
On Saturday in Atlanta, hell defend the belt for the first time in a rematch against Rush. The foes meet again Sunday when Six-Man Tag Team Champions Villain Enterprises (PCO, Marty Scurl and Brody King) face Rushs La Faccion Ingobernable during the Honor Reigns Supreme event at Concords Cabarrus Arena.
PCOs popularity was evident in April, when he and tag partner King won the resurrected Crockett Cup Tournament in Concord after eliminating seven other tag teams over the course of three grueling matches. Fans that knew him chanted his name from the moment he hit the entrance ramp looking like a crazed Mad Max villain. Those that werent familiar with him were equally enthralled by the towering 300-pound figure who could flip from the top rope.
Ouellet has wrestled for decades. He held the WWF Tag Team Championship three times in the 90s as one half of the Quebecers. He wrestled for WCW, TNA, ECW and numerous independent promotions, but it wasnt until he reinvented himself as the French-Canadian Frankenstein a character whose resurrection mirrors that of PCOs career that he became a breakout star.
A 2018 Wrestlemania weekend match in New Orleans against Austrian brute Walter (now signed with WWEs NXT) solidified PCOs reputation with fans. The independent promotion that hired him couldnt afford to fly him to New Orleans, so he drove 40 hours for a 25-minute match.
Half the crowd didnt know who I was, and the rest knew who I was in WWE years ago. They didnt know what to expect from me, Ouellet says. Walter is known for his chops where you (slap) the guy in the chest as hard as you can. Hell have guys bleeding from the chest. I decided I was there to make a name for myself. When we started exchanging chops, I didnt give an inch. My chest turned purple, then green, then black. When I went up for the big aerial move, everybody in the crowd stood up at once. It was like in the movie when Rockys fighting in Russia. I beat him at the count of three and the crowd erupted.
From that match on, Ouellet became the poster boy for independent wrestling. Everything I dreamed of as a kid came about after that match, he says.
The climb was long and tough, though. He flipped between wrestling and hockey throughout his youth, undeterred after losing sight in one eye while playing cowboys and Indians at age 12.
We ran out of pellets and started putting sticks in the cannons instead, he recalls. It went into my eye and being 12 and not knowing, I pulled it out. I kept my eye, but was blinded.
He played for NHL farm clubs, but wrestling won out. After working in South Africa, Europe and Puerto Rico, he signed with the World Wrestling Federation in the early 90s.
Fame, glory and money went straight to my head, he says. It was after his second run with the WWE in 2001 that he realized he needed to change.
That was one of my worst years. From there I started to work on my own habits and values, he says. He became a successful wrestling commentator, but the ring still called to him.
I quit a great job, he says. They offered to hold the job for three months, but I told them to hire someone else.
The comeback never materialized, and in 2011 after the birth of his daughter London in 2008 he officially retired from the sport.
But he never really left. He began training in different styles, incorporating gymnastics into his routine and perfecting high-flying stunts like the moonsault.
I was always flexible and willing to try things, he says.
He and his Dr. Frankenstein of sorts Destro (aka PCOs manager/trainer) filmed vignettes for YouTube that featured acts of strength and PCO being raised from the dead with jumper cables a la Frankenstein. The monster gimmick hit home with fans, as did his in-ring antics.
I was not wrestling under my old persona, he says. I reinvented myself. Getting the world title was the first step. Im really looking forward to the next chapter.