On Saturday, April 6th the stars of Ring of Honor Wrestling will participate in perhaps the single most important event in the 17-year history of the promotion, teaming with New Japan Pro-Wrestling to perform in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden.
For 51-year-old Pierre Carl Ouellet, known simply as PCO, returning to The Garden as one half of the ROH World Tag Team Champions is something of a full-circle moment. The Canadian wrestling veteran has performed under the bright lights of the world’s most famous arena on multiple occasions, even capturing the WWF Tag Team Championships there in the early 90s.
I had the opportunity to sit down with PCO this week ahead of the huge Fatal 4-Way match at G1 Supercard, where he and his Villain Enterprises partner Brody King will take on The Briscoes, The Guerrillas of Destiny and Los Ingobernables de Japon in an epic battle for both the ROH World Tag Team Championships and the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships.
WHEN YOU CAME BACK TO THE RING FULL-TIME, FIRST IN 2017 BEFORE REALLY EXPLODING IN 2018, WHAT WAS YOUR GOAL? WERE YOU JUST DIPPING A TOE BACK IN TO SEE WHAT YOU COULD STILL DO, OR DID YOU WANT TO BE A MAJOR PART OF THE WRESTLING SCENE AGAIN?
“I wanted to be a major part of wrestling. The goal was always the same. It was a childhood goal. I was really young when I first got into wrestling. We got to put together a group of people at school when I was really young, during a French course where we had to come up with an act, and come up with a story. I decided to put my friends together and create a wrestling show. I was Hulk Hogan and my opponent, his real name was Jerry Martel, so we called him Rick Martel. Everything was in French, and everybody had a different job on the show.”
“I had chosen to be Hulk Hogan because I had it in my mind for a long time, and it always kept with me, to change the world of wrestling. To have a huge and major impact. To sell a lot of merch, to sell out arenas, to draw ratings that had never been drawn before. In my mind, and in my goals, it was really clear what I wanted to achieve in the business. That’s what kept me going through all the tough times in the business too, and that’s what made me come back in 2017. I felt like, if I don’t achieve this in my life I’m going to die with some regret. SO I had to quit everything to find success, even if people were looking at me like I was crazy. I just followed my heart.”
WHERE YOU EXPECTING AN OFFER TO COME SO QUICKLY? WHAT MADE YOU ULTIMATELY SIGN WITH RING OF HONOR?
“There were a lot of offers on the table from different companies. I chose Ring of Honor because I felt it was the perfect fit for me at the time. I wanted to be on television and doing something major, with a company that made me feel like, ‘We want you with us, and we want to take what you do and enhance it and make it bigger and better.’ They want my input and work with me. They don’t tell me what to do with my character, my personality. They were professional about all of the negotiations. It was probably the most professional dealings and negotiations that I’ve been through in my entire career, and there has not been one minute that I’ve regret my choice. I was wanted by the company, and I wanted to be a part of the company, so it was mutual.”
I IMAGINE THAT WHEN YOU CAME BACK TO WRESTLING, IT WAS A LOT OF FRESH MATCH-UPS FOR YOU. HOW AWARE OF THE WRESTLING LANDSCAPE WERE YOU AT THE TIME?
“Absolutely. At WrestleMania last year Joey Janella saw me and wanted to have me on Spring Break 2 in New Orleans, and he wanted to put me against this big Austrian game named WALTER. There were a lot of guys that I was unfamiliar with at that point because when I first started back I was mostly in Canada, so I wasn’t into watching everything in the States. I found out that I had worked with WALTER previously in 2008 for wXw in Germany during a tournament. So that kind of helped the chemistry a bit, when I showed up and we remembered each other. It was like that for many other guys. I got to know a bunch of other names and guys. I got to work a main event for just about every wrestling company on the indie scene, throughout almost every state in the country. It’s been very good.”
TWO OF THE NAMES YOU’VE GOTTEN TO WORK VERY CLOSELY WITH ARE MARTY SCURLL AND BRODY KING, YOUR STABLEMATES IN VILLAIN ENTERPRISES. HOW DID THAT GROUP COME TO BE, AND HOW ARE YOU ENJOYING WORKING WITH THOSE GUYS SO FAR?
“It’s been awesome. When we were negotiating for me to sign with Ring of Honor I asked them what they had planned for me, and Villain Enterprises came up. That made me sign, in that I knew Marty from 2008 being in England. I had met him numerous times on so many shows. Him and Nick Aldis. I never thought 2008 would come around to something as big as it is today with Villain Enterprises.”
“I think Marty was a part of why Ring of Honor wanted me to be there. I think he mentioned my name a few times during 2018. Brody was signed before me but he didn’t know what he was going to do. I had feuded with him so many times in 2018, so for me, I knew the chemistry was there before the faction was even put together. We always travel together, the three of us. We do a lot of things together so the chemistry is there.”
AS SOMEONE WHO HAS WON THE WWF TAG TEAM TITLES AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN, WHAT IS LIKE COMING BACK 25 YEARS LATER AS A WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPION?
“It means a lot. These have been the years where I’ve been the most popular in my wrestling career, where I’ve got a huge amount of fan support — it’s never been like that before. Going into The Garden right now is bigger than anything else. I’m just trying to concentrate right now. After, I’ll be able to look at it with all the flash and everything that comes with it; all the media, the news, and the highlight reels. Right now it’s like peeling an onion. I’m trying to peel everything away and concentrate on the core, and that’s my match. I’m trying to stay away from all the distractions and enjoy every minute going into it. I’m super excited to perform there. For me, this will be the ‘check mark’. April 6, 2019. The most important Garden date for myself.”
FINAL QUESTION — FOR THOSE YOUNGER WRESTLERS OUT THERE LOOKING TO HAVE A LONG AND SUCCESSFUL CAREER IN WRESTLING, WHAT IS YOUR ONE PIECE OF ADVICE?
“Don’t be afraid to try, and don’t think because you fail that you’re not going to make it. Failing is part of every successful process. It all depends on the way that you look at it. You can look at it as a failure, or as a learning experience to get better, and to get where you want to be. The vision of yourself doesn’t need to have anything to do with what’s going on. Failing doesn’t mean you’re not going to make it. The larger failures — you keep on going on, you keep on having that vision, knowing what you want to achieve and where you want to be. The larger the failures are, the bigger the prize will be. What you put in is what you’re going to collect.”
ROH & NJPW present G1 Supercard on Saturday, April 6 from sold-out Madison Square Garden in New York City. The historic event airs LIVE at 7:30e/4:30p on traditional pay-per-view and streaming FREE for all HonorClub members. HonorClub content can be streamed via the ROH and FITE apps and at ROHHonorClub.com.