Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Resurrection of Pierre Carl Ouellet

The hottest wrestler in America right now is the best story in wrestling
Photo Credit: Jay Lee Photography
It's June 20, 2018. The hottest property in all of American wrestling right now is a man in his 50s who was supporting player in the bright color-festooned New Generation era of WWE, one that Vince McMahon probably wants to forget and one that Mike Quackenbush can't get enough of. In an indie scene where sophisticated high flyers and UWFi-inspired grapplers make headway, no one can seem to get enough of the barrel-chested uncle-figure who covers his wild and wide eyes with Aviators on his way to the ring. Pierre Carl Ouellet, or PCO as is the hip shorthand states, has made one of the most improbable resurfacings in independent pro wrestling.

To be completely accurate though, PCO never really did stop wrestling after his run as both a non-mountie and a pirate came to an end. Yeah, he did retire in 2011, but everyone needs a break every once in awhile. Even though he sorta was still national during his TNA run, he always played second fiddle to the main event guys at best. Since his comeback though, he started to get the rumblings going, lighting the beacons in the far realms if you will. People who pay attention to the shindies and the regions that aren't exactly hip started noticing that the old Quebecer was putting in work again. That word just kept spreading and spreading and spreading until it hit the ears of the people running Game Changer Wrestling.

Even though it started well beforehand, the real fuse caught the match flame at Joey Janela's Spring Break II, WrestleMania weekend in New Orleans. Booking him vs. WALTER just felt like the best way to reintroduce PCO back into the habitat, y'know? At worst, Spring Break isn't about match quality, it's about burning that candle on both ends, the weird, the wild, the wonderful. At best, most thought PCO would get some old man strength feats and use his veteran wile to take an ass-whipping befitting the then-future Pro Wrestling Guerrilla World Champion.

To call what he actually had in his bag of tricks a pleasant surprise would be too placid, too passive. PCO threw at the world a fucking comet of barbarism and heart like a cast iron pan he had just bent in one of his infamous training videos. He came out of the gate with the energy of a man half his age, eyes affixed to the massive Austrian across the ring, and he charged in with no regard for anyone's life, not his, not WALTER's not anyone's in the crowd. He stood up to all the chops and he still fired back even as his chest turned a deathlike shade of black. Whether or not he won was immaterial. It's all booking, right? But the fact that he stood in with one of the most fearsome and physically taxing pro wrestlers in the world right now and not only looked good for a nostalgia act, but like one of the best wrestlers on the planet was a testament to several things, all of them incredible.

Had the story ended there, PCO would still have gone down as a folk hero in this weird and wild year of professional wrestling. Of course, it didn't, because PCO wasn't going to let it. Promotions across the country weren't. You don't stand up to the face of a titan, spit in it, and amass an army of undying and thunderous support behind you and call it a day. You keep going, because you don't know how long your body will let you, and you suddenly have new, interesting worlds to conquer. They aren't necessarily the big worlds anymore. He's been there and done that. I'm sure if WWE comes calling to him again, he'd entertain the phone call and go back. Even as recently as the beginning of this decade, he held out hope that he'd go back and win the biggest prize, no matter how unrealistic the goal was.

But really, for as lucrative as it might be, would heading to Vince McMahon's freakshow again to get thrown into the narrative swamps and weekly meatgrinding be as thrilling as working boutique, goddamn artistic shows like Joey Janela's Lost in New York against Matt Riddle? Would it give him the sheer satisfaction of unleashing all the violence living in his soul against Nick Gage in NOVA Pro Wrestling? Would it give him any of the cred that comes with his most recent booking as the first announced wrestler for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla's Battle of Los Angeles? The list goes on and on — Chikara, Limitless Wrestling, Absolute Intense Wrestling, Black Label Pro. It's a veritable who's who of promotions in this country with cool factor.

I mean, I'm not PCO or Destro or anyone close to him, but just looking with an outsider's eye, he appears to be having the time of his life. Those workout videos where he does just the most psychotic workout shit a man can do without doing harm to another human being are him reaching the pinnacle of his potential as a pro wrestling character. People are flocking to him on social media, and he gleefully retweets them and thanks them like they're the ones doing him a favor by recognizing what he's doing.

What's really happening here is that PCO is doing the wrestling world a favor. He's a legitimate shooting star, streaking across the sky outside of the WWE gravitational pull. He's both a warm blanket from a time past but his new lease on life as a pro wrestler has given him the ability to breathe fresh air into any arena he steps into. Few people could have had the unique impact that he's having right now, but the fact that PCO of all people is the one making it feels oddly right. His comeback is wrestling, and it's one that he and all the fans who have flocked to see him deserve.