Over the past few months, the hottest talk in wrestling has been the opening of the proverbial ‘Forbidden Door’ between promotions such as All Elite Wrestling and IMPACT. Traditionally, wrestling’s major promotions are hesitant at best to work with each other, with the WWE receiving the brunt of the criticism for their perceived lack of want to work with other wrestling organizations.
However, that hasn’t always been the case. Throughout their history, the WWE/WWF have shown they’re willing to co-promote shows and exchange talents with some of the world’s biggest promotions. One example of this was a late-90s excursion to All Japan Pro Wrestling by a number of WWF stars, including Vader, Bart Gunn, and the man now known as PCO, Pierre Ouellet.
When we recently chatted for Love Wrestling, the French Canadian Frankenstein shared some stories about his time in the Far East as part of the WWF talent exchange.
“I really enjoyed Kobashi,” PCO began when asked about his experiences in Japan. “The way he was with everybody. Like, he was one of the top Japanese guys. I mean, now it has changed a lot with, you know, talent from the US and from Canada, but back then some guys like Misawa or Kawada, the were really in their own corner and they wouldn’t mix up that much with anybody. I had matches with them where the ref was coming to me and telling me what I would have to do during my match against them. My full match at Budokan – what’s the name of the hall with 15,000 seats?”
“Korakuen Hall?” I floated to him, proven wrong seconds later.
“No, similar like that,” PCO responded before continuing the story. “But, anyways, it’s something like that, but that’s not the name. I don’t know why I can’t give it to you. But, the main event was Vader and Kawada I think. Anyways, I was like the third match on top of the bill. It was me and Taue and the whole match was called by a ref. So, it’s just weird.”
“Weird to say the least!” I laughed.
The former Ring of Honor Heavyweight Champion grinned before pressing on.
“Jun Akiyama was also super cool. I wrestled Jun Akiyama and Kobashi in a couple of tag matches, so they were cool. Every time that I’ve wrestled with Kobashi it was super, super nice, super cool. When he hits you with that lariat, though, every night, I’d get concussed kind of. My head was hitting the mat so hard that I’d seen stars. He was too cool, super cool. And, Akiyama was easy to work, too. I had a blast.”
“I teamed a lot with Vader. It was cool. He was super over at this time in Japan. He was one of the iconic names of Japan. So being his tag partner was like, it was cool. So I really enjoyed a month there in Japan. It was 18 days, the tour, but with some days in between. I was there my first time – no, my second time – for 30 days. That’s cool.”
“What is the relationship like with Vince McMahon nowadays?” I asked the French Canadian Frankenstein. “I’d have to assume working for a different promotion you wouldn’t talk all that often. But, you have mentioned in the past, you know, showing up at the Bell Center getting into see him. What is the relationship there now?
“I haven’t talked to him in a super long time,” PCO admitted. “The only person that I’ve talked to lately was Bruce Prichard before he got rehired because he was doing the gorilla position for MLW in 2018. So I had met him at Pro Wrestling Tees for a signing. We took some pictures together and it was cool to see each other and then after that, he became my producer for MLW. And then, he left and went back to Vince. I haven’t heard of him since then, but there was some cool times with Bruce. When he wasn’t with WWE, he was different than when I met him when I worked for them at MLW. He was more like, cool and himself and didn’t have to play a role that much. I just had a great time around him. Other than that, all the other people that I know there, it’s because I’ve met them on the scene before I signed my contract, and then they got hired. Guys like WALTER, Riddle, some of the guys behind the scenes, but to tell people that I met them in 2019. I don’t know how Vince is like these days. You hear all kinds of stories from the boys, but to experience something myself I can’t really tell you.”
Please credit Spencer Love/Love Wrestling with any of the above quotes and transcriptions.