Wednesday, May 27, 2009
When We Were Marks: Nash vs. PCO
When We Were Marks
Kevin Nash vs. Pierre-Carl Ouellet
The Cliq vs. Jean-Pierre Lafitte
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, welcome to Wrestle Court. Our case today is the Cliq vs. Jean-Pierre Lafitte or as it is sometimes known Kevin Nash vs. PCO. I am pleased to represent and defend my client Jean-Pierre Lafitte, better known to some as Pierre Carl Ouellet or PCO.
The prosecutor Kevin Nash has summarized the case against Jean-Pierre Lafitte here:
Footage courtesy of RF Video.
PCO’s recollection of what happened can be found here:
To summarize the serious charges levelled by Wrestling Prosecutor Kevin Nash, he accuses PCO of insubordination for refusing to job to Kevin Nash or as he was then: WWF World Champion Diesel; of conspiracy for being a member of the Canadian Mafia; of cowardice for refusing to fight Kevin Nash backstage in Quebec City; and finally and most seriously of all the charges, of being a mark in the first degree, the ultimate sin in wrestling: of being a mark for one self.
The facts of the case are these:
In March of 1993, Jacques Rougeau Jr was looking for a new tag-team partner. His brother Ray had retired a couple of years before. Jacques had had a good singles run as the Mountie, but that gimmick was limited by the fact that Jacques could only use it outside of Canada. (The RCMP had legally blocked him from using the gimmick in Canada.) During a tour of Puerto Rico, Jacques met Carl Ouellet, a strong, agile Quebecois. Jacques called Vince McMahon to arrange a try-out. Carl Ouellet became Quebcker Pierre (hence Pierre-Carl Ouellet.) and by September of 1993, he and Jacques were WWF tag-team champions, beating the Steiners for the belts.
Many tag-teams have worked on the dynamic of one guy with wrestling talent doing all the work and his strong-guy partner. The Quebeckers worked on the principle that Jacques pissed people off, PCO was the strong guy and PCO was also the worker. Their relationship as a team is probably best summed up by their finishing move, where PCO climbed to the top-rope, Jacques flipped his wrists and PCO jumped off the top rope with a cannon-ball.
After trading the belts back in forth with Marty Jannetty and the 1-2-3 Kid, followed by Men on a Mission, the Quebeckers lost the belts for good to the Head-Shrinkers. Jacques decided to retire in the fall of 1994. His retirement match in Montreal against PCO, a sold-out match at the Montreal Forum, out-drew the Flair/Hogan 1994 Halloween Havoc retirement match and received massive local press including full page stories in the Journal de Montreal. Framed copies of those stories can still be found in Montreal sports bars.
Jacques Rougeau Jr. and Pat Patterson wanted to follow up that success by booking Montreal’s Olympic Stadium for a show head-lined by PCO against Bob Backlund for the title, but the idea was shelved. Instead Vince asked PCO to take time off to grow out his hair and beard and come back as an eye-patch wearing pirate, playing off the fact that PCO only has one good eye, having had one shot out by a BB gun when he was twelve.
Before debuting this new gimmick, PCO made one final appearance as Quebecker Pierre at a Montreal Forum show when Shawn Michaels’ scheduled opponent was not available. Foreshadowing his later conflict with Kevin Nash, PCO did not want to job to Shawn Michaels in front of his home-town crowd while Michaels, having just won the Royal Rumble, refused any ending but a victory. They compromised on a screwy ending with Michaels getting the pin despite PCO’s foot being on the ropes.
It sounds like one of many ridiculous and failed gimmicks of the time, but PCO made the Jean-Pierre Lafitte gimmick work with his trademark intensity and goofy charisma. The Pirate had a nearly six-month winning streak of enjoyable squashes, ended only by a highly entertaining feud with Bret Hart started when the Pirate stole Bret’s trademark sunglasses and leather jacket. Many people consider their two PPV matches to be amongst the best WWF matches of the 90s.
In September of 1995, the WWF were doing a house show tour of Montreal, Quebec City and Toronto. PCO was scheduled to face WWF champion Diesel at each show. Before the Montreal show, road agent Tony Garea informed PCO that he was jobbing to Diesel cleanly and quickly. ( A finish that Nash had taunted PCO with six weeks before during a TV taping.) PCO refused to job despite immense pressure to do so from Diesel and Shawn Michaels. Instead the match in Montreal ended in a stiff double count-out.
In Quebec City, Nash objected to a badly-landed top rope leg drop from PCO. Egged on by Scott Hall and Shawn Michaels (yelling from the Quebec Colisee player’s bench) Nash started stiffing PCO in the corner before ending the match with his boot and power-bomb finisher. Tensions ran so high that a backstage brawl nearly broke out with the Kliq (Nash, Michaels, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, Triple H and Aldo Montaya) on one side and PCO backed up by Sid Vicious, Bob Holly, and the Smoking Gunns. The card was rearranged for the Toronto show with Nash wrestling against Waylon Mercy and PCO facing Fatu (Rikishi).
Within a couple of weeks, PCO was demoted to jobber status and within a couple of months he was gone from the WWF.
In other words, while I am here to offer a defence for PCO’s actions, the truth is that he was tried by the Kliq, found guilty by them and sentenced to lose his push and his position. I would offer this as proof that PCO was never a member of any conspiracy. The only thing that Bret Hart and PCO conspired to do was to have good matches. In fact, Bret Hart wanted PCO to win the Inter-Continental title, but this never happened because the Kliq wanted Shawn Michaels to have that belt instead. The Canadian Mafia may sound like a good line; but it was an awfully ineffective conspiracy. Especially compared to the Kliq, who orchestrated who would get the WWF belts and when.
Consider what the Cliq did to Shane Douglas after they got rid of PCO. Rather than losing the Inter-Continental belt to Dean Douglas, Shawn Michaels vacated the belt, it was awarded to Douglas and the same night Scott Hall beat him for the belt, completely neutering Douglas’ character. Shane quit the next day.
The astonishing thing to me is that so many people, so many wrestling fans, so many so-called experts are completely prepared to believe Kevin Nash’s word that PCO did something wrong in Montreal. There are many, in fact who garble the story and would have you believe that PCO wanted to win the WWF title in Montreal. I will simply note that even Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash never accused PCO of that. There is a world of difference between not wanting to be job and insisting on winning.
People say that PCO made the wrong choice. The truth is he had no choice. He could allow his heat to be stolen by the Cliq the way that Shane Douglas lost his heat or he could stand up to them and have them go running to Vince demanding that he be fired. PCO decided to stand up to Kevin Nash and Shawn Michaels. Despite Kevin Nash’s accusation, PCO is no coward.
Leave aside the fact that in professional wrestling there are few cowards. Consider two things about PCO. First, he pursued his dream of becoming a professional wrestler despite missing an eye. That is not the path of a coward, and a coward would never have acted as PCO did in the Brawl-For-All.
PCO was brought in for the first round of the Brawl-For-All against Dr. Death Steve Williams and was assured that their match would be a shoot. (Although obviously in a tournament designed by Jim Ross in an attempt to get his friend over as a legitimate tough guy, is it any shock at all that Dr. Death’s first match was against the guy with one eye?) Before his match, Road Warrior Hawk came to PCO with a message from Dr. Death. If PCO went down quickly, Steve wouldn’t have to hurt him. PCO’s response: “Tell Steve he can fuck himself!” Not the words of a coward, nor the actions of one later when PCO took the match to the limit before the refs called it just before the final bell.
So let’s dismiss cowardice and conspiracy off the list of charges, leaving insubordination and being a mark.
PCO did not want to lose to Kevin Nash in his home-town. Was this insubordination? Perhaps, but it was in defence of PCO’s career, of the Jean-Pierre Lafitte character and of the WWF. To understand why PCO was acting in self-defence of himself and others, you have to understand Montreal.
Jerry Lawler may revile Montreal as “Topsy-Turvy” but the truth is that Montreal is one of the few places where wrestling is still the right way up. Montreal is an old-school wrestling town, where the crowds pay to see their home-town heroes and most importantly to see their home-town heroes win. When Jacques Rougeau Jr. lost his retirement match to PCO, he was passing on a torch handed down from World Champion Yvon Robert, from one generation of wrestling hero to another, each of whom head-lined the Montreal Forum and sold it out. (Including Johnny Rougeau, Maurice “Mad-Dog” Vachon, Dino Bravo and Ray Rougeau.) Montreal wrestling fans do not pay to see their French Canadian heroes lose and especially to lose quickly, much the same way that they get cranky when their beloved Montreal Canadiens bow out of the hunt for the Stanley Cup early and ignomiously.
PCO knew that losing to Kevin Nash and especially losing quickly and convincingly would destroy his ability to draw fans in Montreal, especially in his Jean=Pierre Lafitte gimmick, a character that the WWF had invested time and money getting over. Most importantly, PCO knew that without a French Canadian star at the top of the card, the WWF would have a difficulty selling tickets in Montreal and Quebec City. (Which rather neatly explains why Sylvain Grenier won the WWE tag-team titles so many times.)
In the old school days of wrestling, the job of the champion was to keep the belt and to make the local guy look good. Old-time wrestling fans in Halifax still speak of Terry Funk, NWA World Champion, cheating to save his title when Leo Burke had him trapped in a sleeper hold after 58 minutes. (Funk spilled them both over the top rope for the disqualification.) Terry Funk kept his title, but the crowd was happy because they were convinced that their Leo should have won. Which allowed the local promoter to pack the place again the next time a World Champion came to Halifax with Leo fighting AWA World Champion Rick Martel to a sixty-minute draw.
No one is saying that Kevin Nash should have fought PCO to a sixty-minute draw, but he should have followed in the footsteps of Ric Flair and made the local guy look good while keeping his title. Isn’t the whole point of a house show to maintain the status quo while sending the home-town fans home happy?
If only there had been a man in WWF management who could have stood up for PCO!
Well, actually, now that you mention it, one of the people that Kevin Nash mentions who did not want PCO to job in Montreal was Pat Patterson. Most people think of Pat as the charter member of the “Kiss Vince’s Ass” club, but Pat was Vince chief booker for most of the Eighties and early Nineties. Most importantly for our purposes, Pat Patterson created and booked the Royal Rumble. (Heck, he still helps book the Royal Rumble to this day.) Beyond being a genius idea that sells itself and has made Vince McMahon millions of dollars, probably more money than any one individual wrestler has ever made for the WWF, the Royal Rumble is important because it was the match that made Kevin Nash a star.
Until the 1994 Royal Rumble, Kevin Nash had gone through a succession of failed mid-card WCW gimmicks, most with really bad hair: Steel (orange Mohawk), Oz (silver hair) and Vinnie Vegas (greaser mullet). With the WWF, he was getting some traction as Shawn Michaels’ bodyguard, Diesel, but it wasn’t until the 94 Rumble when he went completely bat-hit crazy and eliminated seven wrestlers in eighteen minutes that fans sat up and realized that Diesel was a bad-ass mother-fucker who would kick you in the face if you looked at him funny. To this day, people talk about the Diesel push. (Who is getting the Diesel push this year?) Some of those people have no idea that the Diesel that they are talking about Is Kevin Nash.
Would Kevin Nash have been World Champion without that Diesel push? Would he have gotten the big guaranteed money from WCW? Would the Outsiders have happened? Would the NWO have happened? Maybe, but Pat Patterson’s booking is what made Kevin Nash a star. So, when Patterson said that he didn’t want PCO to job in Montreal, maybe Nash might have wanted to listen to the man who made him a star rather than dismiss him as a member of the “Canadian Mafia”.
Because, we know how good Kevin Nash’s booking judgement is, especially when it comes to booking himself. Consider January 4, 1999. Kevin Nash is WCW World Champion having beaten Goldberg for the belt thanks to Scott Hall’s taser. Their rematch is the main event of Monday Night Nitro in a sold-out show at the Georgia Dome. Goldberg is the home-town hero, but instead of getting his rematch he is “arrested”, Hulk Hogan comes out, pokes Kevin Nash in the chest and covers him in the infamous Finger-Poke of Doom incident. In one night, as the booker, Kevin Nash burned the Georgia Dome as a wrestling venue, destroyed Goldberg’s mystique to his fans and began the “It’s Just a Prop” booking of the WCW World Title that turned the belt into a joke. Kevin Nash’s mistake was to misjudge the local fans’ affection for their home-town hero. A mistake which is awfully similar to the exact same error that Kevin Nash made in Montreal.
The problem, of course, is that Kevin Nash doesn’t believe that he made a mistake in Montreal, because he truly believes that he is a bigger star in Montreal than PCO is. The same way that Kevin Nash believes that he could have beaten PCO backstage in a shoot match back in 1995 and the way that Nash still believes that he could beat PCO today in a shoot match.
For politeness sake, let’s leave cowardice out of the equation and agree that both men are courageous. The fact of the matter is that every crime that Kevin Nash accuses PCO of, are crimes that Kevin Nash is guilty of: Conspiracy (the Kliq), Insubordination (ignoring the wishes of the WWF head booker and the man that made him a star) and most importantly being a mark in the first degree, because really there have been few wrestlers in the history of our so-called sport who are as big a mark for themselves as Kevin Nash is.
That is why Kevin Nash is coming back to Montreal on May 30th. Revisiting the scene of his crime. Looking to prove once and for all that he is a more popular wrestler, a more dangerous fighter and a better man than Pierre-Carl Ouellet.
I have presented to you the case of the Kliq vs. Jean-Pierre Lafitte of Kevin Nash vs. PCO, but the truth is that you can’t give PCO the justice that he deserves. The only justice that he will ever have is the justice that he takes inside the squared circle.
I am not going to sit here and convince you that wrestling is real, but let me ask you:
If someone had caused you to lose your dream job and had cost you millions of dollars in lost revenue and you had a once in a lifetime chance to punch that person in the face as hard as you wanted and not go to jail for it. Well? What would you do?
And most importantly, when he is given that exact opportunity, what will Pierre-Carl Ouellet do?
Yeah. I am excited to find out too.
Kevin Nash vs. PCO will be the special attraction during the International Wrestling Syndicate 10th Anniversary show on March 30th at the Medley.
Other matches include:
IWS Title Match: Champion Beef Wellington vs. former champions Viking, Sexxxy Eddy and Franky the Mobster
IWS Canadian Title: Canadian Champion Shayne Hawke vs. Twiggy
IWS Tag Team Title: Champions The Untouchables (Dan Paysan and James Stone) vs. 2.0 (Jagged and Shane Matthews)
If 2.0 lose they can longer be a team in the IWS.
IWS Ten Commandments Death Match: The Green Phantom vs. PCP Crazy F’N Manny
Ten different hardcore weapons, one for each year of the IWS will be used in the match!
MMA Match: EXesS vs. Heavy Maxx Fury
IWS Veteran Battle Royale: Twenty man over the top Battle Royal with wrestlers from the ten years of the IWS.
The IWS proudly presents: X, Our Tenth Anniversary Show. Special guest is Big Sexy Kevin Nash! X takes place Saturday, May 30th, at the beautiful, downtown Medley, 1170 St-Denis, near the Berri-UQAM Metro. Montreal, Quebec, CANADA. Doors open at 7:30 PM, show starts at 9 PM. VIP tickets are $35, Regular tickets are $25. VIP ticket holders admitted first. No reserved seating. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.ticketpro.ca or in person at the Medley box office. This is an all ages show. Card and times subject to change. For more information go to www.iwswrestling.com or write to Llakor@hotmail.com