Pierre Carl Ouellet’s 21-year career has taken him around the world, earning championships and competing in every top promotion — WWE, WCW, TNA, and ECW. At 40 years old, he is far from done, and wants one more run with WWE.

“For me now, with the way WWE is going, I think it suits me better than it did before,” he recently told SLAM! Wrestling. “I think you can be a good babyface if you perform well in that shoot-fight type of deal. I think the belief that if you are from Quebec and have to be a French heel is changing. Now if you can perform well in the ring wherever you come from will not matter. You look at (UFC’s) Georges St. Pierre — he is doing great all over the world and he is a Quebecer. I was over in England for his fight there and he was so over there it was unbelievable, he is like a god there. With the business taking a new approach it is going to open up doors for everybody.”

Pierre Carl Ouellet at the recent NWA 60th Anniversary show. Photo by Christine Coons

WWE has shown some renewed interest in Ouellet, giving him a dark match in October 2007 at the Smackdown/ECW tapings, losing to Tommy Dreamer. Just recently, he had a dark match against Charlie Haas.

“Going back is the main goal, I wouldn’t do all this for nothing. I have been working hard and busting my balls since 2003 to go back there and show what I can do,” he said. “The dark matches I worked hard to get, it was awesome. I did all kinds of stuff to show how bad I wanted it and they gave me that chance. I don’t know yet if something is going to come out of it, but I still have a lot of hope that something will come up.”

He is certainly keeping busy, having competed primarily in England for the past year.

“I brought my girlfriend with me and we got an apartment and were there for almost a year. You travel two-and-a-half to six hours, both ways, and that is a good day. Some days you stay on the road and don’t come home. It is a very tough schedule, you work seven days a week and sometimes twice a night. I would go have a main event match before intermission and then come out back do an eight-man tag at the end of the night. I was back in ring shape and trying different things, working guys of different generations and adapting my style to a new generation.”

Ouellet has also been working for the relaunched National Wrestling Alliance, including their recent 60th anniversary show in Atlanta.

“Atlanta was a great show. I was happy with my tag match, me and Rob Conway against Blue Demon and X-Pac. It was a good match, the crowd was tremendous, popped for everything. Now it seems like they are getting into more and more markets with their TV product. They’ve done well in New Jersey and Maine and are going to Puerto Rico on August 31st. We are looking forward to the NWA to take a bigger piece of the market, which will help the boys get more jobs and make a living.”

PCO is now a veteran, and often is approached for advice from young talent.

PCO at a show in Ottawa in August 2007. Photo by Sandra Garrido Arciniega

“The main advice is to know what you want to be and what you want to do. Do you want to go to Japan, or TNA or WWE? Once you know where you want to go, make plans accordingly. If you want to go to WWE, learn their style, go work out and get in shape and do what you must to get to that level. If you want to go to Japan, watch those tapes, make contacts in Europe and get closer to Japan. No matter what you choose, you have to believe yourself because you will go through periods where you don’t think you will make it, but eventually things will piece together. It takes a lot of courage and determination, and you have to be willing to give up some things to get others. These are some of the sacrifices you have to make and a lot of people are not willing to make them.”

The time away has effectively cut PCO off from the Quebec independent scene that he has been a mainstay in on and off since his debut in 1987. While the heyday of Quebec as a territory is gone, Ouellet says there is a great deal of talent still.

“There are a lot of new guys who could be stars. The thing now with the new guys is that they do everything great in the ring and have a great work ethic and really work hard to get a break. But I don’t think they hit the gym enough,” he explained. “Their life is only wrestling, and although I think [WWE boss] Vince [McMahon] is going to more of a shoot-fight wrestling he is still looking for good bodies. That is something that is missing. A guy like El Generico, if you put 20 pounds on him he could do very well. Even at his weight right now he is one of the closest guys who could make it to TNA or WWE. Kevin Steen is a great worker, it is just a matter of conditioning. He is probably one of the best workers I have ever met, but I am looking at Vince’s point of view, he wants guys in good condition.”

Ouellet himself is in good condition, sporting a much sleeker look than during his WWF and WCW runs. In the mid ’90s, he surprised crowds with his agility for a big man, including high-risk moves like planchas and the top rope cannonball finisher. Not content to sit on his laurels he works hard to evolve with the business.

“You learn every day whatever business you are in. The world evolves; wrestling has changed towards other ways to wrestle. If you stay in 1990 or 1995 you just aren’t going to make it. Look at guys like Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, there are two examples of guys who have adapted to the changes of business. Vince is adapting to the change, sees what works and what does not and is changing the whole product. It is very smart — you can’t just expect to stay the same and have success. That is why it is important to me to go to different territories and get on the same page of what is happening on top.”

The industry itself has changed and continues to do so.

“It changed for the better I think. It was all moonsaults and 450s and it looked like wrestling was going in that direction, but there were a lot of injuries and it didn’t look real. Fans will resist the new style because they don’t like change. Nobody likes changes, if you are used to doing something in a certain way and your boss comes and tells you to do it a different way, you are not going to be happy about it. You have to adapt first, relearn and then do it. That resistance there might hurt the business for awhile because the fans might not like the new direction, but eventually they will come back and they will like it.”

Ouellet is one of the few talents to have worked in every major promotion in the past decade, including a brief run in TNA as the masked “X”. Despite it only lasting a few months, PCO came out of the experience even more determined.

“I was there maybe three months altogether, five or six matches. I remember the battle royal when I came in and I went over in that and had a couple of matches with Chris Sabin and Chris Daniels. I think they didn’t know after while what to do with me. They didn’t have any storylines and got stuck with the character. Sometimes you fail fail fail and if you keep believing in yourself and working hard you will be successful. Failure is part of success, I always took a failure and learned from it and tried to get better from it and eventually success will come. That way of thinking brought me to a great first run in WWE and now I am getting things together, to go back there and have the biggest run ever.”

Ouellet wants his chance to return to the company that he has the fondest memories of. As one half of The Quebecers with Jacques Rougeau Jr., he was a three-time tag team champion, and solo as the pirate Jean Pierre Lafitte had a memorable run with Bret Hart. He shared some of his favorite memories from his first two WWF runs.

“The feud with Bret Hart, we had a match at the pay per view and we main evented at Madison Square Garden and pulled off something I can be proud of. The night that we won the belts against the Steiners, we didn’t sleep that night. It was so exciting, you dream all your life about being a champion, even if it’s not the top championship, it was something really big to me. Also in Montreal against Diesel in 1995, it was for the title, my true title match. That was a great, great moment, that championship match. I really thought I was going to win that night, but that didn’t happen and a lot of bullshit happened backstage with Shawn Michaels. I hope Shawn and I can one day get back in the ring and settle our differences.”

The top memory for Ouellet however was his match against his former partner Jacques Rougeau on October 21, 1994. It was Rougeau’s (then) retirement, held at the Montreal Forum in front of a sold-out crowd.

“We were the main event, the main attraction of the night. We went on after Taker and Diesel and Shawn and Razor and we pulled it off. That is my best souvenir. It was all about timing and it came out good and everything gelled together towards the end. We sold out a house show. That is my best memory.”

Pierre Carl Ouellet will be wrestling in Ontario August 6-9th as part of Wrestling Supershow.