Premier Championship Wrestling (PCW) was founded by a triumvirate of Winnipeggers including current owner Andrew Shallcross, Mike Davidson, formerly of Top Rope Championship Wrestling (TRCW), and businessman John Nguyen. Today, the Winnipeg promotion has become an international leader in high-quality entertainment.
Commencement of Cool, PCW’s debut show, took place Mar. 3, 2002 at Investors Group Athletic Centre at the University of Manitoba. Playing on their slogan at the time, “The Industry of Cool,” the event featured three World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) legends.
The stars were Eduardo Gory “Eddie” Guerrero Llanes, who went on to become WWE champion in 2004; Roy Wayne Farris, “The Honkytonk Man,” who is the record holder for the longest uninterrupted reign at the World Wrestling Federation (precursor to WWE) Intercontinental Championship; and Ed Leslie, known as Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake.
The event set the record for attendance at a local wrestling event with 1,700 fans. Today, with regular shows at Doubles Fun Club, PCW consistently attracts between 150-200 fans, with 200-400 people for special events.
“Winnipeg is an industry leader in Canada,” says Shallcross.
In 2001, he was working at Palladium Nightclub (now closed) on Pembina Highway, where local outfit TRCW began putting on weekly shows. Shallcross became good friends with Davidson who was the booker—the producer for wrestling events—for TRCW. Davidson wanted to start his own promotion, and Shallcross was interested in creating the best live show possible. The two became partners and secured backing from Nguyen.
Nguyen and Davidson left in 2002 and 2003 respectively, while Shallcross continues to work hard to offer amazing wrestling experiences in the city.
“Winnipeg has always boasted a very strong independent wrestling scene,” says Shallcross. “At any given time, there could be two to five promotions running regular shows in Winnipeg with varying degrees of talent and success with PCW being the leader in longevity and talent.”
“PCW prides itself on being a very athletic, realistic, and theatrical professional wrestling promotion,” says Shallcross. “Watching our wrestlers perform will leave no doubt in the audience’s mind that these are highly trained professionals. We feature wrestlers of all shapes, sizes, and styles, from brawlers to scientific marvels to high flyers.”
“Overall we boast a fast-paced, athletic style with dramatic storytelling,” says Shallcross. “Our stylistic identity is really led by our top superstar Kenny Omega.”
Omega, the stage name of Tyson Smith, is to wrestling and Winnipeg heroes what Neil Young is to music.
Omega started out as a ring announcer for community club shows when he was 15. He was inspired by the athleticism of Robert Alex Szatkowski, known as Rob Van Dam. “I hoped to become the same type of wrestler in my own way,” says Omega. “I’ve developed my own unique move set and rely a lot on my athletic ability in the ring.”
Today, Omega wrestles primarily out of Japan, although he has also been involved with a number of other organizations, including WWE, and is still connected with PCW.
“Our shows do attract a wide demographic including young and old, male and female,” says Shallcross. “Our audience is well-known to be a vocal and fun crowd. Loud chants are commonplace and many fans express themselves by dancing to the entrance music and loudly expressing their like or dislike for the wrestlers.”
“I’ve met many people who were WWE fans but wouldn’t bother going to a local promotion because they didn’t think it would be of sufficient quality,” says Shallcross. “When I convince them to attend, they are blown away by how good our talent actually is and by the experience of seeing a fast-paced athletic live show. I’ve seen fans who had soured on WWE, but once exposed to our product became hooked on the live performances.”
Check out PCW’s 12th anniversary event on Mar. 15 at 9 p.m. at Doubles Fun Club (20 Alpine Ave.). The event features Kenny Omega and former World Heavyweight Champion Steve Corino. More information can be found on Facebook (PCW Wrestling) and Twitter (@PCWlegacy).
PCW is offering special prices for university students! Anyone with university student ID saves $5 off the $15 ticket. There are no limits, so buy extra for non-students!