Kenny Omega Defeated Rawskillz
Won: January 21, 2004 - The LID Nightclub - Winnipeg, Mb
Lost: March 18th, 2004
How: Relinquished by Omega Due To Serious Knee Injury
Length: 57 Days (15th Longest)
Cumulative Length: 126 days (two reigns)
The turn of the year was a wild time for PCW and the Manitoba wrestling scene at large. When PCW had launched in March 2002, they engaged in a heated competition with Top Rope Championship Wrestling (TRCW) for several months, but since that promotion folded that fall, PCW had largely been without any real competitors.
It was the sudden resignation of PCW's Creative Director Mike Davidson that shattered the image of PCW as a unified and unbreakable alliance and created the environment for competition to arise.
Davidson immediately let it be known he was going to start up a rival promotion and several PCW superstars had already quit out of loyalty to him, namely Shane Madison, Will Damon and Adam Knight. Then-PCW Heavyweight Champion Chi Chi Cruz had secretly planned to leave PCW for Davidson's new promotion in time for their first live event and several others had expressed interest.
While Davidson worked on his plans, the Canadian Wrestling Federation (CWF), promoted by Ernie Todd, fired the first shot in what would eventually become a full blown war with PCW. The CWF was, at the time, Winnipeg's longest running wrestling promotion and a member of the famed National Wrestling Alliance.
The CWF made a deal to provide regular weekly live events at Coyotes Nightclub, just down the street from PCW's primary venue. In return, the CWF received a generous financial payment from Coyotes' management.
Mike Davidson had also approached Coyotes but by the time he did, they had already entered into contract with the CWF, forcing Davidson to wait. In an interesting foot-note, it was actually TRCW's promoter Bobby Jay's desire to once again compete with PCW that led to Coyotes Nightclub becoming a wrestling venue.
Even though Bobby had joined PCW after folding TRCW and had a good relationship with both Davidson and his then-partner Andrew Shallcross, he continued to harbor resentment towards them for raiding TRCW's roster and signing away their main venue The Stratosphere Nightclub when they launched in 2002.
Bobby made a pitch to Coyotes management in the summer of 2003 and they were reportedly interested. Bobby actually approached Davidson informing him of the potential deal but suggesting it would be a "one time only event" and wanted to use PCW talent and maintain a friendly relationship.
Davidson & Shallcross were open to the idea feeling that the competitive landscape was calm and in their favour and did not want another wrestling "war" that would be detrimental to everyone involved. However, Bobby approached several PCW Superstars to gauge their willingness to "jump ship" from PCW to his new promotion should he run weekly events at Coyotes.
Bobby explained to one wrestler that many guys had "screwed me to go to PCW so why not screw PCW to come back?" One of those wrestlers felt inclined to send an anonymous e-mail to PCW management informing them of this plot, resulting in the end of the relationship with PCW and causing a physical altercation between Bobby & Shallcross in the locker room of a PCW event.
Without a regular roster of talent, Bobby's desire to run live events at Coyotes was greatly decreased. But the interest on the part of Coyotes' management remained resulting in them making the deal with the CWF.
By the end of October, however, Coyotes' management wanted to renegotiate their financial commitment to the CWF. When Todd refused, Coyotes dropped them altogether and offered Davidson the opportunity to promote a live event there. And thus, Davidson's Action Wrestling Entertainment (AWE) was born.
Chi Chi Cruz' commitment to AWE resulted in him continuing to work for PCW through September but he refused to defend the Heavyweight Championship against number one contender Kenny Omega. Davidson wanted Cruz to enter AWE as PCW Champ and they wanted to avoid the possibility of him losing the title beforehand.
Upon Davidson's resignation from PCW, Andrew Shallcross became Creative Director and insisted Cruz make the mandatory title defense against Omega. When Cruz did not show up for the match in September, Commissioner Manos stripped him of the championship and awarded it to the winner of Omega vs Adam Knight (the number two contender).
Omega won, signalling a new direction for PCW. With their plan to take the title to AWE thwarted, Cruz returned to PCW the following week, losing to Kenny via submission in his first title defense, before leaving for good.
But Davidson wanted to make a huge splash for his first AWE show, scheduled for November 19th, and signed Omega to appear. While Kenny was protective of his position as PCW Heavyweight Champion, and victorious over Ryan Wood in the match of the night, Shallcross responded by scheduling Omega to defend the PCW title against one of his two close friends, Chris Stevens or Rawskillz.
It was PCW's return to their main venue after The Stratosphere had closed for three weeks of renovations, now called the Lid Nightclub. Rawskillz defeated Chris Stevens to earn the title shot in the main event and upset Omega for the PCW Championship.
In attendance for that historic moment was not just a large PCW fanbase, but CWF owner Ernie Todd and several of his wrestlers including Rob Stardom & TJ Bratt.
Todd an been conciliatory towards Shallcross and PCW after Davidson resigned in August, but once he secured the contract with Coyotes Nightclub, he reverted to his usual antagonistic ways, engaging in several nasty phone calls and e-mails with Andrew. But if CWF's time at Coyotes was meant to be a war on PCW, it was short-lived and that only made Todd more angry.
On this night, November 26th, Ernie and his wrestlers watched the PCW event, heckling repeatedly. As Shallcross, in his role as Ring Announcer, closed the show and exited the ring, Ernie confronted him and the two exchanged heated words. A shoving match ensued and several PCW wrestlers exited the locker room to come to the aid of their promoter.
Todd, Stardom & Bratt were escorted out of the Lid Nightclub by security.
Over the course of the next week, Todd complained about Shallcross' actions to the venue management Tom Manos, who was also the Commissioner of PCW and a close friend of Andrew's. Todd even escalated his complaint's to the venues' corporate franchiser and had his attorney draw up a letter threatening a lawsuit.
Manos was forced to enter into settlement talks with Todd and as a result, forced Shallcross to issue a public apology to Todd the following week. Worse yet, the apology had to be face to face, with Manos inviting Todd to appear in a PCW ring.
It was a shocking visual when the NWA President and CWF owner Todd walked into the LID Nightclub and into a PCW ring, flanked by Stardom, Bratt and wrestling legend Kerry "Pitbull" Brown. A seething Shallcross reluctantly apologized but when Todd gloated and suggested Manos replace PCW "and their hot head promoter Shallcross" with the CWF, Andrew snapped and physically attacked him!
He was quickly restrained and verbally reprimanded by Manos, but Todd now had more damning evidence to use in a potential lawsuit.
Determined to keep settlement negotiations amicable, Manos allowed Todd the indulgence of CWF wrestlers appearing at PCW events. To the Commissioner, it made sense for everyone to get along. To Todd, it was part of a broader strategy to eventually replace PCW altogether.
Todd also targeted the man considered to be PCW's top star, Kenny Omega. Though Omega had lost the PCW Championship to Rawskillz on November 26th, Todd tried to lure him to the CWF with promises of a future shot at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship or TNA X Division Championship.
It was unthinkable to many that Omega would entertain the idea of leaving PCW, but after his one appearance for AWE in November, he felt Shallcross had treated him unfairly. Perhaps Todd sensed the door was open, even just a crack, to signing Omega away from PCW.
The simmering battle turned into a full fledged war on December 17th 2003 at PCW's "Christmas Classic" event at the LID Nightclub. As part of Todd's charm offensive, he offered Omega a shot against the NWA Canadian Champion Rob Stardom. Omega was unsuccessful when Stardom's allies Bratt & Brown interfered and Todd explained it would be a more even playing field if Kenny signed a full time contract with the CWF.
But the biggest shocker came at the conclusion of the main event. The stress of the situation with Ernie Todd (and before him, Mike Davidson) had made Shallcross angry and prone to violence. When he snapped at his long time friend, PCW superstar "Diehard" Greg Romijn, it was one angry outburst too many. Romijn fought back and the agreed to settle their differences in a Fans Bring The Weapons match.
It was a very bloody and violent contest but, unsurprisingly, Romijn was victorious. But as he celebrated, Todd entered the ring claiming he had a major announcement to make - he had purchased Premier Championship Wrestling!
Romijn, perhaps the most loyal person to PCW ever, was irate and attacked Todd. The CWF contingent hit the ring to defend their boss followed by the PCW wrestlers to defend their colleague. A wild brawl ensued. Shocked PCW fans tried to attack the CWF wrestlers and riot nearly erupted.
When the dust settled and PCW took their annual Christmas hiatus, the burning question remained - was it true that Ernie Todd now owned PCW? The answer, yes and no.
One year earlier on November 28th 2002, PCW had announced the sale of the company from their original financial backer John Nguyen to a company jointly controlled by Manos, Davidson & Shallcross. When Davidson quit PCW in August 2003, his intent was to form a rival promotion, AWE, and compete with PCW in an effort to put them out of business.
But AWE had only, to that point, held one show. To raise financing capital and to hurt PCW, Davidson sold his 1/3 stake in the company to Todd, making him equal partners with Manos & Shallcross - a nightmare scenario to be sure.
Over the Christmas break, Todd continued to apply pressure in his efforts to take over PCW. He called Shallcross at home and offered to buy his stake in the company, an offer Shallcross outright refused. He then invited Omega, who had continued to be reluctant to sign any sort of official CWF contract, to take part in the tournament to crown a new CWF Heavyweight Champion at CWF's Season's Beatings live event on December 27th.
Because CWF only ran semi-monthly events, their Season's Beatings show was the first one since they first confronted PCW in November. Shallcross attended the event with several PCW Superstars and fans, but unlike their CWF counter-parts, there was no heckling and no unprofessional behavior.
But it was not a happy night for Shallcross as he witnessed Omega win the tournament, defeating TJ Bratt in the finals, to become the new CWF Heavyweight Champion. Erne Todd himself, embraced Kenny and presented him with the belt.
Shallcross looked on, seething and concerned that PCW was losing it's most promising talent. Conspicuous by his absence at the CWF event was PCW Heavyweight Champion Rawskillz who made it clear he wanted nothing to do with Ernie Todd or the CWF. Skillz had begun his career there and knew Todd very well.
The last time Skillz had spoken to Todd was when he, along with several other CWF wrestlers, had quit to join TRCW in 2001. The group had visited Todd at him home to deliver the news in what became known as the "Garage Sale Massacre" as the core of the CWF's talent roster, including Skillz, Tatum, Robby Royce, Darren Dalton and others, all walked out at the same time shifting the balance of power in the Manitoba wrestling scene from the then-dominant CWF to the new top group (at least until PCW's formation at the end of that year), TRCW.
Well the intrigue and drama surrounded Omega and the CWF, Rawskillz went about his business, consistently putting forth match of the night caliber performances in defending the PCW Heavyweight Championship.
As 2004 began, Ernie Todd was confirmed as 1/3 owner of PCW and felt emboldened by having Omega as his CWF Champion, a title now regularly defended on PCW live events. Todd made it clear he wanted to re-brand PCW under the CWF banner and to reach his goal, he targeted PCW's championships.
At the first event of the new year, on January 7th 2004, TJ Bratt & Rob Stardom challenged PCW Tag Team Champions Antonio Scorpio & Mentallo, but were unsuccessful. Todd then tapped the unpredictable Bratt to bring home PCW's top title.
On January 14th 2004, Bratt challenged Skillz for the PCW Heavyweight Championship, a match that degenerated into a wild brawl and ended in a DQ victory for the champion.
Todd was now incensed and determined to win the war with PCW.
He ordered a Championship Unification match between PCW champion Rawskillz and CWF Champion Omega to take place on January 21st. It was a major gamble on Todd's part as Kenny had never beaten Skillz, but since winning the CWF Championship, Omega had looked highly motivated and unbeatable.
The historic match took place at The Lid Nightclub and all three PCW owners were in attendance to witness the contest that could profoundly impact the future of the company. Fans, the majority of whom were long time PCW supporters, were firmly behind Rawskillz but the match was a tremendous, equally fought contest.
To the horror of Shallcross, Omega defeated Skillz as a triumphant Todd beamed with pride. He embraced Kenny and presented him with a gift for winning - a lucrative, CWF-exclusive contract. Omega said he was proud to have unified two championships and was grateful for Todd's confidence...but that he was "PCW for life" and tore up the contract!
The fans erupted in a standing ovation as an irate Todd fumed! It seemed his masterplan had been a ruse by Omega all along and now the PCW Heavyweight Champion controlled the CWF Championship.
Ernie had one last desperate card to play. He agreed to put his 1/3 ownership on the line, demanding Shallcross & Manos do the same - one match, winner takes all. Shallcross immediately agreed but Manos viewed the issue from a business perspective, not the emotional, perhaps irrational view of Shallcross.
Manos finally relented, agreeing on the condition that should Todd's man be victorious he'd own PCW 100% and if PCW's man was victorious, the company would be wholly owned by Manos. All parties agreed. It was a wild bet.
Kenny Omega vs Ernie's most trusted man, TJ Bratt.
Bratt was an ideal choice for maverick Todd. While he had been unable to win the title when he challenged Skillz, he was a brawler willing to do anything to win. For Omega, a talent used to traditional athletic wrestling, the match-up was potentially a major concern.
On January 28th, the war finally came to an end.
Things looked good for PCW early as Tag Team Champions Antonio Scorpio & Mentallo defeated NWA Canadian Champion Rob Stardom & Kerry "Pitbull" Brown. And in the main event, the clearly superior Omega overcame the revenge-seeking Bratt and defeated him, ending the "CWF Invasion" for good.
Two interesting post-scripts to this story - Todd did not even show up for the January 28th event, clearly less than confident with the wager he had made. And one week later, sent his CWF Junior Heavyweight Champion Darien Karisma to PCW in a last ditch effort to win something, anything over PCW.
Karisma pointed out that PCW had retired their version of the junior championship claiming it was because PCW knew the CWF was better. He challenged the last reigning PCW Junior champion, Antonio Scorpio to face him. Scorpio readily agreed and defeated the young Karisma, breaking his shoulder in the process and captured the CWF Junior Championship and promptly throwing it in a trash can.
The CWF Invasion had begun in the aftermath of Rawskillz surprise victory over Omega for the PCW Heavyweight Championship on November 26th 2003 and ended 63 days later. And in-between, Omega had become the top guy in the CWF, regained the PCW title, reaffirmed his loyalty to the company and ended the war. It was a short, but intensely wild "war!"
Omega's second PCW Championship reign began with even more promise than his first. PCW was now decidedly stable and had created an identity for itself by over-coming the aggresive competition from both the CWF & AWE. Once again, there was no doubt that PCW was Manitoba's industry leader and Kenny Omega was the face of the new revolution.
It seemed like no man could beat him. And perhaps that was true. Kenny's second PCW Heavyweight Championship reign would not end at the hands of a man. It would be de-railed by his own body.
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