Pacific Northwest Wrestling (PNW) (also known as Big Time Wrestling and Portland Wrestling) is the common name used to refer to several different professional wrestling companies, both past and present, based in Portland, Oregon, United States. The first such company (that would later become Portland Wrestling) was founded by Herb Owen in 1925. It was the Northwest territory of the National Wrestling Alliance from the Alliance's inception in 1948 until 1992. The area was brought to its prime by Herb's son, Don Owen, and this version of Pacific Northwest Wrestling saw many of the top names in the business come through on a regular basis. The Pacific Northwest was considered one of the main pro wrestling territories from the 1960s to the 1980s.
Portland Wrestling was forced to close its doors in July 1992. The closure came as a result of a slowdown in the wrestling business during the early 1990s, a declaration of bankruptcy by Portland Wrestling's main television sponsor, and negative fallout from a shift in regulatory emphasis by the Oregon Athletic Commission. The telecasts, which originated on Portland station KPTV, ended in December 1991 and were replaced on KPTV by syndicated WWF programming.
Portland Wrestling's referee Sandy Barr purchased the company from the Owen family in 1992 and continued the tradition of professional wrestling in the Pacific Northwest under the name "Championship Wrestling USA."
A new wrestling promotion emerged in 2000, calling itself "Portland Wrestling" and claiming to be a restart of the original Pacific Northwest/Portland Wrestling. It stressed a title lineage (through Len Denton) to the old NWA PNW Championships. Unlike the Don Owen promotion, the new incarnation of Portland Wrestling was not an NWA member. Due to legal problems the company's owner encountered, the promotion was forced to close down in 2007 and the owner sold his ownership rights to former announcer Don Coss. Coss, in conjunction with Roddy Piper, one of Owen's biggest latter-day stars and a Portland-area resident, launched a new promotion in 2012 centered on a television program entitled Portland Wrestling Uncut. This program also originated on KPTV, though it would later move to another Portland television station.
National Wrestling Alliance Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship
The title was created in 1957 by Don Owen Sports for the NWA Pacific Northwest territory and became the top singles title for that area. The first champion was Ed Francis, who was already the territory's top singles champion, holding the Pacific Coast Junior Heavyweight Championship. Upon Francis taking on the NWA PNW Heavyweight Championship, his Pacific Coast Junior Heavyweight Championship was retired.
The title remained active until July 1992, when Don Owen retired and sold his company to Sandy Barr. Barr retired all NWA PNW titles with Owen and began operating under the company name "Championship Wrestling USA", creating new championships. The actual retired (Owen Era) NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship belt was auctioned off by Len Denton (The Grappler) to Bruce Owens. Dave Millican (The Ace of Belts) purchased it from Owens and later sold it to a collector who wishes to remain anonymous.
Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (formerly NWA/Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling) became recognized as the NWA Pacific Northwest territory in 1998 and have an ECCW Championship, which is sometimes referred to as the NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship. In March 2015, the NWA made its return to Portland when local promotion Blue Collar Wrestling joined the Alliance.
National Wrestling Alliance Pacific Northwest Tag Team Championship
The original version of the title lasted from 1952 until the company's closure in 1992, when Don Owen retired and sold his company to Sandy Barr. Barr retired all NWA PNW titles with Owen and began operating under the company name "Championship Wrestling USA", creating new championships. In 1993, the belts were used to represent the AAA/IWC World Tag Team Championship until it was deactivated in 1994. The actual retired (Owen Era) NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Championship belts were kept by Sandy Barr, refurbished due to age and were being used by the International Grappler's Alliance, his wrestling organization. With Sandy Barr's passing, Josh Barr started PDX Pro Wrestling in St. Johns, Oregon, in 2007, which is using the original PNW Tag Team belts. As of March 2015 NWA is reborn in Portland with Blue Collar-Wrestling.
National Wrestling Alliance Pacific Northwest Television Championship
The NWA Pacific Northwest Television Championship was a professional wrestling championship sanctioned by the National Wrestling Alliance and defended in its member promotion Pacific Northwest Wrestling. It served as PNW's second-tier title, lasting from 1987 through 1990. As of March 2015 NWA is reborn in Portland with Blue Collar-Wrestling