Petey Williams reconnecting with audiences
TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun
|As a member of Team Canada, Petey Williams was an X Division star.
Petey Williams may not be under the TNA spotlight anymore, but the man who brought us the visually spectacular Canadian Destroyer finisher is doing just fine.
After being told his contract would not be renewed with TNA, the 28-year-old Williams is working the indy circuit ... once again establishing a connection with live audiences.
"I'm not playing to a camera now, it's the audience I'm playing to," he says. "I'm going to be in Ottawa (a C*4 Capital City Championship Combat show, Only the Best 2, on Nov. 21, at 8 p.m., at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 260 McArthur Rd.) and expect there'll be a couple of hundred people there. I won't be worrying about commercial breaks. When you're wrestling on TV, sometimes you only have five minutes, a short match. I could hold my breath for that long. Doing the smaller shows, some nights I can do a 30-minute match, tear the house down."
At the Ottawa show, he’ll reunited with Team Canada’s Hotshot Johnny Devine in a match against The Untouchables.
And how about his Canadian Destroyer?
"Right before I signed with TNA, I was working Mid-South. I was wrestling Matt Sydal (now Evan Bourne) and I explained the move to him. The Canadian Destroyer was in my head and I knew physics-wise, it would be possible.
"Now, I think more people know the move than know my name. I was sitting in a doctor's office a few years ago and there was a seven- or eight-year-old kid tugging at his mother's sleeve, pointing at me and saying, 'he's a wrestler.' His mom was saying 'no.'
"I asked the kid if he knew my name and he says, 'no.'
"I asked him if he knew my move and he says, 'The Canadian Destroyer.'
"Even if my wrestling career ended tomorrow, I did something to leave my mark. When I'm 60 or 70, there's going to be some kid who's not even born yet doing the Canadian Destroyer."
Williams was surprised when TNA said goodbye to him in February.
"They took me off TV with an injury angle," he says. "The day I came back, Terry Taylor said they wanted to re-sign me to a multi-year deal. Everything was going good. I told my agent, the money didn't matter, but I wanted a little raise. I wasn't asking for a bunch more.
"Terry said, 'Hey Petey, next week at the TV tapings, the contract will be ready.' The week goes by and I go to Los Angeles (doing motion capturing for a TNA video game) and I got a call from Terry and he said: 'There's no easy way to say this, but we're not renewing your contract."
It was a surprising decision to end the relationship with the two-time X-Division champ and a guy with plenty of talent.
"I really think it was a money issue," says Williams. "I never stepped on anybody's toes. I shaved my head, dyed my hair blond, I was shot with a paintball gun, I rode on the roof of a car ... I would do whatever my boss asked. It's tough when you work so hard for something and have your dreams yanked away from you."
There's always the hope WWE will come calling. But Williams, who got married last year, doesn't want to go back to square one.
"A, they have something for you right now or B, you go to the developmental territory. If they asked me five years ago, I'd definitely have taken the developmental contract. But I can't move to Tampa. I'm living in Michigan right next to my family (in Windsor, Ont.)."
He's already got something on the go other than wrestling.
"I know I can't wrestle forever," he says. "I have a lot of clients and do personal training on the side. In a lot of ways, it's more gratifying than the wrestling."
But he has no immediate plans to deprive fans of his talent. He still gets that buzz walking out the ring. And he's always gotten tremendous support from his Canadian peeps.
"The biggest reaction I've had was a Canadian audience," he says. "It was a TNA pay-per-view (last September's No Surrender) and when my music hit, before I even walked out, everyone was on their feet. They went nuts. I was blown away. Therre are not too many times somebody like me can walk in and get more cheers than Sting or Kurt Angle."
Petey Williams bio and story archive
Petey Williams' MySpace website
Tim Baines is the Sports Editor for the Ottawa Sun and can be emailed at Tim.firstname.lastname@example.org.