Petey Williams on why he retired in 2014, The Canadian Destroyer finisher, NXT, TNA, more
On the latest episode of Main Event Radio, Ryan Rider conducted a revealing 60-minute interview with the “Canadian Destroyer” Petey Williams on his return to professional wrestling after a three year hiatus. They discussed the circumstances that lead to his initial retirement, other wrestlers using his finishing move, the success of fellow Team Canada members in NXT, and his current goals in the industry.
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Why he retired in 2014: I’d been doing it for 14 years when I retired and I felt it was my time. A lot of wrestlers will wrestle until they’re 50 or 60. I didn’t want to not be able to walk and play with my kids. I escaped any serious injuries. My last match was against Chris Sabin, I enjoyed it and it was awesome, and it was the perfect note to leave on.
The Canadian Destroyer finisher: I just had a conversation with Sami Callihan this past weekend and he said hey bro I don’t think you understand but you changed the wrestling business. You were the first one to introduce the Canadian Destroyer. You brought a video game move into reality. I kind of have to take the move back. I knew what to do with the move when I had it. Now that I’m back it’s fair warning to everyone to stop using my move. Stop using it, or if not challenge me and we’ll get it on. When I first had the move people were sitting and waiting for the Canadian Destroyer. I couldn’t have a false finish and actually have it be a false finish if I didn’t do the Destroyer. I hated being a one-move wonder but then I decided to embrace it and take it as far as it could go. Bubba Ray who had the 3D gave me tips about how to get the move more over and how to tease it. Now I base my match around trying to hit that move. I stopped fighting it and embraced it and that’s how I got to where I am today. For what it’s worth I’ve created something that will last forever. Remember when Hulk [Hogan] said he wish he did a choke hold instead of a leg drop. I’m gonna be landing on my hips and my ass forever.
On how things have changed in the past 3 years: If you look at the guys I was in the mix with at the time look where they are now. AJ Styles, [Samoa] Joe they’re headlining Raw, Smackdown, PPV’s. My former two Team Canada members Bobby Roode and Eric Young. Ah maybe I retired a couple years too early but I enjoy where I’m at now today and I hope I could re-ignite that now where I left off.
I got released from TNA in 2009 and then came back for a short stint in 2013. I really didn’t like what they did with me in that run. It was all 3-way matches. There was no story.
I don’t know if TNA and WWE had a lawsuit but they [WWE] were not interested. They didn’t want to touch anybody that was related to TNA. Even in 2014 when I retired they didn’t want to touch anybody. It seemed like right after I retired they started to pick up everybody from TNA. And they weren’t burying them; they were pushing them and making them top guys. Maybe I did retire a little too early.
You can tell and I wholeheartedly believe this. The main roster and NXT you see that former X Division style. In the early 2000’s you didn’t realize that TNA was creating a revolution. You didn’t realize that you would look back at the talent that was there that changed wrestling. But that’s exactly what happened.
The series of events that originally led to him leaving Impact: I was doing the Petey Pump gimmick with Scott Steiner. My contract was coming up and it seemed like they were getting ready to write me out. Steiner joined the Main Event Mafia and they did an injury angle with me to separate Steiner and I. Then they called me back to TV to interfere in a match to help AJ Styles win against the Main Event Mafia. It was the first time I was ever aligned with AJ Styles in the history of my TNA run. That day prior to the tapings, I met with Terry Taylor the head of Talent Relations. I’m standing there with Alex Shelley, all our contracts were up around the same time, mine and the Motor City Machine Guns. And Terry tells us not to worry that we are going to be re-signed. Negotiations are going well. I did some motion capturing for the video game in Los Angeles. Then I get a call from Taylor and he tells me Petey, we’ve decided we aren’t going to re-sign you. I always say it’s a BS line when they say something like they’ve got nothing for you. He said that they were going to pay out the rest of my contract. Come to the next PPV and the TV Tapings. Then they’re going to do a loser leaves town match and I’m going to lose and leave.
I couldn’t say anything. Anything they tell me to do I would do it. They had me get shot by a paintball gun, shave my head on TV. If you write a storyline for me, I’m going to execute it the best that I can. I was working against Bobby Roode and James Storm and I told them this is my last match. Everyone was telling me to stop messing around. Nobody believed it and I said it’s real. It’s something that I love to do and I was living my boyhood dream. It was devastating. It started a domino effect. Jimmy Rave got released. Then Sonjay [Dutt]. Months at a time just releasing people. I can’t explain it. People respected my position in the company. Even when I was done the match I said my goodbye in the ring and walked through the curtain. A good portion of the locker room was standing there at the Gorilla Position clapping and giving me hugs.
What he missed most: I missed the boys. I had been under contract with TNA for 5 years. I had traveled with these guys every weekend, rooming with them; you see them more than your own family. I remember when we got the deal with Fox Sports Net, and started filming in Orlando. All of us as unit we were all excited to move forward. As more WWE guys started coming in, you felt that kind of dissipate a little bit but you still had your core guys that you started with and felt like a family with them. You’re living the dream. Then you get a call one day that your dream that you’ve been living and that you’ve worked for your entire life gets ripped away from you for no apparent reason. And guess what you’re not going to see your friends anymore because you’re not going down there and traveling with them. That’s the biggest thing that I missed about wrestling.
Would he ever consider going to NXT: Maybe Team Canada re-forms there. Nah they probably wouldn’t go for that but who knows. Bobby [Roode] and Eric [Young] started in TNA with me at the exact same time. We worked our way up in this business together. What’s good about the WWE product now is that they’ve brought the TNA/ROH style to WWE TV. That’s the new age of wrestling. It’s great for all talent. No more typecasting as a TNA guy, ROH guy, WWE guy, Japan guy. Now you could go from one company to the other. All the styles are now intermixed and we could go anywhere nowadays. I would’ve been a guy back in the day who they’d say he couldn’t be in WWE because of whatever stigma they had. It wouldn’t be like that anymore. At the end of the day I just want to wrestle. I’ll wrestle whoever, whenever. As long as I get to wrestle in front of the fans and they appreciate it.