Petey Williams is currently enjoying his “post-retirement” run. The Canadian Destroyer surprised the wrestling world when he returned to IMPACT to save his long-time friend, and fellow X-Division pioneer, Sonjay Dutt, at Destination X last August. Petey Williams retired in 2014 but, his former trainer, and also IMPACT Creative, Scott D’Amore told him that his name was coming up constantly during creative meetings that Sonjay Dutt was also a part of. Williams wasn’t really interested, enjoying a quiet family life out of the squared circle, but his wife – and the desire to show his kids what he was used to do – convinced him to put on his boots again. During a recent media conference call, he looked back on a 17-year career that he isn’t done with quite yet.
The X-Division Legend
Petey Williams debuted with IMPACT Wrestling almost at the same time the company began to air in 2004. As a member of Team Canada, alongside Bobby Roode and Eric Young, he quickly entered in the X Division Title competition. His epic matches against AJ Styles, Kazarian, Chris Sabin and Jay Lethal cemented the legend of the X Division, something he was not aware of at that time, “You don’t realise that you’re making history, or that you’re creating something, when it’s actually happening. When I look at that, I was highlighted extremely early in the X-Division and I’m very thankful for that and I would like for it to shift back to the way it was, to create that history again. That’s the goal, to bring it back to where it was.” Petey Williams returned to find out a brand new roster of amazing talents that could now easily transition into entering the Global Championship race. He praised Trevor Lee, Matt Sydal and also Dezmond Xavier for being phenomenal performers.
The X-Division could be his legacy, but it would mean forgetting his “Little Petey Pump” character alongside the original “Big Poppa Pump”, Scott Steiner, in 2007-2008. A man he enjoyed working with. “I don’t know if I earned his respect, but it seemed like he really took a liking to me. I can’t say enough good things about him.” As far as Team Canada is concerned, his original partners now took different roads but, if he could reform it, his choices are already done. “I’d have myself and probably A1, then I’d have somebody like a Tyson Dux, very well-known in Canada, a Border City Wrestling guy and maybe even a long-shot in Michael Elgin. Obviously, I’d have Scott D’Amore as the Coach.”
Wrestling in Canada at Bound for Glory
Less than 3 weeks ago, Bound for Glory took place in Ottawa, in the Canadian Destroyer’s country. An overwhelming experience for Williams, “That was probably one of the highlights of my entire wrestling career. Just the ovation and the warmth that I felt from the Ottawa fans just when I stepped into the arena. It gave me goosebumps. I pointed it out to the camera that was right in front of me it was amazing and even the other competitors in the match. they were standing and clapping, saying this is awesome.” Petey Williams squared off with 5 other X-Division talents for the X-Division Championship in the opening match of the PPV.
But it was only a beginning as IMPACT was also taping his upcoming episodes in Ottawa, allowing Petey Williams to have a chance for the Global Championship against Eli Drake. Williams may have lost the match but the Champion impressed him. “At first, I didn’t know what to expect. I know he’s the World Champion, I didn’t know what it was going to be like. It was the unknown. Then after, Eli has a bunch of cool points that a lot of other wrestlers don’t have. He just has this coolness about him. That’s really good, that’s what you want to see in a champion and Eli delivers that. As for stepping into the ring, he’s great.”
This Canadian moment was helluva for him, “It was better than I anticipated. I knew that it was going to be awesome, wrestling in front of the Canadian fans again, but just to go back to that reaction, I still can’t believe it when I walked into the arena at Bound For Glory. It was pretty amazing and not only that but when you show up for the next day and IMPACT are like, “You’re going to be highlighted in our Global title match in our main event,” and I was like, “This has never happened before!” The entire time that I’ve been with Impact it’s always been X-Division, which I love, but just to be highlighted in the main event like that, it’s a Canadian kid’s dream come true.”
The Legacy of the Canadian Destroyer
Petey Williams earned his nickname from the move that made him famous and nobody on IMPACT every kicked out of (Eli Drake was the first-ever to do it last Thursday). A move he hesitated at first to execute. “Back to 2003-ish, Truth Martini brought something up and we were just kind of brainstorming and then Chris Sabin and I were wrestling each other that night so we were going to attempt this flipping piledriver move that we could only envision in our heads. I don’t think we understood how it would turn out, so we decided not to do it, because of the fear of the unknown, we didn’t know what was going to come of this. So we didn’t do it. Then, I went back the next month and challenged Matt Sydal in the same promotion and I said “Matt, I have this move I want to try,” and Matt said, “Okay, let’s do it!” Then we did it, and Matt Sydal was the first person to ever take the Canadian Destroyer.” But why the Canadian Destroyer? When IMPACT asked him to name his move, Williams came back to his roots. “Everybody knows that Scott D’Amore trained me and the guy that trained Scott D’Amore was “The Canadian Destroyer” Doug Chevalier.”
Ever since the move has become iconic, it’s been used by many wrestlers around the world. Something Williams is not upset about, but proud of, “I’m totally cool when people do it. I know they say ‘Imitation is the best form of flattery’ so I’m flattered when people do it and it’s good because I can look back and not many people can say this, that they’ve created something in wrestling that is going to last forever. I know this for a fact, I’m very confident that when I’m seventy years old, I can be sitting in my living room with my Grand-kids watching whatever wrestling show is popular at the time and there’s going to be some kid, probably not even born yet, doing the Canadian Destroyer on TV and I can look and say “That’s what I contributed to wrestling. That’s me, right there, that’s what I did, that’s my legacy.”
The “Post-Retirement” Petey
When I asked Petey Williams what were his goals in this run, he remained unclear in some ways. “Championships would be great, absolutely. Ultimately, I would like to transition into helping some of the younger talent and maybe take a behind-the-scenes role and help develop characters because that’s a big passion of mine. Wrestling-wise, I just like performing in front of fans and wrestling, that’s been my goal always and that will always continue to be my goal.”
Would he love to come back to the UK? Of course, he told me. “The United Kingdom fans are awesome. They’re some of the best fans out there and not to take away from the fans, but the wrestlers themselves. I remember when I used to go over to the UK, back in 2004, I felt that the UK wrestlers were kind of stuck in the past, but I just went over there in 2013 and remember being like, “Wow, you guys have really turned it around over the last ten years.” So I’m really proud of the UK wrestlers and the fans, absolutely. Will I come back? I’m working on coming back to the UK, I don’t know if IMPACT has anything lined up, but if they do I’d be happy to be on that tour as well.”
Who would he like to square off with? Eli Drake was a choice but he had others in mind. “I’d like to go head to head with Matt Sydal, I haven’t done it in maybe 13 years or so, so that would be something that I’d like to do on IMPACT television. Even guys like EC3, I’d like an opportunity at as well. Even go one-on-one with Dezmond Xavier, maybe Ishimori. I have a list of guys that I’d like to go in there with and wrestle.”
Who would he love to form a tag team with? As I was asking this question to him, his choice was already done. “I really enjoyed it the last few weeks when I’ve been teaming with Sonjay Dutt. I think we’d form a pretty good team. I even have a name for it, I would call us “Sikh and Destroy”. I know, Sonjay isn’t religiously a Sikh, but there are 20-million Sikhs in India and Sonjay’s from India, so he could be the Sikh part of it and I could be the Destroy part of it. Sikh and Destroy. I think it’s clever. I’d also like to team with somebody like Johnny Impact, I think it’d be great to team with him, I love his style and watching that.”
Petey Williams decided to enjoy one more match at a time, one more moment at a time because this new run is a gift offered to him by Scott D’Amore, Sonjay Dutt and his family. He still has a lot of wrestlers to compete with, great matches to offer, some titles to win and advice to offer to the younger talents. Walking in the footsteps of Scott D’Amore, head of the Can-Am Wrestling School and Border City Wrestling promotion, he wants the next generation to stay focused the way D’Amore kept him focused. By earning a degree at school to have a backup plan if wrestling was not working for them. Also taking the necessary time of training before putting a wrestler in the ring to avoid injuring themselves and their opponents. So when his post-retirement run is done, Williams will be there to remind the younger talents this ethic made him the ultimate Canadian Destroyer.