Petey Williams Interview

060506_peteyOn Friday morning, NZPWI’s Kirsty Quested had the privilege of speaking to one of the stars of TNA, Team Canada’s Petey Williams.

Petey has been a mainstay of the TNA roster, as one of the stand-out performers in the X-Division. As captain of the Team Canada stable, Petey has wrestled in a variety of environments, making him one of the promotions most versatile performers.

Petey spoke to Kirsty about the difference in singles and tag team wrestling, and about the direction of Team Canada within TNA. He also spoke about his friendship with Team Canada’s Scott D’Amore, who trained Petey from the get-go.

Petey talked about some of his favourite opponents, and those he would love to step in the ring with.

Petey also gives New Zealand fans their own story of the origins of the Canadian Destroyer, as well as describing who experienced it first.

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Continuing in the tradition of stand-out Canadian wrestlers, my guest at this time is well on his way to becoming one of Canada’s pro-wrestling legends. A former X-Division champion, he is now a force to be reckoned with on the TNA roster, as captain of Team Canada. He is the master of the devastating Canadian Destroyer, he is Petey Williams.
Kirsty: Petey, how are you?

Petey: I’m great thanks.
You’ve accomplished an impressive amount in your career, for someone so young, and it really all began to get rolling for you on an international scale as captain of Team Canada. How would you compare Team Canada in relation to other Canadian stables from the past, such as the Hart Foundation, Anti-Americans, Un-Americans, guys like that?

060506_team_canadaI’d have to say that Team Canada is probably one of the top, just because… if you look at the Hart Foundation, they’ve been together for a long time, so I’d probably say they’re the most dominant of all the Canadian groups. Other than that, all the other types of Team Canada, Un-Americans, those type of factions, they haven’t been around for long enough, only probably together for six months or so, whereas Team Canada, we’ve been together for… I don’t know, like two years or so now. Little over two years, so I’d say we’re right up there, one of the top stables from Canada.
You get to be quite versatile within Team Canada, in that you’ve worked in tag teams and as a singles wrestler in the X-Division. Which do you prefer – tag team wrestling or working as a singles wrestler?

They both have their benefits, I mean I like my style, the X-Division style. I like to come up with more innovative, creative type of things to do. When you wrestle guys like Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, AJ Styles, guys like that, they want to be creative and such, but tag teams are good, you have another guy to share the workload with, and you’re wrestling more heavyweights, so I’d say it’s more… I think it’s a toned down style, it’s a little bit slower, but sometimes it’s more hard hitting, you know? But I prefer the X-Division over the tag team division any day.
Given the direction of most modern teams, the trend seems to be that they eventually split up in order to start singles feuds. Do you ever see that happening with Team Canada?

Um… probably. I mean, nothing lasts forever. As much as I’d hate to see it go, it’s probably going to go one day. Team Canada’s probably going to run its course, people aren’t going to want to see it forever. I don’t know how soon it would, as of plans right now I don’t see myself leaving Team Canada anytime soon, I like to stay true to my roots, and if I’m the captain of the team… I mean I don’t have any problems with anyone else, so…

Yeah, yeah.

… I’m going nowhere.
You mentioned before, and you’ve said it in other interviews, that you always have good matches with Chris Sabin. What other X-Division wrestlers do you really enjoy working with?

I pretty much like working with them all, I’ve worked with AJ a number of times and I usually like our matches, I mean, we usually have a strong fan based following who want to see Petey Williams v. AJ Styles.

I also like wrestling Alex Shelley. I just wish I could wrestle him more often, you know?

I’ve only wrestled Chris Daniels on a couple of occasions, that was pretty good…

Would you like to be able to wrestle Christopher Daniels a bit more?

Oh yeah, definitely, I mean Chris Daniels, he’s a veteran in the ring, he’s like a good – really really good – I always tell him that he’s the best in the business at what he does, you know? He always knows what the fans want to see, and how they’re going to react. He has a really really smart mind, when it comes to wrestling. So I always tell him that, all the time. So whenever I can get in the ring with him, it’s always an honour.
TNA have just kicked off their first house shows. How do you think they’re going?

We’ve just done one, we have another one coming up in June. The first one was really successful, I think we had a little over 4,000 people there. And we did a lot of merchandise sales, and the crowd was really pumped. We had a lot of people come from Canada, I think we had a few people come from England. Just like, from all over the States, just to travel to Detroit for the house show…

Our next one is, I believe, June 9, in the old Philadelphia, the ECW arena?

Oh right!

And I’m wrestling Jerry Lynn there…

Oh wow…

… so that’s gonna be, I mean Jerry’s a legend so I mean… I just hope we can put on a good match.
TNA have been making waves with acquisitions lately, such as Christian Cage, Sting, Scott Steiner; what impact would you say they’ve had on the overall TNA product?

I’d say they bring a different, like a more casual fan, to view our programme. A lot of people have never heard my name, or Chris Sabin’s name, and maybe not even AJ Styles’ names, because we haven’t had the nationwide exposure that guys like Sting and Christian have, so I think they do bring a casual fan who want to check out our product, they might be like, “Sting wrestles for this promotion? Well let’s check it out,” and then they see Sting, but they also see a bunch of X-Division guys in great matches, so I think it’s good, for the product.

For sure.
At Lockdown recently you were the second-to-last competitor eliminated in the Escape The Cage match. How do you enjoy competing in the various elimination style matches? How would they compare to something like an Ultimate X match?

I mean, any type of multi-man match, it feels like there’s a lot of traffic in the ring, like you’re stepping over bodies and you’re stepping on people’s toes, there’s just a lot of traffic, you know, so sometimes those are a little bit harder.

The cage match too, we had 6 guys in that cage, if you want to take a breather outside the ring to regroup, you can’t do that. You can’t leave, and Ultimate X match too is a little bit different, no pinfalls, you’re using a lot of your upper body strength, to climb up on the cables.

But I like the experience of being able to do different things, to say “I’ve been there, I’ve done that.”  I prefer singles matches, one on one, but these matches are good to mix it up, I think.
You’ve spent time in many independent promotions – Border City, 1PW, CZW, UWF – do you have a favourite?

Well let’s see. I really enjoyed – I mean, I made my start at Border City Wrestling, in Windsor, that’s where, Scott D’Amore owns that company, and that’s where I got my big break, so I was like, I was competing there, it was my home promotion.

But I got a big break when I was wrestling for IWA Mid South, I got on a lot of “smart mark” videos, I was able to wrestle for CZW, and then eventually be able to wrestle for TNA, so I got a lot of exposure through IWA Mid South.

I don’t know if I have a favourite, I mean they all have their own benefits. You see a lot of the same fans in the areas too, so… I’d have to say, when I wrestle in Canada it’s probably the best, because the fans really look up to me there.

Nothing like being on your home turf.

Yeah.
Do you find it difficult, or even a novelty, switching between 6-sided and 4-sided rings?

Actually no. It’s pretty easy. I mean, I’d like to think… I don’t know. The first time I stepped inside a 6-sided ring I was like “oh man I feel lost in here.” And I remember, the first match on TV that was ever in a 6-sided ring was I think, Team Canada vs. some other X-Division guys, I don’t remember. But I remember, we were the first guys in a 6-sided ring, and I felt, it was pretty comfortable. I mean, if anything I feel like there’s more room, because the two sides are more expanded. It’s hard to explain, but there is more room in that ring. And if you’re in a tag team match, there’s more neutral corners to isolate your opponent in.

But 4-sided ring’s good too. I mean, whether it’s 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 sides, it doesn’t matter. I’ll still be wrestling.
You won the NWA Upstate No Limits title from Kevin Dunn last year. Have you worked with many other Ring of Honor guys?

Yeah, a lot of Ring of Honor guys work for TNA. You know, like Jay Lethal, Roderick Strong, Austin Aries, Alex Shelley, AJ, Daniels, Joe, I mean they all work for Ring of Honor, so I’ve wrestled probably like a good majority of their roster, so they’re great guys to work with. They’re right up there with the top talent.
You became the first non-American to win the ECWA Super 8 Tournament. What was that experience like?

It probably has to be one of the best experiences of my professional wrestling career. Just to be picked, as a winner, of that tournament, that’s prestigious on its own. Because it’s one of the top tournaments in the United States. But when you go down in history as the first person that is not American, to win the ECWA tournament, it’s a great feeling. That’s just… it’s surreal. Bobby Roode, my fellow Team Canada member, he was the first ever Canadian to compete in that tournament. Then I was the first one to ever win it… it’s really good.

For sure.
060506_canadian_destroyerPetey, I know you’ve been asked about the Canadian Destroyer so many times that you come up with a different story about it’s origin every time you’re asked. What’s the story for New Zealand fans then?

I don’t know which ones you guys have heard. OK, here’s a new one.

OK.

Let’s see, what can I do… OK. Here it is. It’s actually, I didn’t come up with it. Uncle Jeff, Jeff Jarrett came up with it. He did it back, he used to work with his dad, Jerry Jarrett, in the promotional days, back before WWE and all that stuff, but the thing is, back in the day, his dad told him he couldn’t use it, because he’s a bad guy. And that would make people cheer him. So Jeff, always been a bad guy, that’s when he gave it to me.

There you go.

Uncle Jeff showed it to me.

Who was the first poor guy to have to endure it while it was still a work in progress?

This guy, he works for Ring of Honor actually, his name’s Matt Sydal? I don’t know if you ever heard of him. It was in February… either January or February of 2004. So, a little over 2 years now. He was the first one. I just said “Hey, Matt, we’re gonna do this move tonight,” he’s like “All right whatever.” No questions asked. Ever since then I’ve been doing it. I said, “OK I’m going to flip you on your head, it’s going to make you flip back, and you’re going to land in a piledriver,” and he said “All right whatever.”

Hahaha….

That’s how it happened, and… that’s probably the easiest I’ve ever had talking it to somebody, giving it to them… I know a lot of other people are really nervous about it, stuff like that, but I’ve never hurt anybody with it.

If he’d actually seen it before, he might have gone “Um… no.”

Oh yeah. Oh I know, I was just surprised he had no problem with it. And now, people are lining up. I don’t even have to ask anybody to take it, people are like “Oh can you, let’s do the Destroyer tonight,” and I’m like “All right whatever.”

That must be good though, you know it’s one of the big legendary moves now, “Oh come on, do the Destroyer on me” …

Yeah, I mean… I just like to say, in TNA, you’ll never see that if you turn on TV and watch any other wrestling promotion.

Yeah, you never see that anywhere.

Yeah, only on TNA. And when I’m long gone from wrestling, when I’m dead like 50 years from now, people are still going to be doing the move in wrestling, and it’s… I don’t know, probably call it the Canadian Destroyer or something else, I don’t know, but I’m always going to go down in history as that guy who made that move famous.

For sure.
Petey, you’ve said that you play guitar in your spare time; what kind of guitar do you play and how long have you been playing?

I’ve been playing guitar for about 12 years now. I play… I have an electric guitar at home. It’s a Gibson Les Paul Epiphone, it’s just an electric guitar. And I also have a BC Rich acoustic guitar. I have another  imitation Les Paul bass guitar that I just keep sitting around the house.

I used to be in a band, I did that before I wrestled and stuff. It’s just like a spare time thing, if I have some music in my head I’ll play it… it’s just a hobby.
Speaking of music, you said that you want to know what that guy says at the end of that Radiohead video?

Oh yeah yeah! “Just” do you know what he says?

Well, I THINK that I might have an answer for you.

Somebody said something like, “stay away from the world” or something like that. I don’t know, I think that’s the best one I got.

Well, apparently the band and the director of the video have said that they’ll never tell. But I did read about this one account of this deaf person who was asked to lip read, and when he offered his interpretation, which was that the guy said “I’ll tell you why, I’ll tell you why,” but then the video itself ends, so you’re never going to know.

Oh! So he doesn’t even say it. OK.

Nope.

I don’t know, I just figure it’s pretty intriguing… those are things that I just think about randomly, throw it up on my My Space, does anybody know this, does anybody know that.

What can you do.

What can you do, yeah.

As long as I’m not left out of the loop. As long as everybody else doesn’t know either, that’s fine.
060506_petey_scottYou’ve said that Scott D’Amore has been a large part of your success, and that you look up to him. What is it about his training and friendship that’s been so important to you?

When Scott first… when I first walked into the wrestling school I had like baggy clothes on, stuff like that, and Scott looked at me like “Huh. You’re too small to be a wrestler.” Kind of, like he didn’t tell me to get out, he’s like “I’ll take your money and train you,” you know that’s what he was thinking, but one day he saw me without my shirt on and he’s like “Oh you have a nice little body on you, OK. But you’re still short.”

He always thought I would never be able to make it, he always used to… it’s too bad, you know like I’ll always be working on the independent scene, I’ll never get my face shown on TV, just because of my height, you know?

But then I remember, we were at Victory Road, our first ever monthly pay-per-view, and I wrestled AJ Styles, and Scott kinda gave me a hug after the match, because this was like a big breaking point, the promotion of TNA and my career as well, and Scott was shedding a couple of tears, and he was like, “People always said you’d never make it because you’re too short, but here you are right now.”

And he trained me and he always did everything for me, helped get me booked and stuff like that, he’s always been there for me… I owe Scott everything.
What’s the best advice he’s ever given you about the industry?

What’s the best advice Scott’s ever given me?

Yeah.

Pretty much when I first walked in, he was just like, “don’t have an attitude.” Because if you have an attitude in wrestling, it’s not going to get you anywhere. If you think that wrestling owes you something… the sport doesn’t owe you anything. You know what I mean? So, just don’t have an attitude.
If you weren’t a professional wrestler, what would you be doing?

I’d probably have to say… I’d probably still be playing part-time in my band. And I went to school to be a police officer, so maybe I’d be doing some sort of law enforcement, that type of thing… I’m not really sure. I don’t know.
If you could wrestle anyone – alive or dead – who would your dream opponent be?

I’d probably have to say… I know he’s not wrestling anymore, but I’d probably have to say Bret Hart.

Oh. Excellent.

You know, he’s a legend. Canadian hero, and stuff like that. I’d like to follow in his footsteps type deal.

In TNA, someone I’ve never gotten to wrestle, I’d like to wrestle Samoa Joe.

I think the fans would love to see that match too.

Yeah! Well maybe one day they’ll get it.
What is something that the fans would be surprised to learn about Petey Williams?

Heheh… I’m kinda embarrassed saying it, but…

Oh go on.

… I don’t like roller coasters. Like, hanging up on top of an Ultimate X and stuff like that, but probably people that would ride roller coasters wouldn’t dare doing… but that’s me, but I don’t like roller coasters. Not a big fan of amusement parks.
Thank you very much for your time today, it’s been fantastic talking to you, and all the best for the future.

OK, thanks a lot. Good talking to you.