HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
OWW Wrestler of the Week: Petey Williams
Our resident philosopher, Jay Shannon, profiles “Maple Leaf Muscle”, Petey Williams, who bid a farewell to TNA, this week.
When I choose someone to be Wrestler of the Week, I usually go for a new champ or someone who made a big impact on the business. This week, I actually chose someone who lost his match. Petey Williams ended his TNA career, on Thursday, by losing in the Off The Wagon Challenge. Petey actually got one of the longest (and loudest) pops that I’ve heard in quite some time. The respect shown to him by the fans, as well as several years of dedication to TNA led me to choose “Little Petey Pump” aka “Maple Leaf Muscle” Petey Williams as this week’s OWW Wrestler of the Week.
Both sides of the Border
Petey was trained for wrestling by Scott D’Amore. D’Amore was the owner/operator of Border City Wrestling. Numerous other stars got their training with D’Amore’s group, including Chris Sabin, Johnny Devine, Alex Shelley, and Eric Young. Petey took two years to work for D’Amore and other small groups around Ontario and the Northern US. In 2004, Petey was contacted by Scott D’Amore about helping TNA with their international team competitions.
The Maple Leaf Militia
TNA had set up a battle between US, Japanese, Mexican and Canadian stars. The World Cup of wrestling needed a new captain after the departure of Teddy Hart. Petey was brought in to replace Hart. While Team Canada lost the 2004 World Cup, Petey showed himself to be a fantastic talent. His finisher, The Canadian Destroyer, was and is one of the most impressive moves in wrestling. It is a Sunset Flip Piledriver that disorients the opponent as it slams their head into the mat.
After the World Cup, Team Canada began their domination of TNA. Petey survived a Gauntlet Match to claim his first X-Division title. Petey held the title for just over five months, until being defeated by A.J. Styles. Petey competed as both a singles star and as tag team partners to various Team Canada members. He was usually partnered with Eric Young. After the 2006 World Cup, Jim Cornette forced Team Canada to disband. Petey began to focus completely on the X-Division championship. He had several opportunities but couldn’t regain the title. Petey needed a new look.
Maple Leaf Muscle
Petey was still a heel after the break-up of Team Canada. LAX was in the middle of their anti-American campaign, at the time. They invited Petey to burn a US flag in the middle of the Impact Zone. Petey refused and began a nasty feud with the Latinos. Once that angle played out, Petey worked a feud against his former Team Canada teammate, Robert Roode. Williams came to the aid of Eric Young, who had been under contract to Roode’s organization. After the feud, Williams disappeared for a well-deserved break.
Williams, according to the storyline, had gone back to Canada to compete in bodybuilding competitions. Williams began to refer to himself as “Maple Leaf Muscle”, which was the name of the bodybuilding competition that Petey was supposed to have won. Petey came to the attention of Scott Steiner following the Turning Point debacle known as Feast or Fired.
At Turning Point, there were four briefcases. One case held a contract for a World title match, another held an X-Division title match contract and a third held a World Tag Team title contract. The fourth case held a pink slip. Christopher Daniels got the termination slip (and then showed back up as Curry Man). Petey had originally won the X-Division title shot, but Scott Steiner changed cases with Petey and gave Petey the World title shot. A brief feud ended when Scott won both cases.
Little Petey Pump
After their feud, Scott took Petey under his wing to turn him into a new man. Over several weeks, Scott used various torture methods to program Petey to follow Scott’s mindset. The final torture was to remove Petey’s ponytail. Scott then shaved Petey’s head and inducted him as a member of The Freak Club. Scott then renamed Petey Little Petey Pump, which was a tribute to his own Big Poppa Pump nickname.
Scott also gave the X-Division title shot briefcase to Petey Williams. Petey lost in the X-Scape match at Lockdown 2008, but he had a back-up plan. After Jay Lethal defeated Johnny Devine on Impact, Petey rushed to the ring and bashed Jay in the head with the metal briefcase. Petey then drove Jay’s head into the metal case with a Tornado DDT. Petey then demanded his X-Division title shot, immediately. Petey then used the Canadian Destroyer to end Jay’s title reign and garner his second X-Division title.
Closing the door on TNA…for now
Petey eventually dropped the X-Division title to Sheik Abdul Bashir (Daivari). Petey had already begun to switch over from heel to face, when the next big challenge came his way. Scott Steiner aligned himself with the heel faction known as the Main Event Mafia. One of the first Hits by the Mafia was against Petey. He was attacked in the backstage area by the entire Mafia, including his former mentor, Scott Steiner. Petey disappeared for several weeks after the attack.
Petey returned to TNA on January 15th to attack Steiner during an Impact broadcast. Steiner was battling Frontline member, A.J. Styles. Petey actually helped Styles defeat Steiner. That led to a very brief feud between the two. The feud ended when the two battled over the chain mail headdress that Scott had presented to Petey. Scott won the match and took the headdress back.
Petey was released from his contract with TNA on February 10th. As a sign of respect, Petey was allowed to exit via a special stipulation. Petey and Eric Young reformed Team Canada, for one night, to battle TNA Tag Champs, Beer Money (James Storm and Robert Roode). The odd match called the Off the Wagon Challenge placed the World tag belts against someone’s TNA career. If the challenging team won, they would get the tag belts. If they lost, the pinned person would have to leave TNA, supposedly forever. The end of the match came when Petey was distracted by Jacqueline (Moore). He tried to nail the Canadian Destroyer on her. James Storm blind-sided Petey with his Last Call Superkick. Robert Roode, the legal man, then covered Petey to send him packing. After the match, the crowds chanted for Petey for several minutes. Petey was visibly touched by the outpouring of love and broke down into tears.
What’s next for Petey Williams? That’s impossible to say. It’s a good bet that he will eventually end up in the WWE. He’s too valuable a talent to not take. Petey may spend some journeyman time, first. Japan, Mexico and Puerto Rico are likely destinations for this amazing star. Petey might also return to his native Canada for a little rest and work the indies to keep his skills fresh. The NWA isn’t completely out of the picture, either. Regardless of where Petey travels to next, it’s a solid bet that he’s going to shine. Petey Williams is perhaps the best pound for pound wrestler working the business today. I hope WWE talent scouts send him to Florida. I look forward to Petey Williams v Evan Bourne and Petey v Shelton Benjamin. You know, Petey just might be able to take the Money in the Bank: match, next year. I can always hope.
Petey Williams has been a tremendous asset to TNA. I hate to see him leave. Petey is a future Hall of Fame wrestler. I am honored to award the OWW Wrestler of the Week award to one of my personal favorites in the business:
“Maple Leaf Muscle” Petey Williams