IMPACT Wrestling’s Petey Williams credits AJ Styles with Canadian Destroyer success

IMPACT Wrestling star Petey Williams
IMPACT Wrestling star Petey Williams

IMPACT Wrestling veteran Petey Williams has credited AJ Styles with helping lend credibility to the Canadian Destroyer.

The former X-Division champion – who worked with the current WWE superstar plenty of times during their TNA days – has opened up on his signature move and how it has become a fixture of the industry despite some early difficulties.

He exclusively told Metro.co.uk: ‘The hardest part is in the era that I started in in 2003 or whatever, you try going up to somebody – this is pre-YouTube. I couldn’t pull up a video and be like, “This is how I do my move – watch it, memorise it, we’re gonna do it tonight”.

‘There was none of that. I had to explain to my opponent, “I’m gonna do this flipping piledriver thing”, and they go, “absolutely not”.

‘It wasn’t like I was going, “Hey I’ve got this new move the Diamond Cutter where I’m gonna grab ya, and you’re just gonna fall on your stomach, I’m gonna fall on my back”. “Oh yeah, great!”

‘Now, try to explain to somebody with an old school mentality, “I’m gonna grab you and do a flipping piledriver”. Absolutely not – that was not acceptable in the era that I started in.’

WWE superstar AJ Styles during his IMPACT Wrestling days
AJ Styles played a big role in establishing the Canadian Destroyer (Photo: IMPACT Wrestling)

Many of his contemporaries wouldn’t let him perform the move – which looks spectacular but is done safely – until Styles himself volunteered to step up.

Petey added: ‘The person that really helped me – even Sonjay [Dutt] didn’t wanna take it, it looks dangerous! At that time, people believed that hype, “That’s such a dangerous move!”

‘What really helped me was when I started doing it TNA, AJ said, “Hey man, I think I could take that move.” AJ’s the poster boy of TNA at the time. So, he really helped me – “Oh, if AJ can take it and he didn’t break his neck, then line me up, I could take it too.” ‘

Petey admitted his ‘fingerprints are all over the wrestling world’ at this point – but that goes far beyond this one move.

IMPACT Wrestling World Champion Rich Swann
Petey is a huge fan of the former world champion (Photo: IMPACT Wrestling)

Now, as well as his on-screen role, the pioneering star is helping the current crop of talent behind the scenes, including the likes of Rich Swann.

Pondering his role, he said: ‘I am definitely not as athletic as Rich Swann – he can do so many things that I can only dream up in my head to do.

‘So, when I’m producing his match I’ll even say, “Hey Rich, what do you think of this?” Because if I had his ability, that’s something I would do – and I’ll put things in his head.

‘I like that, it’s almost like I’m living vicariously through these guys I can’t be like.’
And while he still has a passion for being in the ring, being a guiding hand for those looking to emulate his success is very motivational.

‘I love paying it forward, making it sure that those guys are having the best matches they can possibly have, and building their best characters,’ he smiled.

‘That’s what’s pushing me, helping the other talent make the best product out there.’

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