By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Williams reveals that he worked most of 2019 with a torn labrum in his hip: “In a way, but I spent a lot of 2019 working injured. I had a torn labrum in my hip that I worked through and that was like months and months of not being able to feel like I was living up to my potential and giving my all in the ring because I was held back by the injury but now that I feel healthy and I feel that I was actually fully healed up from that and ready to go, now I’m forced to have downtime so, while it is nice not to have to worry about being injured, the timing of it was a little like, ‘Oh, well now’s the time where I could have been going all out and doing that’ but instead, I’m like forced to rest so you know, you can’t complain about rest but having a 2019 that I feel like my performances in the ring were kind of marred by an injury, it’s rough to miss so much of 2020 now.”
On how it’s bittersweet that Evolve was acquired by WWE and his memories of the promotion: “I’m so fond of my whole time there. I mean it’s just like nothing but gratitude for that platform and it was another place where similar to Ring of Honor now, I felt like I really had some of the freedom and space to do what I wanted to do and I felt comfortable bringing anything to the table and pitching anything. There was no glass ceiling so-to-speak or anything like that and I think that’s really important for professional wrestling because at the end of the day, we’re all creative people, we’re all artists for lack of a better word and so, it really created a space for people to shine and it did that up until it got acquired and it got acquired for a reason, because it was the place where people took that next step and took that turn in their career and we’re given that spotlight to do what they could do and they did that for me and I have nothing but gratitude.
“I mean, especially, you know I worked up to the position of running the seminars and tryouts for Evolve for a long time and even though I was in the position of leading the in-ring stuff and all that but it was really a learning experience but I got the opportunity to speak with and listen to so many great minds that were brought in to do those seminars with me and to really fill that mentor role as the true vet. Norman Smiley came through and spoke, William Regal came through many times and those guys — Robbie Brookside came through and all those guys, especially Regal just like, they have such a wealth of knowledge that they can dip into and pour out and so, to have the opportunity several times throughout my career there to sit and experience guys like that, share their knowledge and view on professional wrestling was really a learning experience.
“It is values and knowledge that I take with me wherever my path leads me and I’m grateful for that so, in a way it’s bittersweet to see them get acquired because the company itself will no longer exist but, it’s kind of a positive end to it really. I think a lot of people that were working there currently will also get some good opportunities out of it-it seems. I think I just saw like Anthony Greene got signed by WWE. You know, that’s awesome. That’s the kind of guy where if it wasn’t for a place like EVOLVE — they’re the ones that gave him that spotlight and that opportunity.”
Williams on his time in ROH and how the company has handled the COVID-19 pandemic: “I only actually got through the door in Ring of Honor a little over a year ago, taking into account the whole pandemic thing but I had a little over a year actually like in-ring, in the locker room there so I don’t really have an idea of how it was before then but it’s definitely like, I really value the fact that there’s no sort of tension in the air backstage. You don’t feel like somebody’s looking over your shoulder, waiting for you to slip up and mess up, which is really valuable to feel like you have [that] comfort and that freedom and that everybody back there really just wants the company to be the best that it could be and to put out the best product that they can and so, that sort of vibe and that sort of environment really helps.
“It’s nice showing up to work and feeling that way and I’m not talking down to any other promotions. I’ve never really worked for a promotion that had that sort of level of tension, but it just stands out in Ring of Honor how sort of together everybody feels backstage and how everybody really just wants this to work and to succeed and you know, to back everybody up, to back their peers up and yeah, so along with that lack of tension comes a lot of creative freedom which is really nice. Like I said, I always feel like I can pitch something if I want to pitch something and there’s that sort of open forum of discussion which is really great and yeah, like you said, they’ve done an amazing job of handling this pandemic situation, I think.
“It’s a bit of a bummer I think probably for the viewers at home that there isn’t that live wrestling content but, it really says something that they’ve — ROH has taken the opportunity to really look at the situation and evaluate things before rushing back and that’s no shade to anybody that’s out there wrestling. I’d be wrestling right now as well, but it’s just nice that they’ve taken care of everybody, they’ve taken their time with the pandemic and they’re being very patient and I think when they come back, they’re gonna have a much better grasp of things and really kick it off so…”