Friday night at the historic Forum arena, Halifax will give “Wildman” Gary Williams one final standing ovation as he bids farewell to his in-ring wrestling career.
Gary Williams announced last month in a video that as a result of a serious shoulder and neck injury his doctors advised him to never wrestle again to avoid further, and potentially permanent, injury.
“I mean, I can lace up the boots again, but I mean, is it really worth it?” Williams told me in a video interview I conducted with him. “It’s just walking a very thin line.”
Williams started in wrestling training under Todd McPhee. He continued his training in Calgary under Leo Burke and Bret Hart in 1997. Once his training was complete, he worked a full-time schedule between Can-Am Wrestling Federation in Calgary and Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling, where he gained a wealth of knowledge and experience.
During his career, Williams had tryouts with both WCW and WWE (WWF at the time), which included a WWE television match with Billy Gunn at a television taping in Calgary. Soon after making his WWE television debut, he decided to move back to his hometown province of New Brunswick permanently.
While in Atlantic Canada, he continued to work on television wrestling projects with the likes of Bobby Rude, Kingman (Brody Steele), Kowboy Mike Hughes, Joe E Legend, Kurrgan, Eddie Watts, and Chi Chi Cruz. These projects included working as a main eventer for Real Action Wrestling on Eastlink TV (then Eastlink Television), the hugely popular Wrestling Reality series that aired on Fight Network and the Kardinal Sinner series on Rush HD.
Williams is widely respected by his peers as being one of the best in ring performers in Atlantic Canada. “The business is definitely going to miss you because you are a great wrestler,” said Sean Dunster, who wrestles as Massive Damage, in a video on YouTube. “Not only are you just a great wrestler, you are a great role model and you are a great person.”
WrestleCentre, a Nova Scotia based wrestling promotion, invited Williams to say goodbye at its event on May 23rd at the Halifax Forum featuring former TNA superstar Petey Williams.
“We just wanted to allow Gary to leave the business with his head held high with his fans appreciating him for what he did for Maritime wrestling,” said Tyler Burns, who works as a producer for WrestleCentre. “He has given this industry so much that now it is time for us as fans to give back to him by allowing him to step foot in a wrestling ring one final time.”
Although Williams may not step foot in a ring to wrestle again, his legacy will continue through his Wildman Academy wrestling school based out of Halifax.
Even though all his peers and fans will miss “Wildman” Gary Williams as a performer, his impact and importance on Maritime and Canadian wrestling will never be forgotten.
- Feb. 21, 2005: Williams born to be a “Wildman”
- Wildman Academy wrestling school
- WrestleCentre on Facebook
Jason Mosher is a producer of WrestleCentre events in Halifax, Nova Scotia.