Earlier this week, Doug Williams announced he planned to come out of retirement and continue his glittering career.
Cultaholic caught up with The Ambassador Of British Wrestling following his announcement and he explained why he decided to return to the squared circle.
"It's primarily because of the pandemic," Williams stated. "Essentially, I had a lot of time to sit at home doing nothing, thinking about your life and the things that ultimately you enjoy. Things that you might have taken for granted for a while and now you realise they were a fundamental part of your life and something that you really enjoyed. And actually made your life what it was and I think wrestling was definitely one of those things.
"So it kind of gave me the itch to get in there and start performing again whilst I'm still able to. I don't think I'm totally over the hill yet. I don't think I'm totally written off, so we'll see anyway. I'm sure I'm a bit out of shape but I'm sure that's alright, that'll come back [laughs]."
Williams' announcement received an outpouring of love from across the wrestling world and he admitted it caught him by surprise.
"It took me by surprise, really. It really blew up on Twitter and I was pleasantly surprised and flattered by it. As you say, Nick Aldis tweeted about it and a few of my other good friends and yeah, it was a really pleasant surprise.
"I really didn't expect it to be at that level and I didn't even get any naysayers saying, 'Urgh, you said you'd retire and you're just like all the other wrestlers.' No one really said that at all. I think because the short and the concise description and reasoning I gave on Twitter was probably enough justification in most people's minds. It was nice, really really nice."
The former X-Division champion revealed he had been thinking about returning since the turn of the year, but he only came to a final decision last week.
"It was something I kind of considered since the new year started. But that ultimate decision was made just last week really, where I thought, 'Yeah, I can do this.'
"Now the end is in sight, now we're getting to some dates that are more or less definitive. Now the vaccine is in full effect and the chances of us going back into some sort of lockdown and life returning to normal is 75-80 percent there. I thought this was the right time to make that decision."
Williams doesn't know how long his latest stint in the ring will last, but he's just going to keep going until it stops being fun.
"I'm just gonna play it by ear on how my body feels. It'll be until that point where I'm not really enjoying doing it again whenever that might be [laughs]. So either my body is gonna give up or my mind will give up. One of those two things will determine it. I'm not gonna set any dates on it at the moment. I'm in my late 40s, I'm not 50 yet so I've still got plenty of time I think to do it," he said.
Williams' return to the ring has certainly drawn a lot of interest and he has already accepted close to 20 bookings from promoters in the United Kingdom and even one booking in Denmark.
"I've got nearly 20 bookings already for the latter part of the year from various UK promoters – one Danish promoter weirdly enough. It was random. But yeah, the diary's filling up definitely. And I've had a couple of other promoters contact me and I just need to secure some dates and talk some deals with them. So, we'll see. It's been positive so far. Hopefully, I'll be able to fill up my diary with a lot more."
In what may come as a surprise, The Human Torture Device has experience of wrestling in Denmark and a botched briefcase shot on a Danish show ruined his chances of a dark match on Monday Night Raw.
"I've got an interesting story off the back of that. I went to work for these guys in Denmark. It was two shows, Saturday-Sunday. And it must have been about 2007 I think. Saturday night I had the match, it was all good and everything. Everything was fine. Sunday I was booked to be in a main event against their top guy, who was a heel.
"So we did this angle at the start of the show where he and his faction attack me and he had a manager who came out with a briefcase and a suit and everything. And I said, 'Okay, two of you hold my arms and the manager, I want you to smack me over the head with the briefcase. Knock me out.'
"Anyway, they grab me by the arms, the manager comes in with the briefcase and he jabs it end first into my face and my nose just explodes. And then I go down like, 'What the f**k?' It was bleeding everywhere. On Monday I had a Raw taping to attend so I turned up with a big bloody plaster over my nose. And the agents took one look at me and said, 'Sorry, we can't use you for anything.' So, that cost me a dark match, damn it [laughs]."
Williams noted he plans to focus on the European wrestling scene for the time being because of the pandemic, but he revealed he's still under contract with Ring Of Honor until the end of the year and hopes to have a few Pure Title matches. He was originally scheduled to face Jonathan Gresham at Past Vs. Present on March 14, 2020, ahead of entering the Pure Championship Tournament, but the pandemic meant those plans were scrapped.
"I'm still contracted to Ring Of Honor anyway as of last May. The deal I signed with them last year actually spans until the end of this year. So, whenever the USA opens up I'm sure they'll have some things for me to do. They'll probably reschedule that Past Vs. Present show. Hopefully, I'll have some Pure Title matches as well. We'll see. Obviously, that's all depending on when the USA opens, of course."
When asked who he would like to face in ROH if he can return, Williams reiterated he would love to tangle with Jonathan Gresham and also step in the ring with Jay Lethal one more time.
"Obviously Jonathan Gresham, who I was scheduled to face. I look forward to facing him again. I've always enjoyed wrestling Jay Lethal. I must have wrestled him 100 times in my life, it's always such a pleasure working against him. If you're asking me to name names, off the top of my head I can't really think but I do know they have a wealth of talent. They've got some great Mexican guys as well and it's always fun for me to try and get in there with someone with a little bit of a different style. See if I can work something out. That might be fun too," he added.
With all of the former ROH Pure Champion's bookings not coming until the latter part of 2021, he's doing what he can in the living room for the time being but is looking forward to getting rid of the ring rust.
"Only insofar as I do like the normal kind of lockdown exercises which is walking outside and body-weight exercises in my living room. I mean, you can't do any wrestling training really unless I'm gonna wrestle myself on my bed or something [laughs]. No, that's gonna start happening in earnest on April 12 when those sort of facilities are open again and I'll just pick it up from there. Let's be realistic, no ones going to be running until the latter part of the year anyway, so I've got time to get rid of the ring rust."
While much around The Ambassador Of British Wrestling's return remains up in the air because of the pandemic, one thing that is for certain is fans won't be seeing Williams slapping his leg while he delivers one of his vicious clotheslines or forearms.
"[Laughs] I'll slap someone else on the thigh if they want. If you're hitting someone - and I don't do kicks really - I don't do superkicks, I might boot someone. If I'm giving someone an uppercut, if I'm giving someone a forearm or a clothesline, I like to think that I can make a good sound with the impact of what I deliver without having to compliment it by slapping myself on the thigh. I don't do that unless I'm having a jolly good time.
"But, you know, I don't have a problem with it if you don't see someone doing it. Wrestling is all about illusion anyway. If you do one once in a match at a very important key moment then it'll mean something, then that's fine. But if you're doing it four or five times every match and every situation or every strike, it's pointless. You're taking away from the effect of what it achieves while doing it."
Thanks to Doug Williams for taking the time to speak to us. You can follow The Ambassador Of British Wrestling on Twitter @DougWilliamsUK, or you can look at pretty pictures of him (his words) on Instagram at dougwilliamsgb.
Doug is also doing a Zoom seminar with the Lou King Sharp Online Dojo on May 15. Find out more here.