Craig Williams, better known as the Human Tornado, announced his retirement from being an active wrestler at last night’s UEW event in Sun Valley, CA. If Human Tornado never wrestles again, this will mark the end of the career of one of the more prolific wrestlers in Southern California of the mid-2000s.
Earlier this week, Williams discovered a lump on his body and had been suffering from back issues related to back surgery he had 18 years ago. Doctors advised him against wrestling again due to the back issues while tests are pending to know the cause of the lump. His back issues had been an ongoing problem for him and forced him to go on hiatus in 2010 and change the way he wrestled.
Williams began his career as El Negro, the name he used when he did backyard wrestling, at Revolution Pro’s Rudos Dojo. After debuting in late 2003 he quickly became one of the most popular wrestlers in the area, and within five months of his first match debuting for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. He also won the Revolution Pro Junior Heavyweight Championship in 2004. He easily won the 2004 Southern California Rookie of the Year award, getting every first place vote and over 50% of the vote in the webpoll.
In March 2005 he defeated Scorpio Sky to unify the Revolution Pro Junior Heavyweight and the AWS Light Heavyweight titles. In July 2005, he defeated Adam Pearce to win the Alternative Wrestling Show Heavyweight title. In August 2005, he and El Generico (Sami Zayn) defeated Scott Lost and Chris Bosh to win the PWG World Tag Team Championship. They lost the titles to Super Dragon and Davey Richards in October 2005. Throughout 2006 he feuded with Joey Ryan, who was at the time the longest reigning PWG World Champion in history, and even beat him twice, once by count out and once in a non-title match. In 2006 Human Tornado also appeared in the Jack Black film Nacho Libre, wrestled on MTV’s Wrestling Society X, and debuted in Combat Zone Wrestling. He finished third in the Southern California Wrestler of the Year voting behind Joey Ryan and El Generico in 2006 as well.
In January 2007, his long feud with Joey Ryan ended when he beat him in a Guerrilla Warfare match to win the PWG World Heavyweight title. The ground work for maybe his most memorable feud in PWG was laid at this time, as he began being accompanied to the ring by Candice LeRae as his valet. He lost the PWG World title to El Generico and then after his rematch blamed LeRae for the loss. Over the next several months he would subject LeRae to verbal and physical abuse. LeRae finally turned on him during the 2007 Battle of Los Angeles tournament, which caused him to lose in the opening round. He attacked LeRae and Chris Hero made the save, leading to a long feud between the two. In 2007, Tornado also began wrestling for Ring of Honor. He was named Declaration of Independents Most Popular Wrestler of the Year for 2007, finished fourth in the Southern California Wrestler of the Year voting, 219th on the PWI 500, and his January match with Joey Ryan was runner-up for Southern California Match of the Year.
Tornado made his Japan debut in January 2008, wrestling for Dragon Gate. In February 2008 Low Ki claimed he was injured and vacated the PWG World title, which lead to Tornado winning a tournament to become the second wrestler to hold the PWG World title twice. Tornado would lose the title to Chris Hero, with help from Candice LeRae, in a Guerrilla Warfare Steel Cage match in July 2008.
Tornado continued to be a regular in PWG until January 2010 when he announced his retirement due to injuries, though he continued wrestling until August 2010 when he made his final Ring of Honor appearance. In November 2012, he had his first match in over two years when he appeared on a CZW in Voorhees, New Jersey. He would wrestle sporadically through 2013, including challenging El Ridiculoso for the AWS Light Heavyweight title in September. He began wrestling more full time in 2014, and started in Underground Empire Wrestling that year, which is the promotion he now considers his home promotion. He has continued to wrestle regularly throughout Southern California since his return.
This being pro-wrestling, there is always the chance Human Tornado may make a return to the ring. For now he says that he is going to be working on a DVD and possibly a book to tell his story.
Human Tornado’s Partial Southern California Title History
- AWS Light Heavyweight
- AWS Heavyweight
- EWF American
- PWG World Heavyweight (2 times)
- PWG World Tag Team (with El Generico)
- Revolution Pro Junior Heavyweight
- UEW Internet Television
- 2004 Southern California Rookie of the Year