In a day when the average professional wrestler is 170 pounds, it is nice to know that there are still guys like Bill Collier in the business. The man known as “Big Time,” stands six feet and four inches and weighs 250 pounds. After 14 years in the business, the Johnstown, Pennsylvania native is still going strong.
2021 has been very rewarding for the 40-year-old. Bill has had a handful of opportunities to wrestle for AEW. AEW started putting on matches in January of 2019 and since then they have been surprising fans with exciting in-ring action. Not only have several veteran wrestlers come to work for the Florida-based wrestling organization, but it has attracted a lot of new talent as well.
The company streams two shows that are on YouTube Monday and Tuesday evenings. AEW Dark and AEW Dark Elevation air matches of the promotion’s superstars taking on the highly talented competitors from the independent circuit.
When Bill wrestled for AEW in March, he had a six-man tag match against the Dark Order and two singles matches. The single matches that he had were against two of the organization’s top-tier talent, Adam Page and Jon Moxley.
“A friend of mine who has a contract with AEW said if I was looking for some extra work, to email this address,” Bill Collier recalled. “I sent an email and I received a reply that same day. It was literally that fast.”
Bill went to Florida the following week and stayed with the company for three days during their television tapings. The roster is full of highly recognizable faces of today’s leading superstars. Due to Bill’s time in the business, there were several people that he knew from crossing paths with throughout his years of wrestling.
“The locker room is laid back and everybody shares the same goal in putting on the best show possible. I found everyone to be cordial and helpful.” Collier explained. “Cody Rhodes was approachable and he had some positive feedback for me after my matches.”
Some may say that Bill got a late start in the game at the age of 25. Bill had his first child at 18 years old and worked diligently to provide a secure life for his family. When he felt the time was right, he pursued wrestling.
Wanting to train in Altoona with trainer Ken Downs was Bill’s first choice. Ken worked under the wrestling name of Kato. At that time, he was in between moves and didn’t have his new facility ready. In the meantime, Bill went to Indiana, Pennsylvania to train with APWF. It was there where Bill got a feel for the ring and gained a good understanding of the fundamentals of the business.
After more than six months of training in Indiana, Bill got a call from Ken in Altoona. Ken’s gym was ready. The trainer in Western Pennsylvania had a track record for training bigger wrestlers and for Bill that was just what he needed. When the two men teamed up, they started from scratch.
“Ken felt like we needed to break everything down that I had learned. He showed me how to wrestle like a big guy so the audience could understand what they were getting,” Collier said. “Kato is a phenomenal trainer and he is responsible for the performer I am today. Deciding to train in Altoona with Ken is one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
Being from Pennsylvania Bill has wrestled in several of the promotions in that state. Some of these are PWX, International Wrestling Cartel, Keystone Championship Wrestling, and Imagine Wrestling, just to name a few. Bill has also wrestled for Maryland Championship Wrestling and Empire State Wrestling in New York. He has also traveled often to compete for Greektown Pro Wrestling in Ontario, Canada.
Over the years Bill has stepped into the ring with a long list of notable names. Sharing the ring with such talents as Chris Hero, Cody Deaner, Stevie Richards, Brian Pillman Jr., and Jack Swagger has proven Bill’s toughness and ability to adapt to different wrestling styles.
Going back through the years of all the matches Bill has had, he easily picked a few names of guys he felt he had memorable encounters with. That list includes Shane Taylor, John McChesney, and John Alexander.
“I think all those men are phenomenal,” Collier responded. “I think John Alexander is almost not human. Once our match started, he kept going and never stopped. He helped push me through that contest.”
Nagging pain slowed “Big Time” down in 2017. The discomfort he felt in his left hip and knee and right elbow was enough for him to question his passion for the sport. The movement that he once had inside the ring was not the same and he thought his body was breaking down.
Wrestling on a show in Canada turned out to be the turning point for Bill. At that event, he was paired with a wrestler who normally worked in tag team action. His opponent leaned on Bill to structure the match and to call it. It was then that Bill realized his passion for wrestling was just as strong as ever.
“The next day I researched on how to train differently and how to work around my injuries,” Collier expressed. “It took me a few months to achieve my goal, but at the age of 40 I feel like I’m in the best condition I can be in since I have been doing this.”
Bill has come a long way since his early days with Ken in Altoona, but the two have maintained their friendship and they continue to see each other frequently.
Challenging Bill to push himself and to grow as a performer is Ken’s main directive, however, the love Bill has for professional wrestling comes from within.
“I don’t know why I like it so much. I just know that when I am doing it everything else feels right,” Collier announced. “At this rate, I truly believe I can do this for another five years.”