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William Regal: What’s Next for the British Wrestling Legend?

William Regal granted AEW release

WWE’s decision to ‘part ways’ with William Regal along with several other NXT and Performance Center employees sent shockwaves through the wrestling world. We take a look at what could be next for William Regal. 

There has been an outpouring of love for both Regal’s in-ring career and his role as Director of Talent Development and Head of Global Recruiting. WWE stars Becky Lynch, Kevin Owens, Bayley, and Sasha Banks were among the many to declare how influential he was on their careers. Practically the whole NXT UK roster also took to Twitter to share their heartfelt stories of Regal. Regal personally scouted the talent for the inaugural WWE United Kingdom Tournament, which led to the development of the NXT UK brand. It would seem that any wrestling promotion would benefit from Regal working in a similar backstage role as he did for NXT.  

When attempting to work out what’s next for Regal Twitter would be a good place to start.

What’s Next for William Regal?

Twitter, Books, and Spoken Word Tours 

Regal is a dedicated and humorous Tweeter. He often shares his love and passion for past wrestling as well as British variety acts, his pet iguanas, Fred Perry fashion, and music. Regal loves supporting and praising the current NXT and NXT UK products. His thoughts on the long-running British soap opera Coronation Street have become can’t miss content on Twitter. Regal took to Twitter after his release to thank the WWE for ‘saving his life’ 

He has also shared stories of his life in both his book Walking a Golden Mile and during live performances. Regal hinted his last spoken word show at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens would be his final. But we could see Regal take to the road one more time. These tours have featured support from comedy and variety acts such as Jim Smallman and Mat Ricardo. 

William Regal: A Hall of Fame Career 

We should hopefully see Regal back in the WWE this April. He should be the first entrant into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2022.

Regal is potentially the only person to have wrestled as many global legends as he has. He’s shared a ring with British wrestling icons from Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks to Kendo Nagasaki and Fit Finlay. He’s wrestled iconic Japanese grapplers Antonio Inoki and The Great Muta. Then there’s North American superstars from Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, and Sting to The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Triple H he’s worked with. Plus he’s tangled with legendary luchadors Silver King, Rey Mysterio Jr., and Konnan.

Blackpool Beginnings 

In 1983, Regal started as a 15-year-old shooter at Blackpool Pleasance Beach. As Steve Regal, he appeared several times on World of Sport as part of ITV’s Saturday wrestling coverage both as a singles competitor and in a tag team with Robbie Brookside.

WCW Makes Him A Lord

In 1991, he received his first WWF trial and had matches on a WWF UK tour. In 1993, he signed with World Championship Wrestling and took on the gimmick of Lord Steven Regal. Lord Steven claimed to be a descendant of William the Conqueror. Aided by manager Sir William, Regal won the WCW World Television Championship from Ricky Steamboat at the 1993 Fall Brawl event. At Halloween Havoc, Regal defended the title against Davey Boy Smith. The two worked a mainly European style, a rarity on US TV in those days. 

Regal again celebrated the traditional British style on WCW TV when he took on Ric Flair in the Marquis of Queensbury Cup. Regal and Flair went one-on-one in a series of five, five-minute rounds. A round was broadcast each week for five consecutive weeks. Between 1993 and 1997, Regal had four WCW World Television Championship reigns. Regal’s second reign ended when he lost to Japanese wrestling legend Antonio Inoki at Clash of the Champions XXVIII. Regal was released from WCW following a controversial contest with Goldberg. Goldberg claimed Regal took advantage of him after hitting him with stiff strikes. Regal since denounced Goldberg’s claims, insisting that he was following his orders to put on a competitive match.  


Real Man’s Man And William Regal Arrives 

Regal headed to WWF in 1998 with a short-lived Real Man’s Man gimmick. Regal checked into rehab less than a year into this gimmick to tackle addiction issues. The Real Man’s Man theme song and his hilarious vignettes ensured the gimmick be long remembered by fans.

Following a brief stint back in WCW, he returned to WWE in 2000. As the rechristened William Regal, he began using the gimmick of Goodwill Ambassador. Regal soon captured the European Championship. This led to him being ever-present at the company’s top pay-per-views. He enjoyed a total of four European Championship reigns. 

Having won the Intercontinental Championship from Edge at the 2002 Royal Rumble event, Regal walked into Toronto’s SkyDome with the gold to kick off WrestleMania X8. Regal lost the championship to Rob Van Dam in a match that was the perfect start to one of the greatest ‘Manias of all time. 

Comedy And GM 

Throughout his time with WWE, Regal often paid homage to the British comedy stars he would watch when he was based in Blackpool. His backstage skits as WWE Commissioner often involved a hat tip to British comedy performers.

On the October 7 episode of Raw came a moment Regal has publicly declared as one of his finest in the business. Eric Bischoff forced Regal to face Goldust in a Las Vegas Showgirl match. The stipulation being both men must be dressed as showgirls. Regal was dragged through the curtain by security guards. He struggled to walk in high heels and pulled pantomime faces. The match involved numerous references to comedy icons and ended with Regal winning thanks to his brass knuckles. A career in British pantomime would surely be offered off the back of this performance.   

William Regal then settled into the role of a villainous WWE Raw General Manager. Regal used his position of power to aid him in winning the 2007 King of the Ring. He defeated Hornswoggle in the quarterfinals before seeing off Finlay and CM Punk

An End With Every Drop Of Vile And Venom   

Regal’s final match was a fitting end to his career. He took on Antonio Cesaro on the December 25 2013 episode of NXT. In his promo before the match, he reminisced on a career part sadistic villain and part entertainer whilst praising Cesaro as 10 times the competitor he ever was. The match was an exceptional display of European wrestling in which Regal left every ounce he had in the ring. In a poetic climax, Cesaro went to lift Regal for his finisher but the legendary Brit’s legs gave way and he collapsed to the canvas. 

Regal then took the role of NXT General Manager. No longer did he use his position of power for his gain as he had done on Raw. Instead, he was committed to promoting the latest young stars and celebrating competition. The Cruiserweight Classic, United Kingdom Tournament, Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, and Mae Young Classic events all took place during Regal’s time in this role. These tournaments showcased independent performers that went on to become stars on NXT

Regal refused to put up with the nefarious ways he used throughout his career. When he felt performers were getting out of hand, he would look for alternative solutions. Mega feuds would often be dealt with Regal declaring WarGames. His delivery of the WarGames line gave him one final catchphrase.

Regal stepped down from his NXT GM role in June 2021. He leaves behind a glittering career and can look forward to a future celebrating it while inspiring future generations. 


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