William Regal

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Not to be confused with "Mr Electricity" Steve Regal.
William Regal
MasterRegal.jpg
William Regal in 2008
Birth name Darren Kenneth Matthews
Born (1968-05-10) 10 May 1968 (age 46)[1]
Codsall, United Kingdom[2]
Resides Fayetteville, Georgia
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) King Regal[2][3]
Lord Steven Regal[4]
Roy Regal[4]
Steve Regal[2]
Steven William Regal[4]
William Regal[5]
Billed height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)[5]
Billed weight 243 lb (110 kg)[5]
Billed from Blackpool, England[5]
Trained by Marty Jones[3]
Debut 1983[3]

Darren Kenneth Matthews[2] (born 10 May 1968)[1] is a semi-retired English professional wrestler, trainer, talent scout, author, and color commentator. He is currently signed to WWE under the ring name William Regal.[5] He is also known for his time in World Championship Wrestling under the ring name Steven Regal. Having started his career wrestling on a rare surviving carnival booth in Britain, Matthews moved on to wrestle for national-level promotions on the British wrestling circuit, including on UK television. He then progressed to touring around the world, in countries such as Germany and South Africa, before being called up to World Championship Wrestling in 1993. In 2000, after leaving WCW, Matthews joined the World Wrestling Federation (later World Wrestling Entertainment and now just WWE), where he became commissioner. More recently he has been general manager of Raw, the 2008 King of the Ring and was briefly the official match coordinator for NXT Redemption in 2011. He is currently the general manager of NXT.

Matthews has achieved considerable championship success in professional wrestling, although he has never been a world champion. Throughout his career, he has won several titles, including four in WCW and 15 in WWE. He has overcome multiple drug problems as well as a major heart defect during his career, and he has written an autobiography.

Career[edit]

Early years (1983–1992)[edit]

Matthews was born in Codsall Wood, Staffordshire, United Kingdom. Matthews made his ring debut wrestling for promoter Bobby Barron at his wrestling challenge booth at the Horseshoe Showbar at Blackpool Pleasure Beach at the age of fifteen. In time, he would graduate to be a shooter at the booth, using brutal submission holds to defend prize money against challenges from members of the public.[6] By this time, he wrestled professionally all over Britian for All Star Wrestling where he regularly teamed with Robbie Brookside as The Golden Boys tag team. Both Regal and Brookside appeared in several televised matches during the final years (1987-1988) of ITV's coverage of British Wrestling. He would go on to tour worldwide including Germany and South Africa, before arriving in the United States in 1992 to further pursue his wrestling career.

During this early period, Matthews was billed as Steve Regal, a name he saw in an American wrestling magazine (in use by "Mr. Electricity" Steve Regal). There were two exceptions to this; one was when he wrestled in Wales during this period under the name Steve Jones and was billed from Cardiff, Wales teaming with Orig Williams and faced Fit Finlay amongst others.[7] The other was a brief stint for Joint Promotions in 1986 where he wrestled his first two televised matches under the name Roy Regal. Otherwise he stuck with the name Steve Regal up until shortly after his arrival in World Championship Wrestling

World Championship Wrestling (1992–1998)[edit]

See also: The Blue Bloods

Matthews started in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) still as Steve Regal, beginning as a face character.[6] He became the villain Lord Steven Regal in the summer of 1993, claiming descent from William the Conqueror. At times arrogantly charming in this persona, one of his memorable statements to a post-match interviewer was, "Do you know what my New Year's resolution is going to be? To wake up a half an hour earlier so I can hate you more."[8]

Bill Dundee served as his manager under the name Sir William, and he won the WCW World Television Championship four times.[9][10] He teamed up with fellow aristocrat Jean-Paul Levesque, but after Levesque left WCW, he was replaced by Alabama-born Bobby Eaton.[6] Regal formed the team The Blue Bloods and was involved in humorous vignettes where he tried to teach Eaton the finer points of dining and the proper usage of the Queen's English. He renamed him "Earl" Robert Eaton and soon added "Squire" David Taylor to the team. They came close to winning the WCW World Tag Team Championship, but never did.[6] During his stint in WCW, Regal faced Antonio Inoki at Clash of the Champions on 28 August 1994. Regal also had a match with Shinya Hashimoto for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in April 1995.

On 9 February 1998, Regal faced and lost to Goldberg on Monday Nitro, in which he appeared more aggressive and stiff than expected with the then-rising star. It was later revealed that most of Regal's moves on Goldberg were shoot-style moves, which caught Goldberg off-guard at the time.[11] It was rumored that WCW management was upset with Regal because, even though he did job to Goldberg as expected, he was supposed to lose to Goldberg in a squash, like most of Goldberg's other competitors at the time, as opposed to actually keeping the match competitive.[12][13] However, in his autobiography, Regal disputes this, and has reasserted that he was told to have a competitive match for 6 minutes by WCW agents during his interview on the Steve Austin podcast.

World Wrestling Federation (1998–1999)[edit]

Regal's initial appearance in the World Wrestling Federation was on 29 June 1998 Raw Is War, in which he defeated Droz via submission with the Regal Stretch. After featuring in one more match against Tiger Ali Singh at Penn State in Pennsylvania, Regal was sent to a training camp run by Dory Funk, Jr. in order to get into shape. On his last day, in a match against Rhyno, Regal twisted his ankle, upon returning home he aggravated this injury falling in his bathroom, breaking his ankle and leg. During this time Regal was suffering from an addiction to Renutrient, pain medication and valium and was not seen on WWF television until he returned that fall with a "Real Man's Man" builder/lumberjack style looking gimmick created by Vince Russo that was based on the image of The Brawny Man.[6] Vignettes for the character showed him doing "manly" things like chopping wood, shaving with a straight razor, and squeezing his own orange juice. After he made his full-time debut in October 1998, he faced X-Pac in the opening round of the tournament for the vacant WWF Championship at the Survivor Series,[6] ending in a double countout and thus eliminating both men from the tournament. Regal then began a feud with The Godfather, but was taken off television soon after before subsequently checking into rehab in January 1999 and was released from the WWF in April.[3]

Return to WCW (1999–2000)[edit]

After checking out of rehab, Matthews was invited back into the wrestling world, making a somewhat brief return to WCW as Lord Steven Regal. His official pay-per-view return took place during Bash at the Beach in 1999 where he was one of many participants in the first Hardcore Invitational. On Nitro the following night, Regal, accompanied by both Fit Finlay and Dave Taylor, fought Billy Kidman. The fans reacted as if Regal had never left and straight after the bell began chanting "USA! USA!". Despite outside help from Finlay and Taylor, Regal was unable to pick up the win. Two weeks later he faced Mikey Whipwreck. Jimmy Hart's First Family came out to challenge The Blue Bloods at Road Wild for the Hardcore Trophy, causing Regal to lose the match. Nothing came of this challenge as neither the First Family or the Blue Bloods were featured on the Road Wild card. Similar to his previous run, much of Regal's performances took place in tag team bouts. He continued his role as a rule breaking villain and had small feuds with teams such as the Filthy Animals. In late February 2000, Regal lost a Career vs. Career match against Jim Duggan on Saturday Night for the World Television Championship, which was done in order to explain Regal's release from the company.

Return to World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment / WWE[edit]

Commissioner (2000–2001)[edit]

Regal during his ring entrance wearing his traditional robe.

Regal was once again hired by the WWF and sent to the developmental territory Memphis Championship Wrestling for a short time. After a match with Chris Benoit at the Third Annual Brian Pillman Memorial Show, he was brought up to the main roster and re-debuted on 18 September Raw is War. His new character was Steven William Regal (soon shortened to William Regal), a stereotypical English snob, hearkening back to his WCW character. As a villain, Regal had much more success, winning the European Championship.[6][14] He later became the on-screen commissioner and self-proclaimed "Goodwill Ambassador" of the WWF and was given a comedy sidekick in Tajiri. During the WCW/ECW Alliance storyline, Regal became a villain by costing Kurt Angle the WWF Championship and joining The Alliance. He was fired as commissioner by Linda McMahon, but Shane McMahon, who was the owner of WCW, hired him as the Alliance Commissioner. After the Alliance was defeated at Survivor Series in November 2001, Regal was forced to become the first member of Vince McMahon's "Kiss My Ass" club by kissing McMahon's buttocks so he could keep his job.[6]

Intercontinental and World Tag Team Champion (2002–2005)[edit]

In 2002, after an absence due to surgery on his nose,[3] Regal returned and feuded with Edge. He won the Intercontinental Championship from Edge at the Royal Rumble in January,[15] where he began using a set of brass knuckles in order to win matches. Regal defended the title against Edge again at No Way Out in a brass knuckles on a pole match before losing the title to Rob Van Dam at WrestleMania X8. The same week, he beat fellow WCW alum Diamond Dallas Page for the European Championship on an SmackDown![14] In mid-2002, the World Wrestling Federation was renamed World Wrestling Entertainment, and the roster was divided into two separate "brands". During this time he was drafted to the Raw brand by owner Ric Flair. He was defeated by Spike Dudley in a match for the European Championship, but won it back two weeks later to become a four-time champion.[14] He later lost the title to Jeff Hardy and later held the Hardcore Championship three times.[16] He formed an alliance with Molly Holly before joining The Un-Americans, an anti-American villainous alliance consisting of Canadian wrestlers Lance Storm, Christian and Test.[6] On 30 September 2002 Raw, every member of The Un-Americans lost their matches, causing the group to separate later in the night and break away into separate groups. Regal began teaming with Lance Storm, Christian formed a tag-team with Chris Jericho, and Test branched off into single competition. Storm and Regal won the World Tag Team Championship from Booker T and Goldust thanks to Regal's brass knuckles.[17] They lost the championship to The Dudleys (Bubba Ray and D-Von) at the Royal Rumble, but regained the championship twenty four hours later, thanks to an impromptu match set up by Chief Morley after Regal and Storm had put Bubba through a table. Regal later gave up his title due to a heart condition.[6]

Eugene, the "mentally challenged" nephew of Raw general manager Eric Bischoff, was placed in the care of Regal during his return to WWE. Initially dismayed at having to babysit Eugene, Regal eventually grew very fond of him and they became friends, becoming a fan favorite in the process. Regal was ordered by Bischoff to make Eugene lose so that he would be discouraged into leaving WWE, but his friendship with Eugene caused him to try only half-heartedly to cost him his match with Robert Conway. Despite this, Bischoff put Regal back on the active roster. Regal later teamed with Eugene, and won the World Tag Team Championship from La Résistance on 15 November 2004 Raw.[17] Eugene legitimately injured himself at New Year's Revolution after botching a dropkick. This ultimately cost them the World Tag Team Championship, as Regal unsuccessfully attempted to defend the titles with announcer Jonathan Coachman as Eugene's stand in. The pair wrestled and lost a match against La Résistance at a house show, crowning them with their third reign. On 4 February 2005, Regal and old ally Tajiri defeated La Résistance to win the World Tag Team Championship on an Raw, broadcast live from Tajiri's home country Japan.[17] La Résistance entered in a feud with the champions, and repeatedly missed out on the titles during matches, mainly on Sunday Night Heat. During their last shot for the titles, La Résistance thought they had won back the championship, only to have the decision reversed by referee Mike Chioda due to the legal man not being pinned. After winning this match, an open challenge to any tag team was issued by Regal to try to win their championship. On the following Raw, Regal and Tajiri successfully defended the belts against the debuting Romeo and Antonio, known collectively as The Heart Throbs. At Backlash in May, Regal and Tajiri participated in a Tag Team Turmoil match in which four teams competed for the World tag team titles. Regal and Tajiri were eliminated by La Résistance who, in turn, were eliminated by Rosey and The Hurricane, who became the new champions. Shortly after, the team of Regal and Tajiri split and Regal became part of the anti-Extreme Championship Wrestling faction which attempted to disrupt and invade the ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view, turning heel once again.

SmackDown (2005–2006)[edit]

Regal is admonished by the referee following a typical heel action while wrestling Cody Rhodes.

On 30 June 2005, Regal was sent to SmackDown! as part of an eleven person trade during the draft.[18] His first match on SmackDown! was on 7 July against Matt Morgan, in what was to be Morgan's final WWE match. It was interrupted before Regal was even able to enter the ring by The Mexicools. His first full match as part of the roster was a loss to Chris Benoit in a catch wrestling match on 16 July WWE Velocity. Having applied the Regal Stretch which Benoit managed to escape from, Regal eventually submitted to the Crippler Crossface.

On 4 August, Regal was scheduled to go one on one with Scotty 2 Hotty, but the Mexicools came in and attacked both men. Two weeks later, they teamed up on SmackDown! against Psicosis and Super Crazy with Juventud in their corner. Halfway through the match, Regal betrayed Scotty by refusing to tag him and walked out of the ring with a smirk on his face, turning heel as a result and allowing the Mexicools to pick up the win. Two days later, Regal cut a promo telling the crowd that he had returned to his former self, referring to himself as a "scoundrel" and a "rogue". The promo ended when Scotty ran to the ring and attacked Regal. The following week, a match between the two was cut short when another Englishman, the debuting Paul Burchill, interfered to aid his countryman. Regal went on to take Burchill under his wing and tag with him on the hunt for the WWE Tag Team Championship, but the teams biggest exposure was a loss in a handicap match against Bobby Lashley at Armageddon.

On 3 February SmackDown!, Regal and Burchill told the "network representative" Palmer Canon that they no longer wanted to be a tag team so they could go their separate ways. During this discussion, Burchill informed Canon that his family heritage traced back to the pirate Blackbeard, and that he wanted to turn this into a pirate gimmick.[6] Burchill, with this heroic persona, started a rivalry with former team mate Regal, who tried to convince Burchill to return to his ruthless ways. Burchill, in his first match as a pirate, defeated Regal with his Walking the Plank move.[19] Burchill again defeated Regal, with the match stipulation that Regal would have to dress like a "buxom wench" if he lost. "Lady Regal", as SmackDown! announcers jokingly referred to him, had to dress up like this until Burchill lost a match. This ended after Burchill abandoned him during a tag loss to The Gymini.

King Booker's Court (2006–2007)[edit]

Main article: King Booker's Court
Regal at No Mercy 2007.

Regal continued to wrestle in a lower mid-card status, the highlight of which saw Regal turn face for one night only as he faced the United States Champion John "Bradshaw" Layfield in a losing effort while in Britian. Soon after Booker T became King Booker after becoming King of the Ring and Regal joined King Booker's Court, playing the role of a town crier. As a member of the Court, Regal helped Booker in his feud against Bobby Lashley, occasionally teaming up with fellow Court member Finlay in tag team matches. However, during this time, Regal also feuded with Finlay for the United States Championship. Regal was knighted by King Booker and was given the title of "Sir".[6] At No Mercy, Regal lost to a returning Chris Benoit, resulting in Regal turning his back on the Court afterwards by knocking down King Booker with a punch to the face after Booker slapped him and called him useless. During the broadcast, Regal was involved in a backstage segment with Vito in which he accidentally exposed his penis for a brief second. WWE.com issued an apology for the incident the next day.[20]

Twelve days after No Mercy, Regal stated that while he had once been one of the world's greatest wrestlers, he had since become a doormat for other SmackDown superstars. He referred to being dressed as a buxom wench for a pirate, the aforementioned locker room incident with Vito, and being knighted by a false king as examples. After announcing he was finished being a whipping boy, he introduced his old tag team partner Dave Taylor, and the two went on to easily defeat the team of Scotty 2 Hotty and Funaki. Though the pair reformed their previous tag team, they did not reuse the Blue Bloods gimmick and instead portrayed themselves as sadistic fighters. However, the team was quickly put into jeopardy in their second match together when Taylor suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee leaving him injured.[21] Taylor took a more relaxed role for a couple of weeks as a corner man for Regal and only wrestled in a few short house show matches. Taylor quickly healed from his injury and the pair feuded with the Tag Team Champions Paul London and Brian Kendrick. After defeating London and Kendrick on several occasions, at Armageddon, they took part in a 4-way ladder match alongside Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury and The Hardys. London and Kendrick coming out on top after Joey Mercury suffered a serious facial injury.[22] On 25 May SmackDown!, Regal and Taylor competed in a number one contenders match for the WWE Tag Team Championship against London and Kendrick, which they lost after Deuce 'n Domino interfered, making both teams the number one contenders.[23] This interference led to a triple threat match the next week on SmackDown!, in which Deuce 'n Domino retained the title.[24]

Raw General Manager and King of the Ring (2007–2009)[edit]

Regal applies a wrist lock to Cody Rhodes.

On 17 June, Regal was drafted back to the Raw brand during the Supplemental Draft,[25] ending his tag team with Dave Taylor. On 2 July, Regal served as Interim general manager of Raw, filling in for Jonathan Coachman. While general manager, Regal introduced the Beat the Clock Sprint to Raw, which was used to determine who would challenge John Cena for the WWE Championship at the 2007 Great American Bash.[26]

On 6 August Raw, Regal became the new general manager after winning an over the top rope battle royal featuring other participants from the Raw roster.[27] He began incorporating game shows into Raw while general manager. On 3 September Raw', Regal was attacked by WWE Champion John Cena in retaliation for rewarding Randy Orton with a WWE title shot after Orton had kicked John Cena's father in the head the previous week. Regal was missing from Raw programming for one month due to this attack, making his return by siding with Vince McMahon. On New Year's Eve, Triple H was scheduled to face Ric Flair, in which Flair's win or retire ultimatum was still active. Regal announced that if Triple H lost the match in any way, he would not participate in the Royal Rumble match at the 2008 Royal Rumble. This was to give Triple H a reason to want to win the match rather than avoid ending the career of his best friend and idol. Regal was scheduled to compete against Hornswoggle that night with Mr. McMahon at ringside.[28] McMahon tossed Regal some brass knuckles during the match and encouraged him to use them on Hornswoggle,[28] but he let Hornswoggle go and left the ring.[28] During the Flair versus Triple H match, Triple H performed the Pedigree on Flair and appeared to be going for the pin when Regal suddenly punched Flair in the face with the brass knuckles. This gave Flair the win by disqualification, ensuring that he could continue to wrestle and that Triple H would not be part of the Royal Rumble.[29] As a result of Regal's actions towards Triple H, the following week on Raw Roulette, Regal lost a First Blood match to Triple H after several right hands to Regal's forehead. A few weeks later, he made the Raw Elimination Chamber match for No Way Out. He later turned face for one night only while on a European tour, by facing Randy Orton in a match to try to teach him some respect.

The following week, Regal won the 2008 King of the Ring Tournament, on a special three-hour Raw, where he defeated Hornswoggle, Finlay and CM Punk all by submission, also the first man to make Punk submit.[30] Regal's coronation ceremony the next week was interrupted by the returning Mr. Kennedy. A few weeks later Regal lost a Loser Gets Fired match to Mr. Kennedy, after which, Regal was kayfabe forced to leave WWE. In reality, Regal was suspended on 20 May 2008, for sixty days for his second violation of the company's Substance Abuse and Drug Testing Policy.[31] On 28 July, Regal returned from his suspension as a "free agent" during an episode of Raw, where he was defeated by then World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk.[32]

Regal began a mini-feud with Jamie Noble after he took an interest in Noble's romantic interest Layla, prompting him to attack Regal.[33] Both men picked up victories in consecutive weeks,[34][35] before Regal won their third match, departing with Layla at his side.[36] Regal's feud with Noble escalated the subsequent week when Layla declared that Noble was a loser and that she found a man worthy of her in Regal.[37] However, the feud was short lived.

On 3 November Raw, Regal won an over-the-top battle royal to face Santino Marella for the Intercontinental Championship, and the next week in Manchester, Britian, Regal defeated Marella in a 40 second squash match to win his second Intercontinental Championship.[38] Later, he entered into a feud for the title with number one contender CM Punk. On 5 January 2009 Raw, Regal lost to Punk via disqualification after he grabbed the referee's shirt.[39] Due to this, Stephanie McMahon awarded Punk a rematch the following week, with the stipulation that if Regal was disqualified, he would lose the Intercontinental title, but this time Punk was disqualified.[40] McMahon awarded Punk another rematch, this time a No Disqualification match on 19 January Raw, Punk won the match and the championship.[15] Regal got a rematch but lost the match when Punk hit the Go To Sleep.

Following the Draft, Regal was left alone on the Raw brand as his on-screen manager Layla was drafted to the SmackDown brand. At Extreme Rules, Regal unsuccessfully challenged Kofi Kingston for the WWE United States Championship along with Montel Vontavious Porter and Matt Hardy, Kofi Kingston retained the United States Championship by pinning Regal.

ECW (2009–2010)[edit]

Regal was traded to the ECW brand on 29 June 2009.[41] In his first match on ECW on Syfy the next night, he teamed with Vladimir Kozlov to defeat Tommy Dreamer and Christian.[42] After winning a tag match on 6 August Superstars,[43] Regal was named as the number one contender to the ECW Championship.[44] On 18 August ECW, Regal teamed with Kozlov again to face Ezekiel Jackson and the ECW Champion Christian; Jackson attacked Christian to ensure Regal's victory,[45] with the trio of Regal, Kozlov and Jackson forming a new alliance which was later dubbed the Ruthless Roundtable.[46] At SummerSlam 2009, Regal challenged Christian for his title, but was defeated in eight seconds.[47] With the Roundtable's help, Regal defeated Christian in a non-title match on 25 August ECW to earn a title rematch against Christian at WWE Breaking Point,[48] but with the rest of the Roundtable banned from ringside, Christian prevailed again.[49] Regal was then denied another chance at number one contender-ship,[50] but the Ruthless Roundtable continued to repeatedly attack Christian to continue the feud.[51][52] As a result, Christian demanded to face Regal,[53] so Regal received another shot for the ECW Championship on 10 November ECW in Sheffield, Britian, but was once again unsuccessful.[54] At Survivor Series, Regal participated in a traditional five-on-five Survivor Series elimination match and was eliminated by MVP.[55] Following Survivor Series, dissension was teased within the Ruthless Roundtable,[56] although Jackson seemed poised to leave the group, Regal ultimately sided with Jackson and turned on Kozlov by assisting Jackson in defeating Kozlov to qualify for an ECW Homecoming battle royal to determine the number one contender to the ECW Championship.[57] Jackson won the ECW Homecoming battle royal and was granted a title shot, but Christian defeated him at the Royal Rumble to retain his title.[58][59] Despite the loss, Regal and Jackson continued to assault Christian, as a result Christian accepted Jackson's title challenge; on the final ECW on 16 February 2010, Jackson (with Regal's interference) defeated Christian in an Extreme Rules match to become the final ECW Champion.[60][61][62]

NXT (2010–present)[edit]

After ECW was cancelled to be replaced by WWE NXT, Regal returned to the Raw brand,[63] but he also became the Pro to Rookie Skip Sheffield on the first season of NXT. Regal made his debut on 2 March 2010 NXT, teaming with Sheffield in a losing effort against Matt Hardy and Justin Gabriel.[64] On 13 April NXT, Regal won his first match on the show, defeating former pupil Daniel Bryan.[65] On the 10 May NXT, Sheffield was eliminated from the competition.[66]

Regal was mostly involved in lower-card feuds after returning to Raw, and also regularly appeared on NXT and Superstars. In 2010, he regularly found lost tag team matches against Santino Marella, while trading wins with Goldust. Regal defeated Darren Young in three matches on Superstars in October and November.[67]

In March 2011, Regal became the color commentator for the fifth season of NXT.[68] On 26 April, Regal was drafted to SmackDown as part of the 2011 WWE Supplemental Draft.[69] On NXT, Regal began a feud with Rookie Jacob Novak after Novak taunted him as old and washed up.[70] On the 3 May WWE NXT, Regal was set to face Novak, but Novak's Pro JTG stepped in to replace Novak. While Regal had the match won, Novak interfered, attacking Regal and causing a disqualification.[71] This attack turned Regal into a face. On the 10 May NXT, Regal defeated Novak by submission,[72] ending the feud. Novak was eliminated on the next episode.[73]

Regal at WrestleMania XXVIII Axxess.

After Regal came to the aid of NXT host Matt Striker, saving him from an assault by Darren Young, Young challenged Regal to a match on 6 September NXT, and Regal duly defeated Young.[74] On 13 September NXT, Regal teamed with Striker against JTG and Darren Young in a losing effort.[75] On the 10 November Superstars held in Britian, Regal was pranked when his old "Real Man's Man" theme song was played, then lost to protégé Daniel Bryan; both wrestlers showed respect after the match.[76][77] On 15 February NXT Redemption, Regal temporarily took charge as NXT host from Matt Striker to set up matches on the show,[78] which led to him being made NXT's official match coordinator two weeks later.[79] After being appointed as an authority figure, Regal had issues with NXT's perennial troublemakers, Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks, and Maxine attempted to influence him to get her off NXT.[80]

In 2011, Regal also acted as a color commentator for Florida Championship Wrestling matches, it was during this time he began a feud with Dean Ambrose after an unprovoked attack by Ambrose on Regal, setting up a match between the two on 6 November FCW TV, where Regal viciously attacked Ambrose's left arm and pinned Ambrose after a Knee Trembler.[81][82] Following the loss to Regal, Ambrose became obsessed about wanting a rematch and regularly taunted Regal by using Regal's finishing moves to win matches.[83] A rematch was scheduled as the main event for the final FCW TV on 15 July. The match began with Regal viciously attacking Ambrose's injured left arm, but Ambrose rammed Regal into the ring post to badly disorientate him. Then, Ambrose ruthlessly kneed Regal's head into an exposed turnbuckle, causing Regal to bleed from the ear; the match was then ruled a no contest. After the match, Regal stared down Ambrose, then applauded him and turned his head to allow Ambrose to hit him with the Knee Trembler. Afterwards, the FCW locker room stormed the ring to separate Ambrose from a fallen Regal while commentators questioned whether Regal would ever be able to wrestle again.[84] He continued to work as a color commentator for NXT after FCW was rebranded as NXT.[85][86]

In late 2012, Regal played the role of Sheamus' friend in Sheamus' rivalry against Big Show, where he was repeatedly attacked by Show.[87] Regal was featured on the 6 November SmackDown in Birmingham, Regal teamed with Sheamus in a loss to Big Show and Wade Barrett,[88] and later on the 12 November Raw, Regal lost to Show.[89] On 1 December 2012 Regal defeated Ace Steel in a match for World League Wrestling in Eldon, Missouri.[90][91]

On 5 December, Regal started a feud with his former disciple, Kassius Ohno when he saved Tyson Kidd from an assault by Ohno and Leo Kruger.[92] When Regal later saved Derrick Bateman from Ohno's post-match attack, Ohno confronted Regal, who punched Ohno. The next week, Regal apologised to Ohno. In reply, Ohno stated that he had followed in Regal's footsteps to arrive in WWE, but that Regal's whole career had no legacy, leading to Regal punching Ohno again.[93] After both men continued to attack each other,[94][95] the rivalry culminated in a match on 11 April NXT, which Regal won.[96] Ohno later apologised to Regal.[97] On the 26 June NXT, Regal tried to help Ohno, Adrian Neville and Corey Graves from a joint assault by the Wyatt Family, Garrett Dylan and Scott Dawson, but was overwhelmed.[98] Two weeks later, Graves, Neville and Regal faced the Wyatt Family with Wyatt pinning Regal.[99] Regal's next feud on NXT was against Antonio Cesaro due to Regal saving Byron Saxton from Cesaro's bullying,[100] which culminated with Cesaro defeating Regal on the 25 December NXT.[101]

In July 2014, Regal was revealed as the new General Manager of NXT.[102] He announced the main event of NXT Takeover: Fatal 4 Way, a fatal 4 way match for the NXT Championship featuring defending NXT champion Adrian Neville against Tyler Breeze, Tyson Kidd and Sami Zayn.

Personal life[edit]

Matthews is left-handed. He has been married to Christina Beddoes since November 1986. They have three sons: Daniel,[103] Bailey,[104] and Dane.[105] His actual accent (broad Lancashire) is very different from the one he uses on television; one closer to Received Pronunciation. He has a tattoo on his left leg which says "Made in England" and a rose with his wife's name on his left arm. Matthews participated in an episode of The Weakest Link, winning two of the first three rounds and eventually finishing third. In the final three he was up against husband and wife Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.[106] His pets include two snakes, eight lizards, a tortoise, three cats, and two dogs. He humorously claims the reason he owns so many pets is because "Humans disgust me. Vile creatures".[107]

In 2003, Matthews was misdiagnosed with what was in fact a heart defect which meant the right side of his heart was beating out of sequence with the left. This allowed large volumes of fluid to build in his body.[108] After undergoing specialist treatment which involved stopping his heart and months of anti-blood clot treatments, he returned to wrestling in April 2004.[3] During his illness and recovery he put on, and then lost, 40 pounds in weight.[12]

While in WCW, he was arrested during a flight from Japan back to the United States when he got drunk and urinated on a stewardess. By Matthews' account in his book, he claims that he was so drunk that he could not remember the incident and woke up in a cell in Anchorage, Alaska.[109] On 30 August 2007, Sports Illustrated named Matthews, along with nine other superstars, found to be given illegal steroids not in compliance with the WWE Talent Wellness program. Matthews received stanozolol, somatropin, genotropin, and anastrozole between November 2004 and November 2006.[110][111]

In wrestling[edit]

Regal in Ireland
  • Nicknames
    • "The Man's Man"[3]
    • "Sir"[3]
    • "The Ringleader of the Tormentors"[4]
    • "The Goodwill Ambassador"
    • "The Old Pro"
    • "The British Brawler"
    • "The Gentleman Villain"
    • "The NXT General Manager"

Wrestlers trained[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Regal as Intercontinental Champion, accompanied by Layla.

Books[edit]

  • Matthews, Darren and Chandler, Neil (2005) Walking a Golden Mile, Pocket Books (ISBN 0-7434-7634-4)

References[edit]

[152]

  1. ^ a b "Walking a Golden Mile", p.1
  2. ^ a b c d "IGN: William Regal". IGN. Retrieved 19 May 2008. 
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