The Legacy of William Regal in AEW
Ten months. That is the amount of time that “His Lordship” William Regal used to leave a mark in AEW in 2022. From his calm, commanding aura to the young wrestlers he endorsed; Regal truly enhanced the product wherever he appeared. And that same year, he would make his exit from the promotion, leaving behind a positive, felt impact.
Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights of William Regal’s 2022 run in All Elite Wrestling.
William Regal’s AEW Debut
Regal made his unannounced debut following Jon Moxley v Bryan Danielson at Revolution 2022. Moxley and Danielson refused to break it off following the bout. Then, out of nowhere comes a livid Regal (to no music other than that of a crowd losing its mind) to slap sense into the 2 men.
It was a surprise, it was weird seeing it, and it made you go, “What the hell is happening?” But most of all, you rejoiced that William Regal is playing a major part in pro wrestling again.
Blackpool Combat Club
After the 2 men bled with each other, just as Moxley had promised, the Moxley-Danielson partnership was a go. Moxley would soon utter the words Blackpool Combat Club into existence, which would be the name of the new faction.
BCC would bluntly tell the world their mission statement: “Step up or get stepped on.” Under Regal’s mentorship, BCC wouldn’t just be a tag team, but a violent training system, a badge of honor for those who reveled in the initiation. Regal’s ringing endorsements on commentary for BCC members and opponents alike elevated them twice over, most notably technical prodigies like Wheeler Yuta and Daniel Garcia.
Thus, the unit of Regal, Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli, and Wheeler Yuta was born. And what a successful concept it proved to be.
Wheeler Yuta “Slap of Honor”
Relative newcomer Wheeler Yuta was brought into AEW by the Best Friends faction but quickly caught the interest of Regal and the rest of BCC. In that period, Yuta suffered loss after loss to Moxley and Danielson, the shortest of which would be a mere 47-second loss to Moxley. Following a tag team loss to Moxley and Danielson, however, Yuta would receive the so-called William Regal “Slap of Honor.”
This slap may have forced young Wheeler to reexamine his career priorities and commit to 1 learning tree. The whole saga would culminate one week after Yuta captured the ROH Pure Championship when he gives Moxley the bloodbath of a lifetime on Rampage. And the rest is history.
“This isn’t playing at being a professional wrestler anymore. This is the world of being a professional wrestler. A world where pain is constant. A world where torture is just done for fun…”William Regal, 5/4/22
Arguably Regal’s greatest promo in AEW. Certainly a Top 5 promo on an AEW-wide list. And it was published innocuously on the promotion’s Twitter/Youtube page.
In it, he describes the BCC training philosophy from his own, frankly sadistic, perspective.
All the praise for team who created this masterpiece so quickly. It’s a shame this never made TV in its pure form.
Commentary and interactions with Excalibur
Regal and Excalibur’s commentary interactions was legitimately one of the most wholesome, anticipated parts of the shows. Regal offered a lot of insight into the intricacies of applying and countering holds. And when BCC members would lose too much advantage, his very silence — as the “Man in the Mask” often pointed out — spoke volumes.
But the Excalibur bits when Regal first arrives at the desk really take the cake. It was cool hearing everyone at the desk instantly loosen up after it. Then as matches progressed, Regal praising Excalibur’s stellar work on commentary took the charm to another level. No other guest commentator would do that for Excalibur on-the-air, and certainly not to the level that Regal did.
Then he casually drops a line like, “I’m an eccentric Englishman, I can get away with anything.” And you remember the villain you’re dealing with here, sunshine.
“You’ve still got a lot to prove”
The intriguing prospect of the two devils in AEW coming face-to-face would finally happen when MJF’s quest for the World Championship (held by Moxley) drew near. And two devils eliminated a “villain.”
BCC’s mastermind mentor stood opposite MJF, during what we might call the latter’s peak anti-hero era, weeks before Full Gear 2022. We saw an excellent verbal battle not between petty instigators, but between 2 irreconcilable generations. Both Regal and MJF’s perspectives were personal and compelling — and personal and compelling compels audiences to find their hero, where deep down they know there isn’t one.
And the story ends with one devil paying the other a favor, and the other stabbing them in the back as thanks. A fitting end for a very nice, very evil man: a Gentleman Villain, if you will.