Cagesiders, it's that time of the week again. Time for the Underrated and Under Appreciated Wrestler Series to give another wrestling legend his due.
"HEEEEEEEEEEE'S A MAN!"
With a razor sharp wit and top notch technical ring work, William Regal had everything a professional wrestling fan could want from a superstar. Regal had a grasp of wrestling psychology that few others have ever achieve and it was reflected in everything he did inside the ring and out.
All the pieces existed for Regal to be a top star in the wrestling business, but it never came to pass. He just couldn't get out of his own way.
Regal began his career in the big leagues as part of WCW in the mid 90's. As Lord Steven Regal, he would capture the WCW Television Championship four times and take Robert Eaton under his wing to teach him the finer points of civilized culture.
Regal's run in WCW would come to an unceremonious end in 1998 after he refused to job to Goldberg quietly. On the February 9 edition of Nitro, Regal was booked to be squashed by the rising star. Regal, unsatisfied with this, worked Goldberg stiff and put on a competitive match instead of the planned squash.
WCW fired him that night.
The WWF quickly snatched Regal up and sent him to get in shape by training under Dory Funk, Jr. Unfortunately, during this time he would break his ankle and leg, injuries that would put him on the path to drug addiction. Regal would eventually make his WWF debut in the fall of 1998 with everyone's favorite gimmick -- the Real Man's Man.
This would not last for long however, as Regal checked into rehab in January of 1999 and would be released by WWF a couple of months later.
Regal would return to WCW at Bash at the Beach 1999 as part of the first Hardcore Invitational. He wouldn't gain much traction in his second run with WCW and was released again in early 2000.
WWF was once again there to catch him. Not expecting much from Regal, he was sent to the WWF's developmental territory until the Third Annual Brian Pullman Memorial Show. On the show, Regal wrestled Chris Benoit in a match that brought the house down and earned himself a spot on the main roster once again.
After being the first member of the Vince McMahon Kiss My Ass Club, Raw General Manager, crier for King Booker's Court, and holding various mid card titles- Regal seemed poised to finally make it to the top of the mountain in 2008 when he won the King of the Ring in April.
At the age of 40, this was Regal's last shot to get pushed to a Word Title and billing at the top of the card. This shot would be wasted as Regal was suspended for violating the Wellness Program.
Regal's return from suspension and subsequent Intercontinental Title run would demonstrate probably the most significant way in which he is under appreciated -- his ability to put someone over.
After a disastrous world heavyweight championship title reign, CM Punk was lost within the shuffle. That would not last forever though as throughout January 2009, Regal would put Punk back on the map in the eyes of management and the fans in a series of matches that stole the show each and every night.
As Regal's in ring career has wound down, he has transitioned to producing and commentating for NXT but that doesn't prevent the occasional foray into the ring to help put someone on the map. Regal provided Dean Ambrose with two matches that would help bring him notoriety within the company and is doing the same for Kassius Ohno currently.
William Regal never made it to the top of the mountain himself, but as a backstage presence, veteran leader, and trainer (he has trained CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Kassius Ohno, and Samoa Joe) his ongoing legacy will be those wrestlers he has helped get to the top.
Some of Regal's finest matches: