Reporting on William Regal’s departure from AEW and return to WWE has come along with a significant number of takes about the how & why behind a pretty remarkable turn of events.
While making his public-if-second hand comments about Regal’s experience with AEW management, EC3 also told Sportskeeda the talent under contract to Tony Khan wasn’t terribly interested in being coached from a veteran who’s spent the past decade scouting & developing WWE Superstars:
“He’s too valuable to not be in a developmental system. And I know we can say ‘oh he’s there mentoring the people in AEW’, the thing is they are not listening.”
Wrestling pundit and indie manager Justin LaBar basically summarized that on Twitter yesterday (Dec. 4), leading to an exchange with Brian Pillman, Jr. The second-generation manager didn’t exactly paint a picture of a locker room fighting for spots under Regal’s learning tree, but he did dispute the notion no one was interested in what the old villain had to offer.
This is not entirely true. There are several of us, myself included, who spent multiple hours before TV working with Regal and learning from him. Should there have been more? Maybe, but he and Danielson always had a solid audience around the ring before TV.— Brian Pillman Jr. (@FlyinBrianJr) December 5, 2022
I know you said “some”, I just didn’t want the narrative to be that he was just standing there preaching to the air. Some days there would be 10 guys out there soaking it in, some days it would just be me and wheeler and Lee. I didn’t mind when his attention wasn’t spread as thin— Brian Pillman Jr. (@FlyinBrianJr) December 5, 2022
Yeah I wasn’t trying to argue just wanted to add some context.— Brian Pillman Jr. (@FlyinBrianJr) December 5, 2022
Shout out to LaBar and Pillman for a civil Twitter exchange. Other than that, what can we take away from their conversation?
That we know of, Regal was only on-screen talent for AEW and didn’t have an official coaching role. But if he & Bryan Danielson were offering their insights freely, you’d think more than 3-10 people would show up — if for no other reason than to not give a universally respected & very well connected guy the impression you’re not interested in what he has to say.
But this also could be another example of the backstage divide some say exists at AEW, where we’ve heard the wrestlers who found success outside the WWE system can be resistant to taking direction from people who came from that system (in this speculation, Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley aren’t thought of as ex-WWE guys because of their independent & international experience and status as AEW originals).
Will we ever know? Regal in particular seems way too professional to ever bad mouth former employers and co-workers publicly, so probably not. That’s never stopped wrestling fans before, though. Let us know what you think, Cagesiders.