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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: William Regal vs. Developmental

June 12, 2015 | Posted by TJ Hawke
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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: William Regal vs. Developmental  

The concept of this review is pretty simple. William Regal, one of the most talented wrestlers ever, has had a handful of feuds/matches in FCW and NXT in the last five years. This review will look at all of them.


After Ambrose cut promos on Regal for a while and eventually attacked him, Regal finally snapped and attacked Ambrose backstage one time in FCW. Regal cut one of the best promos that I have ever seen. He managed to elevate Ambrose in this promo and establish his own motivation for his part in their feud. It was a thing of beauty.


June 11, 2011

William Regal vs. Dean Ambrose

[Not sure who said it, but one of the commentators spoke derisively about Regal’s promo as being “perverted.” First of all, professional wrestling is as erotic as it gets. Get over it. Second of all, that was a totally unnecessary homophobic comment.]

Wow, this match was beautiful in how ugly it was worked. Regal basically took away Ambrose’s left arm early on, and this forced Ambrose to be scrappy to keep the match somewhat competitive. Regal’s work on the left arm was predictably awesome, violent, and unique for the WWE environment. The way he used the steps and the apron to bash Ambrose’s already-injured arm was just perfect professional wrestling. Ambrose’s instincts of going for Regal’s eyes to give himself a chance felt equally unique just because it’s so rare for any WWE match to have action that makes so much sense from a fighting and character perspective.

It was also just interesting to watch some Dean Ambrose again before he joined the Shield. There’s very little difference between his mannerisms in this match and his mannerisms as “Jon Moxley” on the indies. This helps to make him stand out (although I definitely prefer his work as Dean Ambrose in that regard). Regal proved, as he almost always did when given a chance, that he was one of the most interesting performers on the WWE payroll in this match.

The fact that Regal, the babyface, took most of the offense and won clean actually made for a great story. A WWE match where the semi-retired veteran babyface beating the hot prospect, heel is a good thing? I know, it sounds unlikely but I promise you it was well-executed. (****)


We saw some more footage of their feud from FCW TV. While William Regal was attending to Maxine after some FCW angle, Dean Ambrose attacked Regal. Regal fought back though and sent Ambrose to the floor. Maxine, the FCW GM at the time got a huge smile on her face.


On an episode after that, we saw a Dean Ambrose promo. He says Regal cannot beat him again and that Regal knows that.


July 15, 2012

William Regal vs. Dean Ambrose

While I ever-so slightly prefer the first match between these two, this was absolutely a fitting “part 2” of their in-ring feud. Regal goes right back after Ambrose’s left arm which the commentators explained had been rumored to have never fully heeled after the first Ambrose/Regal match. Ambrose, again, is forced to get a bit desperate in his attempt to survive this beating. The difference is that he finds an opening in the match that allows him to nearly knock Regal out instead of just merely delaying the inevitable. Ambrose sends Regal into a ringpost, and Regal is never the same after that. In a delightfully bizarre finish, Regal actually gets in the last blow (running forearm) of the match, but Regal is so out of it that he’s not able to get back up on his feet. This was technically ruled a “No Contest,” but it was clear that Ambrose was the better man on this night. The post-match angle confirmed it as Regal looked impressed with Ambrose and literally applauded his effort…only for Ambrose to knock his head off with a Knee Trembler. This whole feud was just great professional wrestling. (****)


April 10, 2013

William Regal vs. Kassius Ohno

The commentators talked about Kassius Ohno growing to hate William Regal in the build-up for this match but that element was nearly completely missing from his performance. Regal was his usual great self here, but I though Ohno dropped the ball in delivering the performance he needed to. It is especially apparent how lacking it was when you watch this match right after the Ambrose matches. Things picked up in the second half of the match when Regal went after Ohno’s fingers, and Ohno knocked Regal loopy. The latter certainly felt derivative of the final Ambrose/Regal match though and didn’t feel nearly as earned as it did there. In the context of a typical NXT television episode, this would probably feel very unique and rewarding. In the context of a bunch of William Regal matches, I found it wanting. (***)


July 11, 2013

William Regal, Adrian Neville, & Corey Graves vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, & Erick Rowen)

This match was quite dumb. It ended up being all about building to a William Regal hot tag, which sounds LOVELY in theory. Unfortunately, the work done by The Wyatt Family and the beatdown taken by Neville were not performed in a manner that was all that compelling. Regal threatened to salvage the match with his spirited hot tag. Then the finish happened. Regal took one move from Erick Rowan (who was breaking up a pin on Harper), and then he just had to lay there for a while as if he had been given the pedigree. Bray eventually gets into the ring to give him the Sister Abigail to pick up the win. I have no idea who put this match together but there was no inspiration to it whatsoever. Between that, the dead environment it was worked in front of, and the bizarrely timed finish, this felt like a waste of Regal and a waste of my time. (**)


December 25, 2013

William Regal vs. Antonio Cesaro

Everything about this match felt like a big deal (they even had Howard Finkel do the ring introductions!). If there was one thing missing from the Regal/Ambrose matches, it was the “big fight” feel. That probably speaks more to the FCW setting than it does to anything the competitors did to be fair. Even with a fairly cold crowd, the NXT arena in Full Sail just allows for the feeling of importance when the match warrants it. These two took advantage of the build/setting and had themselves a hell of a battle.

While the first stage of the match was filled with grappling, the match really picked up about a third of the way through when Cesaro started targeting Regal’s left leg. Just as Regal appeared to be finished off, he managed to get back into the match by going after the left arm to keep Cesaro at bay long enough to give himself a chance to win. Regal’s injured leg failed him though, and that gave Cesaro enough opportunities to finish him off. Cesaro ended up busting out a dropkick and a double stomp on the HEAD of Regal. I love when wrestlers save moves they don’t normally do for ultra-competitive matches where they truly *need* to use them. They allowed Cesaro to finish Regal off the Neutralyzer. Cesaro’s hesitance to put Regal away right away was a lovely character beat to give him a bit more depth. Beautiful stuff all around. (****1/4)


Watch some William Regal matches for free!

William Regal vs. Daniel Bryan

William Regal vs. The Rock

William Regal vs. Christian

William Regal vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. (Really good match. One of Smith’s best ever.)

William Regal vs. Tajiri

William Regal & CM Punk vs. Christian & R-Truth

William Regal & Zack Ryder vs. Christian & Yoshi Tatsu

William Regal’s WWF Debut

William Regal vs. Goldust

William Regal vs. Christian

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
William Regal's work in these matches was just fantastic, and it was a true pleasure to go back and watch them again. The fact that the only time WWE truly got serious about promoting Regal as a big deal is when he got popped for a wellness violation is practically an artistic tragedy. Regardless, it is a blessing that we got the matches we've gotten from him over the last fifteen years in a company that never really knew how to present him. Make sure you watch all the singles matches discussed here.