wrestling / News

William Regal Recalls Rip Rogers Helping Him Get to America, Telling Bill Watts ‘No,’ Handwriting His Resume

November 12, 2022 | Posted by Jonathan Hunter
William Regal AEW Dynamite Image Credit: AEW

On a recent edition of the Gentleman Villain podcast, William Regal discussed how the infamous Rip Rogers helped him get hired to WCW, the way wrestlers got booked in the late 80s/early 90s, and telling Bill Watts “no” when asked to leave Germany before his run was up. You can check out some highlights below:

On working with Rip Rogers in Germany and Austria: “I spent six and a half months in Germany in 1992 with Rip, and he ended up living with me in my trailer, cause we used to be in tournaments and we’d be in the same building for months in one building. Living in trailers, like the circus. I used to let Rip sleep in the other end of my trailer. I had my bedroom at one end and he slept on the couch at the other. And we were like chalk and cheese.”

On Rip Rogers’ connection to Bill Watts: “But he helped get me to America, believe it or not, Rip Rogers. […] I’d had tryouts for WCW and WWE in 1991, and they said ‘we like you and we’ll bring you in.’ In 1992 I was in Hanover, Germany, for nine weeks with Rip. I was with him the whole from June through December in different places in Austria and Germany. And Rip said to me ‘I’ve just called my wife at home’ — and you used to have to walk an eighth of a mile to get to the phone box in those days, right? — and he’d called his wife and said ‘there’s a new booker in WCW called Bill Watts. Are you still in contact with them?’ ‘Yeah, they’ve got me on file.’ He said, ‘how’s your handwriting?’ I said, ‘it’s the only good thing I’ve got.'”

On handwriting his resume: “And Rip said, ‘Bill Watts, I’ve wrestled for him, he’s very particular about things. Did you send a typed resume?’ In those days, you didn’t have tapes of anything to send. It was just to send all the promoters around the world an 8×10 of you with your resume. That’s how you got booked. […] Every two months, I would send out to all promoters all over the world and it kept me solidly booked. [Rip] said, ‘can you handwrite your resume?’ I had my resume, but Rip dictated a few paragraphs about me training diligently and this and that. He said ‘I know what Bill Watts likes to hear.’ I sent that away. Five days later, I called my wife — I had to walk an eighth of a mile to the phone box — I called my wife, and she said: ‘Bill Watts’ secretary from WCW has just called, can you call them immediately?'”

On his first phone call with Bill Watts:  “I had to walk back the eighth of a mile to where everybody was staying, get as many Deutschsmarks as I could — it used to be coin one Deutschmarks — firing ’em in the phone box, me arms going in like a fiddler’s elbow, just in and out trying to put these coins in. Got put straight through to Bill Watts. He said “right, can you start straightaway?” This is 1992, I said. He said “why not?” I said I’m booked here til Christmas. [Watts] said: ‘Have you got a contract?’ I said no, but I’ve gave my word.”

On thinking he’d lost the job: “[Watts] went completely silent on the phone and I thought, well, that’s that then. And then he went: “you’ve definitely got the job now. Most people would’ve just quit if they hadn’t got a contract. I like that in you.” And that’s how I ended up coming to America — by being a man of, you know, I’ve always been a man of my word.”

If using any of the above quotes, please credit Gentleman Villain with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.