AEW's William Regal on Blackpool Combat Club, Keys to Success in Pro WrestlingMay 11, 2022
When it comes to pro wrestling legends, few are as universally respected by fans and wrestlers as William Regal.
His career in the industry spans more than 30 years and includes runs with several different promotions, including both WCW and WWE at the height of their powers.
Nowadays, the former King of the Ring is helping others in their quest for greatness by running The Blackpool Combat Club in All Elite Wrestling. With Bryan Danielson, Jon Moxley and Wheeler Yuta as his proteges, Regal has quickly built one of the most popular factions in all of pro wrestling.
We had a chance to speak to the Englishman about joining AEW, forming the BCC, how he's feeling physically, his approach to performing and much more.
How He is Holding Up
No matter what kind of style you work, spending over 30 years in the wrestling business is going to take its toll on your body.
Regal has dealt with his fair share of injuries over the years, but he is doing well these days as he celebrated turning 54 on Tuesday.
"I feel as good as I can possibly feel as far as from what I've been through, if that makes any sense," he said. "You know, major neck surgeries. I've had a pericardiectomy, which was this very, very rare thing to have. Thirty years as a wrestler, 26 of those full-time.
"So I've just finished doing 200 Hindu squats, and 100 Hindu push-ups and walked a couple of miles. So for being 54 in a few days, I feel as good as I think I'm ever going to. I probably could feel a bit better if I really put my mind to it as far as getting my work done on my body and all that kind of stuff, or doing extra bits of whatever, but I think I feel as good as I possibly can be and for what I've done with my life, so I feel good."
Regal made his AEW debut at the Revolution pay-per-view on March 6 at the end of Danielson and Moxley's brutal encounter.
As somebody who has had a big impact on the careers of both men, he took it upon himself to break up their post-match fight and put them on the same page.
And the four-time WCW TV champion seems to be having the time of his life with his new role.
"I've enjoyed it immensely," Regal said. "How many weeks am I in? I really don't even know how many weeks, it's just gone by so quickly. And if I actually take a step out of it for a second and look back and think, 'Well, I was fortunate enough to get brought into this company to be in a role. And that role worked out.'
"And we're only in two months, which is nothing really, and we've made a new star. And we haven't even scratched the surface of what we can do with this group. It's just been great."
Forming the Blackpool Combat Club
When Regal confronted Moxley and Danielson at Revolution, he instantly put them in their place with a couple of slaps to the face. Once everybody calmed down, they immediately got on the same page and began forming a plan.
A few weeks later, Yuta was added to the group. He not only proved himself in a brutal encounter against Mox, but he also didn't back down from Regal despite being a bloody mess after the match.
They took the ROH Pure champion under their wing and have been dominating ever since. Regal spoke about bringing the group together and how it all came about.
"So Bryan gave me a call," he said. "It might have been three weeks maybe before I actually debuted, and he said 'Could you talk to Tony [Khan] please? Would you like to come in here? We have this idea.' And I thought, 'That sounds like a lot of fun.' And then I talked to Tony, and it all sounded like a lot of fun to come in as a talent and again just be me and be with Bryan because we've got such a long history together.
"Then I started watching the show because when I was let go by WWE, I checked out of wrestling completely. It might have only been six weeks, but when I say that I checked out, I checked out because all I've ever done is wrestling. And the only times I haven't done it is has been when I've been really, really ill.
"So it wasn't my job anymore. Let me have a complete break from this and not think about it, except for stuff that I liked, which is watching old British wrestling with my son who lives in England. We watched some old British stuff and some old Japanese stuff, and that was it. Then I was checked out.
"So I started watching the show. And then I saw Bryan mentioning there was stuff going on with him and Jon, which looked to me like they were going to be together. And then I spoke to Bryan again. He said, 'Yes, this is the idea.' So I'm saying, 'Thank you. Great.' So I turn up and just do my thing. I didn't know what I was doing until about maybe 15 minutes before we actually did it.
"I got to the building at 7:15 p.m. or something that night. I was in the room. Finally, Jon and Bryan came in and said 'Right, here we go. This is it.' And I'm like "What, this is it?"
"They told me, 'Yep, this is it. We're going out and having a match in a bit, we'll see you then. You just come out and react.' And that's exactly what we did. I just went out and reacted. And, you know, they gave me half an idea of what they wanted and where they wanted to go."
The name of the group is obviously a reference to where Regal grew up and got his start in the business, but he wasn't the one to suggest Blackpool Combat Club as the group's title.
"So the name, the Blackpool Combat Club, it was Jon's idea. I was like, 'You sure you want to call it that?' And Jon said, 'Yeah, it sounds great.'Wheeler's name was mentioned and he came on board. And then we're where we're at, as of this moment. And so that's how it's all worked out.
"We all get on together and just seem to work. Whatever it is, it just seems to click, which is a fantastic thing to have. Something else I've been very fortunate with. I've never been involved with any group or tag team that I haven't clicked with, which is a great thing to have. And I seem to just be clicking with this group, and they get on together. And we all get on together, and it just clicks.
"And that's what's happening at the moment. When you're comfortable being who you are, you can go out and pull anything off really, once you've done this a while. And we just all seem to work as a unit."
Giving Advice to Young Talent
All Elite Wrestling @AEW
"You're going to remember us, because of the scars we left on you" @RealKingRegal outlines the core tenets of the #BlackpoolCombatClub, as demonstrated by @JonMoxley, @bryandanielson & @WheelerYuta. Tune in to #AEWDynamite LIVE at 8/7c TOMORROW on TBS to catch them in action. https://t.co/DA1HlwSqq0
For years, Regal has been passing his wealth of knowledge on to the next generation of pro wrestlers. He worked with many people in NXT, and he is continuing to help the roster in AEW both on and off-screen.
"I love being around a lot of young talents who want to be wrestlers," he said. "I enjoy it because I was very fortunate when I was a teenager to get into this job with the best wrestlers possible in Britain, and then Europe, and then different parts of the world.
"Because they knew I wasn't going anywhere and I worked hard, they gave me all their time and taught me a lot. I've never forced myself on anybody, but anybody wants to come and work on wrestling, that's what I love to do.
"I feel bad that I haven't gotten enough time for the amount of people who are coming up to me. You know, I just want to start working on something with somebody, that's the day gone. I'm really enjoying it."
His Approach to Performing
As a veteran of the business, Regal has done just about everything you could imagine. He has played the hero and the villain, he has worked as both a serious and a comedic character, and he has worked with opponents at every level.
The BCC leader has learned to not only make the most of every situation but also how to enjoy himself while he is doing it.
"I love the fact that I can just go out and be me, which took a bit of getting used to, to be honest," Regal said. "And when I say me, there is no real me. There's whatever William Regal turns into, and that is influenced from all kinds of wrestlers, all kinds of entertainers, a lot of old British stuff.
"It's very similar to when I was Lord Steven Regal in WCW. And nobody's saying don't do that. And really, I didn't have [people saying no] in WWE. I was very fortunate there because Mr. McMahon trusted me with whatever he gave me. And so when I hear these stories about people, you know, having to do these different things. I was given ideas, and it was just 'Go and do it.'
"And I've always had the attitude of 'Let's just make it work.' So I've just gone and done it. This might offend a few people but you hear these things, 'Well, they have all these writers, scripts, all the stuff.' Well, they do that so you know what you're doing.
"As long as you earn the trust first, and they know that you can actually pull off what they need, you take that and make it your own and go and sit in the stands for an hour, and like 'How can I make this into something and use my own words.' As long as you get that trust at the beginning, when you go there, you can go where you want with that stuff."
While being a pro wrestler involved a certain level of acting, Regal doesn't see himself as an actor in the strictest sense. He approaches things from more of a reactionary standpoint.
"There's learning how to react, or there's being an actor," he said. "I'm not an actor, I react to things. And it takes a long time to get to that. But fortunately, I had a lot of experience before I came here and failed miserably. That was before I came to America and died on my backside a thousand times trying different things.
"But once I came here, I just learned to react to situations. And so whatever you've got, you can make it into something. I've got that now, where I can just go out and be William Regal, and whatever's on my mind or however the mood takes me.
"I'm even sat there saying stuff and thinking, 'Where's that come from?' It's like something that somebody said 50 years ago and I happen to see on a piece of film 30 years ago, and it just comes out for me. So I'm really enjoying that bit of it.
"So, again, I've been fortunate that I've had a lot of that in my career where I've had some great talent where I could just go out and be amazed. For any younger talent reading this, you have to earn that trust with whatever company you're working for. You have to earn that trust first. I'm having a blast."
The Full Conversation
Regal was generous with his time and we spoke for over an hour on many topics. To hear the full conversation, check out the video above.
Here is a list of some of the other topics he covered:
- Whether he has considered a career in acting.
- What makes Danielson, Moxley and Yuta special.
- Wrestlers like Danhausen getting themselves over in the pandemic era.
- The relationship between comedy and pro wrestling.
- What we can expect from his new podcast.
- Review of a TV series.
All quotes were given directly to the author and edited for clarity. You can follow William Regal on Twitter @RealKingRegal and you can follow Chris Mueller @BR_Doctor.