US Wrestling Scene Interviews

William Regal Interview – Part 2

In part 2 of this interview William talks about his time in the states, from him favourite comedy moments, his thoughts on the redevelopment of Blackpool and his thoughts on UK star Paul Burchall who recently joined the WWE…

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> Click here to read Part 1 of this interview

Tony asks if you could be in any match in any era who and where would you like to be wrestling?

I’ve always thought I would have liked to be in my early twenties when I was travelling the world…travelling to England, Japan and Germany because that’s the style of wrestling I liked the most but I was lucky enough in the early 80s to be involved in that as well as the new stuff I’m a part of now. I often think I wouldn’t of been as well known through this but I would of spent a lot of time in Japan and that’s an era that has become a mythical era, especially with the Japanese fans. I don’t know if there would have been any one person as I have been lucky enough to wrestle everyone I have ever wanted to, I never thought I would get the chance to wrestle half the guys I have.

Dan asks during your time in the United States, you have had the opportunity to wrestle some of the all-time greats, including the likes of Ricky Steamboat, Ric Flair and Chris Benoit, but who has been your favourite opponent while wrestling in the United States?

In the states, it would have been Chris Benoit definitely. We have done so many matches together but nobody has ever seen most of them, most have been put to memory but I’m glad we’ve got one match on tape people get to see and we have had a lot better matches than that. There are a couple of matches from Japan you can get on tape but he has probably been my favourite.

Kevin Moss from Wigan asks during 2001 you participated in a lot of comedy segments which one stands out as your favourite?

Two favourite ones that stand out the most.

One was before I was commissioner, I was stood in Mr. McMahon’s office and Al Snow came in with some midgets, three midgets ran in and I threw a line out that wasn’t scripted or anything and no one else heard it accept me and I said must be a circus in town and it got me giggling, and they ran through my legs then Al Snow started giggling. That never got to camera because we had to stop, it’s one of the few times I have ever broke up laughing and the midgets were just looking at me.

Another time that was sort of wasted but it made me laugh, we do such a lot that’s suppose to be funny. Me and Mr. McMahon (in character) were stood together and I forget who it was we were talking about but I just looked at him and went bloody foreigners and he sort of looked out of the corner of his eye at me.

The thing I liked doing the most was when I had to dress up in drag I had an absolute ball doing that. It started off in the afternoon, I said I am going to need some high heels in twelve and a half, we were thinking where are we going to get them, no problem we were in Las Vegas they brought like four different pairs back from the drag shop and I took the red ones. I get the impression from people in this country that they think I’m up for a laugh but a lot of people in America take it so seriously. I grew up when most of my heroes were comedians like Les Dawson and I think what would they do. A lot of guys take themselves too seriously and I take it as a compliment that people ask me to do these things because I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do, I have never refused to do anything, the only time I would refuse to do anything is if I couldn’t make it entertaining. It’s not punishment when they ask me to do those things, if it was punishment I would go out there with a sulk on my face and wouldn’t make it funny. I entertain myself with it, you’ve got to.

Kevin also asks how do you think the wrestling business has changed from when you started wrestling to now?

There are the obvious changes but basically it is still the same. If you go out and do a good job people like it and appreciate it or they boo you or they cheer for you and that’s your job to get them to do that so that’s still the same. Obviously the production values!

I was used to more of a wrestling style but Chris Benoit does that now. He has just managed to do it, I haven’t quite figured that out but luckily I can entertain and that’s why I have kept on going because if it was just down to my style if I wasn’t an entertainer I wouldn’t of got as far as I have.

I haven’t figured out to do the four-minute matches they are just a rush to me but I just got use to them. My style works better in tags so I can get in do my thing and get out. I have never had a problem doing house shows but TV has always been a hard thing for me it’s like four minutes get in and get out, don’t look at the people just let them come to you, that’s not how I work, I go out and I have to listen to people and if they’re not reacting which they’re not when your rushing through things throws me off where Chris just goes out and batters everyone to death! Chris doesn’t hold back on anyone he just beats everyone to death, I have never seen him have a bad match as he takes it to everyone. He told me that a lot, he said you’re too easy going with people he said either they step up to you or you look good as your beating him up that’s his philosophy. Most people step up to him and they have a good match with him even if they are not very good themselves, they have to because they are fighting for their life with him. What a lot of people don’t realise is that when he is hitting you he is hitting you as hard as he can, he is hitting you in a safe place but he is hitting you as hard as he can and it hurts so you got to step up to him. I forgot the question now I often go off on tangents…

Robert Hodges asks: What was the biggest moment in your career? (Thanks for entertaining your fans like nobody else can!)

Thank you for that Robert. The biggest moment of my career…I can’t think of one, it obviously hasn’t happened yet as not one stands out!

I remember one match I had with Edge in the Yokahama arena which was the best I have ever felt in the ring. I don’t know if there has been any highlight, it has all been good. The first time I stood out on the seafront in Blackpool was the greatest feeling in the world, just stood there, I dont think I have got a feeling as good at that since. When I was 16 standing there it was like being in wonderland, sixteen and I’m a professional wrestler…and I’m still here!

James from Burnley asks how many reptiles do you currently have back in the states?

I have two snakes, eight lizards and a tortoise. The tortoise got mugged the other day I put him out in the garden and he got mugged by three snails I said what happened he said I don’t know it all happened too quick!

He also asks what are your thoughts on the plans to turn Blackpool into a Las Vegas style resort?

I think it is a very good idea. Blackpool has a lot going for it and if it has the right amount of money invested into it, it will bring it out of a stag and hen night place, a lot of the entertainment has gone out of it which has given it a bad rep. I think if they bring those things in it will bring a lot more people in and clean the place up. It has got every amenity you could possibly want there, all the theatres are already there, there are so many clubs and pubs at the moment and if you go inland there is Stanley park which is beautiful. There is money being invested in it at the moment, like whoever thought Liverpool would have been a cultural city really? I don’t think Blackpool will ever be a cultural place but its not suppose to be its suppose to be an entertainment place and it still is to a degree. The aspect of it I like is being able to go to shows, its still on but its not like it was. Even when I was there in the early 80s people use to say it wasn’t like it was ten years ago and people said the same in the 90s. Even Morecambe has had a comeback as they have made it up and made it look nice, I always used to like Morecambe but it used to be a joke.

Robert Heard from Rochdale says he has seen your match with Sting from 1995 in WCW and said it’s one of his favourite matches from that promotion. How highly do you rank that match and how upset were you when the nWo came along and denied you further scope to do more high card work like that?

If he is talking about the pay-per-view match we did as we did quite a few matches, I enjoyed it a lot. There was the angle leading up to it where I slap backhanded him in the mouth it was the first time they let swearing on WCW TV but they blipped it out because I hit him that hard. I liked Sting he was a genuinely nice guy to be around. The nWo thing in 1996 was probably the best year as far work rate goes until now I feel better now health-wise and work wise really on the ball but that was probably my best year, I had a problem then but it hadn’t started affecting my work rate yet. So by the time I had noticed the nWo having a real effect on me I was no good to anyone anyway as I was already going downhill, I can’t say it would have affected me if I had kept straight and kept going I’m sure there could have been some politics involved which kept me out but I don’t dwell on that kind of stuff because it never happened so why worry about it, I can only blame myself for anything going on there. As long as I was working well WCW was always good to me and they did the right thing when I messed up the got rid of me and that was the right thing to do, if it was up to me I would of got rid of me a long time before they did so they did me a favour, they kept me on longer than they should of done.

And finally William, a British wrestler under the name of Paul Burchall has recently been signed by the WWE and is currently down in OVW have you heard anything of him or how he is getting on?

I met Paul once and I have heard some good things about him and today I heard some more good things so I think he will do great. He has got everything he could possibly wish for it’s up to him how he takes it.

The WWE is a business and Vince McMahon is a businessman anyone who sits there that gripes I’m not getting a chance, everyone has been given the ball at one time to run with it, they might not know it at the time but they have been given an opportunity but if they don’t perform that’s how they do it. They don’t say we are going to give you a chance tonight, they will watch you at a house show and if you’re only working at half speed, you got be ready. Like the opportunity was given to me to become commissioner. On Thanksgiving night in 2000 I was in the main event with Rock, right before the match I was given a whole page which I had to get word perfect and I went out and did it. I have always had a good position for my talent and at the time that was as good as I could be. So everyone gets a chance so if you ever get these people griping to you its their problem. Paul Burchall with have a golden opportunity to make as much money or be as famous to wrestling fans as he wants to be its just the way he handles himself which I hear he is a nice guy and he’s got it made.

Adam Sibley

Buy William Regal’s new book:

UK: £12.59