If you’ve taken in the past few weeks of RAW, you have noticed the that company has gone from a mold of wrestlers that are good one week, bad the next, to the old fashioned formula of good guys and bad guys. They toyed with the idea of “tweener” characters right before and right after WrestleMania XXIV, with two wrestlers standing out in that regard – The Big Show and JBL. Show was cheered mostly in his hyped feud vs Floyd Mayweather, while JBL challenged fellow bad guy Randy Orton for the WWE Title the night after Mania. Now, a month later, we see that Show is back to full-time face, while JBL is back to his heel-like ways on RAW.
That brings us to our newest evil superstar – William Regal. Hard to believe just about a month ago that Regal was nothing more than a pawn on RAW week in and week out. Sure he was the “General Manager,” but some weeks you’d forget he was even on the show. That clearly is not the case now. The company, for whatever reason, has decided to give Regal a role of full-time heel with a mean streak we have not seen in quite sometime. He is also a heel in power, as he’s still the GM on RAW, as as well as recently crowned “King of the Ring,” making his place on the bad guy chart right near the top.
Regal (the real life Darren Matthews) is one of the most interesting stories you’ll ever read about. Born in England, he started wrestling in carnivals on the North Pier of Blackpool at the age of 15. He did that till 1992, when he came to the US as “Roy Regal,” and then eventually “Steve Regal.” He became “Lord Steven Regal” in 1993 in WCW, and showed good success there, winning the TV Title four times. He was eventually fired for going into a shoot during a TV match with then rising star Bill Goldberg in 1998.
His first move to the WWE lasted about a year, then he was back in WCW for a second run. Once released in 2000, he came back to the WWE, where he’s been ever since. He was in an out of rehab for awhile, had meaningless feuds with guys like Scotty 2 Hotty, Paul Burchill, and others. Then his break came, as he started hanging with then “King” Booker T, and eventually worked his way back into the role of Interim GM of RAW. He then won a battle royale on August 6th to become the official GM or RAW, and has been ever since.
Regal has had plenty of in-ring matches, but many felt that his better wrestling days were behind the now 43-year-old (his 44th birthday is Saturday). Which is why the decision to allow him to win the KOTR and now have more power than ever was a first a bit strange. Consider it a “lifetime achievement award” for Regal, who has done all that could be asked of him, both good and bad, in his time with the company.
The plan for the new and improved evil Regal is for him to keep screwing the babyfaces, with antics like turning the lights out (we’ve seen it twice now in a week), stopping matches when he feels like it, and stacking odds against good guys like what he did on RAW Monday night. He’ll face new good guy Mr. Kennedy at Judgement Day, and I would be shocked if he does not win that match. There is even talk of a program with Triple H for the WWE Title strap.
It’s a fresh program for a guy that has worked hard in the ring and out to have a character fans can enjoy. It will be interesting to see how long the fans buy it, or if it gets the plug pulled as fan interest in Regal dwindles as time goes by.