This is part II of my take / summary of William Regal’s work as General Manager of NXT. This page covers the year 2015, a quite eventful year in which we saw the continuous and further growth of NXT. And the GM William Regal was an essential part of it. Enjoy reading and watching the videos.

January 2015 – The prizefighter gets his will

The new year started easily for the General Manager with a backstage announcement that Sami Zayn would return next week to update the NXT Universe on his injury. But then Curtis Axel interrupted William Regal again, so he had no choice to finally grant him a match in NXT and he did so with a match against Hideo Itami next week.

And the next week Sami Zayn did have his say in the ring. He was joined by Adrian Neville in the ring when Sami Zayn offered Adrian Neville his re-match. William Regal came out to this and the NXT crowd chanted his name. The GM listened to them but finally said that this is not about him but the two competitors in the ring. This showed even more that William Regal isn’t there for personal fame but actually there to help the younger generation and in his role as GM to play a serious and competent authority figure. Well done for this little statement here, Mr Regal. And for his actual announcement he made the re-match of Sami Zayn vs Adrian Neville for the coming week. Later on he also showed his funny side when he made it clear that NXT is moved from Thursdays to Wednesdays from coming next week.

When the start of this year was running smoothly, William Regal three weeks into that new year had a hell lot more to do. Before the show he welcomed everyone rather calmly and referred to the NXT Championship match last week that Sami Zayn won. But later on he had to come inside the ring to calm down Sami Zayn who just beat down Tye Dillinger because he wanted to get a match against Kevin Owens. Both men kind of discussed it and William Regal ended up announcing a non title match between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens for the coming NXT TakeOver special on 11 February 2015. And backstage the General Manager announced the contract signing for this very match for the coming NXT show. But he wasn’t finished for this show. Because Bayley made it clear that she wanted to challenge Charlotte for the NXT Women’s Championship, he announced a Fatal 4-Way match for this very title between Charlotte, Bayley, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks, also for the coming NXT TakeOver show.

And one week later the contract signing between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens indeed happened. But General Manager William Regal made it clear that he wouldn’t allow fighting and though would cancel the match if the contract signing would end up like every other contract signing in WWE. That was welcomed by loud cheers by the NXT crowd. But it still didn’t end up like the GM imagined before. Because he had to change the non title match to a Championship match. And you can watch for the very reason in the video below. Emotion, good storytelling and all three men inside the ring executed this segment brilliantly.

11 February 2015 – NXT TakeOver: Rival and the murder of Sami Zayn

NXT TakeOver RIVAL - Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn and William Regal

For this very NXT TakeOver show there wasn’t much about and of the General Manager. There was actually everything about this rivalry and the very match between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. So during the show William Regal was seen twice, first when the referee had a few words with the challenger Kevin Owens and again the GM tried to kill him with his evil look. But Kevin Owens basically ignored Mr Regal. Quite the opposite picture we had later on when the General Manager visited the NXT Champion Sami Zayn during his chat with the referee. But then the match happened and it was one sided all over. William Regal only came to the ring when Sami Zayn was laid down on the canvas by the hands of new champ Kevin Owens and then led the beaten former champion outside of the arena.

February to April 2015 – It’s a new era in NXT and Alex Riley wants to be Kevin Owens’ next victim

William Regal_collage

William Regal’s statement after this epic NXT TakeOver: Rival show alone let me write another comment / blog post about this very NXT show. Because not only what he had to say about Kevin Owens, also the way he said it, really turned him into the Godfather of NXT. Everything here was right: his soft voice but at the same time his sharp and direct words, his staring and very clear eyes and the sharp hand gestures. Plus him placed right in the centre of his office, casually leant against his desk made the impression of a fair General Manager until everyone plays to his rules. Really a great impression that added to the depth of William Regal’s character as the authority figure in NXT.

And because William Regal is in charge and not Kevin Owens, the GM decided that Adrian Neville will have his revenge against Kevin Owens. Later on William Regal discussed the surprise appearance of Rhyno and that he consistently get calls from all over the world from people who want to be a part of NXT.

Now because Finn Bálor came out NXT TakeOver as the no. 1 contender for the NXT Championship, Kevin Owens sat beside the commentators to watch his match. Alex Riley as one commentator basically begged for a reaction by Kevin Owens when he told him that he, Riley, wouldn’t have done to a friend what Kevin Owens did to Sami Zayn. So after Finn Bálor won his match, Kevin Owens set a statement by throwing Alex Riley across the commentators table. And William Regal had to suffer because right after that Alex Riley stormed the GM’s office to demand a match for himself against Kevin Owens. But William Regal didn’t give in; he made it clear that Alex Riley can do only one thing. So he should made up his mind if he wants to be a commentator or a competitor. The following week Alex Riley was still doing commentary when Kevin Owens appeared again at ringside to finally spilled water into Alex Riley’s face. And again the man stormed Mr Regal’s office to interrupt a rather boring conversation with CJ Parker. The result was that Alex Riley quit commentary and got a first match against CJ Parker to prove himself worthy of a match against the NXT Champion. The GM only wanted to save Alex Riley but the man was too blind to notice that.

NXT did its first little tour away from Florida, USA, and Alexa Bliss was overjoyed because she won a non title match against new women’s champion Sasha Banks. She expressed her enjoyment backstage but Sasha Banks wasn’t there to join in. William Regal appeared before something ugly could happen but also made an actual title match between these two women for the next NXT show.

William Regal_collage The General Manager took a bit time out from his on screen job to scout for new talent. So he was only seen back in April but with a bang. Because for his first show back, William Regal had a lot to do and even more to deal with. Sami Zayn made it clear before that he was ready for his re-match against Kevin Owens, so the new NXT Champion called him out. But William Regal appeared instead to tell Kevin Owens again that he doesn’t make the rules in NXT, so he can’t call out anyone he wants. But also Kevin Owens made something clear to the General Manager, that he doesn’t have any respect for him, that he wants Sami Zayn out there and that William Regal isn’t Sami Zayn, so he doesn’t care what the GM has to say. From this point on there was a certain smell hanging in the air, the smell of a match between Kevin Owens and William Regal and it probably only didn’t happen because of William Regal’s health issues. But the story itself was told pretty well and kept us watching week after week.

Now Sami Zayn appeared nevertheless but William Regal didn’t want any circus, so he just made the title match between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn on the next NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable show on 20 May 2015. There still was a little heated debate between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn whether to put the title on the line or not but the result was the same. Back in his office, William Regal just thanked Sami Zayn for signing his contract, when Alex Riley appeared and once again demanded another match against Kevin Owens after he already suffered a loss against the man. Sami Zayn told him a few words about his former best friend and offered himself for a match next week that Alex Riley just barely accepted. And even more later on William Regal announced another match for the coming NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable special with a Triple Threat Match for the no. 1 contender for the NXT Championship between Tyler Breeze, Hideo Itami and Finn Bálor. And to hype it even more, Mr Regal told us a few words about every competitor in that match, especially Tyler Breeze.

May 2015 – Uhaa Nation a.k.a Apollo Crews makes it to NXT

Credit: NXT on Instagram.
Credit: NXT on Instagram.
With the first NXT show in May the evolution of NXT further grew with the signing of another Indie star in Uhaa Nation, now know as Apollo Crews. William Regal handed him over the contract during the show while the NXT Universe got to see a few things about the new recruit.

Credit: wrestling-giffer on Tumblr.
Credit: wrestling-giffer on Tumblr.
But that wasn’t all the work the General Manager had to do this work. He also had to deal with another contract signing, this time for the match for the NXT Women’s Championship at the coming NXT TakeOver show between Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks. As a real gentleman he couldn’t do anything when Sasha Banks attacked Becky Lynch after the signing, so separating these two women wasn’t as easy as controlling guys like Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Later on William Regal still had a lot of praise for both competitors and expected a great championship match.

The coming week – one week before NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable – it was all about promoting this very show, so we got a lot of backstage promos and short matches. And also the General Manager had his say about the main event between NXT Champion Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Once again I had written down William Regal’s analysis and expectation, so you can read and / or watch it right here.

20 May 2015 – NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable and William Regal is back fighting

The main storyline certainly happened between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens but there certainly was another storyline lurking in the backyard and that was the continuous search of William Regal for at least some minor respect from Kevin Owens. When there are too many loose strings in WWE, almost anything in NXT is done on purpose. So all the teasing, hidden and very bright words shared between the General Manager and his rebellious employee basically circled towards a match between these two men. Yes, William Regal hadn’t wrestled since 25 December 2013 but he recently just told that Alex Riley and he also won the King of the Ring tournament in 2008 when he was General Manager of RAW. So another – maybe his last match – was still possible and maybe in the works at this time.

Credit: wrestling-giffer on Tumblr.
Credit: wrestling-giffer on Tumblr.
So, after Sami Zayn was killed for a second time at the hands of Kevin Owens, he still wanted to finish him for good, got him back inside the ring and four referees weren’t able to stop him. So William Regal came out as well and confronted Kevin Owens with strong words. When this also didn’t stop the man, the General Manager finally laid hands on him and pulled him back. As an answer William Regal was headbutted and that was the end of this physical confrontation. Only the appearance of another new Indie recruit – Samoa Joe – stopped Kevin Owens in doing any further harm to Sami Zayn.

I very much looked forward to the coming episode of NXT and there was indeed a confrontation between Kevin Owens and William Regal inside the ring, but just a verbal one. But the General Manager made it clear to Kevin Owens that he would only still work in NXT because William Regal laid hands on Kevin Owens first. For some reason Solomon Crowe wanted to be Kevin Owens’ next victim, so William Regal generously granted his wish for a match against the NXT Champion.

June 2015 – Bull Dempsey re-shapes himself and something red appears on the horizon

For the special WWE event “Beast in the East” on 04 July 2015 in Tokyo, Japan, William Regal early on announced the NXT Championship match between the champion Kevin Owens and no. 1 contender Finn Bálor. But on the home front in Florida, the General Manager still had to deal with a lot of different businesses. First of all he announced the in-ring debut of Samoa Joe for the second NXT show in June and he allowed Kevin Owens to sat on ringside. But he was interrupted by Bull Dempsey who strolled by into William Regal’s office eating some chips and sweets. In visible disgust, the General Manager took the bag of chips and told Bull Dempsey he should get his act together. And later on the show, William Regal agreed with Kevin Owens that Samoa Joe didn’t earn the opportunity for a championship match with just one win, but he’d earned the right to fight, so for the coming show, the General Manager announced a non-title match between these two guys.

“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes died on 11 June 2015 and though his life was celebrated on RAW but also in NXT where he mainly worked as a trainer and all around spiritual influence for all people there. So on the NXT show of 24 June there was a Dusty Rhodes farewell. But the General Manager William Regal still had business to do because Eva Marie came to him with the wish to re-start her wrestling career. She already was at NXT and had a pretty hard time in front of the NXT crowd. She is seen as a model who doesn’t care for wrestling but uses wrestling to become famous. So, her wrestling wasn’t good the first time around and the General Manager told Eva Marie that he wanted to see some improvement first, in order to grant her some high profile matches.

July 2015 – NXT has got a new champion and Tyler Breeze demands for a legendary opponent

The first NXT show of June basically was a William Regal comedy show. First he had to deal with Enzo & Big Cass and The Vaudevillains at the same time. He also observed Eva Marie training like he said he would and finally he had to stop Bull Dempsey from destroying a vending machine. Especially the latest segment was really hard to watch. But look for yourself if you haven’t already. At this point I thought it would have been a great idea to show a training match between William Regal and Bull Dempsey – could have been comedy at its finest. But NXT didn’t went for it unfortunately. I also put a little segment from the Finn Bálor special in this little compilation because William Regal was seen at ringside.

The WWE special in Tokyo took place just three days later and Finn Bálor indeed won the title there from Kevin Owens. This time there is just one tiny glimpse from the General Manager congratulating the new champion. Also there and seen here are Neville and Cesaro.

Credit: NXT on Instagram.
Credit: NXT on Instagram.
The re-match for the NXT Championship between new champion Finn Bálor and Kevin Owens was already set for 22 August 2015 in Brooklyn, New York, and someone wasn’t pleased or excited about that. Tyler Breeze felt that he was entitled for something even bigger, so he waited for the General Manager William Regal in his office to demand for a big opponent for that very event. William Regal kind of promised him something of that kind. And he was later seen at the contract signing for the main event in Brooklyn. The NXT crowd wasn’t pleased with the location for that NXT special, so emotions were high already. Kevin Owens had to say a lot before the signing and when the deal was sealed, the man started a brawl that also made him hit William Regal. This time he couldn’t hide behind William Regal first lay hands on him, so he was later seen backstage to apologize to the General Manager. William Regal accepted but also expressed his desire to see Kevin Owens truly beat by Finn Bálor.

After all this drama, William Regal only had to deal with Tyler Breeze again on the coming episode of NXT. The boy this time stormed into his office, asking again who he would fight at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. But again the General Manager wasn’t about to come forward with a name.

August 2015 – NXT further teases another match for William Regal

For the first NXT show of August, the General Manager had just another busy week. First Bayley came to his office and asked politely for a Women’s Championship match. William Regal made it clear that she wasn’t the only one to deserve that kind of match but she’d have a match for the no. 1 contender against Becky Lynch with the winner facing the champion Sasha Banks at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. After a very short match and win for Tyler Breeze, the man was visibly out of patience, so William Regal appeared on rampside to announce that he would face Jushin “Thunder” Liger at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. And finally the General Manager was seen back in his office again with The Vaudevillains (I did the b/w version here because for some reason NXT decided not to go auld style this time) and he gave them another opportunity to gain the NXT Tag Team Championship because of the actions of Alexa Bliss during the last one. And William Regal also told his favourite tag team to think up something to outdo Alexa Bliss.

William Regal But the best of this week’s NXT happenings took place between William Regal and Kevin Owens. During the show Kevin Owens sat down with Michael Cole for an interview to which William Regal answered one day later. I put all this together in the video and have written down the words in the blog post. Kevin Owens wasn’t amused about William Regal basically wanting that he would lose, so he demanded a ladder match and William Regal was kind of amused about Kevin Owens being afraid of him. Sometimes you don’t have to fight; sometimes only a few words can have a much stronger effect. So this really was one of my favourite moments in NXT this year.

After Bayley indeed won her match against Becky Lynch, we got another contract signing one week later for the NXT Women’s Championship match at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn between Bayley and Sasha Banks. The champion pretty much made it clear that doesn’t have any respect for Bayley and doesn’t see her as competition. And like we saw before, William Regal is able to control the guys but not the gals.

22 August 2015 – NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn and William Regal announces the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic

For the very event of NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, the General Manager William Regal was there to announce the inaugural Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic to start on the NXT episode of 02 September 2015 and to culminate with the final on the next NXT TakeOver special on 07 October 2015. On the week before that tournament started, Neville met William Regal backstage to ask him for a place plus the General Manager put Baron Corbin in a tag team with Rhyno.

September 2015 – The women of NXT make history

The new month started with a comedy highlight of the whole year. William Regal just welcomed Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa to NXT when he was once again interrupted by Tyler Breeze. The man just lost against Jushin “Thunder” Liger at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn and now wanted to win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. But he needed a partner for this. And because he interrupted the General Manager so rudely, he had to match up with Bull Dempsey to compete against Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. This segment pretty much looked like taken out of a Sicilian Mafia arrangement. Simply hilarious.

In my little take about this very NXT episode I also talked about the rumoured match of William Regal at NXT TakeOver: London in December. The man himself was bombarded with questions on Twitter and several times said that rumours aren’t true and he won’t compete. And still the dirt sheets made a big deal of it when the match indeed didn’t happen in December. Advice from me: don’t believe anything that’s written on the internet (except for what you read on this little blog here, of course!).

Credit: NXT on Instagram.
Credit: NXT on Instagram.
And two weeks later the General Manager announced something that we probably won’t see in WWE for years to come: the re-match between new NXT Women’s Champion Bayley and Sasha Banks will be the main event of NXT TakeOver: Respect on 07 October 2015 and it will be a 30 minute Iron (Wo)Man Match. So both women not only got a lot of time in the ring to promote this match and further deepen their storyline, they also made history with making the headlines for this very NXT special. This is how you treat women in wrestling well. And this is why I’m not the only one who loves NXT so much. You only have 45 minutes per week for NXT and you’ve got 3 hours of RAW and 2 hours of SmackDown per week. But the storylines in NXT are still deeper and more interesting than the storylines in WWE. Just let that sink in.

Look at this lady, ladies...
Look at this lady, ladies…
Yes, look at me and fear the devil.
Yes, look at me and fear the devil.
One week later General Manager William Regal introduced Kana a.k.a. Asuka to the NXT Universe but the contract signing was rudely interrupted by the trash welcome committee of Dana Brooke and Emma. They said they would be in charge in NXT and wanted to put Asuka right into place. And for now, Asuka left the ring without laying hands on them. But she shot Dana Brooke and Emma an evil look and with the chant “Asuka’s gonna kill you” the NXT Crowd gave both of them an idea about their future.

And one week before NXT TakeOver: Respect, the General Manager had called Dana Brooke and Emma into his office to announce that Dana Brooke would have a match against Asuka at this NXT special. And since Dana Brooke always wants to be taken seriously, William Regal wants for her to take Asuka seriously. Because of that he showed both women some video footage of Asuka fighting. Emma wished Dana Brooke good luck and all of a sudden Dana Brooke indeed appeared serious.

07 October 2015 – NXT TakeOver: Respect and everyone’s high on emotion

It really was a special main event for the NXT Women’s Championship at this special event. And rightly so after Bayley won it with 3-2 pins, the whole locker room came out to applaud not just her but also Sasha Banks who made her last match in NXT to move “up” to WWE. The General Manager handed her over a bouquet but Sasha Banks was lost in her emotions and also William Regal was unable to hold back the tears of joy. But already one week later it was back to business. Because due to the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and Finn Bálor won this tournament together with Samoa Joe, the NXT Championship was shoved to the side for a whole month. Time to focus then. A little backstage scene was shown from the actual TakeOver show with the General Manager congratulating Finn Bálor and Samoa Joe for their win. Now Samoa Joe thought he was entitled for an immediate NXT Championship match but William Regal made it clear that there are several others worth of that and Samoa Joe had to earn such an opportunity like everyone else. So he announced a Battle Royal for the no. 1 contendership that took place one week after the TakeOver show. And the winner was Apollo Crews.

November to December 2015 – NXT comes to Britain and the General Manager has to deal with surgeries

The General Manager William Regal wasn’t seen on NXT for the rest of October. But on 29 October 2015, WWE published this interview with him they did just one day after his second neck surgery that took place on 21 October 2015. Around 17 September 2015 William Regal went for a check because of his first neck surgery in Summer 2014. And it was then decided that he should have this second surgery. It went well but he certainly needed some time off for recovery. So, since the usual NXT episodes are taped earlier, this kind of information about the state of the General Manager was only shown on the episode of 11 November 2015. Dirt sheets at this time made a huge story about William Regal of course not being able to wrestle at NXT TakeOver: London. But he was still scheduled to appear there.

Credit: NXT on Instagram.
Credit: NXT on Instagram.
Before NXT TakeOver: London took place on 16 December 2015, NXT did have a little tour before all over England and Scotland. There was a bit of promotion and they also posted a few pictures here and there.

Credit: NXT on Instagram.
Credit: NXT on Instagram.
So, just a few weeks after his surgery, the General Manager William Regal was seen on 10 December 2015 for the NXT show in Newcastle (the picture on the right) and on 13 December 2015 for the NXT live show in his hometown of Blackpool (the picture on the left). William Regal on this tour also had a few shows of his own one man show but had to cancel the last one and also his appearance at NXT TakeOver: London because of some issues with his neck again. We don’t know about the actual issue about this latest setback, so I can only assume that he just didn’t have enough recovery time plus all the shows and the travels took their toll on his health. So, William Regal went straight back to the US to see his doctor.

The last NXT show of 2015 was just a recap show as per usual. There were still the last few minutes from the never seen before match between Cesaro and Neville at The Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio. The whole match you can only watch on the DVD NXT Greatest Matches Vol. 1, available from 14 March 2016. Also on this DVD will be William Regal’s last match against Cesaro from 25 December 2013, hopefully with statements from both men. You can have a look on the full content of this DVD here.

As for 2016, all my best wishes go out to the General Manager of NXT, William Regal, so we’ll hopefully see him in good health back in NXT very soon.

                William Regal | NXT General Manager, part I (2014)
                William Regal | NXT General Manager, part III (2016)
                William Regal | NXT General Manager, part IV (2017)

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