Thursday, February 22, 2007

WCW: Lord Steven Regal

Ring name(s) Steve Regal,Lord Steven Regal,Steven Regal,William Regal,Sir William Regal
Billed height 191 cm (6 ft 3 in)
Billed weight 109 kg (240 lb)
Born May 10, 1968,Codsall Wood, Staffordshire
Billed from Blackpool
Trained by Marty Jones
Pro wrestling debut 1983

Darren Nathaniel Matthews (born May 10th, 1968) is an English professional wrestler, better known by his ring name William Regal. He is currently wrestling on the SmackDown! brand of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and in Deep South Wrestling.

The left-handed Matthews made his ring debut wrestling in carnivals on the piers of Blackpool at the age of fifteen. He also wrestled professionally in England, where he regularly teamed with Robbie Brookside, before going to the United States in 1992. He wrestled his first few matches under the name Roy Regal before settling on the name Steve Regal, a name he saw in an American wrestling magazine (in use by "Mr. Electricity" Steve Regal).

Matthews started in WCW as Steve Regal, beginning as a face. He was turned into the heel Lord Steven Regal in 1993, claiming descent from William the Conqueror. At times charmingly arrogant in this persona, one of his memorable statements to a post-match interviewer was, "Do you know what my New Year's resolution is going to be? To wake up a half an hour earlier so I can hate you more," he smirked.

WCW: Lord Steven Regal

He was given a manager, Sir William and he won the Television Title four times. He teamed up with fellow aristocrat Jean-Paul Levesque, later known as Triple H, but after Levesque left WCW, he was replaced by Alabama-born Bobby Eaton. Regal formed the team The Blue Bloods and had some hilarious vignettes where he tried to teach Eaton the finer points of dining and the proper usage of the Queen's English. He renamed him "Earl Robert Eaton" and soon added "Squire" David Taylor, as well. They came close to winning the WCW Tag Team Titles, but never did. Among his feuds in WCW were Ricky Steamboat, Johnny B. Badd, Ultimo Dragon, The Belfast Bruiser and the team of Dick Slater and Bunkhouse Buck. Regal also had a match with Shinya Hashimoto for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship during his stint in WCW. It was widely rumored that he was fired from WCW after no-selling Goldberg's offense and for using chain wrestling moves that showed Goldberg's limited knowledge of such holds. However, in his book, he states that was not true.

Regal's initial appearance in the WWF was on the June 29, 1998 edition of RAW is WAR, in which he defeated Droz via submission with the Regal Stretch. Regal had no particular gimmick in this showing, and he would not be seen on WWF television again until he returned that fall with a "Real Man's Man" builder/lumberjack style looking gimmick that was based on the image of The Brawny Man. Vignettes for the character showed him doing "manly" things like chopping wood, shaving with a plain razor, and squeezing his own orange juice. He debuted in October 1998 and entered a feud with X-Pac. The two faced off in the opening round of the tournament for the vacant WWF Championship at the 1998 Survivor Series. The match ended in a double countout, eliminating both men from the tournament. The feud, and Regal's gimmick, failed to capture the audience's imagination, though today the "Man's Man" persona is well remembered and the source of much good-natured fun from many fans.

Regal checked into rehab in January 1999 and was released from the WWF in April. After checking out of rehab, Regal was invited back into the wrestling world, making a somewhat brief return to WCW. While there, he gained exceptional status compared to the final months of his original tenure with the company.

Similar to his former run, much of Regal's performance took place in tag team bouts. He continued his role as a rulebreaking heel and had small feuds with teams such as the Filthy Animals. However, as WCW continued to lose the ratings war with WWF, Regal was again released in February 2000.

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