William Regal Makes First WWE Appearance Since Leaving AEW

This past week, big moves in the Japanese pro wrestling scene monopolized the attention just before the Christmas holidays. In New Japan Pro-Wrestling, eight-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi was named the company’s President and Representative Director. All Japan Pro-Wrestling President Fukuda also generated headlines with a wacky social media video teasing a big WWE NXT star coming to AJPW next month to take on Triple Crown Champion Katsuhiko Nakajima. On Christmas Eve, AJPW released a video on social media of William Regal addressing Fukuda’s call with WWE, and which NXT star will be heading to Japan.

“To all the fans of All Japan Pro Wrestling,” he began. “I’m Lord Steven Regal, sometimes known as William Regal, who works for the WWE and NXT. I had a wonderful time in the 90s wrestling in Japan. I wrestled some of the greatest wrestlers of all time, including Mr. Fujinami and Mr. Antonio Inoki. Well, now, there’s a new generation of European wrestlers that will continue the great European style that was a huge part of Japanese wrestling.

“My trainer, Marty Jones, was trained by the legendary Billy Robinson. My mentor, Johnny Saint, was also trained by Billy Robinson. My other mentor, Pete Roberts, a regular for All Japan Pro Wrestling. And now I’m sending to you what I consider the best up-and-coming wrestler of the old, traditional European and Lancashire style to All-Japan Pro Wrestling, and that is Charlie Dempsey.

“And this is the first time that I’m telling people in public: Charlie Dempsey is my son. Charlie has been traveling the world for the last seven years, honing his craft to continue the great legacy of Lancashire-style wrestling. I know that he’s going to come to All Japan Pro Wrestling and show everybody exactly how good he is and how the great traditions of European wrestling will continue in Japan. Thank you very much indeed.”

It is worth noting that this is William Regal’s first public appearance for WWE since leaving AEW last year. Tony Khan agreed to let Regal out of his AEW contract so that he could work with his son in WWE NXT. One of the conditions of his release was that he did not appear on WWE TV for a year. That one-year period expired within the last few days, and this marks Regal’s return to the public WWE fold. Raw, SmackDown, and NXT all feature authority figures at the moment, and with Regal playing up Dempsey’s European wrestling style, it is interesting to think about the role the former Blackpool Combat Club leader could play for the upcoming WWE NXT European brand.

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