A new year once again started. And we already are in the third year of the reign of William Regal as General Manager of NXT. This page here covers all of his actions and shenanigans in 2016. At the bottom of this page you’ll find the links to the previous years. And now have fun reading and watching the videos.
January to February 2016 – William Regal makes himself friends with Baron Corbin
After another episode of 2015 reviews for the first NXT show of the new year, General Manager William Regal had recovered from his neck surgery and opened the first full and newly taped episode in the second week of 2016. First of all, he wished everyone a happy new year but then went straight to business with announcing a Women’s Battle Royal for the #1 contendership for the NXT Women’s Championship. And before heading backstage, William Regal announced the return of Sami Zayn that happened next. Eventually, Carmella won the Battle Royal and she was congratulated by Bayley inside the ring to close the show.
A bit later, the NXT Awards of 2015 were announced and we got a little extra video segment for it. Bayley won Female Competitor of the Year, together with Sasha Banks she also won Match of the Year. Finn Bálor won Male Competitor of the Year while Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady won Tag Team of the Year.
We saw the General Manager back in his office to announce a Triple Threat Match in two weeks between Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin and Samoa Joe for the #1 contendership for the NXT Championship. And finally William Regal had to decide whether Nia Jax was able to compete in the Battle Royal. The doctor said no, so William Regal had no choice but to decide against her participation. And Eva Marie was fine with that.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal has got a busy start to the new year (13 January 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] Danny Burch vs Tommaso Ciampa (13 January 2016)
In his position as General Manager of NXT, William Regal took part at independent wrestling event EVOLVE 54 on Saturday, 23 January 2016. The three pictures on the left hand side are the best I could find.
And the two pictures on the right hand side photographer Nick Burch added later (12 Feb), so I did that (20 Feb), too. Now William Regal thanked the wrestling fans for being wrestling fans and had a segment with champion Timothy Thatcher and Matt Riddle. William Regal said that he met Thatcher four years ago and that he was proud of him. Now Riddle came out to demand a championship match but Regal said that he had to earn it. Eventually it was agreed that Thatcher and Riddle would face off in March. For a more detailed report (also about the whole card that included Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano and former FCW / NXT wrestler Kassius Ohno a.k.a Chris Hero) just click here.
Back in NXT on 27 January 2016 the main event was the Triple Threat #1 Contendership match between Baron Corbin, Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn. It finished with quite a dilemma when Sami Zayn had Baron Corbin in a Sharpshooter but Corbin only tapped out when Samoa Joe joined both men to get Corbin into a Cross Face Hold. After debate between Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe and the referee, William Regal came out to tell Zayn and Joe that he had to re-watch the tapes to make a decision.
One week later, William Regal indeed had made his mind up and was about to announce his decision when Baron Corbin entered his office. William Regal explained that one thing was 100 percent certain about the match and that was that Baron Corbin lost. And the only way to settle this was to make a re-match between Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn for the winner to face Finn Bálor for the NXT Championship.
- [VIDEO] The Triple Threat Controversy (27 January 2016)
- [VIDEO] Mr. Regal’s decison (03 February 2016)
The week later we had some matches from live shows. But on 17 February it was back to business. Baron Corbin again had the decency to disturb William Regal in his “office” to tell him in an even sharper tone than before that the General Manager should add him to the No.1 Contendership match. But William Regal refused the grant him this wish, so Baron Corbin basically threatened him with physical revenge. And the General Manager looked like he was up for it. Yes, NXT does it again: teasing just another match for William Regal, this time against Baron Corbin.
Now the No.1 Contendership match remained to be just between Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe but it finished in just another controversy. Because apparently it was a double pin, the match result was a draw and William Regal had to delay the decision about the No.1 contender for yet another week.
- [VIDEO] Baron Corbin confronts General Manager William Regal / The Sami Zayn vs Samoa Joe Controversy (17 February 2016)
Mr Regal’s decision about the ongoing Sami Zayn vs Samoa Joe saga was that both guys will have another match in two weeks and that will be a 2-out-of-3-falls match. To me that just looks like two more opportunities for controversy. Consequently, Finn Bálor didn’t have a title defense in a long time but he’s still approaching to be the longest NXT champion ever. So, the General Manager made a match between current champion, Finn Bálor, and current longest champion, Neville, for next week. Also there next week will be the newest recruit in NXT, Austin Aries, the man whom Jon Moxley had his last match against on the Indies before he went on to become Dean Ambrose in FCW / WWE.
- [VIDEO] A few decisions by General Manager William Regal (24 February 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] Tommaso Ciampa vs Bull Dempsey (24 February 2016)
March 2016 – Working towards NXT TakeOver: Dallas
The new month brought another tag match for Eva Marie and Nia Jax. Both of them had been called to William Regal’s office and he told them that he’d a chance to listen to Eva Marie’s demands. So, both ladies were granted a match for the coming week against Bayley and Asuka. The joy on both of their faces was enormous.
But the General Manager wasn’t able to join in because he had to go out inside the ring to introduce NXT’s newest Indie recruit: Austin Aries, the man Jon Moxley had his last match against (on 19 April 2011 at EVOLVE 11, which Jon Moxley lost) before he was given the name Dean Ambrose in FCW / WWE. Though Austin Aries made his well received entrance, Baron Corbin promised William Regal “an eye for an eye”. Corbin still thought that he was robbed off another chance to become the number one contender for the NXT Championship, so he attacked Austin Aries from behind, beat him up and finally hit the End of Days on him. To make things even worse, Corbin took the ripped off shirt of Austin Aries and threw it straight into Mr. Regal’s face.
And this was basically the best scene of this week’s show because it didn’t just make me think of the finish of this Regal vs Corbin feud, it also made me draw a connection to the WWE main roster, The Shield and WrestleMania. I’ll explain this in this Rassling Ragbag blog post in here. So, of course, William Regal was mad at Baron Corbin but just two days later backstage at the NXT live show in Columbus, Ohio, Bayley was able to lighten his mood – as you can see on the two Gifs in here.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal grants Eva Marie and Nia Jax a tag match and introduces Austin Aries (02 March 2016)
One week later, the General Manager William Regal opened the show to say that he wanted to punish Baron Corbin for his actions against Austin Aries. But Austin Aries asked Mr Regal for a match against the man, so William Regal announced Austin Aries vs Baron Corbin for NXT TakeOver: Dallas on 1 April 2016, two days before WrestleMania. And William Regal went on to announce that the 2-out-of-3 falls match between Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe for the number one contendership would start right now. Samoa Joe eventually won this match that consumed this whole episode of NXT and will now face NXT champion Finn Bálor, also at NXT TakeOver: Dallas.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal announces Austin Aries vs Baron Corbin for NXT TakeOver: Dallas (09 March 2016)
One week later, the General Manager William Regal had a rather easy job to do: he announced two more matches for the upcoming NXT special from Dallas. I’m pretty sure that Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura will be Sami Zayn’s farewell match from NXT. And then we’ll also have Bayley vs Asuka that could be a farewell match from NXT for Bayley.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal announces Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura and Bayley vs Asuka for NXT TakeOver: Dallas (16 March 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] American Alpha vs The Vaudevillains (16 March 2016)
Like he had already announced at EVOLVE 54 in January, William Regal also took part at EVOLVE 56 on Saturday, 19 March 2016. The event was an iPay-Per-View, which means watchable on the internet. But the segment with William Regal was only watchable by the live audience because cameras went to black. But thanks to Sean Rueter from Cageside Seats we got the exact words of William Regal’s announcement:
“Ladies and gentlemen, the reason why I’m here – I’ll get to it. In a few months time, the WWE will be holding the Global Cruiserweight Series.
32 of the finest cruiserweights from around the world will compete, and I am here tonight because I’m obviously scouting for those competitors. Most importantly, qualifying matches for the Global Cruiserweight Series will be taking place all over the world, but the qualifying matches here in America will be taking place at Evolve.
So please, keep an eye out on the website and find out exactly when they are.”
From the look upon his face, William Regal is already a fan of Matt Riddle. Two more photographs from William Regal at EVOLVE 56, taken by Danny Baxter, you can find here on Cageside Seats.
William Regal wasn’t part of the next episode of NXT but closed the very next episode, the last episode of NXT before NXT TakeOver: Dallas. Samoa Joe won against Bull Dempsey (the man’s last match in NXT) but then refused to let his opponent go. So, the General Manager William Regal had to come out and sent NXT rookie Alexander Wolfe with another NXT rookie and a second referee in the ring to separate both guys. But it needed NXT champion Finn Bálor and a brawl between him and Samoa Joe to save Bull Dempsey.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal trying to control Samoa Joe (30 March 2016)
April 2016 – Recovering from NXT TakeOver: Dallas
The first NXT special event of 2016, NXT TakeOver: Dallas on April Fools’ Day, was all about the matches. The General Manager William Regal was still backstage, meeting up with Funaki and Kota Ibushi, and enjoying at least two of the best NXT matches of 2016: American Alpha vs The Revival and Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura. During that weekend, NXT taped a lot of matches that were used for the coming NXT episodes. The very next show after TakeOver, it was basically a review show from the big event. And for the show one week later, William Regal welcomed us to the show, thanked us for making the TakeOver show special and announced the matches of this week’s show.
- [SHOW REVIEW] NXT TakeOver Dallas 2016/04/01: It’s the start of the world as we’d like to know it (01 April 2016)
- [VIDEO] American Alpha vs The Revival (01 April 2016)
- [VIDEO] Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura (01 April 2016)
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal announces this show’s matches (13 April 2016)
Now, this is a little off topic because for his One Man Show in England, William Regal wasn’t there in his position as General Manager of NXT, of course. But as part of the show and the special VIP ticket, a lot of great photos of Mr Regal with some fans were done, so I’ll put his tour program in here, together with the links to the specific albums on Flickr by Eros Comedy:
One week later, we were still in Dallas for just another NXT show with matches and segments that had been taped there. Right in the middle of the show we saw Elias Samson jamming backstage when William Regal took a seat right next to him. The GM told The Drifter that his songs sound like he wanted an opportunity. So he granted him one with a match next week against Shinsuke Nakamura. Was Samson glad about it? Was he afraid? Did he just want to play his guitar? We don’t really know because nothing really changed in his expression.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal knows what The Drifter wants
(20 April 2016)
May 2016 – We enter the Era of Samoa Joe
The General Manager William Regal was back on NXT TV after two weeks missing out. We saw him first in his office talking to Austin Aries who told Mr Regal that he didn’t come to NXT for the sidelines or meaningless matches. Being a “difference maker” (shades of Dean Ambrose) he wants to do exactly this. But he wasn’t able to continue with his demands because Blake & Murphy entered Mr Regal’s office uninvited to demand for a match for themselves. When Alexa Bliss appeared as well, Mr Regal’s mood changed dramatically. So, to get rid of them all, he made a tag match for next week between Blake & Murphy against Austin Aries and a partner of his own choice. He went for Shinsuke Nakamura and the two new guys in NXT got indeed the win. But a coming feud between Aries and Nakamura was teased.
After Finn Bálor beat Elias Samson in the main event with the 1916 (the former “Bloody Sunday”), he grabbed the microphone again to demand for NXT Champion Samoa Joe to come out and grant him his re-match for the title. Joe came out indeed. Both men were just starting bickering at each other, when William Regal appeared out of nowhere, already hot blooded because according to himself, he makes the matches in NXT, not the wrestlers. So, he did indeed make the re-match between Samoa Joe and Finn Bálor for the next NXT TakeOver show in Orlando, Florida, on 08 June 2016. But that didn’t stop both opponents from physical altercations and the General Manager was left furious to end this show.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal is afraid of Alexa Bliss (11 May 2016)
One day after the latest NXT TV episode had been aired, William Regal was part of the NXT Live show in Seattle, Washington. There wasn’t anything spectacular or important storyline wise but this nice little video by Bayley, like the one we already got from her earlier this year. During the actual show, William Regal only came out to thank the fans.
Two days later at the NXT Live show in Portland, Oregon, William Regal also appeared during the show to thank the fans and welcome everyone back after the intermission during the event. The show closed with Samoa Joe vs Finn Bálor for the NXT Championship. Joe retained but was attacked by Finn right after the match. That led to William Regal sending out the entire locker room to restore order. And afterwards he told Tom Phillips backstage that he will announce something coming Tuesday at 11am (EST) live on the WWE Facebook page regarding the re-match for the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver: The End. Some people already assume that could be him announcing the first NXT cage match. But we will see.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal reacts to the aftermath of the Portland Brawl (14 May 2016)
And it will be indeed a Steel Cage match where Samoa Joe and Finn Bálor will meet for their final fight for the NXT Championship. Funny enough, William Regal had chosen this stipulation to save the audience from both competitors. They should have one camera in every top corner of the cage to film the action from a bird’s perspective. Because watching the action through the cage isn’t a real pleasure.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal announces the first NXT Steel Cage match for the NXT Championship (17 May 2016)
Only one day later on the following newest episode of NXT, William Regal continued building the match card for NXT TakeOver: The End on 08 June 2016. This time he announced the re-match between American Alpha and The Revival for the NXT Tag Team Championship.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal announcement regarding NXT TakeOver: The End (18 May 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] Carmella vs Peyton Royce (18 May 2016)
Right before the next NXT show started, William Regal announced that Bayley isn’t medically cleared to wrestle and that means she can’t compete in her re-match for the NXT Women’s Championship at NXT TakeOver: The End. But Asuka needs to defend her title, so at this show there will be a Triple Threat match for the no. 1 contender between Carmella, Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax to find the right opponent for Asuka. This match was the main event and Nia Jax got the win.
Later during the show, Austin Aries and Shinsuke Nakamura went inside the ring to argue about who would be the next NXT Champion. William Regal liked their verbal battle to the degree that he wanted to see a physical one. So he made another match for NXT TakeOver: The End between those two.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal further strengthens the match card of NXT TakeOver: The End (25 May 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano vs TM-61 (Shane Thorne & Nick Miller) (25 May 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] Carmella vs Alexa Bliss vs Nia Jax (25 May 2016)
June 2016 – Prior to NXT TakeOver: The End
Like we are already used in NXT, while contract signings with male competitors are running quite smoothly, the General Manager William Regal is never able to control the women of NXT. So, William Regal was already inside the ring for the main event of the show. He called Nia Jax and Asuka to the ring and was just about to explain what this forthcoming match is all about, when Nia Jax grabbed the microphone from him to load off a few insults against Asuka.
Asuka’s “you talk too much” just afterwards as a reply for Nia Jax was very well received by the NXT crowd. She also went off in Japanese but in the end she had to take a powerbomb from Nia Jax while William Regal couldn’t decide whether to be a gentleman in helping Asuka or being a gentleman for not beating up Nia Jax – always funny to watch.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal oversees the contract signing for Asuka vs Nia Jax at NXT TakeOver: The End (01 June 2016)
Because he won his match at this very show against Buddy Murphy, Tye Dillinger felt entitled to have an actual match at NXT TakeOver: The End to show off that he’s rightly called a Perfect 10. So just after his match had been aired, he went to Twitter to ask politely:
@RealKingRegal has never been shy about giving earned opportunity. In nearly 15 years I have never asked for anything, I've simply tried…
— Dillinger (@WWEDillinger) June 2, 2016
— Dillinger (@WWEDillinger) June 2, 2016
Now some fans tweeted William Regal as well to help Tye Dilliner to get his wish granted. And the General Manager waited a few hours but on 02 June 2016 he tweeted the following in making another match for NXT TakeOver: The End and introducing the newest NXT signing Antrade Cien Almas:
— William Regal (@RealKingRegal) June 2, 2016
To prepare properly for NXT TakeOver: The End, NXT went for another little tour outside Florida – to Evansville, IN; Nashville, TN and finally Atlanta, GA. On the last show, William Regal came out to tell the crowd that it was right there in Atlanta, where he made his debut on US television. And he thanked the crowd for being there. Later on, he tweeted the following photograph, and I still hope, that The End only refers to Finn Bálor’s state in NXT.
08 June 2016 | NXT TakeOver: The End (of the beginning)
During this NXT special event, General Manager William Regal had almost one minute of screen time when he was seen backstage right before the main event of Samoa Joe vs Finn Bálor. It was an earlier taped interview within Mr Regal told Andrea D’Marco that he was excited for the first ever steel cage match in NXT. During this short interview we saw someone stroll by from the back and somehow William Regal must have felt some unusual breath of wind in his back because suddenly he interrupted his talking and turned over. Someone whispered into his ear, and then he excused himself to Andrea D’Marco to follow the previously felt guy – Bobby Roode – into a room. That’s certainly a teaser for a new signing to NXT but nicely teased.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal has got the sixth sense (08 June 2016)
- [SHOW REVIEW] NXT TakeOver The End (of the beginning) 2016/06/08: General Manager William Regal has got the sixth sense (08 June 2016)
- [VIDEO] Tye Dillinger vs Andrade “Cien” Almas (08 June 2016)
- [VIDEO] The Revival vs American Alpha (08 June 2016)
June 2016 – Past NXT TakeOver: The End
Two days later, William Regal appeared on the EVOLVE 62 quick hit show. Actually, he was just mentioned, that he was phoned and made the decision that Anthony Nese would be added to a WWE Cruiserweight Classic qualification match at EVOLVE 63 on 11 June 2016. The man went on four other guys who were already qualified, so of course Tony Nese won this very match to qualify for WWE’s CWC.
Just one day after NXT TakeOver: The End, the recording of the next two NXT weekly shows took place. And in it, NXT acknowledged that William Regal would be in China with Triple H and others for one week to sign a new talent and all round promote NXT / WWE. So, he wasn’t part of the next NXT show. But he was there another week later and was seen sitting backstage in an office together with Shinsuke Nakamura to discuss that his match against Finn Bálor is scheduled for 13 July 2016. All of a sudden – without knocking to the door (always heel behaviour in presence of William Regal!) – the freshly singles competitor again, Buddy Murphy, entered and demanded a match / wanted to be recognized as the great talent that he is. So, William Regal made the main event of this show to be Buddy Murphy vs Shinsuke Nakamura. Needless to say that Buddy Murphy lost.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal destroys Buddy Murphy’s singles career (22 June 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] Oney Lorcan vs Tye Dillinger (22 June 2016)
Another week later, for the last show in June 2016, Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano had just beaten The Hype Bros in a great match, when Gargano took the microphone to remind everybody that they had also beaten the current tag team champions, The Revival, a few weeks ago. So, he thought together with Ciampa, that they were entitled to a title shot. Of course, American Alpha thought otherwise because they obviously still have got their re-match against The Revival. So, American Alpha came out to make it clear that they wanted their titles back and also revenge against The Authors of Pain.
But first things first, American Alpha want to show The Revival that they are the alphas of NXT. That was the keyword for The Revival to come out, being amused about both teams in the ring fighting over them. But since they are the champions, The Revial believe that they are the A-Team and dictate the terms. Another key phrase because now it was time for the General Manager William Regal to make it clear that actually he dictates the terms. So, before Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano would get their opportunity, Mr Regal wanted to find out first who’s really the dominant team in NXT. So, he made a 2/3 falls match between The Revival and American Alpha for the coming show. And after William Regal and The Revival went off, American Alpha were attacked by The Authors of Pain again. Now, it’s time that William Regal has got a word (or two) with Paul Ellering.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal has to deal with quite a few tag teams (29 June 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] The Hype Bros vs Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano (29 June 2016)
July 2016 – Samoa Joe misses some well deserved respect
The first week of July went by without the General Manager William Regal being needed on stage or backstage. And also during the next week, he wasn’t part of the NXT show. But prior to this show, a WWE Exclusive video emerged with that long overdue chat between William Regal and Paul Ellering regarding The Authors of Pain. William Regal acknowledged that The Authors of Pain had been a destructive force in NXT recently and wanted to know why Paul Ellering wanted to talk with him. Since the GM made it clear that his time was limited, Paul Ellering came straight to the point in demanding a match for The Authors of Pain against American Alpha. William Regal thought this could be a great match, so he made it for next week.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal sits down for a chat with Paul Ellering (13 July 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] Finn Bálor vs Shinsuke Nakamura (13 July 2016)
One day before the next NXT show, there happened to be the first SmackDown Live show with the announcement of the RAW / SmackDown drafts. And with American Alpha heading to SmackDown, they needed to get a memorable sending off. So, when they came out to the ring, both, Jason Jordan and Chad Gable, were attacked by The Authors of Pain on the ramp. After the commercial break we saw General Manager William Regal, together with some doctors and referees, checking on them to see if it was reasonable to still have the match. But American Alpha wanted to fight, so the match was on and the GM went backstage again. Consequently, American Alpha lost to The Authors of Pain with Paul Ellering at ringside to finally join the SmackDown roster.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal checks on American Alpha (20 July 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] American Alpha vs The Authors of Pain (w/ Paul Ellering) (20 July 2016)
One week later, Mr Regal had to deal with a lot of people. First of all, Shinsuke Nakamura was able to celebrate yet another win, this time against Wesley Blake, so the General Manager thought it was time to hand the man a championship match against Samoa Joe at the coming NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II on 20 August 2016. He pointed out that he hoped for Samoa Joe to be present for this huge announcement but he made the decision anyway.
Back in his office, we witnessed a chat between William Regal and Bayley. She finally wanted to have her re-match against Asuka. And she’ll have it after Mr Regal asked for her to accept the challenge.
And finally, Samoa Joe did arrive at the arena just to be informed about the championship match. He felt a little disrespected and wanted to correct things. Inside the ring, Samoa Joe declared the match won’t happen because Nakamura wasn’t a worthy contender. Of course, William Regal came back out to declare that Samoa Joe is the champion but he is the General Manager and only he is able to make the matches. Samoa Joe still didn’t want to fight until Mr Regal said if he wouldn’t fight, he would take it as a forfeit, Samoa Joe had to hand over the title and Mr Regal would have to find another opponent for Nakamura. Only then, Samoa Joe gave in and accepted the championship match but made it clear that Nakamura would have a hard time until 20 August. This was a really intense back and force verbal fight between William Regal and Samoa Joe, great delivery by both men.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal with Shinsuke Nakamura, Bayley and Samoa Joe (27 July 2016)
August 2016 – The Brass Knuckles are back! (just for decoration?)
The General Manager William Regal missed the first NXT edition in August but he had a lot to do during the next one. Even before the show started he had a meeting with Bobby Roode. The two of them just left Mr Regal’s office when Bobby Roode thanked him for something we only got to know later. After Andrade “Cien” Almas had won his match, Bobby Roode came out to thank him for getting a match at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II against himself.
Now, the General Manager had excused himself very fast from his conversation with Bobby Roode to oversee the contract signing for the NXT Women’s Championship match at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II. Mr Regal introduced Bayley, then Asuka and both competitors entered the ring. Of course, especially Bayley wanted to say something before the actually signing and she did in telling us that she wants to become the first two-time NXT Women’s Champion. Asuka offered her hand out of respect – like she said – but Bayley didn’t fall for it. Instead, she ran a tirade over the championess and left the ring. But just to come back for another confrontation. And now it was Asuka who left the ring, leaving Bayley standing there (with a relieved Mr Regal who was probably very glad that this contract signing passed without physical fighting) without turning.
Next time we saw William Regal back in his office and this wasn’t really about Austin Aries complaining that he wasn’t considered to be a part of NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II so far and finally getting a match against his old “friend” No Way José. No, this was all about the nicely placed brass knuckles of William Regal’s past and the grapefruit (of Austin Aries’ future?) that Austin Aries played with. Usually, the WWE does anything to pick it up later.
In NXT, I just get a feeling that they are just throwing out things for long time fans who’ve got a brain and remember things or people from ten years ago. They already teased with possible matches for William Regal against Kevin Owens, Tyler Breeze and Baron Corbin. And now, that they placed his brass knuckles so prominently, will they get used by somebody of his choice? After all, NXT isn’t PG, so…
Before we went back to William Regal’s office, we got a summarizing replay of the great match between Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa at the first round of the Cruiserweight Classic. There had been a little tension between the two of them before the match and after Johnny Gargano won, Tommaso Ciampa wasn’t too pleased, of course. Now, this was the reason for William Regal to talk to both of them to make sure that they are on the same page for a great Tag Team Championship match at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II. And Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa assured the General Manager that they are and they proved that later on with beating Tucker Knight and Patrick Clark in impressive fashion.
Just two days ago, I was pretty sure that Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa will be the new NXT Tag Team Champions against The Revival. But doubts were sewn at this episode of NXT. Because why wanted William Regal to make sure that they really were on the same page? Why the prominent position of the brass knuckles? There are a lot of new possibilities, including Tommaso Ciampa turning on his friend Johnny Gargano with the brass knuckles because it will be all about Johnny Wrestling but not about him. And if that happens: just imagine the heart aching feud that could result in! I already can’t wait for NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II!
- [MATCH REVIEW] Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa (CWC // 03 August 2016)
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal makes a lot of matches for NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II (10 August 2016)
Just three days before the next NXT TakeOver special that takes place in Brooklyn, New York for the second time, the General Manager William Regal had to complete the match card and he did so with granting Billie Kay a match against the debuting Ember Moon. He also made a special arrangement for the showdown interview of NXT Champion Samoa Joe and challenger Shinsuke Nakamura with Byron Saxton, so this last happening before their main event match at NXT TakeOver would go by without any physical altercation. And William Regal just barely succeeded.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal makes Billie Kay vs Ember Moon & the Joe vs Nakamura showdown before NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II (17 August 2016)
Just three days after that show, NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II took place. William Regal wasn’t a part of it but I’ve written about the show and there were two matches that stood out. The next weekly episode of NXT were about summarizing and recapture the TakeOver event in Brooklyn plus showing a few matches from the pre-show. But for the last NXT show in August, the General Manager was seen again, backstage and prior to the show, together with Brian Duncan and the dethroned NXT Champion Samoa Joe. Now, the doctor informed Mr Regal that Joe – after suffering from a dislocated jaw and several other injuries – wasn’t medically cleared for physical action. And the General Manager seemed to be rather fine with that.
- [SHOW REVIEW] NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II 2016/08/20: Bobby Roode is gloriously overrated (20 August 2016)
- [VIDEO] #DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa) vs The Revival (Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson) (20 August 2016)
- [VIDEO] Bayley vs Asuka (20 August 2016)
- [VIDEO] William Regal is glad that Samoa Joe isn’t medically cleared to compete (31 August 2016)
September to October 2016 – It’s personal now between Samoa Joe and William Regal
William Regal once again was absent during the first NXT show in September. But his presence was needed during the second one. Samoa Joe had just opened this episode with an in-ring promo, talking about new-found respect for new NXT champion Shinsuke Nakamura. But Samoa Joe wanted to say that to Nakamura’s face, so he came out. Samoa Joe then demanded for his re-match for the championship and Nakamura said, Joe is on, so Joe left.
All this went by too smoothly and when Nakamura went to leave as well, Samoa Joe appeared again to attack Nakamura from behind. The attack continued to the ring and the steel steps, Nakamura finally ended up smashed on them, courtesy of Samoa Joe. Doctors were out, as well as a stretcher and General Manager William Regal appeared to check on Nakamura. He seemed to be alive, so William Regal rushed backstage to search for Samoa Joe. But he missed him, only seeing him driving away from the parking lot.
Right after this episode of NXT, the final of the Cruiserweight Classic took place. And since William Regal is mainly responsible for scouting talent and bringing the competitors to this very tournament, also the CWC took place in Orlando, Florida, he finally came to the ring to present the winner of the inaugural Cruiserweight Championship, TJ Perkins, side by side with Triple H.
- [MATCH REVIEW] TM61 (Shane Thorne & Nick Miller) vs Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari (07 September 2016)
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal checks on Shinsuke Nakamura and hunts for Samoa Joe (14 September 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] Drew Gulak vs Hideo Itami (14 September 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] Noam Dar & Cedric Alexander vs #DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa) (CWC // 14 September 2016)
The following week, Samoa Joe opened the NXT show once again, reading out the medical report of Shinsuke Nakamura who suffered quite a lot through Samoa Joe’s hands but wouldn’t require surgery. Instead, he’d be out only for some weeks. But that’s enough for Samoa Joe to say that Shinsuke Nakamura isn’t a fighting champion, so the NXT Championship needs to be handed back to its rightful owner, Samoa Joe. And he then ordered for William Regal to come out to make it official.
William Regal indeed did came out but he refused to give in. Because he hasn’t spoken to Shinsuke Nakamura since he was carried to hospital and apparently doesn’t know about the current situation. So, William Regal further assured Samoa Joe that he will take care of all problems around NXT and all problems caused by Samoa Joe. Which made Samoa Joe finally confront the General Manager eye to eye to threaten him with further destruction if William Regal can’t do the right thing. And I have to say I’d rather watch Samoa Joe vs William Regal than Joe vs Nakamura…
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal is confronted by Samoa Joe (21 September 2016)
On Friday, 23 September 2016, William Regal paid Chaotic Wrestling an unannounced surprise visit and played the special guest commissioner of the night. Title holder Chade Del Monte was in the ring for a promo when William Regal came out to say that he was there anyway because he’s always searching for talent for NXT. Chade Del Monte was about to thank William Regal for taking notice but Mr Regal emphasized the word ‘talent’, which earned him loud cheers from the audience and an upset Chade Del Monte inside the ring.
The man obviously thought he did have talent and William Regal made him prove it by defending his championship against Scotty Slade. As the heel character he is, he got help from the Hooligans and sneaked away with his title. Later on backstage, ring announcer of Chaotic Wrestling, Rich Palladino, gave William Regal a rundown on the Hooligans, so the General Manager has got a few things to think of those talents of Chaotic Wrestling.
The very next day, William Regal appeared at the training facility to both, Chaotic Wrestling and New England Pro Wrestling, to hold a training and teaching seminar for future wrestling stars. He was accompanied by NXT star in the making, Oney Lorcan, who also had a tiny part of the Chaotic Wrestling show the day before. He was there to confront still champion Chade Del Monte (credit: Chaotic Wrestling) when he tried to sneak out from the fight to the backstage area.
Five days later, on 28 September 2016, William Regal was seen first on the new episode of NXT announcing the 2nd Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic with the first round starting next week and the finals taking place at the coming NXT TakeOver: Toronto on 19 November 2016. During the show later on, The Revival were about to take on the debuting Ealy Brothers but Samoa Joe not only destroyed the newcomers, he also killed the match. Asked about those actions and if he’d already made up his mind about the NXT Championship, William Regal appeared not to be impressed in any way, shape or form, telling Charly Caruso that he hadn’t spoken with Shinsuke Nakamura so far.
When Charly Caruso continued to ask William Regal about the nature of the participants of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, they were interrupted by Blake & Murphy and Wesley Blake said it better included them since Buddy Murphy finally got his act together. Murphy wasn’t happy with that statement, so they were bickering with each other like little children and finally William Regal got annoyed. He said they should get their act together for real but now need to leave because he’s got work to do.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal announces the 2nd Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and deals with Blake and Murphy (28 September 2016)
General Manager William Regal didn’t have the decency to react in any shape or form to Samoa Joe’s actions for the next two weeks despite Joe continued running rampant through the NXT roster. On the episode of 11 October 2016 Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy were in the middle of their match when Samoa Joe came down the ramp, caused disqualification and gave the two men a further beating. Then, after his already famous scream for “REEEGAAAL”, he demanded for Shinsuke Nakamura or his championship. Finally, Nakamura came out for a lengthy brawl between the two foes, so William Regal did gave in one day later in a special announcement. So, we will probably see Samoa Joe for the last time in NXT at NXT TakeOver: Toronto on 19 November 2016 in his re-match against Nakamura. Hopefully, Joe will be moved to SmackDown Live then, but I’m afraid he’ll be drafted to RAW.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal makes Joe vs Nakamura II for NXT TakeOver: Toronto and has got an announcement regarding Hideo Itami (12 / 13 October 2016)
For the last NXT episode in October, General Manager William Regal was out there again to finally reveal Asuka’s next challenger for her NXT Women’s Championship. It may be a little embarrassing for the current female roster in NXT that William Regal had to go through the history books in finding former WWE female wrestler Mickie James (she’s already 37 years of age while Asuka is 35) but this angle may also help the likes of Ember Moon and Billie Kay to climb up the ladder in NXT. Anyway, on 19 November in Toronto, Asuka will fight Mickie James for the NXT Championship.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal makes Asuka vs Mickie James for NXT TakeOver: Toronto (26 October 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] Mustafa Ali & Lince Dorado vs Kota Ibushi & TJ Perkins (26 October 2016)
November 2016 – William Regal is busy with the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
The first November episode of NXT was a mix of the main event being taped at the Full Sails University in Florida on 13 October and two matches from the NXT live event in San Jose, California, on 28 October. One of them, the first shown, was the first match of the second round of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team champions and it was supposed to happen between Roderick Strong & Austin Aries and TM-61. But Austin Aries apparently had suffered a broken eye socket, so he couldn’t compete and suggested to TM-61 that they should forfeit because they haven’t had a chance anyway. Naturally, General Manager William Regal had a better idea. Since the crowd deserved to see a match and Dusty Rhodes would have agreed, he made a singles match between Roderick Strong and one half of TM-61, the team itself should decide. And whoever wins, that man’s team would advance to the next round. TM-61 was fine with it and Shane Thorne competed while the other team had no choice anyway. In the end, Shane Thorne won, so TM-61 advanced.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal creates a singles match for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic (02 November 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] Kota Ibushi & TJ Perkins vs SAnitY (Alexander Wolfe & Sawyer Fulton; w/ Nikki Cross & Eric Young) (02 November 2016)
The first match of the NXT episode one week later started with the semi final of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic between #DIY and The Authors of Pain. Because The Revival interfered during that match, so The Authors of Pain advanced to the final, William Regal first made yet another match for the NXT Tag Team Championship between #DIY and The Revival for the NXT TakeOver show in Toronto, Canada, but this time with a 2-out-of-3 falls stipulation.
Next, William Regal was seen inside the ring, together with six security guys, to oversee the contract signing of Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe for their re-match for the NXT Championship. While Nakamura went inside the ring, Samoa Joe chose to get himself a table and a chair to stay on rampside. He then commanded for William Regal to bring him the contract and William Regal did. But the way he did it, made me personally more interested in the ongoing feud between William Regal and Samoa Joe than this match for the NXT Championship. But for the third match he announced during this show, William Regal was in far better mood, since he banned Paul Ellering into a shark cage hanging over the ring for the final match of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic between The Authors of Pain and TM-61.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal makes three matches for NXT TakeOver: Toronto official (09 November 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] #DIY (Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano) vs The Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar; w/ Paul Ellering) (09 November 2016)
On 13 November 2016 William Regal was in Baltimore, Maryland for EVOLVE 73.
Before he appeared there for a segment in which he offered Tony Nese a full WWE contract and teased that there would be more signings (the crowd went for “Bro” chants, suggesting for Matt Riddle and I would be all in for that!), William Regal attended a WWN seminar to hold a lecture for young and upcoming wrestlers. And later on that night, he was seen (and recognized) in a seafood restaurant in Baltimore where we got just another great photograph from.
For the following NXT episode, the GM had better things to do than appearing there. And that was preparing the NXT special NXT TakeOver: Toronto on 19 November 2016. And William Regal actually appeared in the show. Together with Triple H and Goldust he presented the winners of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic with the Dusty Cup. Winners were The Authors of Pain against TM61 while Paul Ellering was trapped in a shark cage above the ring for the entire match time. Backstage he took a picture with the new Tag Team Champions, Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano (yeah!!!).
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal and Triple H present The Authors of Pain as the winners of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic with the Dusty Rhodes Cup (19 November 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] #DIY (Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano) vs The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) (19 November 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] Samoa Joe vs Tye Dillinger (30 November 2016)
December 2016 – William Regal teases his brass knuckles and goes on world tour
I’m pretty sure, NXT only made Samoa Joe the first two time NXT Champion at NXT TakeOver: Toronto on 19 November 2016, so he could lose to Shinsuke Nakamura in Osaka for NXT’s live show there in Japan. This took place on 3 December 2016, so Samoa Joe just had a fortnight to enjoy his regained title but at least he was the first one who beat Nakamura in NXT.
He also had one successful defence against Tye Dillinger on the last NXT episode of November where it was also announced that Samoa Joe would have this early rematch in Osaka, Japan. Samoa Joe still smells conspiracy from William Regal, so I’m already looking forward to his next clash with the General Manager. Now, William Regal also was in Osaka, met up backstage with Tajiri and Yoshihiro Takayama and recommended his fight against Don Frye on Twitter while Tajiri went on to have a tag match with Towaza against #DIY on the very live show in Osaka.
During the NXT show of 07 December 2016, Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano, #DIY, made their first appearance back in Orlando, Florida, as the new NXT Tag Team Champions. But before they were able to celebrate, they were confronted by The Authors of Pain with Paul Ellering making it clear that The Authors are ready to become champions. Of course, The Revival felt entitled for their re-match. And so, General Manager William Regal later announced that The Revival will have their re-match against #DIY on the NXT episode of 11 January 2017. And the winner of that match (obviously #DIY) will have to go against The Authors of Pain at NXT TakeOver: San Antonio on 28 January 2017.
Also in his office, William Regal had a conversation with Tye Dillinger who wanted to talk to the General Manager because of his recent failures. But William Regal assured him that he believed in him, so he put him into a qualifying match against Eric Young for the #1 contender’s fatal 4-way match. The winner of that match will go for the NXT Championship, most certainly at NXT TakeOver: San Antonio. But even more interesting was what happened after Tye Dillinger left William Regal’s office again: because the GM finally acknowledged the existence of his brass knuckles, put them over and sighed almost joyfully. This story hopefully is a teaser for 2017…
We also got to see Samoa Joe vs Shinsuke Nakamura from Osaka, Japan, and immediately after that match, William Regal told Nakamura that Joe demanded the re-match, so they will have to end their feud in a steel cage match on the NXT live event in Melbourne, Australia, on 08 December 2016. It was pretty clear though that Joe would have to lose that match. And he did.
- [VIDEO] General Manager William Regal announces Nakamura vs Joe final clash (07 December 2016)
For the last three NXT episodes of the year, William Regal didn’t appear on television, mostly due to the NXT Live Tour through Japan and Australia plus the promotion of WWE’s UK Championship Tournament, airing live on 14 and 15 January 2017 from Blackpool, England. Because of all this, the last three NXT episodes of 2016 had been matches from Osaka, Japan, and Melbourne, Australia. And there have been some remarkable ones for my now finished list of 32 Best NXT Matches of 2016.
- [VIDEO] William Regal and Robbie Brookside discuss the upcoming UK Championship Tournament (15 December 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] Tye Dillinger vs Andrade “Cien” Almas vs Roderick Strong vs Bobby Roode (21 December 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] Oney Lorcan vs Andrade “Cien” Almas (28 December 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] #DIY (Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano) vs Akira Tozawa & Tajiri (28 December 2016)
- [MATCH REVIEW] Nia Jax vs Asuka (28 December 2016)