When talking about NXT, perhaps there’s no greater era than the Black & Gold Era of the developmental WWE brand. So many stars were made during that particular time, so many angles were displayed from week to week, and although many of those stars are gone from the company entirely (some are even wrestling now at AEW hilariously enough), those days are still cherished by many fans and those rooted deeply within the industry.
One such person is undoubtedly William Regal…a man who had a lot to do with the Black & Gold era of NXT as so many of you already know. He worked behind the scenes and was responsible for the cultivation of a lot of talent in NXT.
Of course he has since jumped ship to AEW; this after his release from WWE—a shocking occurrence when it happened and many are still reeling from it, but he has nestled for himself quite the spot in AEW, so in the end something very good came out of the whole ordeal after all.
As it turns out though, Regal sees many similarities between the Black & Gold NXT and AEW. He detailed the reasons why he feels this way recently on the Gentleman Villain Podcast. He also went into the fact that the change from the Black & Gold to NXT 2.0, which is the incarnation of NXT as it stands right now, was a major reason for his WWE exit, which was what many had figured had gone down anyways.
Here, he provides some sort of closure to that chapter in his life. He also goes into the whole negative feedback that WWE is used to getting from fans. He talks about his approach to that fan feedback as well. Here’s some of what he had to say:
“You’d be foolish to say that it isn’t very similar…Yes, very much so… if I say anything now, there’s going to be people that go, ‘Well, that was a PWG crowd, or that was Ring of Honor’s crowd.’ No, here’s another one of my views: the people who think, ‘Oh, all they did was take people from Ring of Honor or PWG,’ well, there was a platform for them and a bigger platform to make a better living…
I’m very fan-friendly, like I try to be as open-minded to fan feedback as possible, but if you’re of the mindset that by us or NXT, or WWE, or AEW now, taking your favorite wrestler away from you so they can make a better living for their family and get more exposure, and you think that the big companies are the devil for doing that, then maybe you need to check yourself in the mirror…
Because that’s what happens, you go out in this profession to make a living or to be what you want to be in it, right? Any time that that’s happened, and that happened a bit with NXT UK, and AEW doesn’t seem to get that kind of (negative feedback) but WWE does…
‘Oh, you’re taking away all our stars.’ I’m sorry that I’m taking them away and giving them an incredible platform to have far better training than they’ve ever had – and ask any of the people that have worked there, and get looked after when they get injured, and not have to worry about getting paid that night, and getting a check in the bank every week.”via William Regal on Gentleman Villain Podcast /Wrestling Inc. (Transcription)
The 54 year old Regal was born in Codsall, England and has been wrestling and been in the business since 1983. He has wrestled for WCW, WWE and for a variety of other promotions. In NXT he served as trainer after the passing of Dusty Rhodes. He was instrumental in the recruitment of wrestlers and on TV he served as GM for the show.
Many wrestlers looked to him as mentor. He now manages the Blackpool Combat Club consisting of Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson and Wheeler Yuta in AEW.