In 1998, Steven Regal had found himself unemployed after a five-year stint in WCW. The WWF, at the time still gaining momentum in the Monday Night War, quickly signed him. However, his Lordship was about to undergo a personality change.
On the September 14th episode of Raw, we suddenly saw a video vignette of Regal out in the woods, chopping down trees. Regal was proclaimed a “real man’s man.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The manly vignettes continued over the next couple of weeks. The next week showed Regal shaving with a broken mirror and a knife. A week later we saw Regal driving a bulldozer. The next week we saw him squeezing orange juice with his bare hands.
After that, Regal disappeared until the October 28th Raw. X-Pac was defending his European championship against Steve Blackman. Blackman had just knocked X-Pac out to the floor when Regal ran in and attacked. Regal was wearing a flannel shirt with no sleeves and blue jean shorts, a far cry from his elegant WCW robes. The New Age Outlaws hit the ring to help out X-Pac, and the referees wound up separating everybody.
The next week, Regal came out wearing a yellow hard hat. He threw out an open challenge to anyone who was man enough to knock the helmet off his head. Goldust accepted the challenge to Regal’s chagrin. Regal wound up pitching Goldust, which was Terri Runnels’s (dressed as Marlena again) cue to head to the ring. Just as Goldust had Regal set up for the Shattered Dreams, Kane headed to the ring to dish out chokeslams. He dropped Regal and Goldust, then hoisted Terri into the air. Referees and road agents talked him out of it, so Kane chokeslammed Tony Garea instead.
Also, the road to Survivor Series was beginning. The main showcase that year would be a sixteen man title tournament. In the first round, Regal and X-Pac were scheduled to face off.
Regal showed up on Heat the next week to take on X-Pac for the European title. However, the Undertaker had other plans. Undertaker destroyed X-Pac and the match never happened.
Regal and X-Pac faced off at the Survivor Series. However, as the two brawled on the outside, they were both counted out. Vince McMahon ordered a five minute overtime, which saw X-Pac wandering to the back with Regal chasing him.
Regal was set to take on the Godfather the next night. As was customary, the Godfather offered to skip the match if Regal would take Godfather’s three women instead. Regal declared that his name wasn’t Elton John and took the girls. As he left the ring, Godfather reneged and insulted England. That prompted Regal to whirl around and attack the Godfather.
A week later, Godfather was making the same offer to Tiger Ali Singh. Before Tiger could say yes or no, Regal hit the ring. Regal reminded Singh of what the Godfather had done to him the previous week, and also happened to mention that Singh could afford to buy much better women than the ones being offered. Godfather turned toward Regal and was attacked by Singh. Regal joined in the fun and Val Venis ran in for the save. The referees broke things up and Godfather shared the girls with Venis.
And that was the end of that. Regal disappeared from television and resurfaced in WCW in 1999.
This was a gimmick that had potential on the drawing board. Regal is a legitimately tough guy. Let’s face it Ã¢â‚¬â€œ you don’t start your career at 15 wrestling anybody who comes out of the crowd unless you’re tough. It was certainly believable for Regal to switch from his traditional British Lordship gimmick to a tough-guy one, especially in the attitude era WWF.
You’ll notice I said that it had potential on paper. In reality, the execution of the gimmick was about as goofy as you can get. The videos which were supposed to show how tough Regal was instead played as comedy. His theme music was reminiscent of Monty Python’s lumberjack song. It didn’t help that Regal’s drug problems had also begun eroding his in-ring skills.
On a side note, Regal himself has said that this gimmick contributed to his drug problems, as he realized just how bad it was.
In the end, Regal vanished from television and entered drug rehab. When he returned to the WWF in 2000, he had a much better gimmick of a cultured, upper-class British man.
Regal was released from the WWF in April of 1999. After he left rehab, he returned to WCW only to be released again the following February. The WWF picked Regal up and assigned him to their Memphis developmental territory. After a phenomenal match against Chris Benoit at the 2000 Brian Pillman Memorial show, Regal was brought back up to the main WWF roster. Regal remains with the WWE today. He is currently on the Smackdown brand, where he has resumed his WCW tag team the Blue Bloods with Dave Taylor.