Five-Star Match of the Week: Daniel Bryan vs. William Regal - Superstars, Nov. 10, 2011
Every Wednesday, WWE Classics and Greatest Matches team up with your favorite Superstars to bring you the Five-Star Match of the Week. We ask a Superstar in the WWE locker room to select one of the greatest wrestling matches of all time, and WWE.com brings you that full-length match, uncut.
Twenty years ago today, a young grappler named Steve Regal made his WCW debut as a fresh-faced Brit ready to make a name for himself in the United States. Known today as William Regal, the Blackpool, England, native is one of the most respected veterans in the WWE locker room. For all the great matches he has competed in over the course of his decades-long career, Regal spoke with WWE Classics about one of his most recent gems against Daniel Bryan. ( MORE REGAL)
“It’s a strange match for me. Everybody else seems to like it and I’ve never watched it,” Regal admitted.
It was an easy match to miss. The bout was hardly the featured main event on either Raw or SmackDown during the week it occurred in November 2011, but rather on “WWE Superstars.” Nevertheless, the encounter is held in high esteem by both current Superstars and wrestling purists.
“The night before, we were in Birmingham and I tore my MCL on my good leg,” Regal explained. “I could barely walk. So I’ve never watched the match to find out what I did right and what I did wrong because I knew I was struggling to move.”
Despite the pain the Englishman was enduring, Regal could not miss the opportunity to lock up with Bryan. Although the Team Hell No member was initially trained in Texas by WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, he fine-tuned his craft with Regal in Memphis, Tenn., where he learned the dangerous art of submission wrestling.
The bout took place at Liverpool, England’s Echo Arena and Regal — usually jeered by fans as a conniving villain — was welcomed back by his fellow countrymen with a rousing ovation. As the former Intercontinental Champion made his way down to the ring, the “Man’s Man” theme music and entrance video began to play on the TitanTron — a reference to his abandoned flannel and denim persona of The Attitude Era.
“Everybody seemed to be shocked,” Regal said of the moment. “But I’ve been expecting that for 12 years, so it was no real surprise. I just laughed at it.”
The match itself was an excellent back-and-forth chain wrestling clinic highlighted by outstanding mat technique. Perhaps it was the MCL that did him in, but Regal caught a stiff kick to the skull and quickly tapped out to what was then known as the LeBell Lock to give the victory to Bryan. A month later, the Aberdeen, Wash., native cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to win the World Heavyweight Championship. ( MORE BRYAN)
“I know what I’m capable of and I just wasn’t capable of doing it that night,” Regal said. “Everybody’s told me [how much they like the match], but I’ll just go, ‘I’ll have to trust your word, because I know I wouldn’t be happy with what I did.’ ”
Mr. Regal can take our word for it — the match is a classic.
PREVIOUS FIVE-STAR MATCHES:
Oct. 3, 2012: Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania XII
Oct. 10, 2012: Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero, Halloween Havoc 1997
Oct. 17, 2012: Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk, Clash of the Champions IX: New York Knockout
Oct. 24, 2012: CM Punk vs. John Cena, Money in the Bank 2011
Oct. 31, 2012: Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase, WrestleMania IV
Nov. 7, 2012: Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog, SummerSlam 1992
Nov. 14, 2012: Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania X
Nov. 21, 2012: The Hart Foundation vs. The British Bulldogs, Madison Square Garden
Nov. 28, 2012: Eddie Guerrero vs. Brock Lesnar, No Way Out 2004
Dec. 5, 2012: Ric Flair vs. Big Van Vader, Starrcade 1993
Dec. 12, 2012: Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect, SummerSlam 1991
Dec. 19, 2012: Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage, WrestleMania III
Dec. 26, 2012: Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko, ECW, Aug. 26, 1995
Jan. 2, 2013: Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho, WrestleMania XIX
Jan. 9, 2013: Kerry Von Erich vs. Ric Flair, David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions
Jan. 16, 2013: The Rock 'n' Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express, WrestleWar 1990
Jan. 23, 2013: Rey Mysterio & Billy Kidman vs. The World's Greatest Tag Team, Vengeance 2003