Freddie Prinze Jr. has revealed that William Regal once stopped a WWE promo class dead in it’s tracks with a spellbinding performance of a Shakespearean monologue.
During his in-ring career, William Regal was one of the more unorthodox performers to ever grace a WWE ring. His mix of over-the-top British humour and submission based, technical wrestling always managed to mark him out from the crowd.
Furthermore, it appears that this classic English eccentricity carried over to his work outside of the ring.
Freddie Prinze Jr. spent two spells with WWE where he worked as a writer, as well as putting his acting skills to good use by hosting promo classes. While some were not as receptive as others, John Cena being a notable sceptic, Prinze Jr’s classes were embraced by others.
Speaking on a recent episode of his Wrestling With Freddie podcast, the Hollywood star recalled William Regal asking to be involved in one of the classes. This led to the now AEW star hitting what can only be described as ‘peak Regal’ by standing up and delivering a monologue from Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
“He asked me – this is so crazy. He didn’t have to ask, he’s William Regal,” Prinze Jr. said. “He has this Great British accent, ‘Would you mind terribly if next week I came in and perhaps did a monologue from Shakespeare?’ And I’m like, ‘Wait. What? You know Shakespeare? You’re supposed to be the villain. Like, you punch guys when they’re not looking. What do you mean, you know Shakespeare?’ He’s like, ‘Ah, yeah.’ He starts talking to me about various monologues from Shakespeare …
“He comes in there [the next week], and he kind of looks at me and I say, ‘Hey, Regal wants to go up, he’s gonna cut a promo.’ And my man stands up there and he’s dressed nice, he’s dressed well. And he looks out at everyone, and before he even speaks, he just takes in the room and he gives eye contact to every single wrestler in there, and it’s just, he’s taking his time. And he’s showing them, like when you’re in the ring, take it in. Allow your confidence to make silence a comfortable place. That’s something actors hear a lot, right …”
Freddie Prinze Jr. recalled Regal quietly sitting down after the show-stopping rendition before receiving a standing ovation.
“So he takes it all in, and he’s like smiling at them, right? So it’s a pleasant moment, and then he hits them with … Ariel’s monologue from The Tempest, and he’s talking smack to these guys that come at him, right? Basically, saying like, yo, those swords that you have are built from the things I control. You can’t touch me. Like swinging that is like swinging your sword in water. It’ll hurt the water long before it takes one feather off my hat. It’s the American translation, basically, and it goes on, and on, and on, and on. I don’t remember the whole thing …
And everyone is stone sober as a judge, dead silent. It’s like listening to the greatest closing argument in a courtroom ever. He has captivated me and every single man and woman in that room. Nobody’s breathing.
“And then he stops, and he nods his head and he says, ‘Thank you very much,’ so quietly and humbly. Then he sits down. He sits down like a student then, in amongst the other students. And everybody’s like, ‘No. Screw that.’ They all stand up. They’re clapping, and they’re like, ‘Oh my god!’ And I’m like the first one up, I’m blown away.”
William Regal began his most famous run with WWE in 2000, remaining with the company until long after his in-ring career ended in 2013. The British star continued to work backstage with WWE as well as appearing as NXT General Manager. Regal was released from his contract in January 2022, before joining AEW a short time later.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.