William Regal spent years working in WWE’s developmental brand NXT, taking credit for the creation of one of the brand’s most prolific characters during this time.
By the time the 2010s rolled around, William Regal’s in-ring days were winding down, with the experienced Brit taking on more of a behind-the-scenes role, while also transitioning into commentary positions in both NXT and Florida Championship Wrestling.
As the years progressed, Regal became the on-screen General Manager of both NXT and 205 Live, with his official WWE title seeing him serve as the Director of Talent Development and Head of Global Recuriting. He found great success in both rules but backstage, William Regal believes he’s the man responsible for creating Bayley‘s hugger character.
Discussing the character on his Gentleman Villain podcast, Regal claimed the idea came from him, though Bayley also worked closely with the late Dusty Rhodes to evolve her character:
“I will claim that that was my idea, because it was. When I was commentating on the original NXT, when it was the game show, AJ Lee was on there and she was fantastic on there and my niece used to ask me, ‘Can you get me some t-shirts of AJ Lee?’
“She was very young and there were [no shirts]. So I’m like, ‘Why doesn’t this company have a marketable character for young girls?’ They’ve got everything for teenage girls and older ladies but nothing for little girls.”
Bayley debuted the hugger character in June 2014, maintaining it throughout her NXT career and onto the main roster before it was retired in late 2019. She’s since become ‘The Role Model’, with her 2020 body of work under this persona earning her a plethora of awards.
The inaugural women’s WWE Triple Crown and Grand Slam Champion is slated to challenge Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship in a Ladder match at Extreme Rules, having been a thorn in Belair’s side since returning at SummerSlam.