William Regal has opened up about his history of serious neck injuries, revealing that his issues were made worse by a near-death car crash.
AEW star William regal has made no secret about his battles with injury and addiction, with the two issues often going hand in hand.
Towards the end of his time in WCW and into his first short run with WWE, Regal’s lifestyle began to catch up with him. Hampered by a serious neck injury, the star was leaning ever more heavily on a number of drugs to deal with the pain and continue his career. This eventually led him to check into rehab in early 1999 at the behest of WWE.
Speaking on the latest episode of his Gentleman Villain podcast, available early on AdFreeShows, William Regal got into detail about his injury problems. The British star explained that owing to a broken neck he was unable to train, and taking “far more drugs than he should” have done to deal with it.
“Well, 1997 come around and don’t know how my neck ended up getting bad. But if you look you can, if you see any of my early stuff from then onwards, I started getting heavier and heavier and I couldn’t train. So I was never a body person. But I always did lots of squats and push ups and the neck was really bothering me.
You will have to look the dates up of this but that there is a match on pay per view of myself against Prince Laukea. I think it may be around about the May of that year. So I’m having a lot of problems with my neck. And I’m taking FAR more drugs than I should do to as an excuse to take the pain away. But it really isn’t. It is an excuse, but it isn’t I didn’t need to be taken as much as I was. But I was okay.”
Continuing on, William Regal recalled being in a major car accident which also took his life, as well as those of his two passengers.
“That particular day you might be able to look this up because it’s as we speak in I had I was it was a pay per view. And I was wrestling Prince Laukea. That particular day. I hadn’t taken anything. I got up early and in the car, gone to the gym. Because we had to be at the building for two o’clock for the pay per view. In the car with me was Chris Benoit and Nancy Solomon. We went to the gym. We left the gym. And as we are coming off the ramp to where a hotel is to get showered to get back to the building at two.
I’m at the stop sign. And I look in the mirror and I can see a car barrelling at ridiculous speed up behind me. And I can’t do anything because I’m at a stop sign and there’s cars crossing. And Chris is sat next to me and Nancy’s in the back And I’m like, trying not to freak them out, but I can see this car is going to hit us. There’s no way, because I can’t go anywhere.
Right there was a car at the side of me there’s a car I’m gonna get rear ended. This guy hit me I have no idea what speed or hit us and flipped my how I don’t know [the speed] but it flipped onto the grass verge it flipped at my car three times. And it was actually my car…”
The figurehead of the Blackpool Combat Club continued to break down the near-death experience, describing how he eventually fought free from the wreckage.
We’re upside down on the roof. The only thing that saved me well, all of us was I was in a Ford Explorer. The roof was crushed against my head. So if I’d have been in anything else, I think it would have killed us. But the roof that was held in place, and I was upside down with the roof crushed on my head. I look across and we’re upside down. I look across and Chris is angling with his tongue out and I look across at Nancy and she’s her eyes are closed. I think they’re both dead.
I lean across to the back first I get myself out. I lean across to the back. I undo Nancy’s seatbelt. And I somehow kick her back window out. It’s already cracked and broken. And the cars crushed. I kick her out. And I push her out.
I’m upside down making while they’re upside down and I’ve flipped over now in this pile. And I’m I’m pushing her through the the opening in the door in the glass. And then I get Chris out and I kick the window out and I push him out.
Now I’m not goofy. I can see this car that hit us. And I see a guy get out of it who was just drunk as a skunk. I can see him he’s just staggering about and he swapped places with the teenage lad and I can see this clear as day. Right? And then the police come and so Chris and Nancy are just done in.
They’ve come to now but I’m looking at them and the police come and I’m going ‘listen that fella was driving a car not this not this young lad,’ whatever happened I don’t know what happened eventually I find out this is a while later, I don’t know good old boys network or whatever going on in whatever it was Mississippi? This fella got away with it. Anyway, my car was my personal car was a write off.”
Unbelievably the AEW star revealed that despite not remembering anything for around two days after the crash, and with a major concussion, he still wrestled as planned. Although, he was seen talking to walls backstage as he was in such a terrible state/
“I can’t remember anything else after that. So for about 10 minutes I remember talking to the police but I cannot remember anything until for two days well a day and a half later. Now this is where I find later on I find bits of things out being the kind of pro’s that we were and there’s nothing but stupidity we get the police to take us straight from this car wreck to the hotel, get our stuff and get to the building for two o’clock so that we’re on time.
Now I can’t remember any of this, this is just stuff I found out later. I have that match that night with Prince Laukea. I have no recollection of it. And again, I wasn’t taking anything that day.
I heard from a few people after, you know, a while later, Yeah, you were acting really weird that day you were just like walking around talking to the walls and stuff. And somehow on autopilot having a major concussion and not knowing what was going on.
I can’t remember any of this but I know because when I come out of it a few days later how bad my neck was again, which was something that was I was sort of I got used to from for the last four years or whatever, three years. You know, having a broken neck anyway, but I was just putting up with it and different things. I have this match So if you watch that match, I have no idea that I’m in that building that day. I am on complete autopilot. I haven’t watched it.”
After he stay in rehab in 1999, William Regal briefly returned to WCW before being re-signed by WWE the following year. The star remained with the company long after his in-ring career was over, working backstage in NXT as well as appearing as General Manager on-screen.
William Regal was released in January 2022, and signed with AEW just two months later.
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