Former NXT General Manager William Regal has made a bold claim by stating NXT reached its peak with February 2020’s NXT TakeOver: Portland.
In February 2020, NXT presented its final pre-COVID TakeOver event with a trip to Portland, Oregon. The evening is perhaps best remembered for Johnny Gargano’s heel turn against Tommaso Ciampa, which resulted in their subpar clash a few weeks later.
While everyone has their favourite year of NXT – 2018 being a favourite for many, owing to the original Gargano vs. Ciampa series – William Regal has given his own beliefs on when, exactly, the former black-and-gold brand peaked. Speaking to Renee Paquette on The Sessions, the now-AEW star detailed his theory as to why this is (h/t Wrestling Inc.):
“I have a theory that everything peaked at Portland. We go into Portland, and we come out, and all the top fellas were coming up to me and going, ‘We’ve done this style to death. We’ve done everything.’ And there were people trying to think how can we change a bit of something because it’s going to be more of the same from now on. There were a few little discussions like that going on, so we were starting to think like that, and then COVID hit. And then it was ‘Never mind that, let’s just survive’.”
NXT TakeOver: Portland received positive reviews, with particular praise going to Adam Cole vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano vs. Finn Balor, and Keith Lee vs. Dominik Dijakovic. The evening also saw Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne capture the NXT Tag Team Championships from Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly in a near-five star classic.
At the time of NXT TakeOver: Portland, William Regal was serving as NXT’s on-screen general manager, while his backstage duties saw him act as a talent scout for WWE. Regal would be released by WWE in January 2022, thus ending his two-decades-plus tenure with Vince McMahon’s sports entertainment empire.
He now resides in All Elite Wrestling, having debuted with the company at the Revolution pay-per-view. Also serving as a coach, William Regal’s televised presence sees him as the manager for The Blackpool Combat Club, which currently consists of Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, and ROH Pure Champion Wheeler YUTA.