WRESTLING HERITAGE

R: Steve Regal




Steve Regal


(Also known as Roy Regal, William Regal)


Not a lot happens in the south Staffordshire village of Codsall. For it’s size it boasts a sizeable number of residents, a 19th century judge, a member of the S.A.S., founder member of Slade and a professional footballer among them. The villages most famous son, though, is a professional wrestler. Darren Matthews was born on 10th May, 1968. Darren Matthews became wrestler Steve Regal in the second half of the 1980s and went on to international acclaim as William Regal, the Americans bestowing both a Knighthood and Lordship on him, as was their habit. Ask fans of the most successful British wrestler of all time and the name of Steve Regal is likely to crop up.


A schoolboy fan he watched the wrestling at Wolverhampton’s Civic Hall, deciding that he too would be a wrestler even though there was no wrestling connection in the family. Fifteen years old he travelled to Blackpool during the summer and turned up at Bobby Barron’s wrestling booth on the south shore. He joined the crowd and put forward his challenge. He was very persistent and returned until Barron took him on, posing as a challenger in the audience. He had the bug.


The following year he left Codsall High School Steve and was back in Blackpool. Under the guidance of Bobby Barron he went on a steep learning curve at the wrestling booth and the summer holiday camps of the north. To begin with he used a variety of names. The name Steve Regal was chosen when he saw a wrestler with that name in an American magazine. Other independent promoters took note and he received bookings in halls around northern England. They were busy days and he gained a great deal of experience in a short time.


Further training came from Marty Jones and shortly afterwards he was signed up by Max Crabtree to work for Joint Promotions. Max didn’t like the name Steve Regal and changed it to Roy Regal. This brought with it three televised bouts and main event exposure as a Big Daddy tag partner. He soon tired of the role and left Joint Promotions to work for the independents, notably Brian Dixon’s All Star Promotions. Steve Regal was back. It was a bold but wise move for one so young and the greater variety of opponents speeded his development. His tag partnership with Robbie Brookside is well remembered, and when All Star gained television coverage the pair did return for a couple of televised matches, the most memorable being their encounter with Kendo Nagasaki and Blondie Barratt.


As wrestling went into near terminal decline in the UK Steve began working the summer tournaments in German, and in 1993 crossed the Atlantic to become one of the top performers for all the major US promotions, transforming into William Regal and Lord Steven Regal on the way. Bill Smith said: Regal made it in US because he was a great worker. He had skills beyond just wrestling, putting others over was easy for him because he hadn't any ego problems. He could also handle himself if necessary.”


Adorning our television screens in 1986 Steve came in at the tail end of televised British wrestling and the Heritage years. A determined success seeker we are pleased to include Steve in our Heritage tributes, disappointed only that the state of British wrestling meant he was forced to find fame elsewhere.


The full story of Steve Regal’s remarkable life and career can be read in the highly recommended “Walking The Golden Mile.”


Page added 12/06/2022