Edge vs. William Regal (2/17/02)
This here’s a pretty good Object on a Pole match between the recently retired Edge and the always watchable William Regal. The reason that it’s so good is because the object on the pole barely factors in, and when it does, it’s usually in a creative, fresh way that, unlike most Object on a Pole matches, didn’t suggest two dumpy dudes trying to shimmy up a pole for something to make their dull match more exciting. See, William Regal around this time had the Power of the Punch, which was a brass knuckle aided left hand. You put those knux on a pole and say that they’re legal once brought down, and you’ve got yourself a decent little grudge match.
At this point in time, Edge was kind of spinning his heels as a singles wrestler, and wound up wrestling Booker T at WrestleMania X8 over a spot in a Japanese shampoo commercial. But this, in addition to his solid work in the undercard over the course of the previous year (including a ladder match with Christian that I ordered a Pay Per View for), were indicative of his future success. I really, really like his counter of Regal’s attempted powerbomb off the ring apron, which looks like the two screwed up something bad until the replay shows Edge grabbing the ropes and kind of throwing Regal to the ground with his hips. Also, I think he might be the first guy to drag himself to the ropes while suffering the Regal Stretch, and he doesn’t look ridiculous doing it.
I hear that Regal’s move to the announce position on NXT is basically the end of his in-ring career. This saddens me a great deal. Without trying to sound cool (hard to do on a wrestling blog, anyhow), I’ve been a fan of Regal’s since 1996. That was back in his Lord Steven Regal days in WCW, when he was the TV Champion and, on a weekly basis, one of the few good wrestlers to appear on WCW Saturday Night, which I might have watched more regularly than Raw or Nitro. Not only was I a regular PhD in the exploits of Disorderly Conduct, “Hole in One” Barry Darsow and Los Villanos IV and V, but every week, there was Regal with his TV Title, getting 10 minute matches in against everybody from Dean Malenko to Rey Mysterio. He never won any of those matches (TV Title bouts were 10 minutes long, so the champion really only had to outlast the challenger), but the way he made his opponents grind out those ten minutes, combined with his facial expressions and his funky chicken strut, were truly magnificent. At times, he was the only non-nWo guy on the roster with a title, and he was one of the WCW wrestlers that I really bought into. His WWE work, like the match above, is also just incredibly smart, with the exception of his brief stint as the Real Man’s Man, which is at least good for comedy’s sake. I’ll always be a little off-put by the fact that Regal never held the WWE Title, though for a good portion of his run as Raw GM/King of the Ring, he was the company’s biggest heel. He’s just such a smart worker–who else but Regal would go over to the corner where the brass knux are and step on a downed Edge before ascending the turnbuckles? Brilliant man, that Regal, and it’ll be a shame if his last match was on an episode of Superstars against an NXT refugee.
Paul Arrand Rodgers
Paul Arrand Rodgers has this blog, and that's about it.