William Regal vs. CM Punk (4/21/08)
Raw 21/04/08 CM Punk vs William Regal
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Regal, I should say, is one of my all-time favorite wrestlers. In WCW, he worked a stiff, technical style that was unlike anything I’d seen as a kid, and I had a blast watching him rough up cruiserweights and stretch people for fifteen minutes at a time. Beyond a short feud with Ric Flair over a stupid trophy, he never quite got the push he deserved, which is a shame because he was probably one of three non-nWo heels who got any reaction from the crowd. He was fired eventually (for trying to drag a green-as-hell Bill Goldberg to an actual wrestling match when he was to be squashed like a grape) and joined the WWF, where he was given one of the most hillariousy misappropriated gimmicks of all time: Steve Regal, Real Man’s Man.
CM Punk, on the otherhand, was just on the upswing here after two years in ECW. He’d just won Money in the Bank at Wrestlemania and was starting to stray from the Tuesday night C-show. Nobody was particularly happy about Punk’s direction in WWE, as glass-ceiling shattering moments saw him come up short again and again. This match was no different, though him losing to a guy like Regal for a designation he didn’t need was probably better than having Punk win the title by less-than-honorable means with no plans besides a quick transference back to the midcard.
But the match. It’s good. Like, real good. Punk and Regal would have a feud over the Intercontinental Title later, but there’s nothing quite like the first time. Regal is the fresh heel (he beat Hornswoggle and an injured Finlay to get here), and Punk the exhausted, plucky face (he beat Matt Hardy and Chris Jericho). I think this was the first time I saw anybody counter Punk’s corner bulldog, and it’s about as brutal as PG WWE got. A damn shame about those steroids–Regal’s main event run was a long time coming and had the potential to be truly great.
Paul Arrand Rodgers
Paul Arrand Rodgers has this blog, and that's about it.