365 matches in 365 days, each from that specific date on the calendar? Challenge accepted. Welcome to 365 Wrestling.
I’ve tried to think of this project in stages, with January serving as the introduction. In this first month, I’m trying to spotlight some of my favorite wrestlers and tag teams, so you can learn a little more about my preferences during this yearlong deep dive into wrestling history.
Today I want to talk a little about William Regal, an all-time favorite of mine. He can bust out some smooth technical wresling, or throw down in a brawl. He’s shined as both a singles and tag wrestler, as a standalone character, part of a group, or in a henchman-type role. While he spent the bulk of his career as a heel, he did some fine work on the babyface side of things during alliances with Eugene and Tajiri that both led to eventual tag title runs. I honestly think that Regal was on track for a run as a world champion in WWE in 2008 when he was both general manager of the Raw brand and won King of the Ring only to have his push promptly stopped due to a violation of the company wellness policy.
Today, we’re taking a look at a match from SmackDown in 2007, where Regal teams with fellow Englishman Dave Taylor to challenge Paul London and Brian Kendrick for the WWE Tag Titles.
You can watch this match on Dailymotion, or below:
These are the tag titles that WWE first introduced in 2002, a few months after the initial brand split. London and Kendrick have been champs since the previous May, an eight-month reign that already had set the record as the longest run with the titles. They’ve crossed paths with the two Brits a few times before this, most notably in a four-team ladder match titles the prior month at the Armageddon pay-per-view that is worth watching (but not for the squeamish as Joey Mercury suffers a ghastly facial injury).
On this episode of SmackDown, prior to the match, Regal and Taylor approach the champs backstage reminding them this will be a straight-up wrestling match, with no ladders or other shenanigans. Regal , who does all the talking, doesn’t actually say shenanigans, even though this is a very Regal-esque type of word for him to use in such a scenario.
I’m a sucker for the rugged wrestlers with technical skill playing the part of the heel, and it’s a role perfectly suited for the duo of Regal and Taylor. They spend the first few minutes feeding into the fast-paced, occasionally high-flying offense of the champions. London and Kendrick are also giving up a lot of size in this match, so they tag in and out often. Note the sequence with three straight tags and immediate attacks off the top targeting the back of Regal, punctuated by a London double stomp.
Momentum changes when Regal delivers a wicked clothesline to London. A solid beating from the challengers follows, but London never feels to be in any real particular peril or especially dire straits. That said, Regal unloads a fun series of strikes bludgeoning London in the Englishmen’s corner.
This match took place during the era when SmackDown was taped, and sweetened crowd noise became the norm for the blue brand. It’s off-putting to hear these big oooh’s and ahhh’s during the hot tag by Kendrick and finishing stretch, while all the fans on camera are sitting there, silent and passive. Regal reverses a cross body by Kendrick into a pin attempt for a convincing near-fall, and shortly thereafter, Kendrick catches Regal in a backslide for the sudden victory. The facial expressions and mannerisms of both challengers selling this sudden and crushing loss are pretty great.
–I forgot Ashley Massaro was managing London and Kendrick during this time until I saw her come out for the match with the champs. When people and pundits talk about individuals in the world of pro wresting who had tragic ends, they don’t mention Ashley nearly often enough. I won’t go into all the details here, but you can find them easily enough with some Internet searching.
–It’s something to go back and watch WWE television that is more than 10 years old and watch a product that looks and feels pretty much the same as the current stuff. The only difference is probably more zoom cuts in the camera work now.
–Kendrick has short hair and looks to be about 10 years old as a result.
Final Rating: 5.0
There’s plenty of good talent in this match and while there’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing, there’s also not anything to make it really stand out or that I can identify as a reason for you to go out of your way and watch it.
We head to the Land of the Rising Sun.
Got a match you’d like me to watch as part of this 365 Wrestling project? Agree or disagree with my take on this match? Let me know by using the contact form on this site, or reach me on Twitter.