The apparent departure of William Regal from AEW has led to some people within the company questioning a recent booking decision.
At AEW Full Gear on November 19th, Maxwell Jacob Friedman (better known as MJF) became the AEW World Champion after William Regal turned on the champion Jon Moxley by sliding the dreaded brass knuckles to MJF. While the referee wasn’t looking, MJF punched Moxley with the brass knuckles on his fist and pinned Moxley to become the new AEW World Champion.
MJF was absent on the next episode of Dynamite due to filming a movie, but he was back this past Wednesday, November 30th on Dynamite with William Regal by his side. It appeared that MJF and Regal were on the same page with Regal possibly serving as a mentor/manager of MJF. Nope. It didn’t last.
After MJF was presented a new-look Burberry AEW World Title that matches the scarves that he loves to wear, Maxwell decided to put the brass knuckles on his hand and hit Regal in the back with a punch (it was more of a forearm). Regal sold it like he was out as he lay motionless in the ring.
Following Dynamite, it was reported that Regal was leaving AEW to go back to WWE due to an out-clause in his contract.
In this week’s edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (available via subscription), Dave Meltzer questioned the decision to use Regal in the MJF story while noting “a lot of talent” in AEW are also wondering why it was done that way.
“I can’t understand putting so much heel steam to the point of being the point man in stealing the title on Regal, when it was known by the key people by this point he was gone in a few weeks. I mean, story or not, the guy was leaving. A lot of talent has questioned that in the same way now that everyone knows he’s leaving.”
By mentioning the “key people” in AEW, Meltzer is likely referring to AEW’s Owner/President/General Manager Tony Khan, who has the final say on all things creative. There were likely other key people who knew about Regal leaving the company for a WWE return.
What the story does do is make MJF look more like “The Devil” because he turned on the guy (Regal) that helped him win the World Title. MJF effectively used Regal to get what he wants – the AEW World Title. It’s expected that Bryan Danielson, who looks at Regal as a mentor and father figure, will be feuding with MJF moving forward.