William Regal was one of the key people behind the growth of WWE’s NXT brand and he revealed he came up with one of the biggest characters in NXT history.
After William Regal retired as a wrestler in the early 2010s, he moved to a backstage role in WWE as one of the main people that built NXT. Triple H was the one that booked the shows, but Regal is also one of his close friends that played the role of the on-screen NXT GM for many years.
One of the most popular NXT characters ever in the mid-2010s was Bayley as the “hugger” who was smiling all the time and eventually became the NXT Women’s Champion. Bayley’s feud with Sasha Banks in 2015 produced some incredible matches that saw Bayley winning the NXT Women’s Title at their Takeover Brooklyn event during SummerSlam weekend. That led to a rematch that was the first 30-minute Women’s Ironman Match in WWE history, which Bayley also won to keep the title and end the feud.
On a recent episode of Regal’s Gentleman Villain podcast, Regal said that the Bayley character came from him.
“I will claim that that was my idea, because it was. When I was commentating on the original NXT, when it was the game show, AJ Lee was on there and she was fantastic on there and my niece used to ask me, ‘Can you get me some t-shirts of AJ Lee?”
“She was very young and there were [no shirts]. So I’m like, ‘Why doesn’t this company have a marketable character for young girls?’ They’ve got everything for teenage girls and older ladies but nothing for little girls.”
Bayley started doing the hugger character in June 2014 and kept on doing until she turned heel in 2019. After that, Bayley has been in a heel role just like she currently is.
Following a long run in WWE that lasted for over 20 years, Regal signed with All Elite Wrestling earlier this year. He is the manager/mentor of the Blackpool Combat Club that includes AEW World Champion Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson and others.