Blue Blood Is Thicker Than Water: Examining William Regal And Triple H's Bond

William Regal is one of the most influential and respected figures in the industry. Even after spending his first year outside the confines of WWE in more than 20 years, Regal managed to have a renaissance as an on-screen character as the manager and leader of the Blackpool Combat Club in All Elite Wrestling. Now part of WWE again, Regal returns to working alongside his friend and confidant, Triple H, who took over as the chief content officer where he oversees talent relations, talent development, and live events in addition to leading the company's creative vision.

Regal and Triple H (real name Paul Levesque) have a relationship that dates back to the early-mid '90s. Had it not been for Triple H regaining power as a result of Vince McMahon's sudden resignation in the summer of 2022, it is entirely possible Regal would have never found his way back to the WWE. Regal will also be reunited with his son, Bailey, who wrestles on NXT under the name Charlie Dempsey. 

As the longstanding personal and professional relationship between Triple H and Regal has shown, "blue blood" is indeed thicker than water. Here are some highlights of the relationship between the longtime wrestling cronies.

First Impressions

The relationship between Triple H and Regal can be traced back to WCW. The Eric Bischoff-led company signed the wrestler then known as Terror Risin' (later stylized as Terra Ryzing) in 1994. The young Paul Levesque broke into the business as a trainee under the legendary Killer Kowalski who cut his teeth in independent promotions in the tri-state area. Regal, on the other hand, joined WCW in 1993 when Bill Watts had been given the book. Prior to his arrival, Regal had more than a decade of experience under his belt and spent a year in the promotion before appearing on camera for the first time alongside the now-Triple H.

Regal recalled meeting Triple H for the first time on his podcast "Gentleman Villain." Regal said he recognized Triple H as someone younger than him with potential and offered a helping hand to the young American wrestlers "because that's what others had done" for him. He also said he had his wife cook for the young Triple H at their home. Triple H and Regal became travel partners and spent any off day they could at the WCW Power Plant tinkering with their in-ring styles. Through their experiences, they found themselves to be like-minded individuals with a similar view on wrestling in general, but Regal reiterated his initial dealings with Triple H were simply a product of how good other wrestlers were to him once upon a time. "That's just what people did," Regal said on being gracious to newcomers. "Decent people did that and I like to think I was one of those people. So the first day I met [Triple H] was, 'Hello! How are you doing? Do you need anything? What do you need?' And it went from there." 

WCW Tag Team Partners

Regal and Triple H's backstage chemistry led to the creation of a new WCW tag team known as The Blue Bloods. They wrestled together on WCW television for the first time in June 1994. The Blue Bloods consisted of the repackaged Jean-Paul Lévesque, a French-Canadian aristocrat and Lord Steven Regal, a British aristocrat. According to Regal on the "Gentleman Villain" podcast, WCW had big plans for the pair, as they were set to be managed by Sherri Martel before the former Jean-Paul Lévesque's contract expired and he left for WCW. 

Regal told "Inside the Ropes" one unique story about their time teaming together back in February 2020. "The first day we were at TV and he's got this black robe that he ended up giving to me that I used to wear in 1996, and I had a red one. We stood there admiring ourselves," Regal said. "Obviously, as you would notice, neither of us were shy in the nasal department with rather large [noses] — his is bigger than mine. Well, we stood there admiring ourselves, looking in this mirror in the dressing room with these big puffy shirts and Arn Anderson walked behind us and just went 'you two look like a pair of woodpeckers.'" After Lévesque departed WCW, Regal carried on the Blue Bloods gimmick alongside the legendary Bobby Eaton, with the storyline revolving around Regal aiming to teach his new partner from the American south the finer points of British culture.

Regal's Mentorship

Regal taking a young Triple H under his wing may have had more to do with Regal's backstage process than anything he noticed in the future WWE executive right off the bat, but their relationship still managed to take on a life of its own separate from others. The mentorship role Regal had in Triple H's career, particularly early on, cannot be overstated. In previous interviews, Regal alluded to WCW having big plans for his tag team with Triple H before the American's contract expired, but "The Game's" decision to not resign with WCW and instead pursue opportunities in the WWF came at Regal's recommendation. Regal already having a guaranteed contract with WCW and was on a different level of playing field than his tag team partner. When the WWF gave Triple H an offer, he spoke to Regal about it.

"I said, 'no, what you need to do is go to [WWF],'" Regal said on the "Gentleman Villain" podcast. "What he needed was what I'd had for the last 10 years. He needed to work 200-plus days a year because he had all the skills but you get better by wrestling a lot. You find out what you're good at, what you're bad at, you make mistakes, you rectify those problems, you try to work on them and just the experience makes you a better talent." Regal went on to say that he and Triple H kept in touch over the years and wound up reunited under the WWF banner in 1998.

2004 Mini-Feud

Regal returned to WWF in 2000 shortly before WCW went out of business. Due to the varying nature of Regal's on-screen role at the time as well as Triple H's torn quad in 2001, the two friends had limited on-screen interaction with one another. That is, until 2004, when Regal became the handler for Eugene, "Raw" General Manager Eric Bischoff's kayfabe "mentally challenged" nephew. After portraying a comedic straight man to Eugene for the first few months of their association, he became involved in Eugene's eventual feud with Evolution, a dominant heel faction headed by none other than Triple H. With Eugene claiming Triple H was his favorite wrestler, "The Cerebral Assassin" attempted to manipulate Eugene and turn him against Regal.

Regal delivered an impassioned promo against "The Game" on a June 2004 episode of "Raw," one that succeeded in drumming up excitement for the first-ever in-ring singles encounter between the former WCW tag team partners. Regal and Triple H faced off against one another twice during this run, with both matches ending in disqualification while lasting less than five minutes. The first mini-feud between Regal and Triple H is perhaps best known for "The Game's" backstage assault on his one-time mentor ahead of his match with Eugene at SummerSlam in 2004. 

With Triple H temporarily removed from the world championship picture so stablemate Randy Orton could become the youngest world champion in company history, his involvement with Regal served as interesting filler for die-hard wrestling fans, even if the Eugene character ultimately flopped.

2008 Mini-Feud and Regal's Suspension

Interaction between Triple H and Regal remained limited between 2005 and 2006 with no proper follow-up ever being done to "The Game's" backstage maiming of Regal ahead of the Eugene match. However, things changed in late 2007 into 2008 when the WWE finally decided to give Regal a chance to shine in a main event singles role. Regal first won the right to become the new general manager of "Raw" in a battle royale. After months of featuring on shows as primarily a background character, Regal involved himself in Triple H's matches as a way to make things right with Vince McMahon over an incident involving Hornswoggle. His initial involvement with Triple H during this time marked return of Regal as a full-time wrestler on the show.

In the spring of 2008, Regal won the one-night revival of the King of the Ring tournament, inserting himself into the tournament despite being the show's general manager. He defeated CM Punk later that night solidify his "regal" standing in WWE, and began to portray himself as a tyrant authority figure akin to a "mad king." From there, he became the heel focal point of "Raw" and appeared to be gearing up for his first proper feud with Triple H, the WWE Champion at the time. However, Regal's push came to an abrupt halt in May of that year after being suspended for 60 days to a wellness policy violation. To this day, Regal claims to be unaware of the reason for the suspension. "I still don't know what it was about," Regal said on the "Gentleman Villain" podcast. "Something showed up on my drug test and again there's been things said about me 'oh he relapsed' no, that's not true at all. Nobody printed anything about what happened to me at that time because nobody knew."


Though Regal returned to the WWE following his 2008 suspension, he would never quite reach the same heights as an in-ring performer, eventually finding his way onto the ECW brand before it was discontinued. Regal held down a variety of on-screen roles during this time, but his role became more defined once Triple H earned his first official title with the company, Senior Vice President of Talent Development, at the end of 2010. "The Game's" new role gave him total control over the WWE's developmental system, which had recently evolved into Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). Part of the newly-minted WWE executive's job involved making trips to FCW to study the ways the Floridian promotion helped prepare the future WWE stars of tomorrow and aspects that needed improvement.

Regal was chief among the people who joined Triple H on these trips to Florida, as he explained on an episode of the "Gentleman Villain" podcast (h/t "[FCW] was a developmental system that Steve Keirn started, and they did a great job. Triple H had bigger ideas. Obviously that's where NXT came in and moved to Orlando. But at the time, FCW was a great thing. Norman Smiley was there, Doctor Tom [Prichard], Joey Mercury; fantastic people, fantastic trainers." 

As interest began to dwindle in Regal among the WWE creative team as a full-time wrestler, he slowly began to take on more of an active role in FCW, eventually becoming a color commentator. The commentary role helped him segue into a feud with Jon Moxley. The Regal-era of FCW ultimately served as the origin to the current WWE developmental system, which is built around the weekly NXT television show as well as the WWE Performance Center.


Seeking a fresh look and vibe, Triple H made the decision to move the WWE's developmental system out of Keirn's FCW and into the newly rebranded NXT, which continues to run shows out of Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida. The new-look NXT officially began in May 2012, and from there, the WWE Performance Center came to be in July 2013. Regal, being the right-hand man of Senior Vice President of Talent Development, took on an advanced role in the new-look WWE developmental program. He first continued in his FCW role as a color commentator and occasional wrestler, but with the idea being for commentary to also be a developmental component of the brand, Regal was moved into an on-screen role as the show's commissioner in July 2014. 

Regal remained installed as the NXT authority figure throughout the rest of his time with the company. While Triple H's WWE role saw rapid growth over the heyday of his NXT brand, "The Game" came upon life-threatening health issues that saw him become less involved with the brand in late-2021. Vince McMahon used this as an opportunity to impose his own vision of what WWE developmental needed to look like, and rebranded NXT with a greater focus on homegrown wrestlers and a decreased focus on former independent wrestlers. However, Regal confessed on "The Sessions with Renee Paquette" that he supported the changes, feeling the product in its then-current form "peaked" with NXT Portland in early 2020.

A Shared Talent Vision

Regal's heavy involvement in the weekly show also enabled him to help any talent in need of guidance. Additionally, the English veteran has become known for his eye for talent over the years. The company bestowed a new title on Regal in 2018 as the Director of Talent Development and Head of Global Recruiting, and essentially became a global talent scout for his long-time friend. Regal commented on Triple H's vision for the new-look NXT in a June 2022 episode of the "Gentleman Villain" podcast, also explaining the "have-to's" when it came to discovering new future WWE superstars.

"[Triple H] said [to me], 'you know when you watch one of those great shows like 'Boardwalk Empire' and 'The Sopranos' and all these incredible dramas?" Regal said. "'You can have a bit of everything in that. You can have some really serious stuff, [and] you can have a bit of fun-ish stuff, but it's all incredibly well done. That's the vision that I want this to be because wrestling can be all kinds of things.' He said, 'If you watch any of those shows, you never see anyone from the biggest to the smallest of roles look out of place.' That was what was going through my mind when looking for talent. How do they fit into this?" Ultimately, the level of talent Regal helped bring in caused NXT to evolve into more than just a developmental brand, leading to a weekly time slot for the show on the USA Network starting in August 2019.

Regal's Surprise Release and 2022 AEW Run

With Triple H seemingly out of the picture, at least temporarily, Regal's influence on the product began to decrease as well, and the WWE came to terms on the long-time wrestler and executive's release in spring 2022. The British legend quickly put a deal together with AEW, coming in as the manager and leader of a new stable known as the Blackpool Combat Club. The Regal-led BCC was made up of former WWE superstars Regal had a great familiarity with such as Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, and Claudio Castagnoli, as well as Wheeler Yuta, who came into his own as a member of the stable.

In spite of his seemingly abrupt WWE departure, Regal revealed an act of kindness he received from McMahon on his way out the door in a Q and A with "Inside the Ropes" in October 2022. "Mr. McMahon was very good to me ... I will say this because whatever he's going through, he was excellent to me," Regal said. "I had a talent contract, as well as an employee contract and it didn't run out until the end of April because I played William Regal. I started for AEW on the seventh of March. I didn't call anybody else, I sent a message straight to the boss, 'Hey Boss, I've got this thing with Bryan [Danielson],' and he loves Bryan as well. 'Absolutely, you go' and still paid me until the end of my talent contract. I was the only person who ever got paid by both companies at the same time."

Leaving AEW

The Blackpool Combat Club took off as a fixture on AEW television throughout 2022. However, as Regal indicated in his "Inside the Ropes" Q&A, there were no hard feelings between him and his former employer. Despite finding himself under contract to AEW, Regal loosely kept in touch with his former pupil throughout the WWE's roller coaster 2022. The year that was saw Vince McMahon resign as the company's figurehead and Triple H and Stephanie McMahon return to power, making up an executive triumvirate with former company President & Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan. With "The Game" back on top of WWE and Regal's son, Charlie Dempsey making a name for himself on NXT, the 54-year-old former WWE executive sought out an improbable return to his former employer in December 2022.

AEW CEO Tony Khan revealed on a media call for Ring of Honor Final Battle that he and Regal came to terms on a conditional release that will prohibit Regal from appearing on WWE television in any capacity through 2023, though there were conflicting reports over the precise expiration of Regal's AEW contract. Upon leaving AEW, Regal thanked Khan and the AEW staff for what he called "a lovely time and a great time" in a message on his Twitter account. "[There are] lots of talented wrestlers, and lovely people to work for [in AEW]," Regal wrote. "To my fellow BCC members, it was a special, albeit brief few months but it cemented our already strong friendship. To everyone there, thank you for welcoming me. Best wishes."

Regal's 2023 Return

In the final month of 2022, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that Regal was expected to return to WWE as a Vice President in January 2023. In fact, PWInsider's Mike Johnson added in January that Regal's official title will be Vice President, Global Talent Development. Triple H will be happy to have his longtime confidant back, as Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select (via Cultaholic) reported the WWE chief content officer was "very unhappy" about Regal being let go, adding that he was considered to be a "lifer" on the WWE's third brand. Having returned to the WWE fold, it can be safely assumed he will have plenty of job security moving forward, so long as Triple H can maintain a handle on creative duties with Vince McMahon back in the company.

Ultimately, magnetic pull between student and teacher proved too much for even an AEW contract to withstand, which speaks volumes about the strength of the bond between longtime friends and confidants. "We're closer than ... you can't even say friends. There is a different bond between us. It's hard to explain," Regal told "Inside the Ropes." "He knows it as well. He knows what I'm good at and he knows that we can literally look at each other from across an arena and he can just [nod] and I know what he's thinking and he knows what I'm thinking. He brings his bit, I bring my bit and that's why we bonded the first day I ever met him. I saw a like-minded soul."