Former WWE creative team member Freddie Prinze Jr. wound back the clock and recalled a former talent reciting Shakespeare in one of his promo classes.
The Hollywood actor’s promo classes became a regular occurrence backstage prior to shows airing live on television, and it gave WWE Superstars the opportunity to hone in on their acting skills. Prinze Jr. used all of his experience from the big screen and worked with talent during his tenure with the company between 2008 and 2009, and again between 2010 and 2012.
Though a number of WWE Superstars took the opportunity to learn from the classes, Prinze Jr. disclosed in January that he got heat from 16-time World Champion John Cena for running the workshops. The actor claimed Cena interrupted one of his sessions and stated that he didn’t understand how “any of this s*** works.” On the contrary, former NXT General Manager William Regal found a way to use the classes to his advantage, as Prinze Jr. told on this week’s Wrestling with Freddie podcast from iHeart Media’s My Cultra Network
“He asked me – this is so crazy. He didn’t have to ask, he’s William Regal,” Prinze Jr. said. “He has this Great British accent, ‘Would you mind terribly if next week I came in and perhaps did a monologue from Shakespeare?’ And I’m like, ‘Wait. What? You know Shakespeare? You’re supposed to be the villain. Like, you punch guys when they’re not looking. What do you mean, you know Shakespeare?’ He’s like, ‘Ah, yeah.’ He starts talking to me about various monologues from Shakespeare …
“He comes in there [the next week], and he kind of looks at me and I say, ‘Hey, Regal wants to go up, he’s gonna cut a promo.’ And my man stands up there and he’s dressed nice, he’s dressed well. And he looks out at everyone, and before he even speaks, he just takes in the room and he gives eye contact to every single wrestler in there, and it’s just, he’s taking his time. And he’s showing them, like when you’re in the ring, take it in. Allow your confidence to make silence a comfortable place. That’s something actors hear a lot, right …
“So he takes it all in, and he’s like smiling at them, right? So it’s a pleasant moment, and then he hits them with … Ariel’s monologue from The Tempest, and he’s talking smack to these guys that come at him, right? Basically, saying like, yo, those swords that you have are built from the things I control. You can’t touch me. Like swinging that is like swinging your sword in water. It’ll hurt the water long before it takes one feather off my hat. It’s the American translation, basically, and it goes on, and on, and on, and on. I don’t remember the whole thing … And everyone is stone sober as a judge, dead silent. It’s like listening to the greatest closing argument in a courtroom ever. He has captivated me and every single man and woman in that room. Nobody’s breathing.
“And then he stops, and he nods his head and he says, ‘Thank you very much,’ so quietly and humbly. Then he sits down. He sits down like a student then, in amongst the other students. And everybody’s like, ‘No. Screw that.’ They all stand up. They’re clapping, and they’re like, ‘Oh my god!’ And I’m like the first one up, I’m blown away.”
Regal was released by WWE on January 5, 2022, after working for the promotion since 2000. He signed with AEW in March, aligning with Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson to form The Blackpool Combat Club.
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Wrestling with Freddie with a h/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.
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