William Regal Details History Of Neck Issues
Neck issues have plagued William Regal throughout his career
William Regal has lived a hard life. A tough, no-nonsense wrestler’s wrestler, Regal cemented his legacy with championship wins to become one of the most influential names in the industry, but it came at a price.
While Regal’s battles with substance abuse issues are well-known, what is less known is his history of injuries, revealing to Chris Jericho on the Talk is Jericho podcast how his neck in particular has caused him grief for the better part of 30 years:
“I’ve been wrestling with a broken neck since 1993,” Regal revealed. “There’s a match, the first time I won the WCW Television Title against Ricky Steamboat, and I was 25 years old. You can actually watch this. The finish is me giving him a German suplex. I land and you can see clear as day if you watch this right now, my head hits my neck, goes to the side and it goes crack. All my arms went dead, and it was never right after that. It was never right, but it got better and went away. What I used to get a lot was all this spasm in my left track and my neck would get stiff. I ended up having my neck done in 2004.”
Regal continued, noting how the issues with his neck started to cause further grief when he was in NXT:
“I was taking photographs with people. As another person was coming up, my legs just went from under me. Luckily, there was a wall behind me and I just stopped myself, and I went, ‘Oh, that was weird.’ I just stood up again like nothing happened. But, you know, looking back now there was plenty happening, and I was just ‘Well, yeah, it’s going to be like this’, although I could still do 300 Hindu squats. Sometimes I was dragging my legs and they were swelling up. I thought it’s just because I’m a wrestler, knowing also that I have a bad heart, but they’ve told me it’s okay. Two weeks later, I was down in Florida. We got out of the car. My wife just before we went in, she just said something to me. She put her hand on the shoulder and I fell against the car. My legs completely went from under me and I just fell. I thought when I get to NXT, I better mention something about that because that’s definitely not right. Of all the things I’ve gone through, that’s two times in two weeks.
“I end up going to have MRIs. I get the disk and I give it to the doctor there. I’m not exaggerating when I say this. Ten minutes before I’m going out to do three hours of commentary, the doctor puts it into his computer. He puts it on, and this doctor was very stoic and didn’t say anything, and then he starts swearing. He said, ‘Your legs are ok.’ Next thing, he hands me the phone. It’s Dr. Maroon in Pittsburgh. He says, ‘I’m looking at these pictures. Can you move your leg?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ I went and did three hours of commentary. I came back on the phone. Dr. Maroon said, ‘Get on the plane. I can’t do it till Monday.’ This is Thursday night. He said, ‘Get on the plane on Sunday. Bring a family member with you. Do not do anything. Don’t sneeze, don’t move. Get up here straightaway.’
“I get to Pittsburgh and Dr. Maroon said, ‘I’ve only ever seen something as bad as this once before, and that person was already in a wheelchair. I don’t know how you’re walking.’ I’m going, ‘No, I was just bridging the other day. I do a three minute bridge every day with my nose touching the mat.’ So it’s supposed to be an hour. They’re going with the first one in the front. They go in. I woke up. My wife sat by the bed. I look at the clock and it is six o’clock. He went there for four hours. Dr. Maroon comes in and he looks like he’s run a marathon. He starts with, ‘If I would have known what it was, I would have gone straight in the back. We’re going to have to eventually go right in the back.’ They found out, and you can’t see it on MRI, I have got a huge big, like baseball sized ball of calcified jelly stuff holding my neck together.
“It’s been like that probably from that match with Steamboat. So he said ‘Once I opened it up, I saw this mass, so it took me four hours to scrape that away so we can fix it from the front. When my neck got put back together, that was the first time I was sleeping in 20 years.”