William Regal was effectively written off television on last Wednesday's AEW Dynamite when he was clocked from behind with brass knuckles by MJF and taken out on a stretcher. Fightful Select reported on December 1 that "talent is of the belief that William Regal's AEW deal could be up in December of this year."
It was later reported that Regal would be heading back to WWE when his contract expired.
Speaking on the ROH Final Battle media call, Tony Khan confirmed Regal would be departing AEW, saying he asked them to not pick up his contract option at the end of the year, and recapped what led to the decision.
Khan began by revealing that his mom suffered a stroke between All Out and Grand Slam and then suffered another stroke in October.
Around the time of his 40th birthday (October 10), Khan said he got a phone call regarding Regal.
"I got a phone call saying William Regal had approached [Chief Legal Officer] Megha (Parekh) and said, it was all very legitimate and valid stuff, basically, he has a son who works in another wrestling promotion [WWE] and he really wanted us, at the end of the year when we had the option to renew his contract, he was asking that we would not. Nothing bad. We were having a great time working together, but this is an opportunity for him to go back and work in these golden years of his career with his son and do things that he likes to do, coaching, and he has friends that he would like to go back and coach with. It's a very complex situation for AEW because he's a huge part of what we're doing on-screen and we really value him. There are multiple storylines he's involved in, and as we were going to Toronto that week, obviously, I had a lot on my mind," he said.
Khan said his mother had a spot on his heart doctors found, and the doctors said if they could fix that, they could hopefully stop the strokes. As AEW was in Toronto, she was going into surgery.
Khan said he was spending time with his mom in the hospital the week of the Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts (October 16) when he received a message from Regal.
"I got a message from Regal, asking if we could talk. I made time to talk to him. I went outside the hospital, I'm sitting on the park bench in front of the Mayo clinic, and we had this really long and good talk. It was very positive. He really had good intentions for why he wanted to go back, and it made a lot of sense to me why he would want to work his son and be with his son. He said to me, and it made sense, 'Given where you're sitting right now, does it make sense to you why I would want to go back and be with my son?' At that point, where I was sitting, it really did make a lot of sense and the last thing I wanted to do in that moment was prevent any parent and any child from being together," he said.
Khan said he would think about things, knowing it would cause major changes to the on-screen product, which is something AEW has dealt with all years given injuries and backstage incidents.
Khan continued, saying he spoke with Regal after the live AEW Rampage at Daily's Place (October 21).
"I sat with Regal for over 90 minutes in my office after, and this was probably the longest one-on-one in person talk I've ever had with him. We talked and I told him I would make major sacrifices to this company to do the best thing for you and your family because this is a family first company. The person I'm releasing later this month, who is still with us through the holiday, has been an essential part of major TV stories and is still an essential part of the TV as of tonight. We've done a lot of things to help him create the best situation he can for his family," he said. "For Lord Regal, I'm wishing him the best and he knows I wish him the best. We've had conversations even this week, and I think he's grateful for what I did and I know he enjoyed his time here and I enjoyed the time with him. It's hard to see him go and it was a challenge to make it compelling and he's not gone yet."
Khan said he might not be able to facilitate every family reunion, but he was happy to do this one.
He also said his mom is doing better and was part of the Thanksgiving celebrations.
Regal signed with AEW in March, making his debut at AEW Revolution when he got between a brawling Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley. His son, Charlie Dempsey, is currently part of the NXT brand.
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