William Regal in the WWE NXT ring.

As WWE “Raw” opened on June 25, 2007, Vince McMahon stood in an empty arena in Corpus Christi, TX, alone in the ring, and confirmed that Chris Benoit, his wife, Nancy, and son, Daniel, had been found dead at their family home. A tribute to the former World Heavyweight Champion was played during a three-hour special that initially was set to be a “memorial” for someone else — the Mr. McMahon character that had been “blown up” in a limousine just a few weeks prior. However, a day later, the full details of the tragic incident were apparent. It was, in fact, Benoit that had committed a double-murder and suicide, and WWE distanced themselves completely from Benoit from then on.

A former WWE Superstar who was in the building that night was William Regal. Regal, who now works for All Elite Wrestling (AEW), opened up about the mixed feelings he had and the thoughts that crossed his mind during that particular day, especially after asking his wife to go round to Benoit’s house the day prior – as they lived around six miles apart – which she had ultimately refused because she did not like him.

“I didn’t know anything,” Regal said on the “Gentleman Villain” podcast. “I was walking around in somewhat of a daze all day … All day, I was calling my house to check on my family because, for some reason, I had this notion when we heard of these terrible things that had happened. I no way, shape, or form would have thought Chris had anything to do with that … On the Monday when we were hearing this, I’m in a daze, but I start to think, ‘What if there’s some insane person going ’round doing horrible things to people?’ And this, in my mind, ‘Could it be my family next? Could it be somebody that doesn’t like wrestlers?’ Because I didn’t know any of the facts.”

The former King of the Ring winner recalled that he kept “out of the way” of everybody all day long, but noted that there were a lot of people around who did not say anything to him until he was asked to “go in and do a video” as a tribute to Benoit. Regal remembered that before he went on, the red light above the door was on, meaning somebody was already in doing their tribute. It turned out to be John “Bradshaw” Layfield who had a “very strange look on his face,” and he asked Regal as they crossed paths, “You don’t think he’s had anything to do with it, do you?” Regal said it was the first time he had heard anything of that notion, and now, he had to go in and do a tribute.

Looking back on Regal’s tribute video – which the 54-year-old noted he had never watched back – he was only willing to say that Benoit was “undoubtedly the hardest working man in professional wrestling.” The less than a minute-long tribute video ended with Regal, who appeared to be flustered, saying that Benoit was “the absolute best”.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Gentleman Villain with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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