William Regal's Initial WWE Exit Led to Top Prospect's Departure

WWE's developmental system has undergone many facelifts over the 21st century. The early 2000s saw Ohio Valley Wrestling serve as WWE's farm system, with talent like John Cena and Brock Lesnar cutting their teeth in that territory before joining the main roster. The global leader in sports-entertainment eventually turned to Florida Championship Wrestling to house its prospects, which only lasted for a little over five years. The Sunshine State's territory was rebranded as WWE NXT. Those three letters represent WWE's developmental system to this day, but that's not to say changes didn't happen along the way.

The black and gold underwent a paint splatter-style makeover in Fall 2021, a shift that went far beyond a fresh color palette. The new-look NXT 2.0 was now focused on transforming athletes into WWE superstars rather than signing independent wrestlers. While NXT is back to its familiar colors today, there is still an emphasis on pushing WWE NIL talentW.

Consequently, this refocus claimed the momentum of some top prospects, as evident by Sarray's recent departure. The 26-year-old Japanese sensation signed with WWE in February 2020 and spent three years competing for both NXT and NXT UK but was unable to pick up significant steam. According to Fightful Select, much of that is due to "many of her biggest supporters" being released from WWE during her early years. Among these supporters was William Regal. Regal's initial WWE exit was said to be a "turning point" in Sarray's WWE future.

Regal was released from WWE in early 2022. The Gentleman Villain joined AEW shortly after, serving as an on-screen manager for Jon Moxley, Bryan Danielson, Wheeler Yuta and Claudio Castagnoli. He would be written off of television this past November and would be granted his requested release from the company altogether at the end of the year. Regal has since returned to WWE in a behind-the-scenes capacity, serving as Vice President of Global Talent Relations.

While Sarray had not been in the WWE Performance Center in "ages," it was noted that she took "great pride" in helping Tiffany Stratton during their short program on NXT TV. Beyond Stratton, there was an overall "positive" vibe about Sarray's contributions to WWE.

Sarray won't spend much time away from the ring, as she is expected to return to Japan in May.