After debuting the night after WrestleMania 31 and picking up a victory over Curtis Axel, the future was looking bright for WWE’s new sensation.
However, some poor booking errors and an untimely fractured ankle weeks before WrestleMania 32, has left Neville’s main roster career less than desirable.
Similar to how WWE has booked some of its high flyers in the past, Neville’s role on television has been to provide a highlight for the night in hitting his finisher manoeuvre, the Red Arrow. Yes, it is an incredible move, but it unfortunately left Neville stuck in the lower mid card as his continual role was to win matches over jobbers like Axel and Stardust.
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The talent is there, the booking from the WWE isn’t, so let’s take a look at how WWE should book the return of the leader of the altitude era.
Cageside seats have followed the progress of the former NXT Champion and say, "Neville is expected to make his return within the next month.”
However, with The Miz, Cesaro, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn being the focal point of the mid-card at the moment, WWE should hold off on his return to in-ring action.
Even though the Money in the Bank match would be the ideal situation for Neville to return and shine in, all it will do is relegate him like his hometown football team Newcastle, down a division.
In revamping Neville, he needs to come back with a bang. Many experts predict that Sami Zayn will win the Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam and if he does do so, he’ll need a new challenger. WWE could book Zayn the night after to hold an open challenge for the championship which should be accepted by the returning Neville.
Zayn vs Neville will live on as some of the most iconic matches in NXT history. Now with both guys on the main roster, a few more epic matches should be installed for WWE fans.
I wouldn’t have Neville win the title the night after SummerSlam, however. I think a 10 minute back and forth matchup on the RAW after SummerSlam could set up an even better match for the Night of Champions pay-per-view.
Neville would have to prove himself though. So theoretically, wins over solid mid-carder like The Miz and Cesaro should solidify him as the number one contender and the rightful opponent for Zayn at Night of Champions. The match is set, and WWE could even look at adding the stipulation of making it a ladder match to enhance the match further.
The IC title match is synonymous with the ladder match. They have associated the two together at WrestleMania the past two years with multi-person ladder matches for the belt.
Whenever, fans think of the IC title and ladder matches they think of the Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon match from WrestleMania X.
If fans dive through the history books and searched for other great ladder matches for the belt, they would find classics between Rob Van Damn and Eddie Guerrero, as well as Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho.
These matches weren’t at WrestleMania’s, so this could be a great opportunity for WWE to break the mould and revert back to having great IC title ladder matches not necessarily at WrestleMania.
Fans have already seen glimpses of what both Neville and Zayn can do in ladder matches, so 20-30 minutes of pay-per-view should be enough for them to steal the show. WWE’s long-term plan would be for Zayn to retain.
Neville will be left in a situation where he’s had great matches, but hasn’t beaten anyone yet. This should be noted by the WWE commentary and Neville’s frustration needs to be made evident.
A heel turn is in order now for the man who gravity forget. He should attack Zayn and demand one more match at pay-per-view following Night of Champions. Considering WWE have already done the best Zayn vs Neville match possible they need to find a way to improve on this, so they should add a rightful contender in the match as well, making it a triple treat.
In the triple treat match, Neville hits the Red Arrow on the rightful number one contender, only for Zayn to steal the victory. Thus, this begins the classic tale of Neville getting so close that he can almost taste it, but never winning the belt.
After three attempts at the IC title, Neville now needs to move on. He is a heel superstar desperate to prove himself so he goes after WWE’s biggest babyface. AJ Styles will always have a huge fan following, so if Neville goes after him, fans would still be incline to cheering Styles. A match between the two would be awesome, but Neville once again would come up short.
Neville is continuing to almost clinching that brass ring that WWE love to talk about and at the Royal Rumble, Neville should shock many and finish in the final four of the match. This is great for Neville as he is making the move up from lower mid-card status, without defeating any big names.
Once again Neville is almost there. He’s lost three close IC title matches, had a phenomenal back and forth match with AJ, and finished in the final four of the rumble. He’s extremely credible and his story and purpose on the main roster suits his underdog status. A big win at WrestleMania could now be on the cards for Neville, as he’s successfully worked his way up the card.
Neville isn’t a guy that will win many big matches, but by booking him this way, you can elevate him for the lower mid-card into almost a league of his own.