On March 30th of 2015, the man that gravity forgot made his RAW debut. It was the night after WrestleMania 31 and the man that WWE officials continuously forget, Curtis Axel was in the ring cutting a promo. During that promo, we would hear Neville’s music would hit. This was before NXT call-ups were the cool thing to do so while he was well received it wasn’t on the level of call-ups we see today. The proud Newcastle product would go on to easily defeat Curtis Axel and his main roster career was off and running.
Neville would go on to make the WWE universe’s collective jaws drop with his red arrow finisher. The closest he had come to really grabbing that brass ring was on May 11 of 2015 when he accepted John Cena’s United States championship open challenge. Despite Rusev interfering and costing Neville the championship, he had clearly taken Cena to the limit.
He would continue to wow the crowds until March 14th of 2016 when he injured his ankle during a match on RAW against Chris Jericho. It was an injury that would have Neville breaking two bones in his ankle. Like most injuries in WWE, the train keeps moving and the future king of cruiserweights would make his way to the back of our minds.
Suddenly the man that gravity had forgotten was now grounded
In his absence we witnessed the creation of the cruiserweight classic. It was a refreshing tournament for the fans that ultimately blossomed into the cruiserweight division. In the fall of 2016, the cruiserweights would make RAW their new home and the initial reaction was a positive one. Its momentum would eventually plateau and the purple ropes began to border on boredom. Then came WWE Roadblock which saw Rich Swann defeat TJ Perkins and Brian Kendrick. After Swann was declared the winner, there was a cruiserweight christmas miracle. Neville’s music would hit and he would make his way to the ring.
Neville would slide into the ring and as fast as he could give Swann a few claps of congratulations he would strike the newly crowned champion down. Neville didn’t just return. He turned! It was a heel turn that would have some of his most hardcore fans elated. His rise to the top of the cruiserweight division was immediate and in a little over a month he would win the championship.
He has yet to lose his title or his stranglehold on the division. Next to Braun Strowman, Neville truly has been the most unapologetic and menacing heels in the company. He walks to the ring with a purpose that is reminiscent of Triple H in the early 2000’s. It is ever apparent to this writer that Neville’s intensity has gone above the level of elevating the division in which he is confined to.
Simply put, Neville has outgrown the cruiserweight division.
This is the exact issue with the division. It had the potential to put a cap on a surging superstar and that proverbial cap has met it’s match. Neville’s rise has been stratospheric and there is no reason he wouldn’t be able to compete against the main roster. This past weeks #1 contender match for the intercontinental title was utterly brilliant but that aside, is there any real reason to suggest that Neville couldn’t compete on that level? He could easily be inserted into an IC title program or perhaps in a fued with a Seth Rollins type. There really isn’t except for the fact that he is a ‘cruiserweight’. Let’s not forget that this Neville was the NXT champion for 287 days.
Imagine the King of the cruiserweights visiting suplex city
This Neville strikes me as the type of guy that would walk into suplex city and spit on the welcome mat. It would be like David vs. Goliath with David having one hell of a chip on his shoulder. Does this incarnation of Neville really look like the timid type to you? That would be one bad ass game of cat and mouse. Imagine him eventually feuding with an AJ Styles or Nakamura. Those potential matches could be squared circle magic. Neville is that good.
It is this writer’s belief that Neville’s wave of aggression cannot and should not be limited any longer. His ring work is as terrific as ever and his heel turn has served him better than any character in a while. If this Aries feud ends with Neville as the reigning cruiserweight champion then what exactly does his character do next. TJ Perkins? Rich Swann? Imagine Neville is coming down to the ring and saying that the cruiserweight division is no longer fit for a king. Wrestling with the likes of 205 live is now beneath him. He then announces the king’s reign of terror will now be felt throughout the entire WWE locker room. It might just be what is best for business.