It’s been a week since rumours began to surface that Neville has requested his release from WWE. The reports varied for his unhappiness; was he peeved after being asked to lose again to Enzo Amore? Or was it because he was left off the WrestleMania DVD – a huge kick in the royalties for any WWE wrestler (and also a potential cause of Austin Aries quitting, too)?
The silence from both Neville and the WWE has been deafening – neither camp has confirmed or denied any rumours. This lack of denial, coupled with Neville’s absence from both Raw and 205 Live last week, certainly suggests something is going on behind the scenes. But what exactly is happening? The last tweet from Neville before this furor began, certainly gave an indication at the Geordie’s dissatisfaction at the WWE:
This ATROCITY is not on the NEVILLE LEVEL.
— KING (@WWENeville) September 29, 2017
You can hardly blame Neville either as that merch is not only not on his level, it’s barely on a cheap WWE knock-off level. But was this tweet a glimpse into his growing ennui at how the company was handling his character? Perhaps. But this is pro-wrestling, and there might be more to this story than meets the eye.
First of all, the WWE would be crazy to allow a guy like Neville leave. At 31, he’s a wrestler in his prime and produces quality matches week in, week out. He’s also helped to build the 205 Live brand with his Cruiserweight title reigns; the ‘King of the Crusierweights’ moniker is more than just a nickname, he has a legitimate claim to such a throne.
Everyone knows that his departure would leave a gaping hole in the roster, and the WWE certainly must know this, too. Which could all mean that they are working desperately to keep Neville from leaving. Or it could mean that they were keeping Neville sweet all along. And that all this brouhaha, is nothing more than a sneaky little work.
Yes, we’re throwing it out there: could Neville and the WWE have fabricated this whole story? Let’s examine the case for this possible red arrow conspiracy…
The Nevillian Candidate
Neville lost the Cruiserweight title to Enzo Amore at No Mercy, but this pointed at a double-turn for both characters. Amore cheated to win, and his subsequent appearance on Raw cemented his heel turn. Neville on the other hand was seemingly being pushed as the number one face on the 205 Live roster. In the old days, a character change like this would be done purely in-ring. But in our post pipe-bomb world, and in the age of the internet, wrestling has been prone to using social media and online rumours as a tool in character development.
Think about it: how over is Neville right now online? Fans have been coming out in mass support of him staying in the WWE, thus elevating his character to that of a top baby-face. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and in Neville’s case this has has undoubtedly been true. If this is all a work, he’ll get a roof-blowing pop when he does eventually return – one that’ll make him an instant hero.
And the really clever part if this is just a storyline, is that even indie wrestlers have taken the bait and helped stir the pot on Twitter:
— Marty Scurll (@MartyScurll) October 11, 2017
— WRESTLE WRAP UP (@WrestleWrapUp) October 11, 2017
But are we giving WWE creative far too much credit? After all, if this was their attempt to push Neville as the top baby-face in 205 Live, then why have Amore drop the belt to Kalisto? There could be a case that the plan was to send Neville into a higher roster position on either Raw or SmackDown. But if we look into our hearts, that’s probably just us being overly hopeful though.
The truth is, we simply don’t want Neville gone from the WWE. His potential is huge in the company, if they use him in the right way. And if this is all a CM Punk-esque style work, then it’ll be great news for the WWE and its fans. But if not, then it’ll be great news for indie promotions; they could soon be on the Neville level.