Vince McMahon and WWE have not always been known for the greatest creative decisions, nor for picking and choosing which pro wrestlers to focus on and push. Yet somehow, time and time again, it is baffling just how misguided and sometimes obscene such booking decisions are when you watch it before your eyes. They come in all sizes too — from the choices made among the main event scene on some of the biggest events of the year, to lower tier wrestlers on some random episode of Monday Night Raw.
WWE’s latest offense fits in the latter. All wrapped up in some three-minute nothing match in the middle of Raw, dumbfounded conclusions were aplenty. That match: Bo Dallas vs. Neville.
You go to even a fairly casual WWE fan and present him with that matchup. Ask him several questions: Who is the more prominent of the two? Who is more the talented pro wrestler? Which of the two should WWE be investing time into? And who should get the win?
In each instance, you will almost be guaranteed the same answer.
Get this though; who won clean in the middle of the ring? Bo Dallas.
In almost a moment of poetic irony, just as the bell rung and the crowd’s shared mixture of silence and groaning started, a fan behind Dallas raised his sign which read, “Stupid Idiot,” as if directing it at the person who decided Dallas should have his hand raised.
Then the immediate question at hand is: Why?
Because McMahon and WWE are sometimes quite foolish? Well, yes. But this one has some background to it which is even more baffling than the match itself. You see, this little nothing match is just another saga in the continued “progression” of the Dallas character. That’s right; WWE is using its time and resources to push Dallas, of all people.
You know who’s getting a whole lot of nothing in that very same department? Why, Neville, of course. Because sometimes the WWE mantra might as well be: “Screw Logic.”
Earlier this year, Neville broke his ankle during a match on Raw. He returned in July and has since done nothing. In fact, he has hardly even appeared on Raw, the show he was drafted to in the brand split. One could probably count those appearances in the last three months on one hand. McMahon seems to think Neville is just good for filler on WWE Superstars each week instead.
Quite foolish, indeed.
Is Neville the best guy on the mic? Admittedly, no. But as an in-ring performer, Neville is top notch. Neville brought that cruiserweight flair to the main roster each week long before the actual new cruiserweight division made its debut a month ago.
Neville, before his time in NXT and WWE, had spent notable time as a cruiserweight in such promotions as Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Dragon Gate, and New Japan Pro Wrestling. Anyone familiar with those promotions knows the level of ability we are looking at to be a standout. And Neville, then under the name PAC, was most certainly a standout.
It’s much more than you can say about Dallas. Nothing against the guy personally, but he simply is not a standout in any sense of the word as a pro wrestler. His look is plain as can be. His in-ring abilities are very bare-bone and unspectacular. And his mic work — the one area that shows some promise — feels forced and corny.
With that said, it is then perhaps not a coincidence to find where he came from in the business. When you think about WWE’s insistence to push Dallas, it is not too shocking to find he is a direct product of WWE’s old developmental system, Florida Championship Wrestling (what would later become NXT, and then go on to grow to the NXT we know today as a full-fledged wrestling promotion). It’s no secret McMahon and crew tend to favor domestically-trained talent as opposed to guys who made careers outside of WWE beforehand.
Still though, we are talking about Bo Dallas. Since his debut on the main roster, he has been a lower-tier guy. He was a Social Outcast — a faction purposely composed of the most forgettable members of the WWE roster (until Heath Slater managed to rise from that deep, dark pit, miraculously).
Now Dallas is in the midst of this run as a vague singles performer with his cheesy slogan slapped on a campaign poster he carries around on a stick, “Bo-Lieve in Bo.” After a flop of a run as a sort-of babyface, WWE has him doing the heel shtick now. He is not having any more success post-heel turn. But WWE persists. To what end? Who knows.
Given there has seemed to be no real developments in Dallas’ continued push, it will likely continue week after week, filling up a patch of time in Raw’s titanic three-hour-plus running. And unless we get lucky, Neville is probably not going to be on this upcoming Raw, and maybe not the next either.
It is a great waste of talent, for, in all truth, Neville should probably be a top guy in the new cruiserweight division alongside T.J. Perkins and Cedric Alexander. He has the talent and his presence would be more than welcome — which is more than you can say about Dallas and his current spot on Monday Night Raw.