For months, WWE fans complained about Neville’s booking. Following a long run as NXT’s top star, “The Man That Gravity Forgot” was called up to the main roster in April 2015.
For several weeks, Neville was booked to win and looked like a legitimate threat. Then he wasn’t.
It wasn’t even that he was losing, rather he lacked a noteworthy feud. Since his callup, Neville’s most memorable angle was being actor Stephen Amell’s tag team partner against Stardust and King Barrett. And let’s be honest, his purpose in that feud was to keep Amell from working an entire match by himself.
Perhaps the most disappointing part of Neville’s main roster run was the injury itself. The British Superstar fractured his left ankle just weeks before what would’ve been his WrestleMania debut.
In hindsight, it may be even more of a letdown knowing he could’ve won the Intercontinental Championship. Let’s assume Zack Ryder, who won the belt at ‘Mania, was only in the match to replace Neville.
There’s a possibility that the victory still would’ve gone to “The Man That Gravity Forgot” in that scenario. That alone would’ve been the best booking of Neville’s main roster run.
So with that logic, along with extended time off television, many anticipated stronger booking for the former NXT Champion once he made his return. But Monday’s episode of Raw proved that he’s right back to square one.
Here’s what Neville’s done in the past three weeks since returning from injury: A win over Curtis Axel on Raw, followed by another on Superstars (not a good sign) and Monday’s tag team match win over the Dudley Boyz.
Let’s focus more on that tag match. Neville was supposed to find a mystery partner, who turned out to be Sin Cara. That was perhaps the most underwhelming choice of a tag-team partner possible.
If there’s one person who’s received less notable booking than Neville, it’s Sin Cara. So, WWE decided to put them together because “flippy stuff” and reasons.
This can’t be reassuring if you’re a Neville fan hoping to see better booking. Saddling the Superstar with Sin Cara is pretty much a downgrade from the disappointing status he had before his injury.
Sin Cara – both the original and current – hasn’t had any momentum since 2011. It’s not going to work like sticking former Road Dogg Jesse James and “Rockabilly” Billy Gunn together and repackaging them as the New Age Outlaws.
If Neville’s biggest flaw is providing a promo or having a lack of size, Sin Cara doesn’t improve either of those weaknesses. Other than both doing a lot of flippy moves, the pairing looks like a generated tag-team on WWE 2K GM mode.
But let’s end this column on an optimistic note. There is a Cruiserweight Championship coming to Raw soon. At least that’s something to look forward to.
Neville is one of the few true cruiserweights on Raw’s roster. Sure, he’s a better fit for SmackDown considering how open the title picture is. But there has to be some reason he’s on Raw other than to be saddled with Sin Cara or to face Axel on Superstars.
Neville could be the face of the cruiserweight division once it becomes established. Until then, hopefully WWE can figure out something better for him than random tag matches and preshow tapings.