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Neville: The king is dead, long live the king

The 'King of the Cruiserweights' was dethroned on Sunday, and seemingly lost his right to a rematch on Monday. So what's next for Neville?


Let’s get some biases out of the way early. I’m British and I’m a complete mark for work-rate over storyline. By those two things you would automatically think that I love 205 Live and in particular Neville. Well, only one of those is really true.

I’m one of those wrestling fans who has a great appreciation for Akira Tozawa, Gran Metalik, Cedric Alexander, and of course Neville, but simply doesn’t have the time or interest to watch 205 Live. There are only so many hours in the day, and so, so much wrestling to watch these days.

However, after months of brilliant character work, wonderful promos, and even better matches, Neville’s run as the ‘King of the Cruiserweights’ has well and truly embedded him as one of the top heels in WWE and one of my favorite wrestlers today.

For all the chaos Braun Strowman causes, for all the McMahons Kevin Owens beats up, and for all the awful things Jinder Mahal does every Tuesday, Neville has been the most impressive heel in the company this year. But all that changed on Monday.

The double turn

Since Enzo’s real-life troubles backstage became public he has been on the punishment train. Often being victim of verbal thrashings and physical beatdowns, he was ‘demoted’ to 205 Live, but quickly put into the main event despite his obvious shortcomings in the ring.

When Enzo won at No Mercy following a ten-minute beatdown via a low blow, the backlash was strong, and a double-turn was quickly cemented on Raw as Enzo’s insufferable and undeserved cockiness was quickly rebuffed by a justifiably angry Neville.

However, by laying hands on the new champ Neville seemed to give up his rematch for the championship, which was confirmed on 205 Live last week, we have to ask, what is next for the brilliant Neville?

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Reclaim the throne

Neville's match with Ariya Daivari on Tuesday showed two things: He is definitely a babyface now, and he is definitely not done with Enzo.

The post-match beatdown suggests that a rematch will be on the cards, potentially at Tables, Ladders, and Chairs at the end of October. The thought of Neville failing to beat Enzo again, especially if ladders are involved, is almost too much but given the mic time Enzo is still given on Raw one has to suspect that he won't be a flash-in-the-pan champ like Tozawa.

However, if Enzo's reign does little to move the needle on 205 Live, then I can see Neville reclaiming his rightful place atop the division.

US Open Challenge

If Neville is not going to become a three-time Cruiserweight champion then he needs to fly the 205 Live nest, and where better to go than the land of opportunity?

Providing AJ Styles retains his US title at Hell in a Cell in two weeks, the perfect place for Neville to re-debut as a main roster competitor is by answering the call of the Phenomenal One.

Not that he should need it, but a 12-15 minute match against Styles would "legitimize" Neville in the eyes of fans who don't consider him anything but a cruiserweight.

The reason for SmackDown rather than Raw is simple, the main event is open to anyone. While Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, and Braun Strowman bar entry to the top championship on the red brand, over on the blue side we have seen AJ, Bray Wyatt, and now Jinder Mahal hold the title. Not exactly your typical WWE champions. With Shinsuke Nakamura also lining up to take his time with the belt that Bruno Sammartino held, the prospect of a small Geordie winning the title is not at all unrealistic.

On Raw, Miz rules the midcard with an iron fist, and giants are in the main event. On SmackDown there is a sense of fluidity across the card, with a chance to progress from jobber to main event (in one step or many), and introducing Neville's improved mic work together with his sensational in-ring ability would make the show even more watchable.

Who doesn't want to see Neville work with AJ, Nakamura, Owens, Bobby Roode, or even another program with Sami Zayn?

Tag division

While the WWE are enjoying a tag team renaissance between the Usos, New Day, The Bar, and Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins, behind them there is very little.

Jeff Hardy is on the shelf, The Revival have been healthy for all of two weeks since WrestleMania, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson are extremely damaged.

What is there to do next in the either tag division? Well, why not throw Neville in there? There are several listless superstars in WWE that would benefit from going into a tag program with Neville. From Apollo Crews to Sami Zayn or Tye Dillinger, any pairing could be magic in the ring and continue the stream of great tag matches we have seen from WWE this year.


  1. POLL: What do you want Neville to do next?

    1. Reclaim the Cruiserweight Championship
    2. Answer the US Open Challenge
    3. Form a tag team
    21 votes
    Share Your Result

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Toby Durant

A passionate and opinionated writer, I am currently the NFL editor for RealSport. However, I also contribute to F1, WWE, Football, and other sections of the site, and I have covered the NFL International Series for RealSport and previously contributed to SB Nation.

 

I also have 10 years playing and coaching experience in American football, starting at the University of Nottingham and including a stint as defensive coordinator at Oxford Brookes University. I may be a Patriots fan but all aspects of the sport interest me, from guard play to special teams.

Neville: The king is dead, long live the king

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