It’s looking like former NXT Champion Neville, who fractured his ankle during a match with Chris Jericho on the March 14 episode of Monday Night Raw, will be returning to the ring in mid-July. At the time of the injury, the prognosis for his return was two to three months. The injury did not require surgery, according to WWE physician Chris Amann.
In an exclusive interview with WWE.com on June 8, Neville said that he was feeling good and that he was finally beginning to move around without a cast or crutches. He also said that he was feeling extremely refreshed.
“Honestly, I’m feeling good. I’m starting to move this week, starting to get moving. You know, it’s been a long time for me to kinda re-strategize, and re-think everything – I’m finally coming to the end of that journey, and I’m refreshed. I’m looking forward to finally getting back into the mix.”
Neville injured himself doing a baseball slide, which is a move that has injured quite a number of wrestlers in the past, most notably former ECW and WWE star Rob Van Dam.
After Neville injured himself in the match with Chris Jericho, “Y2J” tried to end the match right away, but referee Charles Robinson didn’t realize that Neville was hurt. This led to Jericho shoving the referee and being disqualified. Then, Jericho and Robinson got into a brief shouting match in the ring, where they screamed the f-word at each other numerous times. You can check that video out below.
Prior to his injury, Neville was supposed to be in the WrestleMania 32 ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship. He was replaced by longtime crowd favorite Zack Ryder, who ended up winning the Intercontinental Title at the event. Just because Ryder won doesn’t mean that Neville was originally scheduled to win the match, as Ryder’s win was probably meant to be a surprise, because no one believed he had a shot at winning the IC Title.
It’s looking like Neville will be returning right as the brand split takes place, and it’s unclear which brand he’ll end up being on. In fact, other than the top guys like John Cena, AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns, WWE really doesn’t know where anyone will end up after the brand split happens.
Unless Chris Jericho decides to end his current WWE run before Neville returns, the former NXT Champ may end up doing a short-term feud with Jericho upon his return to the ring. He also may end up in the Intercontinental Championship picture, because he never got his shot at the title at WrestleMania 32.
WWE wasn’t exactly using Neville the way many believed he should be used prior to his injury. But, the upcoming brand split should open up some opportunities for everyone. Maybe he’ll end up in the World Title mix on one of the two brands.
Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet has reported that the WWE draft will take place on the July 18 episode of Monday Night Raw in Providence, Rhode Island, so that could be Neville’s return date.
The draft show is expected to showcase the top 10 or 15 picks of each show’s general manager, and the two GMs will presumably be Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon, but WWE has been teasing the possibility of someone else taking over SmackDown.
Neville may end up being one of the brand’s top 10 or 15 picks, and when he’s picked, he may show up as a surprise on the show.
It’s also worth noting that Neville could return to the ring before mid-July if WWE needs him, so he may show up a lot earlier than expected.
[Image via WWE]