When WWE officials brought Neville to the main roster from NXT, many people within the WWE Universe weren't sure what to kept from him. Neville was the longest reigning NXT Champion in the brand's history before Finn Balor recently broke his record. For WWE audiences on Raw and SmackDown, he had to start from scratch to prove his worth again in WWE.
Of course, all the WWE Universe needed to see was his athletic ability, grace in the ring, and the "Red Arrow." Despite not having strong microphone ability, "The Man That Gravity Forgot" built up quite the rapport with the WWE fans. Many people were surprised when Neville won the 2014 WWE Slammy Award for "Breakout Star of the Year," but that just proved that Neville was a superstar in the making for WWE. However, even a man that can defy gravity can't defy some bad luck.
Only a few weeks before Wrestlemania 32, Neville seemed primed for a spot in the Intercontinental Championship Ladder match on the grandest stage of them all. Unfortunately, he suffered a broken ankle during a match with Chris Jericho on Monday Night Raw, which forced him to relinquish his spot on the Wrestlemania card, and missed four months of his career.
Neville was due for his return to WWE programming in June or July at some point depending on his recovery. The latest round of rumors surrounding his return status claimed that he would be returning in mid-July with potential plans to enter the IC title hunt. As of this writing, it is unconfirmed if Neville has set his sights on The Miz's IC Championship, but he's returned to WWE right on schedule and at the perfect time.
According to a report from CageSideSeats.com, the final round of SmackDown tapings before the WWE Draft and brand split occurred last night in Grand Rapids, Michigan. During the show, Neville returned to a great ovation from the WWE Universe, but his return match was featured as a dark match. It's unconfirmed if WWE will use the match on tomorrow night's edition of SmackDown.
Neville faced Bo Dallas in a singles match, which he won with the Red Arrow, which you can watch courtesy of "Brock Lesnar Guy's" Twitter account:Neville's timing couldn't be much better since WWE is now less than a week away from the WWE Draft that will determine the distinctive rosters for both Raw and SmackDown. Since Neville only just returned to WWE events last night, it's unclear what WWE officials have in store for him once he's officially back on WWE television, but there have been some rumors lately.
The Man That Gravity Forgot has been rumored to be on the short list of WWE superstars to be in the IC title hunt. Although Darren Young won a Battle Royal on Raw this week to become the No. 1 contender to Miz's IC title, there is still the possibility that Neville could be included. However, it is more likely that WWE will postpone his push into the title scene until after WWE Battleground.
Another rumor claimed that Neville is set for a feud with Chris Jericho upon his return to WWE programming. Both men are scheduled for matches throughout July and August on WWE's overseas tour of Australia and New Zealand. It would be very easy for the two men to feud on WWE programming. It could also be a great thing for Neville to work with Jericho as a heel and rebuild his stock in the ring to become a bigger threat in the IC title scene over the summer.
Four months ago, Neville was a strong wrestler in WWE's midcard, who could have challenged for either the US or IC title. It is up to him again to defy the odds as well as gravity to become a top performer in WWE. Of course, it will only take a Red Arrow or two to remind the WWE Universe why Neville was the "Breakout Star of the Year." He's lost a few months, let's see what he can do with the rest of 2016.
[Image via WWE.com]