Last week, it was reported that WWE released Neville, about 10 months after he had last competed for the company. While many fans theorized that WWE was merely freezing the former Cruiserweight Champion out until his contract expires, new reports have added more information on the situation, claiming that Neville had actually tried to negotiate his early release, only for WWE to refuse his request for a reason that could be considered relevant in the light of ongoing industry trends.
As cited by WrestlingNews.co, Wrestling Observer Newsletter editor Dave Meltzer reported earlier this week that Neville asked WWE to release him “a while ago.” This request, however, was not granted, as the company reportedly didn’t want other wrestlers to follow his lead and quickly move on to New Japan Pro Wrestling, or possibly a top North American rival such as Ring of Honor or Impact Wrestling.
Specifically, Meltzer noted that the expectation was for Neville to sign with NJPW after getting released by the WWE. This meshes with earlier rumors that swirled just days after his WWE walkout, suggesting that he was planning to follow a similar career path as current Monday Night Raw superstar Drew McIntyre by leaving WWE to compete in the independent circuit or in Japan and returning as a bigger name, as recapped by Sportskeeda.
With WWE refusing to grant Neville’s request to be released, Meltzer wrote that the company froze his contract for 10 months, keeping him on the official roster of wrestlers but not booking him in any matches. But while Neville is now free to wrestle for any other promotion due to the lack of a non-compete clause in the terms of his release, WrestlingNews.co pointed out that it isn’t clear whether the British wrestler will be appearing on Saturday night at the All In independent wrestling event organized by Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks. The publication, however, added that Young Bucks member Matt Jackson has “been in contact” with Neville for a possible appearance.
Despite enjoying a good run as WWE Cruiserweight Champion before he was defeated for the title by Enzo Amore, Neville reportedly walked out of an episode of Monday Night Raw in October, 2017. Various wrestling publications offered their own rumored reasons for the walkout, including backstage heat with Amore and disappointment because his match against Austin Aries at the WrestleMania 33 pre-show was left off the event’s official DVD. However, WrestlingNews.co wrote that the main reason behind the walkout might be related to creative differences behind the scenes, given Neville’s supposed desire to get a good push on the main roster and not merely as part of the Cruiserweight Division.