Before there was a Neville, there was Cody Rhodes, Sami Callihan and CJ Parker (now Juice Robinson). Along a different vein, there was Ryback.
There are also the confusing tales of Colt Cabana, Ivelisse Velez, and Chris Hero (since remedied as Kassius Ohno).
These are all names of now independent wrestlers who either walked away from WWE under their own accord or initially fell short during a WWE trial run.
Akin to other forms of sports and entertainment, mistakes do happen and sometimes relationships fail solely based on timing. Bobby Fish immediately comes to mind, one of our favorite independent talents of all time, and someone it took over a decade to appear in a WWE ring of any kind. Similarly, the Mae Young classic was a virtual Who’s Who of tremendous female talent (Mia Yim, Marti Belle, Santana Garret, Sage Beckett, etc.) arguably solely victims of said timing.
The question that remains – one we mention frequently on this site – points to The Young Bucks and others seeming steadfastness to succeed on their own terms. No brass ring, no moving treadmills. Cody’s outspoken nature on the independent circuit only strengthens the Bucks’ stance. Pro wrestling was never intended to be system of have’s and have not’s. Nor one resembling pro baseball’s minor and major leagues.
When athletes like Neville, however, walk away, they’re doing so for obvious creative and professional differences. There’s simply no logic in remaining store manager working overtime when a ‘Going Out of Business’ sign lurks just outside. No slew of kind customers, promises of a new potential store location, and/or taking one for the team can nor should convince those like Neville otherwise. Again, timing can be everything.
While indy wrestling fans will laud their favorites returning to their seeming roots, it’s no small step down from a sold out WWE PPV to The Orpheum in Tampa’s Ybor City (a venue we love, by the way). Even with an often defeaning live crowd, there’s a pocketbook realization that audiences are now 1/10000th and the paychecks a potentially significant decrease. In some instances, in means leaving the country to work said shows.
Can one therefore truly reach for the now infamous brass ring that is a WWE primetime opportunity, noting an omnipresent glass ceiling of timing or circumstance in its path? A wonderful, paraphrased quote by Matt Riddle highlighted this nuance well, in his wanting to remain in indy circles to both perfect and his craft and avoid being lost in an NXT developmental shuffle. This is especially salient with current management philosophy to stock the development roster with veteran, top global talent.
Thus – and for WWE fans – it’s imperative to catch at least one house, NXT show. Remove the glitz and glamour, and watch these athletes – especially those vying for a small push – be at their most natural. Well, as natural as one can be noting every nuance being evaluated.