Thursday, March 26, 2015

The 2014 TWB 100 Slow Release: #5

The man gravity forgot, but the TWB 100 voters didn't.
Photo Credit:
5. Adrian Neville
Points: 5823
Ballots: 69 (nice)
Highest Vote Received: 2nd Place (Joshua Browns, Andrew Smith, Jesse Powell)
Last Year's Placement: 47th Place

TH: Neville struggled as the ace of NXT early on in the year, but he was still decent as he was trying to bound into shape. The second half of his year was much better, which may or may not have had anything to do with working extensively with Sami Zayn. Still, he showed great handle on high spots and worked well as both an out-and-out face or slightly as a heel.

Dave Kincannon: Adrian Neville spent almost ten months as NXT champion, winning it at NXT Takeover: ArRIVAL in February, and losing it to Sami Zayn at Takeover: R Evolution in December. He was the champion who saw NXT through most of its first year with wider exposure, thanks to the WWE Network. Throughout his run, he was featured in fantastic matches, but he really impressed in the Fatal Four Way match between him, Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze and Tyson Kidd, which was my favorite match of 2014.

Joshua Browns: He's the only person I could reasonably see at the top of this list other than Zayn. Neville has come so far in the last year, it's amazing. Really diversified his portfolio in 2014, letting his newly credible "ground game" shine as a much bigger part of his in-ring work.

Nick Ahlhelm: He will never have the mike skills to ever be an all around performer, but the former PAC is always one of the best in-ring performers on any card he is on. As the NXT champion for most of the year, he put on one great match after another in feuds that ranged from Bo Dallas to Brodus Clay to Tyson Kidd to Sami Zayn. He proved it didn’t matter what size his opponent was, he could make them look good while pulling out impressive wins. And the Red Arrow is and always will be a thing of beauty.

Chris McDonald: One of the strangest looking wrestlers I’ve ever seen and yet everything he does looks so flawless. He can’t be from this planet. He must be from outer-space. I can never get tired of watching him Neville his Red Arrow finishing move. How in the hell does he do it? Also his matches with Sami Zayn this year were classics. Go rewatch the Main Event dark match on YouTube. One of the best of the year.

Brad Canze: A lot of how I feel about Adrian Neville was also how I felt about Ricochet over this last year. He was a guy who's mostly known for flips and dives and cool spots who evolved into a ring general who is a solid-as-a-rock anchor for any match you can put him in. Look back at 2014. Find a bad Adrian Neville match. You can't do it. You can find bad promos but that's not what this list is about. I've seen people throw around "He's your Ricky Steamboat for a future roster" about a few guys, but realistically Neville has a ceiling even in a world of Daniel Bryans, but he can be your workhorse babyface for the next 15 years. Hell, give me a Neville-Breeze feud that goes a full 15 years. I'll watch it.

Martin Bentley: Whilst promos are the most glaring hole in his game, and one that will likely hold him back on the main roster, thankfully in-ring, he's the complete package. He can fly with the best of them, he can grapple on the mat, and he has in-ring psychology down pat. And he carried NXT as champion for the majority of the year. He's also not beyond breaking the rules at times, which proves useful in bigger match situations where honest men will fall flat. This was used to great effect in the rivalry with Sami Zayn, in which both men shone brilliantly.

Tomorrow, last year's number one checks in.