Wednesday, April 15, 2015

ODDSMAKERS! Against Whom Will Adrian Neville's First Big Win Be?

Neville keeps losing to big stars, but who will be the first wrestler of note to take the Red Arrow?
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Adrian Neville's debut on the main roster has been met with mixed reviews so far, although most of the conflict hasn't been around his actual performances. He's been impressive so far, but his booking has left some people scratching their heads. The pattern has gone something like this: beat Curtis Axel, lose to big name star, beat Curtis Axel, lose to big name star. The good news is that he's beaten Axel, so the announcers won't get the chance to peddle a bullshit "losing streak" narrative, which is a narrative WWE leans on hard and has almost never pulled off well.

It seems that WWE is going to ride with a quick "breakthrough" angle with Neville where he loses a bunch of high profile matches before pulling of a huge upset that gets him into the upper midcard at least. I say "seems" because one never knows with WWE and its constant state of rewriting RAW 20 seconds before it goes on the air. If this premise is what is being strapped onto Neville, then it's going to be interesting to see who his first big conquest is. A few names make more sense than others, but this is WWE here. Making out-of-leftfield decisions is the norm for this company. So, without further delay, the following is a list of candidates to take the three-second tan for Neville and allow him to fully arrive.

John Cena - 1000/1 - The United States Championship Open Challenge thing Cena's doing seems like the perfect opportunity to have a NXT upstart flashbang him, but I doubt Cena is going to figure in his own angle and this one as well. Besides, if anyone from NXT is coming up and yanking the US Championship from Cena, it's Finn fuckin' Bálor, folks.

The Field - 500/1 - The WWE roster is pretty big, but I doubt every big name is in the running for being the first of consequence to take a Red Arrow. While WWE pulling out Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, or anyone else of note might not be out of the realm of possibility, I doubt it'll be anyone else not listed here.

Seth Rollins - 250/1 - Rollins was the first bigtime opponent for Neville, but unless he loses the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (and he's not unless it's to Brock Lesnar or Reigns, neither of which is ready for a title shot anytime soon), he's not going to drop a match, title or non-title, to Neville.

Rusev - 100/1 - Rusev is an interesting name because he's currently on the tail-end of a huge feud with Cena and has little path illuminated after Extreme Rules. I can totally see a scenario on the first RAW after the next pay-per-view where Rusev takes on Neville and loses to set up a 1-2-3 Kid/Razor Ramon style angle. I don't necessarily think it's going to happen, but it's a more likely scenario than Cena, Rollins, or anyone else not listed below taking that first loss to the former NXT Champ.

No one - 50/1 - Again, this is WWE that is up for discussion. Having the company bail on an angle and letting Neville wither away back to NXT is not out of the realm of possibility here. I don't think Neville's track is leading to nowhere because apparently Vince McMahon loves NXT after having seen it live and Triple H isn't going to let one of his main dudes get the short shrift (as opposed to Adam Rose, for example), but this company has broken my heart too many times for me to totally discount this scenario.

Sheamus - 25/1 - While I can see Neville getting a shot at Sheamus, especially after Monday, the odds of him laying down for Neville aren't the best. WWE seems to want to build Sheamus as this monster with an unquenchable thirst for violence, and having him lose to Neville wouldn't fit that mold in most cases. However, his odds are in the middle area because I can see in the back of my mind a scenario where Neville gets a shock win over Sheamus and cues up a rage-filled ultraviolent reaction from the Celtic Warrior. It's not the most likely scenario, but it's also one to put a few shekels on, of course if you could bet money on this kind of thing in Vegas.

Dolph Ziggler - 12/1 - Ziggler's the other high-profile loss that Neville has on his record right now, and unlike Rollins, he has zero attachment to the main event scene that would make him so off-limits for a career-making job. They've already lit a fuse on what they could do on RAW, so now the flames are stoked. It would be a tremendous story, especially if WWE has machinations on turning Ziggler heel in the near future.

Kane or Big Show - 7/1 - Look, as much as they have sucked the life out of the broadcast for the last year or so, WWE still sees these two galoots as main players. They're also easy enough targets who wouldn't lose much from taking the L to put into Neville's path. Sure, it might be underwhelming, but WWE is good for a letdown or two.

Daniel Bryan - 5/2 - As you may or may not have heard, Bryan has been taken off the rest of the European tour, and his injuries are feared to be even more severe than anyone is letting on right now. He also seems to be a whipping boy enough for McMahon to allow some upstart rookie from NXT to defeat him, especially if he needs to get the Intercontinental Championship into healthier hands. Plus, at least the match would be pretty cool if it's not one of those 30 second flash-bang specials.

Wade Barrett - 2/1 - Even though the angle was run at a house show in front of both guys' countrymen, the faux-retirement thing seems to be setting up something bigger, especially since it has since gone viral. Barrett is a guy whose talents WWE has no idea how to utilize, and having him be the first big deal to take the Red Arrow for Neville would both fit that narrative but also play into his strengths. He'll get to cut promos on Neville, and his big, hossy offense will look good with the Man Gravity Forgot bumping for it.