Hello again wrestling fans, and welcome to an all new edition of the column, How It Started vs How It Ended. Today on HIS vs HIE, I’ll take a look at the WWE career of current AEW star PAC, who competed under the name Neville. Neville is the first NXT graduate to be covered on the column, and will also be the first former member of 205 Live. Now that everyone is caught up to speed, let’s re-visit the WWE run Neville had.
Rise of the Red Arrow
“The Man That Gravity Forgot” began his WWE career in NXT, known as Adrian Neville. Adrian Neville made his NXT television debut during the January 16, 2013 taping of the show, scoring a victory over Sakamoto. Neville quickly jumped into a tag team with fellow British wrestler Oliver Grey, and the two competed under the name British Ambition. The team quickly advanced to the finals of the inaugural NXT Tag Team Championship tournament, where they defeated Wyatt Family members Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt, earning Neville his first taste of WWE gold. Grey went down due to an injury in April, leaving Neville in need of a new tag team partner. Bo Dallas stepped up to fill the role, and the two went on to drop the titles to The Wyatt Family on May 8th. Neville and Dallas met in the ring again on May 29th, this time in a battle royal. The winner of the match would be named the new number one contender to the NXT Championship, and came down Adrian and Bo in the final two. Dallas eliminated Neville, and went on to win the NXT Championship. During the June 20th NXT TV taping, Adrian Neville claimed more tag team gold, this time along side his partner Corey Graves. The duo defeated The Wyatt Family, and held the titles until September. Neville and Graves dropped the titles to The Ascension, and began to feud, after splitting up. When the November 27th episode of NXT TV went down, Neville claimed the right to face NXT Champion Bo Dallas, after defeating Sami Zayn. Neville and Dallas faced off in the main event of the next week’s show, where Neville won the match due to count out. Just two weeks later, Dallas and Neville squared off for the title once again, this time in a LumberJack match. During the closing moments of the match, Tyler Breeze rolled Dallas out of the way of a Red Arrow attempt from Neville, causing Adrian to miss the move, and his chance to claim singles gold. Soon after the LumberJack match, a beat-the-clock challenge would take place, with Neville having the chance to earn number one contender status once again. Neville defeated his opponent faster than Bo Dallas did, setting up a match for the NXT Championship at NXT Takeover:Arrival. At the event, the two faced off in the first ever NXT Championship Ladder match. Neville defeated Dallas during the match, and held on to the NXT Championship until NXT Takeover: R-Evolution. During the reign, Neville defeated the likes of Brodus Clay, Tyson Kidd, and Tyler Breeze, before losing the title to Sami Zayn. At the time of the reign, 287 days marked the longest time as NXT Champion. Neville would go on to spend the rest of his time in NXT trying to reclaim the title, and entered into a tournament to determine the Number One Contender to the NXT Championship. Neville fell short of earning the right to face the champion, losing to Finn Balor in the tournament finals, at NXT Takeover:Rival.
After Takeover, Adrian Neville moved up to the main roster, dropping his first name in the process. On March 30, 2015, Neville made his debut on Raw, competing with a super hero like gimmick, and defeating Curtis Axel. Soon after the win, Neville found trouble in the form of Bad News Barrett, and the two began a brief feud. Barrett and Neville faced off at Extreme Rules, where “The Man That Gravity Forgot” picked up his first main roster Pay Per View win, via the Red Arrow. Soon after the Extreme Rules event, Neville entered into the 2015 King of the Ring tournament, and advanced all the way to the finals, where he met up with Bad News Barrett once again. In the closing moments of the match, Neville climbed to the top rope to attempt the Red Arrow, before missing the move, and running into a Bull Hammer from Barrett. During the May 12 episode of Raw, then United States Champion John Cena issued an open challenge, and Neville stepped up to the plate. After Neville hit the Red Arrow on John, and went for the cover, Rusev interfered, costing Neville the title in the process. Neville would go on to pick up two big wins after that, defeating King Barrett at Payback, and Bo Dallas at the Elimination Chamber event. “The Man That Gravity Forgot” looked to continue the momentum against Kevin Owens, who issued an open challenge for the NXT Championship, during the June 8th episode of Raw. The match came to an end when Neville set up for his finisher, but Owens pushed him off of the top rope, and hit a pop-up power-bomb for the win. Neville shook off the loss, and looked to rebound in a big way at the 2015 Money In The Bank event, where he competed in the events namesake match. In the final moments of the match, Neville and Sheamus fought on top of the ladder, until Sheamus grabbed Neville by the hair, and tossed him off of the ladder to grab the briefcase. While August 4th’s Raw event went down, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins issued an open challenge, and Neville took the opportunity. The answering of challenge made Neville the only man to answer three different open challenge matches in one year, but that would be the only accolade he accomplished that night, as he fell in defeat to Rollins. After missing out on his championship opportunities, Neville moved into the next chapter of his career.
Arrow vs Arrow
Neville looked to rebound the following week, in a match against his old rival, King Barrett. After Neville picked up the win, Stardust attacked him from behind, and followed by striking Green Arrow actor Stephen Amell, who sat at ringside. The attack kicked off a super hero vs villain like storyline between Neville and Stardust, and lasted until Summerslam. At the event, Neville teamed up with Amell, and defeated Stardust, along with King Barrett. At the next months Night Of Champions event, Neville teamed up with The Lucha Dragons, and took a loss to Stardust, who teamed with the Ascension, in a trio known as the Cosmic Wasteland. Neville’s problems with the Cosmic Wasteland continued into Survivor Series, where they all met once again, in a traditional 5-on-5 elimination match. Team Neville picked up the victory, and Neville rid himself of Stardust once and for all. When the smoke cleared, Neville moved on to The 2015 Slammy Awards, where he won the award for “Breakout Star of the Year”. Neville went on to enter the 2016 Royal Rumble, which had the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the line. After lasting nearly 12 tough minutes, Neville found himself on the floor, after being eliminated by Luke Harper. Neville went on to be named one of the competitors in an Intercontinental Championship Ladder match at Wrestlemania 32, and face off against Chris Jericho on Raw. During the match, Neville attempted a baseball slide like maneuver, but made a mistake, resulting in an ankle injury that would force to the sidelines, as well as miss Wrestlemania. Neville returned over the following summer, and received word that he had been drafted over to the Raw Brand, during the July 19th episode of Raw. One week later, Neville made his return to WWE television, and picked up a win against Curtis Axel. Neville continued the momentum into Summerslam, where he teamed up with Sami Zayn to take on The Dudley Boyz. During the end of the match, Neville hit the Red Arrow on Bubba Ray Dudley, and picked up the victory for his team. The following night on Raw, Neville took on Kevin Owens, for a chance to compete in a Fatal-4-Way Elimination match, for the vacant Universal Championship. Neville fell short of earning the championship opportunity due to interference from Owens friend Chris Jericho, and began to tread water for a few weeks. When the October 31st edition of Monday Night Raw went down, Neville competed in a battle royal, for the right to compete on Team Raw at Survivor Series. When the match took place, Neville found himself eliminated by eventual winner Braun Strowman, who tossed Neville over the top rope. Neville picked himself up and moved on, before entering into the final chapter of his WWE career.
King of the Cruiserweight World
“The Man That Gravity Forgot” kicked off his final year in the WWE Universe at December’s Roadblock: End of the Line. On that night, Neville returned to the ring, appearing to offer his congratulations to new Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann. Neville then attacked Swann, and Swann’s opponent TJP, turning heel for the first time in the process. The next night on Raw, Neville further sealed his heel status, and ran down the fans, before attacking Swann again, and The Brian Kendrick. TJP attempted to make the save, but Neville fought him off too, and stood tall to end the segment. Neville went on to rack up a win streak after that, defeating the likes of Cedric Alexander and Lince Dorado, as well as Rich Swann, in a non-title match. When the 2017 Royal Rumble rolled around, Neville competed against Swann, in a match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Neville defeated Swann, and earned his first championship on WWE’s main roster. Neville would move on from Swann briefly after the match, and begin a feud with Gentleman Jack Gallagher. Neville and Gallagher battled into the Fastlane event, where Neville defeated Gallagher. Neville followed up the victory the next night on Raw, and cemented his reign as “King of the Cruiserweight’s”, in a title match against Rich Swann. After the match, 205 Live announce team member Austin Aries, who assumed the role after an eye injury, set out for an interview with Neville. Aries instead attacked Neville, and set up a major feud between the two, over the Cruiserweight Championship. The two had their first battle over the title at Wrestlemania 33, where Neville hit the Red Arrow, and picked up the victory in his first Wrestlemania match. After Aries won a match to earn a second championship opportunity, the two squared off once again, this time at Payback. Neville won the match via disqualification, after throwing the referee to the ground. Neville would collude with TJP in the weeks that followed, promising him the chance at a Championship opportunity, if he would help “The King of the Cruiserweight’s” get rid of Aries. Neville and Aries faced off one last time at Extreme Rules, competing in a Submission Match. In the match’s final moments, Neville hit the Red Arrow to the back of Aries, and locked in the Rings of Saturn to force a tap out. Neville attacked TJP on the following episode of 205 Live, and defended the title successfully against him on the June 6th edition of the show. Neville moved on to his next challenger after that, and took on Akira Tozawa at Great Balls of Fire. Neville successfully defended his title once again, but not before things got dicey. Neville faced off with Tozawa again, during the August 14th episode of Raw. Tozawa pulled off the shocking victory, and knocked the king off of his championship throne. Just six days later, the two squared off in a rematch for the title, at Summerslam 2017. Neville defeated Tozawa, reclaiming his championship, and becoming the first ever two-time WWE Cruiserweight Championship. The win also moved “The Man That Gravity Forgot” to 3-0 at Summerslam. Tozawa left the title picture, and would be replaced by Enzo Amore, who had recently moved over to 205 Live. At September’s No Way Out event, with the Cruiserweight Championship on the line, “The King of the Cruiserweight’s” fell from the top of his throne once again, after Amore hit a low blow for the win. The next night on Raw, Neville cut a scathing promo on Amore, and attempted to attack him. Amore warned Neville that he had a no-contact clause in his contract, and breaching the clause would result in a ban from championship opportunities against Enzo. Neville attacked Amore anyways, and defeated Ariya Daivari the next night on 205 Live. Once the dust settled, Amore hit Neville from behind with a crutch, in what would be the final moments of Neville’s WWE TV career.
How It Started
How It Ended
Wow, what an interesting story of up’s and down’s. Neville really made a name for himself as a member of the NXT and 205 Live, but his main roster stint really fizzled out as it went. Feel free to share your thoughts on Neville in the comments below, and any of your favorite moments from his WWE career. Also, be sure to join me right here next week, for an all new edition of How It Started vs How It Ended, where I’ll take a look at the WWE career of current Impact star Tenille Dashwood, known to many as Emma.