Interview: WWE’s Neville

Scott Fishman

The Money in the Bank ladder match seems like the perfect environment for a risk-taker like Neville.

The “Man That Gravity Forgot” will compete withNevile 2 six other big names for a briefcase dangling high in the air at Money in the Bank on Pay-Per-View and WWE Network. The winner secures a guaranteed WWE world championship opportunity.

Neville’s transition from the NXT developmental brand to the main roster has been a smooth one. The “Altitude Era” began with the Englishman’s surprise introduction to audiences of Monday Night Raw in March.

“It was all so surreal,” Neville said. “Obviously, there were the butterflies, but I was also very confident. I felt very prepared for that moment through my time at NXT. I knew the fans that attend the Raw after WrestleMania are a very special audience. It’s a very international and smart audience. I was confident they would know who I was and be glad to see me. I was glad I could debut for that audience. For me who came from NXT, which is such a strong brand in itself, that was the best type of crowd to debut in front of during WrestleMania season.”

The 28-year-old is the latest in a growing list of talent who got their start in NXT and found success on the grand stage of WWE. Among them is the current WWE champion Seth Rollins, who Neville faced in his second week on Raw. The superstar believes NXT isn’t segmented and that everyone is involved in the program there.

“Even if it’s just guys who come down from the main roster and give advice and help you,” Neville said. “It’s hard not to think of someone who is not part of NXT. Guys like Dusty [Rhodes] and William [Regal] coach you a lot. Main-roster superstars come down from NXT to wrestle matches. We are all part of it.”

When he isn’t riding with others, the emerging performer enjoys the rides alone in the car. It gives him time to get his head straight and reflect, like the time he held his own against the franchise player of WWE.

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“I’ve been so lucky to face so many good guys after my debut,” Neville said. “I feel really fortunate to be thrown into the mix early on. I wrestled John Cena on Raw. That was certainly a very memorable night in my career. It’s something I will remember for the rest of my life. It’s kind of surreal standing across from John Cena on Monday Night Raw, especially when you are so new to Raw and SmackDown.

“It’s humbling to get that opportunity,” he continues. “That’s all I’m looking for on Raw and SmackDown. I want that chance to prove myself. I’ve certainly got that. I’ve been very fortunate. It was definitely a confidence booster to me.”

Before signing with WWE in 2012, Neville was a world traveler. The well-rounded upstart honed his skills in Japan and promotions like Dragon Gate.

“I was there for five years straight pretty much,” he said. “Wrestling in Japan is very much sports based. I didn’t cut any promos, so I certainly had that benefit coming to NXT. I got to work so intensely with guys like Dusty Rhodes, who really brought that side out of me and taught me about speaking in promos. That has been the biggest change compared to what I did before. Also, there are so many things to consider. All the territories or places I’ve wrestled are different. There are different styles. The WWE and TV style is also very different. Learning how to work that style has helped me get to where I am now.

“It’s certainly an exciting time,” he adds. “The landscape has changed completely. The wrestling I’m doing now is the style of wrestling that I love to do. I think it’s a very competitive atmosphere. To me, I’m a very competitive person. I think it’s a cool and changing time for the business.”

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It’s been a whirlwind so far for Neville with every opponent a new adventure. He is just soaking in every moment, grateful for getting the official call-up this year. He remembers near the end of NXT when a then Adrian Neville was frustrated and short-sighted. There were points when he thought he would never show up on the main roster. Now the driven grappler has reached the “Promised Land” and has set new goals.

“I’d love to wrestle Cesaro on the main roster,” Neville says. “He is a guy I have a lot of respect for and a guy who really brings the best out of me. There are a lot of names I want to work against. I would love to wrestle Daniel Bryan on Raw or SmackDown or a pay-per-view. There are a lot of different options. …There are guys who came before me that have made an impact. They are an inspiration in what they have done. They took the same path I’m taking. Certainly, something I can look at and take a lot from.”

Neville1Neville now has his focus on turning heads and stealing the show in the Money in the Bank ladder match against Dolph Ziggler, Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston and Kane.

“I do wrestle a really high-risk and high-flying style,” Neville said. “In all honesty, this will be my second ladder match I’ve ever had in my entire career. The first one was with Bo Dallas in NXT. It just runs through my brain in thinking of all the possibilities that might happen. It’s exciting. There is a lot of potential.

“Again, in a match of this nature, you never know what is going to happen,” he concludes. “There are so many variables and various things that can happen. So I’m going in prepared and excited. I know the lengths I’m willing to go to achieve the lengths I want to achieve. You never know what will come Sunday.”

Watch Money in the Bank 8/7 CT Sunday, June 14 on Pay-Per-View and WWE Network. Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN.