This week’s NXT saw the culmination of a story that had been brewing since April 15th when Drake Maverick was released from WWE and subsequently bared his emotions to world regarding being let go via a video released on social media.
What was odd about that video is that he intimated that through his participation in the then upcoming Cruiserweight title tournament, he could save his job by winning the tournament and the title.
That seemed strange. That’s not how WWE releases work, right?
Well compete he did and not only that, WWE incorporated his video and the story in the narrative of the tournament. In fact it was THE narrative of the tournament and it worked very well indeed.
The story culminated this week when Maverick came up short against new champion El Hijo del Fantasma in the tournament final, seemingly bowing out of WWE. In a not unexpected final twist, Triple H emerged on the stage and silently offered Maverick a new NXT contract there and then for a feel good end to a genuinely star making story.
So was it a work? A shoot? A shoot that became a work? Happily, we will likely never truly know. It is one of the rare occasions that WWE have been able to pull the wool over fans’ eyes in a positive way.
Triple H himself did address the situation on the ‘NXT Takeover: In Your House’ conference call last night. When asked about the situation he said:
“We already had the tournament booked out and I believe it was a little bit of a jumble, but we already had it promoted. Then, the releases happened, which is horrible. No one wants to see anyone lose their job, especially in the world right now. A lot of companies, around the world, are having to make tough business decisions to ensure they’re still there. Difficult decisions were made. He was given the option of continuing the tournament and wanted to prove that he could still be here.”
“If you’ve met him or know him, he’s one of the most passionate guys and loves WWE. Couldn’t be a better guy. As we said when the release happened, it wasn’t like he was involved in anything, it just happened. But through the process of this tournament, he captured people’s hearts and imaginations. He earned that spot … I’m personally thrilled for him that he can continue to do what he loves and dreams about doing. I’m thrilled we were able to get where we did.”
So there we have it. A shoot that became a work. If you take this at face value…
If that’s the case, why was he allowed to continue in the tournament? Nobody gets to carry on after their WWE release do they? And not to be blunt, but if he was just a nominal part of the tournament, he could have easily been replaced, booking wise.
And why reference the subsequent story in the video? Very fishy!
Still, they have a new star NXT babyface, have given the fans an entertaining storyline and had us all guessing, so however it came about, job done.