Back to basics: Adrian Neville prepares for NXT Takeover
ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s 6:25 a.m. at the WWE Performance Center as Adrian Neville enters the building. The self-imposed early call time isn't what the NXT Champion is accustomed to, but the next week of Neville's life has warranted the extra time. On May 29, Neville will embark on his biggest match to date as he puts his NXT Championship on the line against Tyson Kidd at NXT Takeover.
"I respect Tyson and have for a while," Neville tells WWE.com. "I've watched Tyson for years and I am constantly impressed with his knowledge and technique. I am honestly excited for the competition he brings at Takeover."
Still a bit groggy after the previous day's training sessions and media interviews, Neville begins to stretch and warm up in preparation for an early morning workout that will include strenuous upper body training mixed with conditioning and stability drills. Poised and ready, it is the look in Neville's eyes that reveals the desire to push beyond his limits.
"My confidence comes not only from my ability, but also from my physical conditioning. Having a strong workout in the gym is huge to me because it reminds me that I can step toe-to-toe with anyone I have to face inside the ring," the Newcastle, England, native says to WWE.com.
To many, Neville's opponent is as competitive as they come. Kidd is a former WWE Tag Team Champion who has been long heralded for being one of the last graduates of Stu Hart's famed Hart Dungeon. Virtually adopted by one of sports-entertainment's greatest dynasties, there isn't much that Kidd hasn't seen or heard when it comes to the industry's heavy-hitters.
"People often compare me and Tyson because we are similar in size, style and attitude,” Neville says. “Tyson and I study the same Superstars and carry a similar approach to our matches. I know Tyson will come into Takeover in incredible shape, both mentally and physically. He will prepare tactically. He'll know me in and out. He's experienced, and a consummate professional.”
This morning, Neville heavily focuses on sled-pushing exercises and an unorthodox tire-flipping routine to improve his highly valued combination of speed, flexibility and strength. Leaving no stone unturned, the NXT Champion says part of his motivation comes from Kidd's desire to use NXT as a springboard to reignite his WWE career.
“Tyson is potentially the most underrated and underutilized Superstar in WWE,” Neville says. “Tyson may see this match as a springboard for his career, but the NXT Championship is my career. That championship is my ticket to Raw and SmackDown and I'm not going to throw it away.”
Neville captured the NXT Championship last February during NXT's first live WWE Network special, NXT ArRIVAL, following a historic victory over Bo Dallas in NXT's first Ladder Match. In one week's time, Neville will have the opportunity to make history again in front of a live broadcast audience at NXT Takeover.
Can the champion channel the same magic that propelled him to victory at ArRIVAL? Or will Kidd finally achieve the breakout moment many feel has been destined for him? For Neville, it's one rep at a time, one more set completed, and one more day closer to showtime.
“Going back to basics in the gym prepares me for tomorrow's battle,” the NXT Champion says. “Extra cardio, extra conditioning and extra stamina; everything I'm good at now, I'm going to be become better at for Takeover. I know Tyson will show up at Takeover in incredible condition but so will I.”
Perhaps even more important is the lasting message Neville wants to deliver to the world: "I want to make a statement to all about who the future of WWE really is."