PAC's return to Dragon Gate. pic.twitter.com/TIeqqXe4Yz
— HeelByNature.com (@HeelByNatureYT) October 4, 2018
The moment we all waited for has finally arrived.
After sitting out for over a year and finally receiving his release from WWE, Neville made his return to a wrestling ring this week. Reverting back his original ring name of PAC, he returned to the place where he called home, Dragon Gate. Revealing himself as Eita’s mystery partner and joining the promotion’s lead heel stable, R.E.D., the duo defeated BxB Hulk and Shingo Takagi at Korakuen Hall. It was a long time coming for PAC to return to the place where he never received full closure six years ago, and now he has an opportunity to be at the top of the promotion at a time when he is sorely needed. There’s praise among wrestling fans that are happy to see him wrestling again and in good spirits, but there was a section of comments that proceeded to irk me:
“He should be in Bullet Club”
“Why isn’t he in New Japan.”
“He could be having great matches with Marty Scrull and Will Ospreay right now.”
I don’t want to come across one of those gatekeeping types, but it’s really concerning when fans claim to have an expertise on the product really don’t know much. Let’s face it, the main reason why folks would want PAC to appear in New Japan is to spite WWE in their own fantasized narrative. In reality, we really don’t know the true situation between him and WWE and whether they are even on bad terms or not. For all we know, their relationship could be doing well and like with Rey Mysterio, he’s going to be welcomed back with open arms.
If fans were so happy to see him free from the clutches of WWE – despite having one of the more successful runs of 2017 – then they should definitely be happy that he is working where he wants to be, not where they think he should go. This should give them an opportunity to be introduced to an alternative in Japan that isn’t New Japan and an opportunity to support other promotions outside of Bushiroad. PAC’s appearance in Dragon Gate instantly breathes life into the company, who went through front office changes and a small talent exodus over the summer. In addition to losing Shingo Takagi, Dragon Gate was in need to establish their direction and PAC leading R.E.D. and bringing eyes to the promotion is the way to go.
This is a win for pro wrestling in general and shows that there are more avenues than the unrealistic competition that is met between two of the biggest promotions in the world. It’s not too long ago that these same people were clamoring for Daniel Bryan to leave WWE when he never wanted to. Heavily ignoring that he was loving his current position now, working with people that want to and sharing that dream with his wife, Brie Bella, they rather watch him scramble his brains further in G1 matches.
I feel as a fan of professional wrestling, it is our obligation to be informed about our preferences and considerate of the intentions of those who are actually in the business. To casual fans that only know about New Japan, it is okay to not know about the other promotions that are in that country. It is not okay to not know about any of the good wrestling that is out there in the world and believe that one option is the best. That line of thinking is no different from those that are stuck in 90s Attitude Era nostalgia, believing that wrestling hasn’t gotten better overall. It’s good to know that promotions like Dragon Gate, Pro Wrestling NOAH, DDT, and All Japan exist as it’s clear the domestic product has to grow.
So, instead of wanting a superb talent like PAC to take part in the homogenized, dull, and over-saturated state of BC Elite, support him for carving out his own lane and raising a new profile in the process. It’ll make wrestling all the better.