When Brad Maddox was squashed by Ryback and thrown into the back of an ambulance a couple of weeks ago, many fans figured that was the last we would see of the former rogue referee. Maddox's role in the WWE is far from over, though. If handled correctly, he has the potential to become a key piece to the puzzle.
Maddox first came to prominence at Hell in a Cell while serving as referee of the WWE title match between CM Punk and Ryback. Everyone was expecting someone to break into the cell and help Punk win the match, but it was Maddox who interfered instead as he hit Ryback with a low blow and fast counted his shoulders to the mat.
It was revealed that Maddox's motive behind the act was to get a WWE contract as a superstar rather than as an official. Vince McMahon granted him a match with Ryback, which would have resulted in him getting a $1 million contract had he won, but it was a massacre in favor of the monstrous man billed from Sin City.
Ryback's decimation of Maddox would seem like a good way to write him off, but there is no question that he'll still come into play. For one, the fact that Paul Heyman talked to Maddox prior to his match with Ryback was never really addressed. Also, the WWE commentators continue to mention Maddox. If there were no plans to bring him back, he would simply be forgotten.
The most logical way for Maddox to make his return would be as the fourth member of the "NXT Three." Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns interfered in the Triple Threat match for the WWE title at Survivor Series as they took out Ryback by powerbombing him through a table. This allowed Punk to pin John Cena and extend his lengthy title reign to one year.
There was still plenty to come from the "NXT Three," however, as they also attacked Ryback the next night on Raw. Furthermore, WWE.com is reporting that they crashed a match between Santino Marella and Tyson Kidd at the Main Event taping. The three men are scheduled to reveal the reasoning behind their attacks when Michael Cole interviews them next Monday on Raw.
Whatever the case, all signs seem to be pointing toward Maddox joining them. Just like Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns, Maddox was a key part of NXT Wrestling, so it stands to reason that he wants the same things they do. Heyman's conversation with Maddox makes a little more sense now as Heyman likely told Maddox about his plans for the "NXT Three" and promised to bring him into the fold eventually as well.
Although this angle could still go in a few different directions, I anticipate Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns explaining their actions by saying that they have been held back by the WWE machine. The same thing once happened to CM Punk, but they saw how Heyman managed to help Punk reach the top, so they want to come under Heyman's tutelage as well.
A tables match between Punk and Ryback at TLC is very likely considering the fact that the "NXT Three" has put Ryback through the announce table twice already. That pay-per-view would also be the perfect setting to bring Maddox back into the fold. Perhaps Ryback can take out Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns and appear to be en route to victory until Maddox shows up and hits him with a low blow, just as he did at Hell in a Cell.
Maddox is very much an ace in the hole right now for Punk and Heyman, and he is most definitely going to come into play in the near future. Not everyone is sold on Maddox because he lacks size and doesn't have an overwhelming presence, but he has a good look and a unique promo style that I quite enjoyed, so he definitely has what it takes to be a major player.
I don't necessarily want the "NXT Three" to balloon into a sizable Nexus-esque group, but Maddox has to be thrown into the mix. With Heyman leading Punk along with four up-and-comers, the WWE will have a very formidable heel faction on its hands.
Whether or not Maddox is the one who rises above the rest is up for debate. Both Rollins and Ambrose seem to be future stars and Reigns has a lot of potential as well, so it will be tough for one guy to outshine the others. Since the general WWE fan population is already familiar with Maddox, though, his introduction to the group would strengthen and legitimize it in a big way.