Brad Maddox spent last week's Raw show getting annihilated by Ryback, but that likely won't be the last we've seen of the rogue referee in the WWE.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via WrestlingInc.com), Maddox has one big fan in Triple H, which essentially ensures that he will be back on TV at some point down the road.
We just don't know what his role will be if and when he does return.
Will Maddox come back as a referee or in some other role that gets him on TV? After all, there are plenty of ways for him to be a consistent presence on Raw or SmackDown without him having to wrestle.
So, let's take a look at seven possible directions the infamous referee Brad Maddox could take in the WWE.
Especially in the WWE, it's very common for a superstar to be repackaged.
I don't think we could even keep count of how many times a star has made it to the main roster as one character, been written off of TV, disappeared for a while and then returned under an entirely different gimmick down the road.
Ryback, Brodus Clay and the yet-to-debut Fandango are good examples of this, and they might soon be joined by Brad Maddox.
Everyone now knows Maddox as the rogue referee, but most people knew Ryback was once Skip Sheffield. That hasn't hurt his standing in the WWE whatsoever, though, and by now, most fans seem to have completely forgotten about the Sheffield character.
That could happen with Maddox, too, as long as his return is done the right way. Have him go away a for a reasonable period of time (several months at least) and then have him return with a renewed push in a different role/gimmick.
It might work, or it might not. But if Maddox is going to succeed as a wrestler, he likely has to distance himself from the referee gimmick, and he might need a complete character makeover to do so.
Every good authority figure needs a lackey or two to do his dirty work, and Brad Maddox could thrive in that role.
In the past, we've seen stars such as Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco do the same and perform well as a "corporate stooge" of sorts. Heck, even a guy like David Otunga played a similar role under the John Laurinaitis regime.
It's obviously not the greatest position for a guy with aspirations of making it to the top of WWE to be in, but if Maddox truly wants to be in the WWE, perhaps he'd be willing (storyline-wise) to work as a lackey of sorts just to be on the main roster and on TV.
Maybe someone like Vickie Guerrero hires Maddox to do her dirty work, or perhaps whoever the next Raw GM is does the same, which plays into the idea that Maddox is willing to do anything to be a WWE superstar, no matter how humiliating it is.
This could either keep Maddox as a hated heel or transform him into a likable babyface, depending on how he's booked. But either way, the idea is to make Maddox a consistent presence on TV that, not unlike Otunga, would get to wrestle here and there, but is more of a stooge than anything else.
I'm certainly not hoping or wishing that Brad Maddox loses his job, but you have to think that his time as a main roster star may have already come and gone.
When Maddox became the referee at the center of the Ryback/Punk controversy, I don't believe that were ever any long-term plans in place for him. He was just in the right place at the right time.
By no means is that a knock on Maddox or his talent, but given the fact that he's already been seemingly written off of TV, we have to wonder if that will be the last we ever see of him on Raw.
After being dismantled by Ryback on last week's Raw, his future as a wrestler seems to be in jeopardy, and I highly doubt that, given all the controversy surrounding him, he could ever go back to being just a referee.
In turn, that could mean that Maddox goes back to NXT, gets lost in the shuffle there and then ultimately winds up getting released from his WWE contract.
I think Maddox has talent and should be given another chance to make it back to the main roster, but with the WWE, you never really know exactly what's going to happen.
If Brad Maddox is going to make his way back on TV but not do it as a wrestler, there are limited roles that the WWE could use him in.
One of those roles, however, is as the next Raw General Manager.
I don't think Vickie Guerrero is the long-term solution for the top authority figure on Raw, which means that somebody is going to have to replace her sooner or later. So why not Maddox?
While I'm not sure Maddox would ever develop into a special superstar, he seems to be pretty solid on the mic, and after what's transpired with Ryback lately, he's already getting some solid heat from the fans. That sounds like a good combination of skills for someone who would be running the WWE's flagship show.
No, I don't think Maddox is the greatest option here, nor do I think that his chances of becoming the next Raw GM are particularly high.
But crazier things have happened in the WWE, and having Maddox weasel his way into the GM spot could be an interesting way to get him back on TV if that's what the plan is.
It's been quite a while since we've had a good ol' fashioned heel referee, but Brad Maddox might be the one to change that.
After he screwed Ryback out of the WWE Championship and then cut a very heel-like promo explaining his actions, his long-term future in the WWE could be to play a "bad referee," a role which has essentially disappeared from the WWE.
Earl Hebner, of course, stands out as the most infamous referee of all-time, and the WWE could perhaps be trying to recreate a 2012 version of Hebner here with Maddox.
I'm not crazy about referee's getting a big spotlight that should be reserved strictly for wrestlers, but it wouldn't be all that surprising if this is the route that the WWE chooses to go in.
Having Maddox return as the referee who's in it only for himself could potentially lead to some interesting twists and turns in major storylines down the road, which is why I think that he may come back in his former referee role in the near future.
Brad Maddox was given the opportunity to win a wrestling contract on last week's Raw, but as we all know, he was demolished by Ryback and lost that match in quick fashion.
At least on paper, that should mean that Maddox will never get an opportunity to wrestle for the WWE again. But come on, this is the WWE, and we know that that likely won't be the case.
If Triple H is indeed a fan of Maddox like is being reported, then there's a very real chance that Maddox gets another chance to wrestle down the road.
I could see a ridiculous situation taking place where Maddox threatens legal action for placing him into a match with Ryback (or something along those lines), and in return, is given one more opportunity to win a match to earn a contract.
He'd then win that match in shady heel fashion, earn a contract and solidify himself as a heel superstar in the process.
Of course, this situation probably wouldn't go down just like this, but Maddox making his way back onto the WWE roster is very much still in the cards.
At Survivor Series, the WWE Championship match ended in controversial and shocking fashion when three debuting NXT stars viciously attacked Ryback and cost him the title.
Now, let's think about this for a moment.
Three weeks ago, Brad Maddox screwed Ryback out of the WWE title to try to make a name for himself. A week ago on Raw, Maddox got absolutely destroyed by Ryback in a match that would have earned him a WWE contract had he won it. Six days after that, a trio of Maddox's fellow NXT stars (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins) debuted and once again cost Ryback the WWE Championship.
I smell something fishy going on here, and I wouldn't be even slightly surprised if it's ultimately revealed that Maddox is in cahoots with those three NXT stars and is possibly even the mastermind behind their attack on Ryback.
We seem to have a Nexus 2.0 on sorts on our hands, and considering that the trio consists entirely of NXT standouts, perhaps we'll ultimately find out that Maddox is also a part of the group that wants to wreak havoc on the WWE.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!