All it took was one look at AJ Lee’s face on Raw to see her utter disappointment at the referee assigned to her highly anticipated match with the show’s managing supervisor Vickie Guerrero.
As Brad Maddox slowly strolled to the ring, in mock disbelief at his situation, both the crowd and the WWE Universe as a whole knew exactly what was about to happen.
The fix was in, and Lee would not be coming out on the winning side.
After a short match in which both competitors got in their fair share of face smashing and hair pulling, Lee seemed to knock Guerrero out with a hard slap to the face. As she made the cover, however, Maddox did exactly what everyone expected him to do, or maybe it was exactly what he did not do.
Looking slyly the other way, Maddox refused to make the three-count, upsetting the volatile Lee and allowing her fallen counterpart to roll her up and steal a victory.
Chaos ensued as Lee stormed around the arena, throwing tables, ladders and chairs, before finally striking ring announcer Justin Roberts and stomping off backstage.
For his part, Maddox remained smug and somewhat slimy in his role as a crooked referee.
For now, it is a part that he plays very well.
It has a been a few years since we have seen a referee get heavily involved in storylines. Charles Robinson and Nick Patrick both played the role in WCW, with Robinson being in the pocket of the Four Horsemen and Patrick heavily favoring the nWo.
WWE put Scott Armstrong in the role in 2009, but the storyline was quickly scratched.
Granted this storyline can only continue for a little while longer before it begins to get stale. But imagine Maddox being the referee in the much hyped CM Punk/Rock match at the Royal Rumble.
Or what if the assigned referee in that match is somehow knocked out and Maddox charges into the ring to make a fast count on the Rock or distract him long enough for Punk to pull out a victory.
Maddox seems the perfect candidate for this role. He is young, shapeable and seems to have a quality about him that screams “annoying.”
The fact that he had a camera crew following him around at one point tracking his every move was a fun touch as well.
Let’s not overlook a very hard fact. Maddox can actually wrestle.
Anyone that has seen his matches with Shield member Seth Rollins and up-and-coming superstar Richie Steamboat over the FCW 15 championship will testify that Maddox knows what he is doing in the ring. In fact, before FCW was rebranded as NXT and all of its titles were retired, Maddox was the final FCW 15 champion, as well as the final FCW tag team champion (with Rick Victor).
It is being said that Triple H is a huge fan of Maddox, and it would seem that given the current logjam of talent in front of him, this referee gimmick is what keeps him on television and relevant to the WWE Universe.
Prior to his encounter with Randy Orton on last week’s RAW, Maddox claimed that he would create “great TV,” with his performance. Although he ended up losing, Maddox was still on television last night front and center.
Was it great TV? Maybe.
But is Maddox a future superstar? There's no question, he is.
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