Looking Back: The Nexus
One year and a day ago, John Cena had a match with CM Punk in the main event of Raw. It was nothing special, just a standard match on an average episode of Raw. Then in the corner of the screen I spied NXT Season 1 Rookie Michael Tarver in the crowd. “That’s odd,” I proclaimed aloud. NXT ended the previous Tuesday with Wade Barrett being declared the winner. Barrett appeared on the stage and walked slowly towards the ring as Cena seemed a bit confused. Then Tarver, Skip Sheffield, Daniel Bryan, Darren Young, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, and David Otunga all jumped the railing. Luke Gallows, who was with Punk at ringisde, was the first to be taken out. The NXT Rookies jumped in the ring and attacked John Cena. Don’t quite remember? Here it is.
Not since the NWO have we’ve seen anything like this. It’s even debatable (but not by me) that the Nexus had a bigger impact than the NWO based on the fact that these were all new to TV guys. No one ever heard of Wade Barrett or Darren Young before NXT. But man when they hit the scene as a group, it was borderline revolutionary. They destroyed everyone and everything in their sight. Ring announcers, commentary teams, wrestlers, the ring, backstage, everything. Never has a group of nobodies been so dominant. They made Raw must see TV again with their feud with Cena. Each week I turned on Raw for the sole purpose of “what’re they going to do next? It was great for months, by far feud of the year, and then it started to fall apart after they main evented SummerSlam.
They kicked out Darren Young. Skip Sheffield went down with an ankle injury. Tarver went down with injury. NXT Season 2 rookies Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty joined, Barrett was kicked out and CM Punk took control in December. Everything that made the Nexus special and unique was gone as Barrett took Gabriel and Slater to Smackdown to former the Corre. Punk stayed on as the leader of the New Nexus with Otunga, McGillicutty, Husky, and new member Mason Ryan. Punk was everything the Nexus wasn’t: established. He didn’t need the Nexus like the Nexus needed each other. I don’t want to say that Punk ruined the Nexus, but he surely didn’t do anything to help them.
The Nexus should have been a launching pad for all 8 original members. Instead, they’re all just kind of “there.” The Corre is finally breaking up after a tumultuous and uneventful run on Smackdown. Meanwhile on Raw the New Nexus is in limbo with Punk potentially leaving at the end of this Summer. The NWO was around for roughly four years, though only the first two were really good. The Nexus could’ve been that and more, but for whatever reason it’s push just ended. It’s such a shame that the greatest thing to happen in 2010 fizzled out so quickly and went out like a lamb instead of a lion.
And they had one of the best entrance themes, too.