The Nexus (professional wrestling)

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The Nexus
WWE Nexus logo.svg
The Nexus logo
"You're either Nexus or you're against us!" ― Motto under Wade Barrett
"Faith!" ― Motto under CM Punk
Stable
Name(s) The Nexus (2010)
The New Nexus (2011)
The Nexus Alliance (2018)
Former
member(s)
See below
Debut June 7, 2010
(as The Nexus)
January 3, 2011
(as The New Nexus)
Disbanded December 27, 2010
(as The Nexus)
August 22, 2011
(as The New Nexus)
Years active 2010–2011
Promotions Chikara
FCW[1]
WWE

The Nexus (later renamed The New Nexus in January 2011) was a villainous stable in WWE that competed on the Raw brand from June 7, 2010 to August 22, 2011. It originally consisted of eight rookies of NXT season one and shifted their roster several times throughout their 14-month existence, with David Otunga being the only member to serve the group throughout the entirety of its existence.

Their initial goal was to obtain WWE contracts for all members, with the exception of original leader Wade Barrett, already guaranteed a WWE contract for having won NXT, after NXT, the group went on to antagonize the Raw roster (and on two occasions the SmackDown roster), with then-WWE Champion John Cena as their main focus. In October 2010, Cena forcibly became a member of The Nexus after losing in a match at Hell in a Cell. However, Cena was eventually removed from the group by being fired at Survivor Series after Barrett lost his WWE Championship match to Randy Orton in November 2010, only to be rehired by Barret the following month.

On January 3, 2011, Barrett was exiled from the group anyway after losing a triple threat steel cage match against Orton and King Sheamus to determine the number one contender for the WWE Championship as well as Barrett's leadership, which Barrett lost in favor of CM Punk after losing to Cena a chairs match at TLC: Tables Ladders & Chairs in December 2010. Punk, who ended up costing Barrett the match, officially became the group's new leader in January 2011, at which point the group was renamed The New Nexus in an attempt to distance itself from The Nexus, becoming a tight-knit group dedicated to one another by faith.

Throughout its existence, the group won the WWE Tag Team Championship three times while Punk won the WWE Championship in his final match with the stable at Money in the Bank on July 17.

Concept[edit]

On the January 26, 2010 episode of ECW, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon announced that NXT would replace ECW on Syfy when the latter ended its run on February 16, describing NXT as "the next evolution of WWE; the next evolution of television history".[2] The concept of the stable was each original member of Nexus was a contestant (or "rookie") on the first season of the NXT program, which composed at the time of the talent from WWE's developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) in a competition to become WWE's next breakout star with the help of mentors from WWE's Raw and SmackDown brands.[3][4] On June 1, Wade Barrett was declared the winner and as a result was awarded a WWE contract and a championship match at a WWE pay-per-view of his choosing while the others were left without a job.[5]

History[edit]

Formation and attacks on WWE personnel[edit]

The Nexus at SummerSlam

On the June 7 "Viewer's Choice" episode of Raw, the group debuted sporting matching armbands with the letter N during the main event which saw John Cena face CM Punk and Barrett, who entered from the ramp, led the group, who entered through the crowd and jumped the barricades, in an attack on Cena, Punk, Luke Gallows, Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler, NXT host Matt Striker (who had joined Lawler and Michael Cole at ringside to commentate the main event), Justin Roberts (who was the Raw ring announcer at the time), WWE timekeeper Mark Yeaton and other WWE personnel around the ring.[6]

During the attack, which ended with Cena being taken out on a stretcher, Daniel Bryan strangled Roberts with his necktie and in a sign of disrespect spit in Cena's face, which led him to be released from his contract on June 11 as WWE reportedly felt those acts were too violent for the company's TV-PG programming.[7][8] His absence was explained by Barrett as Bryan had felt remorse for his actions and as a result was kicked out of the group,[9] the NXT rookies explained their actions as retribution for the poor treatment they received from WWE management during their time on NXT, saying that the attack was to threaten WWE into giving the remaining members guaranteed WWE contracts, but Raw General Manager Bret Hart not only rejected the demand and fired Barrett, he also revoked his WWE contract and championship opportunity he earned for winning NXT, leading the NXT rookies later that night during the main event which saw Cena and Randy Orton to take on Sheamus and Edge in a Fatal 4-Way preview to attack Hart backstage while the rest of the Raw roster stood guard at the top of the entrance ramp.[10] On June 20 at Fatal 4-Way, they interfered in the main event for Cena's WWE Championship, attacking all the wrestlers involved as Sheamus used the interference to win the title for a second time.[11]

The Nexus after exiling Daniel Bryan and attacking WWE Hall of Famer Ricky Steamboat on the June 21, 2010 episode of Raw

After Fatal 4-Way, the NXT rookies continued their hostile attacks on various WWE figures, including one on Lawler, Dusty Rhodes and Ricky Steamboat. McMahon removed Hart as Raw General Manager "due to his injuries" and subsequently appointed a new General Manager, who chose to remain anonymous for fear of being attacked like Hart was, communicating only through e-mails quoted by Cole, the "official spokesman", who immediately gave the other rookies their WWE contracts and reinstated Barrett's WWE championship opportunity that was stripped from him the previous week by Hart. Despite apologizing for their actions, the NXT rookies still continued their hostile attacks, including one on McMahon himself on June 28 on Raw (the same night the anonymous Raw General Manager proclaimed an edict that if any member of the NXT rookies put their hands on a WWE wrestler, they would be terminated, but if any WWE wrestler put their hands on any member of the NXT rookies, they would be suspended) after McMahon tried to take credit for the NXT rookies' actions.[12][13]

Feud with John Cena[edit]

On the July 5 episode of Raw, the same night the NXT rookies became known as The Nexus, the anonymous Raw General Manager demanded Cena and Barrett call a truce later in the night, but Cena refused and attempted to attack Barrett, subsequently beginning a brawl between The Nexus and the Raw locker room. After Cena did not stop assaulting Darren Young, the anonymous Raw General Manager announced that Cena would face The Nexus in a 7-on-1 handicap match the following week on Raw, causing Cena to further attack Young, subsequently removing him from the following week's scheduled match.[14] The match became a 6-on-1 handicap match, which The Nexus won, on July 18 at Money in the Bank, The Nexus attempted to get involved in the WWE Championship match involving Sheamus and Cena in a steel cage, but Sheamus and Cena were able to hold them off and escape, with Sheamus winning the match.[15] The following night on Raw, The Nexus continued their attacks on the Raw roster by attacking Chris Jericho and Edge after the two longtime rivals attempted to manipulate the group against each other to no avail, then later that night also asking Cena to join them, but he refused and said that he would take them all down at SummerSlam and that he had found some help to do it: Hart, Jericho, Edge, John Morrison, The Great Khali and R-Truth.[16]

On August 15 at SummerSlam, The Nexus was defeated by Team WWE, featuring a returning Bryan (who joined Team WWE as a surprise member after The Nexus had injured Khali on the August 2 episode of Raw). Cena was the sole survivor, eliminating Justin Gabriel and Barrett by pinfall and submission, respectively.[17] According to Jericho and Edge, the original plan was to put over Barrett, but Cena asked for a change and defeated Barrett and Gabriel,[18] the following night on Raw, The Nexus invoked their SummerSlam rematch clause and competed in seven one-on-one matches against Team WWE (except Hart, who was replaced by Orton), with the stipulation that whichever Nexus member lost their match would be exiled from the group. Young was the only Nexus member who failed to defeat Cena in the main event, therefore The Nexus attacked Young with their respective finishing moves and officially exiled him from the group.[19]

The Nexus after exiling Darren Young for losing to John Cena on the August 16, 2010 episode of Raw and losing Skip Sheffield to injury at a live WWE event in Hawaii

At a live WWE live event in Hawaii on August 18, Skip Sheffield broke his ankle during a tag match where he teamed with Otunga against The Hart Dynasty (David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd), putting him out of action for the next two years, leaving The Nexus with only five active members heading into September.[20] On September 19 at Night of Champions, Barrett used his guaranteed championship match that he won for winning NXT in the six-pack elimination challenge for Sheamus' WWE Championship, but he was eliminated by Orton who later won the match and the title.[21]

The Nexus after losing Michael Tarver to injury and adding Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty on the October 25, 2010 episode of Raw

On October 3 at Hell in a Cell, Barrett and Cena faced each other in a match with the stipulation that if Barrett won, Cena would have to join The Nexus, but if Cena won or any other Nexus member got involved, the group would be permanently disbanded. Thanks to interference from Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty, who would join The Nexus on October 25 episode of Raw, Barrett managed to win the match and keep the group going and Cena was forced to join the Nexus.[22] The following night on Raw, Michael Tarver was paired with Cena who brutally attacked him after the match and Barrett later said that he was planning on getting rid of Tarver anyway, but that Cena did him a favor by attacking Tarver, implying that Tarver was no longer a member.[23] In reality, Tarver had a nagging groin injury and was later released from his contract in June 2011).[24]

The anonymous Raw General Manager stated that Cena had to honor the stipulations of the Hell in a Cell match and take orders from Barrett or be fired, but later that night he instead ordered Cena to help him win the number one contender battle royal for Orton's WWE Championship and as the match came down to Cena and Barrett, Barrett ordered Cena to eliminate himself and won the match,[23] on October 24 at Bragging Rights, The Nexus won their first championships in WWE when David Otunga and Cena defeated Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre to win the WWE Tag Team Championship.[25] In the main event, Barrett defeated Orton via disqualification, this time caused by Cena, who as a result was chosen by Barrett as his own special guest referee for his WWE Championship rematch against Orton at Survivor Series, declaring that unless he won the title, Cena would be fired, but if Barrett defeated Orton, Cena would be relieved of all responsibilities to The Nexus.[26]

John Cena reading an address to a member of The Nexus after losing a match to Wade Barrett at Hell in a Cell

On the November 5 episode of SmackDown, Otunga, who had been questioning Barrett's leadership over the past several weeks, led Gabriel, Harris, McGillicutty and Heath Slater to an invasion of SmackDown, interrupting a match between Alberto Del Rio and Edge, but The Nexus was then defeated in the main event in a 5-on-5 tag team match by Edge, Del Rio, Big Show, Kane and Kofi Kingston.[27] Barrett did not approve Otunga's decision to lead The Nexus on SmackDown and as a result forced him to defend his spot in the group a week later on Raw,[28] on the November 12 episode of SmackDown, Otunga defeated Edge in a lumberjack match thanks to interference from Kane to keep his spot in The Nexus.[29]

On November 21 at Survivor Series, Orton retained the WWE Championship against Barrett via pinfall and Cena was fired (kayfabe) from WWE and subsequently exiled from The Nexus,[30] despite this, Cena continued to show up on Raw in the subsequent weeks, causing interference in The Nexus' matches and attacking them as well as costing Slater and Gabriel lost the WWE Tag Team Championship to Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov in a fatal four-way tag team elimination match. on the December 6 episode of Raw.[31] Later that night, Cena informed The Nexus that his attacks on them may stop, but only on the condition that Barrett rehires him—wanting the attacks to stop, The Nexus, with the exception of McGillicutty, who was (kayfabe) injured after being attacked the previous week by Cena, threatened to exile Barrett from the group unless he got Cena rehired,[31] on the December 13 episode of Raw, Barrett rehired Cena for fear of being exiled by The Nexus, but on the condition that they settle the score in a chairs match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs.[32] At the event on December 19, Barret was defeated by Cena in the main event.[33]

The New Nexus[edit]

The New Nexus after exiling Barrett for losing a triple threat steel cage match to Randy Orton and Sheamus on the January 3, 2011 episode of Raw and naming CM Punk new leader, with McGillicutty in the background

On the January 3, 2011 episode of Raw, The Nexus ambiguously announced after months of repeated attacks on Cena and the WWE roster that it was under "new management", with CM Punk being revealed to be the new leader, having acquired the position after Barrett lost a steel cage match against Orton and Sheamus thanks to Punk himself and was subsequently exiled from The Nexus (now renamed The New Nexus to distance itself from former leadership).[34] After refusing to follow Punk's orders of initiation by hitting each other with kendo sticks, Gabriel and Slater left the group the following week on Raw, opting to join Barrett and former ECW Champion Ezekiel Jackson on SmackDown as The Corre while Harris, McGillicutty and Otunga successfully completed Punk's initiation.[35]

On the January 17 episode of Raw, Mason Ryan joined The New Nexus after interfering in Punk's match against Cena, attacking both men before Punk handed Ryan a Nexus armband,[36] the group participated in the 2011 Royal Rumble on January 30, but they were eliminated by Cena (aside from Harris, who was eliminated by The Great Khali), ending his longtime feud with the stable.[37] Later that same night, The New Nexus also cost Orton his rematch clause for The Miz's WWE Championship,[37] the following night on Raw, McGillicutty and Harris teamed up against Marella and Kozlov for the WWE Tag Team Championship which they lost, after which Orton entered the ring and punted Harris in the skull, injuring him as part of the storyline.[38] Over the ongoing weeks, Orton punted all members of The New Nexus despite interference by Punk, removing each one-by-one from active competition.[39][40][41] On April 3 at WrestleMania XXVII, Orton defeated Punk, but he was unable to punt him in the skull, leaving Punk as the only active member of The New Nexus,[42] on the April 11 episode of Raw, McGillicutty, Otunga and Ryan returned once again costing Orton another shot at The Miz's WWE Championship and for the first time since January 31 bringing The New Nexus back to full strength.[43][44] On May 1 at Extreme Rules, Punk lost to Orton (who on the April 25 episode of Raw was drafted to SmackDown during the 2011 WWE draft)[45] in a Last Man Standing match in which The New Nexus was banned from ringside, officially ending their four-month feud.[46] On the May 23 episode of Raw, McGillicutty and Otunga defeated Big Show and Kane for the WWE Tag Team Championship thanks to a distraction from Del Rio.[47]

Tag team and dissolution[edit]

On the June 20 "Power to the People" episode of Raw, Punk was originally going to be named the number one contender for the WWE Championship, but instead he was forced to compete in a triple threat match with Del Rio and Rey Mysterio with a Falls Count Anywhere stipulation voted for by fans which Punk won, revealing after the match that his WWE contract would expire at Money in the Bank, where he would face Cena for the WWE Championship.[48] The following week on Raw, it was announced that Ryan had suffered an injury over the weekend and left the group,[49] that same night, a brash Punk disrespectfully interrupted and threatened the returning Shawn Michaels, reminding him that once his contract expires at Money in the Bank that would be the last time WWE would ever see him and the WWE Championship.[50] With his victory over Cena on July 17, the WWE Championship was finally held by the stable on their last night of existence,[51] the group's final members then functioned as a tag team with the Nexus banner until August 1[52][53] and continued without the banner until August 22, when the group permanently disbanded.[54]

Reunion[edit]

The Nexus would be reunited for Chikara 2018 King of Trios tournament as The Nexus Alliance, being represented by Fred Rosser, Michael Tarver and PJ Black.[55]

Former members[edit]

Member Joined Left Notes
Wade Barrett June 7, 2010 January 3, 2011 Original leader of The Nexus.[56]
Daniel Bryan June 7, 2010 June 11, 2010 Fired shortly after the debut of the Nexus in June 2010.[57][58]
Darren Young June 7, 2010 August 16, 2010 [59]
Skip Sheffield June 7, 2010 January 3, 2011 Suffered an ankle injury at a live event in Hawaii in August 2010 and never left the stable, but he was never mentioned as a member of The New Nexus.
Michael Tarver June 7, 2010 October 4, 2010 Left The Nexus after suffering a groin injury.[60]
Justin Gabriel June 7, 2010 January 10, 2011
Heath Slater June 7, 2010 January 10, 2011
David Otunga June 7, 2010 August 22, 2011
John Cena October 3, 2010 November 21, 2010 Left the Nexus after Barrett lost to Randy Orton at Survivor Series
Husky Harris October 25, 2010 January 31, 2011 [61][62]
Michael McGillicutty October 25, 2010 August 22, 2011
CM Punk December 27, 2010 July 17, 2011 Became the leader of The New Nexus in January 2011 after Wade Barrett lost a triple threat steel cage match to Orton and Sheamus.
Mason Ryan January 17, 2011 March 14, 2011 [63]

Timeline[edit]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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