The Nexus (professional wrestling)

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The Nexus
The Nexus logo.
"You're either Nexus or you're against us!"
-Motto under Wade Barrett
-Motto under CM Punk
Members see below
Name(s) The Nexus
The New Nexus
Debut June 7, 2010 (as The Nexus)
January 3, 2011 (as The New Nexus)
August 1, 2011 (as a tag team)
Disbanded December 26, 2010 (as The Nexus)
August 1, 2011 (as The New Nexus)
August 22, 2011 (as a tag team)
Years active 2010-2011
Promotions WWE

The Nexus (later renamed the New Nexus) was a heel stable in the WWE who competed on Raw from June 7, 2010-August 22, 2011. The group originally consisted of all eight rookies of NXT season one and shifted their roster several times throughout their existence. Their initial goal was to obtain WWE contracts for all members, with the exception of original leader Wade Barrett, already guaranteed a contract for having won NXT. The group went on to antagonize the Raw roster, with WWE Champion John Cena as their main focus, who forcibly became a member of The Nexus via a match stipulation at Hell in a Cell. Cena eventually exited the group by being fired at Survivor Series, but was later rehired by Barrett after David Otunga threatened to exile him as leader if he didn't.

By the start of 2011, Barrett was exiled from the group by CM Punk, who became the group's new leader. Under Punk's leadership, the group was renamed The New Nexus and became a tight-knit group dedicated to one another by faith. Otunga was the only constant member. 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.


Vince McMahon announced in February 2010 to replace the cancelled ECW in its time slot on Syfy. McMahon described the show 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 then composed of the talent from the 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] The conclusion of the competition on June 1, 2010 saw Wade Barrett being the winner who was awarded a WWE contract and a championship match at a pay-per-view of his choosing.[5] The seven losers of the competition were left without a job, and Barrett immediately began performing on the Raw brand. It's most noticeable trait was that all members wore a black armband bearing the group's trademark black and yellow "N" logo (in the Wide Latin typeface.)


Formation and attacks on WWE personnel[edit]

On the June 7, 2010 Viewer's Choice edition of Raw, the group debuted during the main event between Cena, who was the WWE Champion and CM Punk sporting matching armbands with the letter N. Barrett led the group in an attack on Cena, Punk, Luke Gallows, Jerry Lawler, Matt Striker, ring announcer Justin Roberts and other WWE personnel around the ring, as well as destroying everything at ringside, including the announce table and the ring itself.[6] During the attack, Daniel Bryan strangled Roberts with his necktie and also spat on Cena's face. This led to WWE releasing Bryan as they reportedly felt those acts were too violent for their TV-PG programming.[7][8] His absence was explained by Barrett saying that Bryan had felt remorse for his actions and as a result was kicked out of the group.[9]

The following week, on the June 14, 2010 edition of Raw, the group explained their actions as retribution for the poor treatment they received from WWE management during their time on NXT. The attack was also to threaten WWE into giving the remaining seven members WWE contracts. Raw General Manager Bret Hart declined the demand and fired Barrett. When Hart then ordered the whole Raw roster to stand guard at the ringside and stage areas during the main event, Nexus attacked Hart backstage by forcing him into a limousine and sending it crashing into four other vehicles.[10] On June 20, 2010 at the Fatal 4-Way pay-per-view, The Nexus interfered in the main event for the WWE Championship, attacking all the wrestlers involved. Sheamus used the interference to win the title from Cena.[11]

Nexus attacking Ricky Steamboat.

The group then spent the next few weeks attacking various WWE figures, such as Hall of Famer Ricky Steamboat and other legends on the June 21, 2010 edition of Raw when they were celebrating Steamboat's DVD release following an edict that Nexus and the rest of the Raw roster could not engage in physical confrontation that week. WWE chairman Vince McMahon subsequently removed Hart as general manager due to his injuries, and appointed a new General Manager, who chose to remain anonymous (communicating only through e-mails quoted by "official spokesman" Michael Cole), who immediately gave The Nexus WWE contracts and reinstated Barrett's championship match opportunity. Barrett revealed that this group was going to form no matter who wound up winning NXT, stating that the seven of them had formed a "Nexus" and had a common goal they all fought to have accomplished. However, even after apologizing for their actions, Nexus continued their hostile attacks, including one on McMahon on the June 28, 2010 edition of Raw after he tried to take credit for The Nexus' actions.[12][13]

Feud with John Cena[edit]

On the July 5, 2010 edition of Raw, the anonymous Raw General Manager demanded Cena and Barrett call a truce later in the night. Cena refused and attempted to attack Barrett, which began a brawl between The Nexus and most of the Raw locker room. After Cena didn't stop assaulting Young, the anonymous Raw General Manager announced that Cena would face The Nexus in a 7-on-1 handicap match the following week, causing Cena to further attack Young, removing him from the following week.[14] The following week, on the July 12, 2010 edition of Raw, due to being injured after being attacked the previous week by Cena, Young was removed from the match, turning it into a 6-on-1 handicap match, which The Nexus won after the 450° splash of Gabriel, who then pinned Cena.

Before the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, Nexus appeared on NXT and competed in a battle royal featuring the second season pros and rookies. The storyline started when Percy Watson invited his partners (the other rookies) to attack MVP (in retaliation for the pros attacking the rookies in the aftermath of The Nexus forming to "keep them in line"), but in reply to this, MVP called the other pros and became ready for a fight. Co-host Striker then intervened and arranged a battle royal, also including The Nexus, who were making a scheduled appearance on the show anyway. All seven Nexus members were declared co-winners after being the last men in the ring.

On July 18, 2010 at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, The Nexus attempted to get involved in the WWE Championship match involving Sheamus and Cena in a steel cage by breaking the door. However, the referee on the outside of the cage threw the key into the crowd and took the tool that Tarver tried to use to break in. They then tried to climb up and get involved. However, Sheamus and Cena were able to hold them off and escape, with Sheamus winning. Afterwards, Cena began beating up Tarver and Young and then took Tarver's Nexus armband.[15]

The following night, on the July 19, 2010 edition of Raw, The Nexus continued their attacks on the Raw roster by first attacking Edge and then Chris Jericho after the two longtime rivals attempted to manipulate the group against each other. Later that same night, Barrett defeated Mark Henry in a singles match. After that, Barrett and Nexus asked Cena to join them. Cena refused and said that he would take them all down at SummerSlam and that he had found some help to do it. Cena revealed his team one by one; the members were Edge, John Morrison, R-Truth, The Great Khali, Chris Jericho and Bret Hart.[16] The July 26, 2010 edition of Raw, featured Nexus defeating Team Raw (Mark Henry, The Hart Dynasty, Lawler, Evan Bourne, Goldust and Yoshi Tatsu) in a 7-on-7 elimination tag team match with The Nexus getting the clean sweep, later mocking Cena's team, who were arguing amongst themselves, claiming an easy victory at SummerSlam.[17]

On August 15, 2010 at the SummerSlam pay-per-view, The Nexus' claim of an easy victory was denied when they were 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, 2010 edition of Raw), who eliminated Young and Slater before being eliminated himself by Barrett after Bryan's former NXT Pro, The Miz, hit him with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Cena ended up being the sole survivor, eliminating Gabriel and Barrett.[18] The following night, on the August 16, 2010 edition of Raw, each member of The Nexus competed in matches against members of Team WWE (except Hart, who was replaced by Randy Orton), with the stipulation that whichever Nexus member lost their match would be exiled from the group. While almost all the members of The Nexus won their respective matches, Young was the only Nexus member who failed to defeat Cena in the main event and was not only kicked out of The Nexus, but, to add insult to injury, was also attacked by the group following his loss.[19]

Nexus after excommunicating Darren Young and losing Skip Sheffield to injury.

In a live event in Hawaii on August 18, 2010, Sheffield broke his ankle during a tag match where he teamed with Otunga against the Hart Dynasty, putting him out for months. With Young having been exiled from the group two nights earlier, The Nexus was down to only five active members remaining.[20] On August 30, 2010, during the 900th episode of Raw, The Nexus defeated Cena, Edge, Jericho, Sheamus and Orton in a 5-on-5 elimination match, after Gabriel hit Cena with the 450-splash for the third time, pinning him a second time, while Barrett dropped and pinned Orton. Earlier on in the night, the group also attacked The Undertaker with help from Kane.[21] The following week, on the September 6, 2010 edition of Raw, after a distraction from Young in his first WWE appearance since being exiled from The Nexus three weeks earlier, Barrett lost to Orton.[22] On September 19, 2010, at the Night of Champions pay-per-view, Barrett used his guaranteed championship match in the Six-Pack Elimination Challenge for the WWE Championship, but was eliminated by Orton, who later won the match and the title.[23]

The Nexus made an appearance on the October 1, 2010 edition of SmackDown (taped September 28), to mark the show's permanent move to Syfy. Throughout the night, Nexus attacked Dolph Ziggler, MVP, Big Show and Cena. They then served as lumberjacks for the main event of the evening, between Cena and Kane.[24]

The Nexus after the additions of Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty.

On October 3, 2010 at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, Barrett and Cena faced each other in a match with the stipulation that if Barrett won, Cena would have to join The Nexus and if Cena won or any other Nexus member got involved, the group would be permanently disbanded. Barrett managed to win the match, following interference from Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty.[25]

The following night, on the October 4, 2010 edition of Raw, Tarver was paired with Cena who brutally attacked him after the match. Later, Barrett said he was planning on getting rid of Tarver anyway, that Cena did him a favor, implying he was no longer a member (in reality, Tarver was pulled due to a nagging groin injury and was later released from his contract on June 13, 2011).[26][27] After Cena openly declared that he would destroy The Nexus from within by fighting them even though he was now a member, the anonymous Raw General Manager stated that Cena had to honor the stipulations of the pay-per-view match and since he is now a member of The Nexus, he must take orders from Barrett or be fired. Later that same night, Barrett ordered Cena to help him win the number one contendership in a battle royal for Orton's WWE title. The match came down to Cena and Barrett, where Barrett ordered Cena to eliminate himself.[27] On October 24, 2010 at the Bragging Rights pay-per-view, The Nexus won their first titles in the WWE when Otunga and Cena defeated WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre to win the titles.[28] Later that same night, the group helped Kane defeat The Undertaker in his Buried Alive match, for reasons yet to be explained.[28] In the main event of the pay-per-view, Barrett beat Orton in a WWE Championship match via disqualification, caused by Cena, thus not winning the title.[28] The following night, on the October 25, 2010 edition of Raw, Slater and Gabriel won the Tag Team Championship after beating Otunga and Cena in a match in which Barrett ordered Otunga to lie down and be pinned.[29] During the same night, Barrett revealed that Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty had become official members of Nexus.[29] In the main event of the night, Cena defeated Orton via disqualification, this time caused by Barrett, who then as a result was allowed to select his own special guest referee for his WWE Championship match against Orton at the Survivor Series pay-per-view. Barrett chose Cena and declared that unless he wins the title at the pay-per-view, Cena will be fired, but if he does defeat Orton, Cena will be relieved of all responsibilities to The Nexus.[29]

John Cena reading an address while a member of Nexus.

On the November 5, 2010 edition of SmackDown (taped November 2), Otunga, who had been questioning Barrett's leadership in the past weeks, led Gabriel, Harris, McGillicutty and Slater to an invasion of SmackDown, interrupting a match between Edge and Alberto Del Rio. The Nexus was then defeated in the main event of the show in a ten-man tag team match by Edge, Del Rio, Big Show, Kane and Kofi Kingston.[30] Barrett didn't approve Otunga's decision to lead The Nexus to SmackDown and as a result forced him to defend his spot in the group a week later.[31] On the November 12, 2010 edition of SmackDown (taped November 9), after an interference from Kane, Otunga defeated Edge in a lumberjack match to keep his spot in The Nexus.[32] On November 21, 2010 at the Survivor Series pay-per-view, Orton retained the WWE Championship against Barrett via pinfall and Cena was fired (kayfabe) from WWE and subsequently departed from Nexus.[33]

Despite being fired by The Nexus, Cena continued to show up on Raw in the subsequent weeks, causing interference in The Nexus' matches and attacking them backstage, in the ring and in the arena parking lots. On the December 6, 2010 edition of Raw, following an interference from Cena, Slater and Gabriel lost the WWE Tag Team Championships against the team of Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov in a Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Elimination match.[34] Later that same night, Cena informed The Nexus that his attacks on them may stop, however attacks on Barrett would continue. Wanting the attacks to stop, The Nexus (excluding 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 the following week.[34] The following week, on the December 13, 2010 edition of Raw, Barrett rehired Cena in exchange for a Chairs match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs.[35] On December 19, 2010 at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view, Cena defeated Barrett in the main event of the evening, after attacking all the other members of The Nexus throughout the event, thus ending Cena's feud with The Nexus.[36]

The New Nexus[edit]

CM Punk as leader of New Nexus.

On the January 3, 2011 edition of Raw, after months of repeated attacks on Cena, The Nexus, sans Barrett, ambiguously announced 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, in which he lost his status as leader and was subsequently exiled from Nexus.[37] The following week, on the January 10, 2011 edition of Raw, after refusing to follow CM Punk's orders of initiation by hitting each other with kendo sticks, Gabriel and Slater left the group, opting to join Barrett and former ECW Champion Ezekiel Jackson on SmackDown! as The Corre, while Harris, McGillicutty and Otunga successfully completed the initiation and thus, stayed in The New Nexus.[38] On the January 17, 2011 edition of Raw, Mason Ryan joined Nexus, interfering in a match between Punk and Cena.[39] The group participated in the 2011 Royal Rumble pay-per-view, but were eliminated by Cena (aside from Harris who was eliminated by The Great Khali).

On January 30, 2011, at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, The New Nexus also cost Orton the WWE Championship. The following night, on the January 31, 2011 edition of Raw, McGillicutty and Harris teamed up against Marella and Kozlov for the WWE Tag Team Championship, which they lost. After the match, Orton entered the ring and punted Harris in the skull, injuring him.[40] Randy Orton, over the ongoing weeks, punted all members of the New Nexus, despite interference by CM Punk, removing each, one by one, from active competition. On April 3, 2011 at the WrestleMania XXVII pay-per-view, Orton defeated CM Punk, but was unable to punt him in the skull, leaving Punk as the only active member of The New Nexus. McGillicutty, Otunga and Ryan returned on the April 11, 2011 edition of Raw, again costing Orton another shot at the WWE Championship and bringing The New Nexus back to full strength. On the April 25, 2011 edition of Raw, during the WWE draft (the last under the brand extension), Orton was drafted to SmackDown and, on May 1, 2011 at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view, defeated CM Punk, officially ending his four-month feud with The New Nexus.[41][42] On the May 23, 2011 edition of Raw, McGillicutty and Otunga defeated Big Show and Kane for the WWE Tag Team Championship.[43]

Tag team and dissolution[edit]

On the June 20, 2011 "Power to the People" edition of Raw, CM Punk was originally going to be named the number one contender to the WWE Championship, but he was forced to compete in a triple threat match with Alberto Del Rio and Rey Mysterio with a falls count anywhere stipulation voted by the WWE Universe. After the match, Punk won and revealed that his WWE contract would expire on July 17, 2011, at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, where he would face Cena for the WWE Championship, meaning that if he wins, he will leave the company with the championship. Mason Ryan was voted to face Evan Bourne in a singles match and won, but was later to be revealed to be a glitch in the voting process, as Sin Cara was the actual winner. The following week on the June 27, 2011 edition of Raw, it was announced that Ryan had suffered an injury over the weekend, thus leaving the group. That same night, a brash CM Punk disrespectfully interrupted and threatened the returning Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, reminding him and the entire WWE Universe that once his contract expires at WWE Money in the Bank, that will be the last time the WWE will ever see The Second City Savior and the WWE Championship. It was at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view that The New Nexus' quiet dissolution was confirmed, when Punk shunned his Nexus T-shirt and armband in favor of a new T-shirt. Despite this, Punk was labelled as part of Nexus in his entrance graphics.[44] With his victory over Cena, the WWE Championship was finally held by the stable on their last night of existence. The group's final members then functioned as a tag team with the Nexus banner until August 1, 2011 and continued without the banner until August 22, 2011.


Member Joined Dismissed Notes
Wade Barrett
(Nexus leader)
June 7, 2010 January 3, 2011 Original leader of The Nexus, overthrown by CM Punk in January 2011. Later established Corre on SmackDown. Repackaged as Bad News Barrett.
Daniel Bryan June 7, 2010 June 11, 2010 Legitimately released from WWE for his actions on Raw being deemed too violent for the WWE's TV-PG programming. In storyline kicked out for showing remorse, though later claiming it was because Barrett deemed him a threat.
Darren Young June 7, 2010 August 16, 2010 Exiled from The Nexus in August 2010 after losing a match against John Cena on Raw.
Skip Sheffield June 7, 2010 August 22, 2011 Legitimately broke his ankle in August 2010 but never officially left the group. Repackaged as Ryback.
Michael Tarver June 7, 2010 October 4, 2010 Left the stable due to injury.
Justin Gabriel June 7, 2010 January 10, 2011 Left the stable in January 2011 and joined the Corre on SmackDown.
Heath Slater June 7, 2010 January 10, 2011 Left the stable in January 2011 and joined the Corre on SmackDown.
David Otunga June 7, 2010 August 22, 2011 Only member to serve during the entire tenure of the group.
John Cena October 3, 2010 November 21, 2010 Forced into the group after losing a match against Wade Barrett at Hell in a Cell in October 2010 and left after being fired at Survivor Series in November 2010.
Husky Harris October 25, 2010 January 31, 2011 Quietly left the group after a minor injury in January 2011, scripted to be removed following a punt from Randy Orton. Later repackaged as Bray Wyatt.
Michael McGillicutty October 25, 2010 August 22, 2011 One of the last two remaining members of the Nexus. Tag teamed with David Otunga from May 2011-August 2011. The team disbanded after losing the Tag Team Championship, thus permanently ending Nexus. Later repackaged as Curtis Axel.
CM Punk
(New Nexus leader)
December 27, 2010 July 17, 2011 Became the new leader of The Nexus after overthrowing Wade Barrett and renamed the stable. Distanced himself from the remaining group members in July 2011 and was last seen wearing Nexus attire on the July 11, 2011 edition of Raw, but still had The Nexus banner until Money In The Bank on July 17.
Mason Ryan January 17, 2011 July 11, 2011 Suffered an injury in June 2011 and membership ceased with the dissolution of the group.

In wrestling[edit]

  • Entrance themes[45]
    • "We Are One" by 12 Stones (June 7, 2010–January 10, 2011)
    • "This Fire Burns" by Killswitch Engage (January 17, 2011–July 14, 2011)
    • "Death Blow" from VideoHelper Production Library (July 21, 2011; Otunga and McGillicutty)
    • "All About the Power" by S–Preme (July 28, 2011–August 22, 2011; Otunga and McGillicutty)

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Otunga and McGillicutty as WWE Tag Team Champions.

See also[edit]


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