Top Stables in Wrestling — Number Seven
Next on our list of top stables was made up of WWE NXT Season One rookies looking to make a name for themselves. A name they made for themselves indeed. They earned their ways into the WWE and faced off against some of the top names in the business.
All members began as rookies, contestants really, in the first season of the NXT program. Each wrestler competed to win a contract with WWE and a title shot at a pay-per-view event of their choosing. At the end of the contest on June 1, 2012, the winner was Wade Barrett. The other seven rookies were suddenly left without a job as Barrett began performing on Raw right away.
Within a few weeks, during the main event match between WWE Champion John Cena and CM Punk, the Nexus made their very loud and violent debut. They attacked Cena, Punk, Luke Gallows, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Matt Striker, Justin Roberts, and other WWE personnel around the ring. Led by Barrett, all the other rookies followed his lead to create the Nexus and fight for guaranteed WWE contracts. Daniel Bryan, one of the members was fired for choking Justin Roberts and spitting on Cena’s face– actions they felt too violent for WWE’s TV-PG rating. He was written off with the explanation that he felt too much remorse for the groups actions that he walked away.
Even after Raw General Manager Bret Hart fired Barrett, the Nexus continued to attack. They disrupted the main event at Fatal-4-Way, attacking all the wrestlers involved. Following an edict that Nexus and the rest of the Raw roster were not confront each other physically, the Nexus moved their attack to retired legends, such as Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Vince McMahon removed Hart as GM and named an anyonymous GM (who spoke only through emails read by his “official spokesman” Michael Cole). The GM quickly granted the Nexus WWE contracts and reinstated Barrett’s championship clause. Barrett revealed the group was going to form regardless of how the NXT competition ended, stating that the seven of them had formed a “Nexus” and had a common goal they all fought to have accomplished. Even after their apology, they continued to attack others, including Mr. McMahon.
The Nexus’ top target became John Cena, even after the GM demanded Cena and Barrett agree to a truce. Cena refused and attempted to attack Barrett which led to a fight between Nexus and most of the Raw locker room. After Cena wouldn’t stop attacking Darren Young the GM announced he would face Nexus in a 7-on-1 Handicap match– this led Cena to further attack Young. The next week, the match was changed to 6-on-1 due to Young’s injuries. It ended with Justin Gabriel hitting the 450 Splash and earning the pin.
They continued their attacks on Cena, as well as all other superstars. They attacked Edge and Chris Jericho. Barrett then defeated Mark Henry in a match. They then asked Cena to join who refused. Cena stated he had formed a team to face Nexus at SummerSlam. Team WWE (with surprise member Daniel Bryan) defeated Nexus at SummerSlam.
The next night on Raw, every member of Nexus was forced into a match against members of Team WWE with any of the losers being exiled from Nexus. After Darren Young was the only loser, he was not only ousted but attacked by the faction.
Cena was eventually forced to join Nexus. He was fired by Barrett after Barrett lost his WWE title match at Survivor Series. After a few weeks of Cena continuing to attack Nexus member despite being fired, he was reinstated after most of Nexus threatened to kick Barrett out if he didn’t get Cena rehired. Cena would then defeat Barrett in a Chairs match by systematically attacking all other members throughout the night.
By 2011, Barrett was ousted as leader of Nexus and was replaced by CM Punk. After doing away with Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel, Punk kept Husky Harris, Michael McGillicutty, and David Otunga. On January 17, Mason Ryan joined the stable. The New Nexus was focused on one goal, the success of CM Punk in his pursuit for the WWE title.
On June 20, CM Punk was forced to face into a Triple Threat match versus Alberto Del Rio and Rey Misterio– after he was originally named the number one contender for the WWE title. After Punk won, he announced that his contract was expiring on the same day as Money in the Bank (where he was scheduled to face Cena for the WWE title) and claimed he would leave the WWE with the belt. On their final night in existence as a stable, CM Punk won the WWE title– accomplishing the ultimate goal of the stable. Though Otunga and McGillicutty remained, they did so only as a tag team– breaking up on August 22, 2011.