Do you ever get the feeling that some ideas are better on paper rather than in execution?
Professional wrestling angles are a lot like that. Sometimes you’ll get an excellent idea (the nWo) that starts off as amazing and revolutionary (the nWo) but after a year or so (the nWo) it gets stale and repetitive (the nWo) with no end in sight (the nWo). What do you do in that situation? Well, you could revitalize the concept (Wolfpac) or, barring that, run it into the ground (the nWo) until it utterly destroys your company like a cancer (the nWo). Needless to say, there have been plenty of concepts that were executed well but, because of the initial hype surrounding it, never ended up delivering the goods because the story was not thought-out well.
I’d like to revisit a concept that happened in the last two years which could have had a more lasting impact on the business had someone actually planned it out in its entirety. This is the first in a series (hopefully) of “What If?” scenarios I’ve cooked up.
In this edition: What if someone else was controlling the Nexus?
The Nexus: A Brief Overview
In June of 2010, Wade Barrett won the first season of NXT, which at the time was a cross between the WWE’s developmental territory and Tough Enough. His prize was a one-year contract with the WWE and a guaranteed title shot of his choosing. During a scheduled CM Punk/John Cena match on an episode of Monday Night Raw, Barrett and his fellow NXT rookies attacked the wrestlers and announcers and completely destroyed the ring. It was a shocking moment because it came out of left field and had everyone talking for weeks.
The Nexus ran roughshod over the Raw roster, Vince McMahon, WWE Legends, and even General Manager Bret Hart, leading to the appointment of an “Anonymous” GM to maintain control from a safe distance. Barrett’s initial goal was to ensure his fellow rookies all received contracts, and their reign of terror continued until Summerslam when they faced Cena’s team of WWE Superstars in an elimination match. Daniel Bryan, who had been removed from the Nexus for being “too soft,” returned to help Cena’s team achieve victory.
The Nexus was not finished there, however. Barrett would claim that they had a higher purpose which would be revealed in due time (it wasn’t). Cena made it his life’s mission to ensure that the Nexus would be laid to rest. Barrett claimed the Nexus would disband if Cena beat him at the Hell in a Cell PPV in October, but if Cena lost he would be forced to join the team. Well, thanks to the debut of Nexus members Michael McGillicutty and Husky Harris, Cena was now a part of the Nexus. For well over a month Cena was forced to do the bidding of Barrett until he was offered a way out. If Cena officiated the WWE Championship match between Barrett and Randy Orton at Survivor Series, he needed to “do the right thing.” In other words, if Barrett won the title, Cena would be a free man. If Barrett lost or did not take home the gold, Cena would be fired from the WWE.
The time came and Cena decided to sacrifice the job he loved to keep the title out of Barrett’s clutches.
But we all know how that turned out, right?
What If Things Went Differently?
Here’s the point in the story where I deviate from history, like some parallel universe a la Fringe. Instead of having Cena show up week after week to terrorize the Nexus until he got his job back, what if he stayed off TV for a while to maintain kayfabe? What if Wade Barrett truly one-upped the WWE’s golden boy? Here’s what I think SHOULD have happened after Survivor Series.
On the Raw after Survivor Series, Barrett says that he accomplished one of his goals: eliminate John Cena from the equation. He claims that he did something no one else could have possibly done, and demands a rematch with Orton for the title. The Anonymous GM agrees that Barrett has done something truly impressive and says that Barrett can earn another shot…if he can defeat the rest of the Nexus in an over-the-top-rope battle royal. Dissension is teased as each member of the Nexus claims he will earn a title shot, but in the end Barrett is victorious.
Barrett earns his title shot at TLC and faces Orton at the PPV. During the match, he uses the GM laptop as a weapon to knock Orton off the ladder, allowing Barrett to climb and win the belt. The following night on Raw, Orton demands his rematch and the two do battle. The Nexus interferes and the GM interrupts the brawl to reveal that the time has come to reveal himself the following week on Raw. Orton WILL get a proper rematch, and the GM himself will be the special guest referee!
Seven days pass and the world gears up for the big reveal. As the show begins, the GM computer announces via Michael Cole that the time has come to reveal his identity to the world. The lights go out and a spotlight shines on the stage as a drum roll plays in the background.
No one shows up.
The spotlight moves around the arena, checking the ring, the audience, and the ramp for signs of somebody, anybody.
Suddenly, the spotlight aims at the rafters…..
Sting rappels down from the rafters in his “Crow” attire and baseball bat as the crowd goes apeshit over the big reveal! He lands in the center of the ring, heads to the announce table, grabs a mic and the laptop, and gets back in the ring. Sting says that the time for anonymity is over and he bashes the computer to pieces similar to what happened in Office Space! He promises to be impartial as the special guest referee and bans the Nexus from ringside. Barrett appears at the ramp and warns Sting not to do something he’ll regret.
Later that night, the title match is underway. Things are going quite well in the match as Sting seems to have everything under control. Orton is in rare form and manages to nail Barrett with an RKO from out of nowhere! He gets ready to finish Barrett off….until Sting hits the Scorpion Death Drop on the Viper! Barrett weakly covers and Sting does a quick three count! What the hell is going on?!
The following week, Sting reveals that he’s been in charge of the Nexus all along. It was his goal to bring change to the WWE, and the NXT rookies were his way of doing so. He negotiated with Vince McMahon to be the General Manager and convinced him that remaining hidden until now would bring in big bucks when he finally revealed himself. Sting says he is ultimately responsible for everything the Nexus has done, right down to the firing of John Cena.
With Sting in charge, the company is in turmoil as the Nexus maintains their seat of power on Raw. At the Royal Rumble, Orton battles Sting in his first-ever WWE match and loses thanks to interference from the Nexus. Barrett defends his title against Chris Jericho, his former mentor. Meanwhile, up-and-comer Daniel Bryan is the longshot to win the Royal Rumble and does so, earning a title opportunity at Wrestlemania.
Sting and his Nexus celebrate their big wins the following night on Raw and mock the WWE’s supposed “big names” until Vince McMahon makes a shocking return to announce he has rehired John Cena, who will return the following week to confront Sting! Cena and Sting come face-to-face for the first time ever and Cena talks about Sting’s legacy and how he’s throwing it all away. Sting counters the charge and says that he’s doing what’s best for the business as a whole. Over the next couple of weeks, the build is set for a match between Sting and Cena at Elimination Chamber while Barrett defends his title against Edge, Jericho, Orton, and two members of the Nexus in the menacing cage setting. At the PPV, Barrett manages to overcome the odds and retain. Sting and Cena have a huge match that ends with the Stinger victorious. Of course, there are shenanigans that ensue and the fans begin to cheer for Sting.
After the PPV ends with Sting victorious, the lights go out…a familiar BONG is heard…the Undertaker is coming back! The next night on Raw, Taker plays mind games with Sting and blames him for when the Nexus helped Kane bury him alive (remember THAT from 2010?). The Deadman finally appears and promises to make Sting pay. Over the next few weeks, each icon tries to outdo the other and get into his opponent’s head in a battle of wills. Sting guarantees that he will end the Streak at Wrestlemania. Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan struggles against the odds as the Nexus softens him up for Barrett. Orton, Jericho, and Cena come to his aid and Sting books them in a handicap match with the rest of the Nexus at Wrestlemania.
The big day arrives and the Showcase of the Immortals kicks off! Cena, Orton, and Jericho defeat the Nexus, Daniel Bryan forces Barrett to tap out with the LeBell Lock, and Undertaker defeats Sting to keep the Streak alive at 19-0. However, Sting puts on such a performance that the audience comes unglued for him after the match. The following night on Raw, Sting completes his face turn.
That’s how I would have booked the Nexus and Anonymous GM angles. I know it’s not perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot better than what we got. You get your Sting/Undertaker match and Daniel Bryan vs Barrett done right. What would you do? Sound off in the comments below, and feel free to throw some other “What If?” ideas my way for future editions.
So long, and thanks for all the fish.