No Chance – Where Are They Now? Nexus Edition (Daniel Bryan, Wade Barrett, David Otunga, Skip Sheffield / Ryback)

The other day, as I was going about my way in the world, I stumbled upon a person wearing this shirt out in public. Seeing the scrabble tile “N” really brought me back to good old 2010 and I began to wonder just how being a member of Nexus had helped out the careers of its members. After all, wasn’t that the theoretical point of that faction? To bring a bunch of fresh faces and almost instantly get the crowds invested in their storylines and character. So, this week, our plan is to go through each member of the Nexus, see where they are today, and how much being a member of Nexus actually helped their careers. I hope you’ll forgive me, but I think that I’ll leave Cena and Punk off the list, because even thought they were both technically members at one point, I don’t think we can say that Nexus had any real credit in getting them where they are today.

Daniel Bryan: No doubt, the most successful member of Nexus is Daniel Bryan, having been the only member to hold the WWE Championship (no matter how short his reign was) and is arguably the most over person in the company right now. But his time in Nexus had almost nothing to do with his success. If you’ll recall Bryan spent a grand total of one night in Nexus before getting fired from the company, and returned to fight the Nexus. Where Daniel Bryan is today is thanks to everything he’s done on his own.

Skip Sheffield: Nowadays you know him as Ryback, and while he’s not getting the crowd reaction that he was getting at this time last year, he’s still closer to the main event than he is to the mid card. As Ryback, he’s had several title shots and has several matches on PPVs. As for how much being in Nexus helped him, it did give him a platform to introduce his ring skills to us. In the Nexus vs. WWE SummerSlam match, Skip Sheffield was the most impressive member and I’ll say that remembering what he did there helped me to put up with months of jobber matches, because I knew that we might one day actually get to see what the guy was capable of.

Michael McGillicutty: It could be argued that McGillicutty is currently more successful than Ryback since he is a champion right now and Ryback isn’t but because they’re both Paul Heyman guys right now, it becomes painfully obvious that WWE considers one of these guys a bigger draw than the other. Still though, Intercontinental Champion is nothing to sneeze at and it this case, it gets Curtis Axel the third place slot on a list of eleven.

Husky Harris: His new character of Bray Wyatt is probably too new to say for sure if the gimmick has any long term sticking power, so why is it so high on the list? Because even though it’s an untested gimmick at least it means that WWE is still invested in him. And right now, Bray Wyatt has the audience’s attention. His time in Nexus didn’t do much for Husky’s career, but if he continues to play Bray right, there’s more than a good chance that he can be one of the success stories from this group.

Wade Barrett: Barrett probably owes almost all of his success to his time in the Nexus. As the leader of Nexus, Barrett was the face of the group, had the most time on the mic and in the ring. Barrett got to main event major PPVs against champions thanks to his position in Nexus. Without it he has constantly struggled to make that difficult leap from mid to upper card. Can anyone really think that if Barrett hadn’t had Nexus as a starting platform he would be where he was today?

Darren Young: At the time of Nexus I felt, and I think many people agreed, that Young was the worst of the group. In a group of people trying to quickly establish that they were a legitimate threat to the major powers of the WWE locker room, Young failed to do that on every turn. So that being said, Young has had the biggest mountain to climb, but he actually made some impressive progress up said mountain. As a member of the Prime Time Players Young has had an opportunity to show that he has improved. Because it seems that baby steps are being taken to rebuild the tag team division, Young (and Titus I suppose) have an opportunity to cement themselves as a firm part of that rebuilding.

Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel: These next two could have really gone either way when it comes to deciding who should go next on the list. Is it better to be seen on TV frequently, but lose every single match that you ever compete in, usually in a comedic fashion, or is it better to only appear occasionally, but at least show competence in the ring when you do appear. Regardless of which way you lean, I think that we can all agree that at this point we can hardly credit their time with Nexus as helping them out no matter which of those two you think should come next on the list.

David Otunga: As the only member to be with Nexus from its formation to its breakup, if anyone should be able to say that Nexus helped out their career, it should be this guy. However, as Otunga is rarely seen on TV anymore (at least WWE TV) that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Mason Ryan: Ryan however isn’t even seen in WWE anymore. After sustaining an injury Ryan has gone back to developmental. He’s still with the company, so it is possible that WWE could have big things in mind for Ryan. Like Ryback and Bray Wyatt before him, Ryan could get a new gimmick and come back to the main event scene to tremendous crowd reaction. But for now, he’s still wrestling as Mason Ryan in developmental.

Michael Tarver: But at least Ryan isn’t Michael Tarver. The only member of Nexus to be officially released from the company (Besides Daniel Bryan for a little bit) it seems that being a member of Nexus did absolutely nothing to help out his long term career in the WWE. I guess we’ll never know why he was mysteriously hanging around in those backstage segments for a while. Remember that? Anyone?

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