Throwback Thursday: The Nexus (Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, John Cena)

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The started as NXT Rookies. Many of them became superstars. Before that, they were a stable that no one wanted to mess with.


It was June 7th, 2010. It was the “viewer’s choice” main event, wherein fans were able to vote for who they wanted to see John Cena, the then WWE Champion, wrestle. The options were Rey Mysterio, Jack Swagger and CM Punk (who, at the time, was running the Straight Edge Society). Matt Striker was on hand to announce who Cena would be facing and the fans had chosen CM Punk.  Luke Gallows and Serena accompanied Punk to the ring, At this time Cena was, overall, appreciated by fans. There was not a “John Cena Sucks” chant going on over his music. Punk was a heel. This match was obviously going to be great.  And the match was great, however, despite Cena going for Punk’s mask and a few great spots from Punk (as well as his lackeys getting involved here and there) the moment that changed things in WWE was when Nexus made it’s presence known.

Wade Barret, the first winner of NXT came down the ramp slowly, drawing the attention of Cena who, at this point, was in control of Punk. The rest of the NXT rookies from Season 1 jumped the barriade before they attacked Punk’s allies. Serena ran out of there as Punk & Luke Gallows were attacked. Then, all eight rookies stood on the ring apron together, surrounding Cena, before then entered simultaneously. David Otunga punched out the referee. The Nexus closed in as Cena looked at each of them in turn. Shrugging as if to say “I gotta try” Cena attacked Barrett.

The remaining seven attacked Cena, pulling Cena off of Barrett before ganging up on him.  Daniel Bryan stayed on top of Cena, punching him while the remaining Nexus members stepped out of the ring and attacked the announcers, Matt Striker, Jerry The King Lawler and the time-keeper. They continued to dismantle the ringside area, ripping the set apart and flipping the announce table over on Lawler.

Security tried to stop it and were beaten back by the Nexus. Pieces of the ring were pulled off, the roped no longer connected to the turnbuckles were loose. David Otunga slid back into the ring and began taking cheap shots on Cena while the others ripped apart the area, including the mat flooring outside of the ring.  Cena tried to rally but instead was given a spine buster and two clotheslines. When Punk tried to rally he was taken down by the pack too. A meat hook clothesline from a younger Ryback followed. Daniel Bryan shouted “You are not better than me!”

Barrett slammed a nearly unconscious Cena. Just Gabriel hit a 450 Splash. Then, the Nexus departed, without a word. Cena was left lying in the ring until medical attention arrived to help cart him out.

During this attack Daniel Bryan choked announcer Justin Roberts with his own tie and spit in Cena’s face. A move that had him released from his contract by WWE for being too violent.

In the weeks that followed the Nexus would continue to attack other superstars and then Raw General Manager, Bret Hart. The feud continued with Cena and Daniel Bryan was rehired and brought back to SummerSlam 2010 to join Team WWE in the Team WWE v. Team Nexus match. Team WWE won but soon the Nexus, despite their strengths began to implode.

Any time a member “failed” they were beaten and exiled. Leadership was questioned, loyalties changed as did the members of this group over time.

The original Nexus group members were as follows and left the group/company as follows:

Wade Barrett: Original leader, winner of Season 1 of NXT. Lead the Nexus in their debut and demands of contracts for all of the members of Nexus. Exiled for losing Steel Cage match, later developed The Corre on Smackdown! Now repackaged as Bad News Barrett/ King Barrett

Daniel Bryan: legitimately released, than brought back, as stated above for his actions on Monday Night Raw.  In story-line he was kicked out for “showing remorse” but was actually seen as a threat to the leader Wade Barrett.

Darren Young: Exiled after losing a match to John Cena. Now part of a tag team with Titus O’Neil.

Skip Sheffield: never officially left the group, broken ankle injury sidelined him. Repackaged as Ryback in 2012.

Michael Tarver: groin injury sidelined him, in story-line he was kicked out for being “dead weight.” Left the company in 2011.

Justin Gabriel: Left to join the Corre on Smackdown! Left the company in 2015 after years of being underutilized. Left the company the night before Royal Rumble, in which he was scheduled to complete.

Heath Slater: Left to join the Corre on Smackdown! Later joined 3MB with Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal. Later was part of a tag team with Titus O’Neil known as Slater Gator. Slater has appeared sporadically since then.

David Otunga: Only member to be a part of Nexus during it’s entire run. He is still signed with the WWE though sporadically used.


While the group is now disbanded you can’t deny they were effective and brutal. Only a few stars have stood out since being a part of the Nexus but each person was impressive in their own way. Check out the debut here.


Thoughts? Other stables you want me to look back on? Let me know!


A nerd all around and a huge wrestling fan for over half of my life. Just your average book worm, fan girl, and wrestling enthusiast. Unintentionally I apparently copy CM Punk with my straight edge lifestyle (ahem, I was straight edge before I saw him on a TV screen but I digress...) but that's okay because, love him or hate him, you will remember him. Brand new to this website, hopefully I don't disappoint!