Daniel Bryan was kicked out of the group when he was fired from WWE. He would return at SummerSlam 2010, aligning himself with Team WWE. Darren Young was the second member kicked from the group on the August 16 edition of Raw, when he lost a match to John Cena. Tarver was the third member kicked out of the group on the October 4 edition of Raw, after he sustained an injury.
John Cena was forced to join the group after former Nexus leader Wade Barrett defeated him at Hell in a Cell 2010, but left the group as a result of a match stipulation in November 2010. Barrett was excommunicated from Nexus on January 3, 2011 after losing a Steel Cage match also involving Randy Orton and Sheamus.
Formation and hostile attacks
Prior to their formation, each member of the Nexus was a contestant (or "rookie") on the first season of the NXT program. The conclusion of the competition on June 1, 2010 saw Wade Barrett declared the winner who was awarded a WWE contract and a championship match at a pay-per-view of his choosing. The seven losers of the competition were left without a job, and Barrett immediately began performing on the Raw brand.
On the Viewer's Choice edition of Raw, the group debuted during the main event between WWE Champion John Cena and CM Punk sporting matching armbands with the letter N. Barrett led the group in an attack on Cena, Punk, Luke Gallows, Jerry "The King" Lawler, Matt Striker and other WWE personnel around the ring, as well as destroying everything at ringside, including the announce table and the ring itself. During the attack, Daniel Bryan strangled ring announcer Justin Roberts with Roberts' necktie and also spat on Cena's face. This led to WWE firing Bryan as they reportedly felt those acts were too violent for their TV-PG programming. His absence was explained by Barrett saying that Bryan had felt remorse for his actions, and as a result, he was kicked out of the group.
A week later, 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 six 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, the Nexus attacked Hart backstage by forcing him into a limousine and crashing it into other vehicles. During 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 his advantage and took the title from John Cena.
The group then spent the next few weeks attacking various WWE figures, such as Hall of Famer Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat and other legends 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). The general manager 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, the Nexus continued their hostile attacks, including one on McMahon who tried to take credit for the Nexus' actions.
On the July 5 edition of Raw, the anonymous 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 would not stop assaulting Darren Young, the GM announced that Cena would face the Nexus in a 7-on-1 handicap match the following week, which caused Cena to further attack Young. Young was removed from the match the following week due to his injuries, making the matchup a 6-on-1 handicap match, which The Nexus easily won after the 450° splash of Justin Gabriel, who then pinned Cena.
Before the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, The 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 Matt 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.
At Money in the Bank, the Nexus attempted to get involved in the WWE Championship match involving Sheamus and John Cena in a steel cage by breaking the door. However, the referees threw the key into the crowd and 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.
Feud with John Cena
On the July 19 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 on in the show, Barrett defeated Mark Henry in a singles match. After that, Barrett and The 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. The next week of Raw featured The Nexus defeating Team Raw (Mark Henry, The Hart Dynasty, Jerry Lawler, Evan Bourne, Goldust and Yoshi Tatsu) in a 7-on-7 elimination tag team match with a clean sweep. The Nexus later mocked Cena's team, who were arguing amongst themselves, saying that they'd easily defeat them at SummerSlam.
At SummerSlam, the Nexus were defeated by Team WWE, featuring a returning Daniel Bryan, who joined Team WWE as a surprise member, after the Nexus had injured Khali, taking him out of the match, and eliminated both Young and Slater. Cena ended up being the sole survivor after eliminating Barrett. The following night on Raw each member of Nexus competed in matches against members of Team WWE (except Bret 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, Darren Young failed to defeat John Cena in the main event and was not only kicked out of the Nexus, but attacked by the group following his loss.
In a live event in Hawaii on Aug. 18th, 2010 at the Blaisdell Arena, Skip Sheffield broke his ankle during a tag match where he teamed with Otunga against the Hart Dynasty, putting him out for months, thus leaving only five active members of the Nexus remaining. On the 900th episode of Raw the Nexus defeated John Cena, Edge, Chris Jericho, Sheamus and Randy 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 Randy Orton. Earlier on in the night the group also attacked The Undertaker with help from Kane. The following week, Wade Barrett lost to Randy Orton, after a distraction from the returning Darren Young. Barrett used his guaranteed championship match in the Six-Pack Elimination Challenge for the WWE Championship at Night Of Champions but was eliminated by Orton, who later won the match and the title, following an RKO.
Nexus made an appearance on the October 1 live episode of SmackDown, to mark the show's move to Syfy. Throughout the night, Nexus attacked Dolph Ziggler, MVP, Big Show and John Cena. They then served as lumberjacks for the main event of the evening, between John Cena and Kane. This was the first time they had appeared on SmackDown since their formation back in early June.
Induction of John Cena and WWE Tag Team Champions
At Hell in a Cell Barrett and Cena faced each other in a match with the stipulation that if Barrett won, Cena would be forced to join The Nexus, and if Cena won or Nexus got involved, the group would be disbanded. Barrett managed to win the match, following interference from Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty. On the October 4 edition of Raw, Tarver was paired with Cena who brutally attacked him after the match. Later Barrett would say that he was planning on getting rid of Tarver anyway implying he was no longer a member, in reality Tarver was pulled due to a nagging groin injury. The Mystery GM stated that, since John Cena was now a member of Nexus, he had to take orders from Wade Barrett or he would be fired from WWE. Later Barrett ordered Cena to help him win the #1 contender-ship in a battle royal for the WWE title. The match came down to Cena and Barrett where Barrett ordered Cena to throw himself out of the ring.
At Bragging Rights, The Nexus won their first titles in the WWE when David Otunga and John Cena defeated WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre to win the titles. Later on in the same night, the group helped Kane defeat The Undertaker in his Buried Alive match, for reasons which have yet to be explained and also Barrett beat Orton by DQ in a WWE Championship match thus not winning the title. On the October 25 episode of Raw, Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel won the Tag Team Championship, after beating Otunga and Cena in a match in which Barrett ordered Otunga to lie down for the pin. During the same night, Barrett revealed that Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty had become official members of The Nexus. Also it determined that Cena would be the guest referee for the WWE Championship match between Randy Orton and Wade Barrett at Survivor Series, with a stipulation added stating that if Barrett did not win the WWE Championship, Cena would be fired on the spot, but if Barrett won the Championship, Cena would be freed from The Nexus.
On November 5 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. 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. Barrett didn't approve Otunga's decision to lead Nexus to SmackDown and, as a result, forced him to defend his spot in the group a week later. On the November 12 edition of SmackDown Otunga defeated Edge in a lumberjack match, after interference from Kane, to keep his spot in Nexus. At Survivor Series on November 21, 2010 Randy Orton retained the WWE Championship against Wade Barrett via pinfall and John Cena was fired (kayfabe) from WWE and subsequently left The Nexus.
Despite being fired, Cena continued to show up on Raw in subsequent weeks, causing interference in Nexus' matches and attacking them backstage, in the ring and in the arena parking lots. On the December 6 episode of Raw, Slater and Gabriel lost their WWE Tag Team Championships against the team of Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov in a Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Elimination Match, following an interference from Cena. Later the same night, Cena informed Nexus that his attacks on them may stop, however attacks on Barrett would continue. Wanting the attacks to stop, Nexus (excluding McGillicutty, who was (kayfabe) injured after being attacked the previous week by Cena) threatened to eject leader Wade Barrett from the group if he did not get Cena rehired the following week. The following week Barrett rehired Cena in exchange for a Chairs match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs. On December 19 at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, Cena defeated Barrett in the main event of the evening, after taking out all the other members of Nexus throughout the event.
The "New" Nexus and disbandment (2011)The group, sans Wade Barrett, after repeated attacks by CM Punk on John Cena, would ambiguously announce that it was under "new management". CM Punk was revealed to be the new leader, acquiring the position after Barrett lost a Steel Cage match against Randy Orton and Sheamus, in which he would lose his status as leader and be excommunicated from Nexus should he lose the match. On January 10, 2011, Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater left the group, after refusing to follow CM Punk's orders of initiation by hitting each other with kendo sticks, to join Barrett and Ezekiel Jackson on SmackDown! as "The Corre", while Husky Harris, Michael McGillicutty, and David Otunga successfully completed the initiation, and stayed in Nexus. On the January 17 edition of Raw, Mason Ryan joined Nexus, interfering in a match between Punk and Cena. The group participated in the 2011 Royal Rumble but were eliminated by John Cena (aside from Harris, who was eliminated by The Great Khali).
At the 2011 Royal Rumble, The New Nexus would cost Randy Orton the WWE Championship. Two weeks later on the January 31 edition of Raw, Michael McGillicutty and Husky Harris teamed up against Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov for the WWE Tag Team Championship in which they lost. After the match, Randy Orton entered the ring and punted Husky Harris in the skull, (kayfabe) injuring Harris. Randy Orton would then, over the ongoing weeks, punt all members of the New Nexus, despite interference by CM Punk, removing each, one by one, from active competition. At WrestleMania XXVII, Randy Orton defeated CM Punk, but was unable to punt him in the skull, thus leaving CM Punk as the only active member of the New Nexus. McGillicutty, Otunga and Ryan returned on the April 11 edition of Raw and again cost Orton another shot at the WWE Championship and bringing New Nexus back to full strength. On the April 25 edition of Raw, at the WWE draft, Orton was drafted to SmackDown and beat Punk at Extreme Rules 2011 thus ending his feud with New Nexus.
At the June 20 "Power to the People" edition of Raw, CM Punk was originally going to be named the #1 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 the same date as Money in the Bank, where he would face John Cena for the WWE Championship, meaning that if he wins, not only will he leave the New Nexus and the WWE altogether, he will also 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, it was announced that Ryan had suffered an injury over the weekend. CM Punk would go on to defeat John Cena at Money in the Bank, presumably becoming the first Nexus member to win a world championship, even though at his appearance he was not wearing his Nexus armband and debuted a new shirt.
CM Punk then left the WWE after becoming WWE Champion and with his contract having expired at midnight on July 17. However, on the July 25 episode of Raw, he legitimately re-signed with WWE and confronted the new WWE Champion, John Cena who had just defeated Rey Mysterio to win the Championship. During this confrontation, Punk came out to Living Colour's "Cult of Personality" which became his new theme song and TitanTron, indicating he was no longer a part of the group; he also brought out the WWE Championship belt that he won at Money in the Bank. This set up an Undisputed WWE Championship match between Punk and Cena to take place at SummerSlam. A week later, on the August 1 episode of Raw, McGillicutty and Otunga competed against Santino Marella and Zack Ryder without any Nexus gear or armbands, and with all Nexus logos removed from their TitanTron, effectively signalling the end of the group. Otunga and McGillicutty would still undergo tag team competition on their own, but no longer under the Nexus banner.
- CM Punk (Abdicated final leader) (December 27, 2010 - July 17, 2011)
- David Otunga (June 7, 2010 - August 1, 2011)
- Michael McGillicutty (October 25, 2010 - August 1, 2011)
- Mason Ryan (January 17, 2011 - June 27, 2011)
- Daniel Bryan (June 7, 2010 - June 11, 2010)
- Darren Young (June 7, 2010 - August 16, 2010)
- Michael Tarver (June 7, 2010 - October 4, 2010)
- John Cena (October 3, 2010 - November 21, 2010)
- Wade Barrett (Ousted former leader) (June 7, 2010 - January 3, 2011)
- Heath Slater (June 7, 2010 - January 10, 2011)
- Justin Gabriel (June 7, 2010 - January 10, 2011)
- Husky Harris (October 25, 2010 - January 31, 2011)
- Skip Sheffield (June 7, 2010 - August 18, 2010)
List of incarnations
|NXT Season 1||Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Michael Tarver, David Otunga|
Daniel Bryan, Darren Young, Skip Sheffield
|Former NXT rookies competed in the first season.|
|The Nexus (First)||Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Michael Tarver, David Otunga, Darren Young, Skip Sheffield||Bryan was fired from WWE after strangling Justin Roberts with his own tie, but later returned as part of Team WWE at SummerSlam.|
|The Nexus (Second)||Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Michael Tarver, David Otunga, John Cena||Young was kicked out of the group after a loss to John Cena.|
Sheffield later suffered an ankle injury at a house show in Hawaii.
Barrett defeated Cena at Hell in a Cell PPV and forcibly inducted him into Nexus.
|The Nexus (Third)||Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, David Otunga, John Cena||Wade Barrett kicked Tarver out of the group (in reality, he had a groin injury).|
|The Nexus (Fourth)||Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, David Otunga, Michael McGillicutty, Husky Harris, John Cena||Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty had become official members of Nexus on October 25.|
|The Nexus (Fifth)||Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, David Otunga, Michael McGillicutty, Husky Harris||Cena was (kayfabe) fired from WWE after Randy Orton defeated Barrett to retain the WWE Championship at Survivor Series.|
|The New Nexus (First)||CM Punk, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, David Otunga, Michael McGullicutty, Husky Harris||After Wade Barrett lost to John Cena, David Otunga declared "New Management" and CM Punk joined the group. After losing a Steel Cage match, CM Punk excommunicated Wade Barrett from the group and placed each member through initiation tests.|
|The New Nexus (Second)||CM Punk, David Otunga, Michael McGillicutty, Husky Harris||Gabriel and Slater refused to do their initiation tests and were consequently kicked out of the New Nexus.|
|The New Nexus (Third)||CM Punk, David Otunga, Michael McGillicutty, Husky Harris, Mason Ryan||On the January 17 edition of Raw, Mason Ryan accepts his membership into the New Nexus.|
|The New Nexus (Fourth)||CM Punk, David Otunga, Michael McGillicutty, Mason Ryan||Following a punt of Harris by Randy Orton, he was sidelined.|
|The New Nexus (Fifth)||CM Punk, David Otunga, Michael McGillicutty||Mason Ryan was injured and put out of action for a few months.|
|The New Nexus (Sixth/ Final)||David Otunga, Michael McGillicutty||CM Punk's contract with the WWE expired. The Nexus name was abandoned August 1, 2011|
- Entrance themes
- "We Are One" by 12 Stones (June 7, 2010 – January 10, 2011)
- "This Fire Burns" by Killswitch Engage (January 17, 2011 – July 17, 2011)
- "Death Blow" from VideoHelper Production Library (July 21, 2011; Otunga and McGillicutty)
- "All About The Power" by S–Preme (July 25, 2011 – August 1, 2011; Otunga and McGillicutty)
Championships and accomplishments
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE
- In all the forms of the Nexus/New Nexus, David Otunga is the only member to survive the durations of the Nexus
- The first two people the Nexus ever attacked (John Cena and CM Punk) were members of the nexus at one time.
- In WWE Video Games, the Nexus never appears complete as Darren Young, Michael Tarver, and Skip Sheffield, were not made for video games. But in WWE '12, David Otunga and McGillicutty are dubbed the New Nexus as a Tag Team.
- Skip Sheffield, Michael Tarver, and Mason Ryan were the only members of Nexus to leave the group because of injury.
- WWE NXT, which spawned the Nexus
- The Corre, a subsequent group formed by the union of Heath & Justin with Wade and Zeke
- 3MB, which Heath went on to form
- International Airstrike, which Justin went on to join
- Prime Time Players, which Darren went on to join
- Straight Edge Society, Punk's previous faction, and he formed CM Punk & Curtis Axel with Michael
- The Sword, which John and Skip formed with Sheamus, whom the Nexus had aided after Skip left but before John joined.
- The Wyatt Family was formed by Husky
|CM Punk • David Otunga • Husky Harris • Mason Ryan • Michael McGillicutty • Skip Sheffield • Daniel Bryan • Darren Young • Heath Slater • John Cena • Justin Gabriel • Michael Tarver • Wade Barrett|