After two solid years of PG programming lacking any kind of edge or true realism (save for the epic Jericho/Michaels, which happened pretty much right smack dab in the middle of the big switch to PG), the Nexus was born in the realest angle of all time. Or so it felt. Between Triple H's over dramatized home invasion/hunt for Randy Orton, and countless John Cena comedy feuds, it felt like we hadn't seen anything "real" in a long time.
And in came the Nexus. Wade Barrett and the seven other NXT Season One rookies eerily appeared, one by one, at ringside on RAW that fateful night. What followed was one of the most intense attack angles in WWE history. They took out everyone. Wrestlers, announcers, security, staff, you name it. They tore up the set, broke down the ring - and the glorious soundtrack to it all was the silence from the announcers' headsets and the shrieks from the crowd.
What made it especially terrifying (I was scared, okay? I peed a little. Alright, a lot.) was that these were familiar faces. We just watched weeks of these goofs flipping their hair and hanging out with Matt Hardy and trying to get terrible catchphrases over on NXT. But that night they were different. They were scary. Why were they so crazy?! What happened to the hair flipping?! It was like a creepy alternate universe for one night only.
Yep. One night. Because in the weeks and months that followed, we didn't get this scary, show-destroying "renegade" group. We got something different.
Like David Otunga singing on the George Lopez Show.
Or tweets from the Nexus Twitter about all the sweet deals we can get!
Or countless sitcom-like backstage segments where the Nexus talked and emoted like the cameras weren't there. I can't take David Otunga's lip-biting anymore. What the FUCK happened?
I will concede that sure, maybe it wasn't possible to give Nexus that same presence they initially had for an entire year. But did they have to get WWE brand t-shirts and theme music and a titantronand a catchphrase so quickly? Not to mention the fact that they went back to just the same old beatdowns that every other heel does in the company.
It's just such a change from how they debuted. I wish there was a way for them to truly commit to their characters. The Nexus could've been true renegades, and it would've been awesome. It seems like they tried at first. Even the second beatdown they did felt crazier than normal, run of the mill WWE beatdowns. And there was a rumour that they were told to not give autographs to fans and stuff - that's good enough for me! Just stick with that! But no, they had to get their stupid fucking theme music and lose everything that was ever special about them.
The John Cena/Nexus feud had some of the most memorable and goosebump-worthy moments of the year for me. But the feud also asked you to look the other way on so many small, logical details. I feel like if the Nexus were treated as true renegades, and kept as scary and unpredictable as they were that first night, it would've been a lot easier to overlook John Cena reading a novelty-sized scroll and the fact that the GM would ever legitimately agree to allowing Wade Barrett try and force John Cena to cheat for him or else he gets fired - think about that, that makes no sense.
Sure, the stipulation is that John Cena has to do what Wade Barrett says, get him water, raise his hand in the dressing room to make him feel good, whatever. But once it's "help me cheat to beat Randy Orton for the title" shouldn't the GM be like "uh, no, because that's breaking the rules and I'm the GM and won't allow that, or at the very least I won't fire John Cena for not helping you break the rules." I get that they wanted to put John Cena in a situation where he had to make a tough decision, and it's admirable that they wanted to do anything with him that wasn't about John Cena rising up and toppling insurmountable odds (it sure made for some epic video packages and fan reactions), but there was some definite plotholes that were hard to ignore once you thought of them.
WOW I've gone on forever about this. The Cena/Nexus feud wasn't even supposed to be the main focus of this post. This is about the Nexus as "renegades" and that's it.
Anyway, I'm going to cap this off with an excerpt from one of my own RAW reviews from earlier this year, where I think I summed up what I'm feeling right now better than I just did:
I still feel like it would make sense to call the Nexus a renegade group if they didn't have their own graphics and t-shirts and titantron videos and shitty music shit. If they're going to be a renegade group, keep them that way. Make it truly seem like they don't belong. Don't create Nexus brand crap. Have them come out to complete silence. Think about logic and believability before you think about selling a fucking t-shirt. Maybe when you do that, you'll sell more everything everywhere. Instead of just being like "WELP HE NEEDS A T-SHIRT" because everyone has one, think about the fact that these guys are called (by YOUR announcers!) a RENEGADE GROUP. Not a PRETEND RENEGADE GROUP JUST KIDDING GIVE US YOUR MONEY.
And I won't even accept the idea that it makes sense because they can sell the shirt to those smarks who oppose Cena and stuff, because it's not like that at all. That idea made sense for when Miz had his anti-Cena shirt. Then you sell that shirt to the anti-Cena smarks and you sell the Cena shirt to the Cena marks and everyone in the world has a WWE shirt. This needs to be kept as a "hey, these guys are fucking with our shit and we can't get rid of them and they're the scariest group ever created" not "hey these guys are fucking with our shit let's make them some t-shirts."