Sometimes, it seems like if there’s one thing we can count on with wrestling, it’s that they’ll inevitably do a big thing badly. It doesn’t matter how much work they might have put into a storyline, how big the angle might be, or how huge a star they could conceivably be trying to create, somehow when a climactic moment comes, they manage to bone things up more often than they actually succeed. Of course, that’s probably not as true as we believe it to be, because no industry could possibly survive if it failed all the time, but it is undoubtedly true that wrestling has some really glaring examples of huge opportunities that, for one reason or another, they managed to screw up in the worst way possible.
15. The Nexus
After the first season of the (correctly) much-maligned NXT “reality show competition”, Wade Barrett emerged as the winner, and was immediately promoted to the main roster, while the seven other participants, who were also developmental talents, faced an uncertain future after spending several months on TV. The question of what WWE would do with all that fresh talent, which included indie legend Daniel Bryan, was answered the next week on Raw, in one of the most shocking segments ever seen on WWE programming. During the main event between John Cena and CM Punk, Barrett and the rest of the NXT competitors emerged from the crowd and surrounded the ring, then proceeded to lay waste to Cena, Punk, the ring itself, and the entire ringside area, creating a path of destruction that instantly established them as a new dominant stable that had wrestling fans everywhere buzzing in anticipation of what they would do next. And almost immediately afterwards, everything fell apart. Bryan was fired for his actions during the segment, allegedly when one of WWE’s sponsors complained about him choking ring announcer Justin Roberts with a tie. The group, now officially called The Nexus, pushed forward, but became increasingly less competent as weeks went by. This was capped off by a massive 7-on-7 main event at SummerSlam which saw John Cena singlehandedly come back from a final 2-on-1 deficit, defeating the final two Nexus members in quick succession, only seconds after being driven into the concrete floor at ringside. Officially, time constraints were blamed on the quick ending of the match, but nothing would change the fact that the Nexus did not, and would never, get the upper hand in any important match. A last-ditch, half-hearted effort was made to save the group at the end of the year, by installing Punk as a new leader and ousting Barrett, but the stable went nowhere fast, and quietly disbanded when Punk abandoned them in the summer of 2011.