Where are they now: The Nexus 7, 7 Years Later
In the summer of 2010, WWE launched an ambitious angle. A stable of fresh faces debut on the main roster and run roughshod as a new unit. They first appeared by attacking John Cena at the end of an episode of Monday Night Raw.
The assault culminated in them tearing apart the ringside area and hitting anything that moved. The scene was vile enough for notable group member Daniel Bryan to legitimately lose his job on account of choking Justin Roberts with his tie—a violation of an unspoken rule about conduct allowed on WWE TV.
The seven remaining members would largely dominate the summer, including taking out visiting legends and Vince McMahon himself. The angle culminated in a showdown at SummerSlam between the rookie faction and seven established WWE stars. Joh Cena played captain to the crew of Chris Jericho, Edge, John Morrison, R-Truth, and Bret Hart (plus, as a last minute substitution, a returning Daniel Bryan).
The establishment team would win the match, largely cutting off The Nexus’s momentum, though the stable did remain a featured group for the months to follow. In the immediate aftermath of the SummerSlam showdown, WWE generally received some criticism for the match’s booking, but also praise for pushing seven new stars (eight if you count Bryan) to the main event scene for the first time. But what were the long-term trajectories for the Nexus seven?
This column looks at their progress over the course of these last seven years.
#7. Heath Slater
Most fans would have balked at the idea that Heath Slater would be the last man remaining on WWE’s active roster seven years later. While he was a decent talent, he came across as a merely adequate face, and a bit miscast as a heel in the early going.
As fate would have it, Slater would find himself when the company let him show more personality, and he came of age as largely comedic performer. He worked a fun gimmick of getting beat up by returning legends for a stint. Later, his One Man and then Three Man Band gimmick provided further funny programming for his delusions of grandeur.
Most recently, Slater made good on a face turn. In the new brand split, Slater found himself a free agent. Desperate to earn a contract, he sought to enter the SmackDown Tag Team Championship tournament. Rhyno came to his aid, to form a delightful odd couple. It’s unclear if the pair were intended to win the tournament, but Slater’s magnetism and Rhyno’s nostalgia appeal got the crowd hooked and they took home the titles.