I’m late. No not that kind of late. I’m late in that I have yet to write about one of the hottest wrestling topics in recent memory, the NXT invasion. For the past few weeks the wrestling world has been abuzz over the NXT invasion angle, the brilliance of the storyline, and the outcry over Daniel Bryan’s firing. The whole topic I steered clear from. My reason for holding out was due to my feelings towards the angle. Waiting a couple of weeks to see how it went felt like the best thing to do. I did what an audience member is supposed to do and stepped back to take it all in.
The night the NXT rookies hit the ring and took out John Cena and co. was praised as one of the best endings to a wrestling show in a long time. To be honest with you, I hated it. In what was quite an awful show, the ending left me more confused if not underwhelmed and disappointed. They beat up John Cena, they beat up the guys at ringside, and they kind of took apart the ring for some reason. After weeks of building up Daniel Bryan’s character, they go ahead and turn him heel and have him join a stable that will only serve to get him lost in the shuffle among a group of wrestles, some of who probably shouldn’t be on the WWE roster. It seemed like an attempt to pull whatever life was left from Season One of NXT and give us the old 1990s shock treatment.
The night of the invasion, wrestling fans were stunned. Many compared it to the NWO. Not me. Instead, I saw it more like the night the Radicalz turned heel. Back in 2000, Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn, Eddie Guerrero, and Dean Malenko appeared in the front row at Raw only days after being released from WCW. It was a huge shock. They were brought in by Mick Foley, who was hoping to land them jobs under the McMahon-Helmsley regime. The next week, Raw kicked off with Mick Foley in the ring with the Radicalz standing behind him. As Triple H confronted them, they turned on Foley and beat him down. HHH had given them their WWF contracts. It was a huge swerve that created a stir. And that was it. A buzz that lasted for just a little while. It was that brief buzz I feared would happen with the NXT invasion, especially after WWE released Daniel Bryan.
I thought about it over and over again. Did I get something wrong? Why did I not love the angle like everyone else did? I decided to pull up the clip on youtube one day during lunch. I watched the segment again and tried to approach it with an open mind. I picked up on a few more things that I hadn’t before such as the facial expressions of John Cena during the attack. I noticed how the entire group moved like a machine, all together, at the command of Wade Barrett. It was very intriguing. Later that night, I couldn’t sleep so I pulled up Raw on the DVR and watched the segment one more time. After watching it again, I sat back on my couch in silence and realized just how well the angle was done.
Again, the movement as one pulled me in. I have never seen anything like it. Cena’s confusion as Barrett came down to the ring gave legitimacy to Barrett’s presence. Cena could have just blown him off or mouthed off to the young star, but he played very well into it. Daniel Bryan’s kick to Cena’s head made me cringe. Even though it was considered too violent, Bryan’s strangling of Justin Roberts was downright horrifying and was the highlight of the night. What I began to love so much about it was how the NXT group has become almost like a Frankenstein monster created by the pros. It’s been said that the best villains in wrestling believe that in some twisted way, they are right. The Nexus is a group of those heels. They were embarrassed by the pros and demeaned on national television. It makes sense for them to hate the pros. When they began to dismantle the ring and expose the skeleton, it was very symbolic of what they are doing. They are taking age old mentality of veterans degrading rookies in what people in the business pathetically refer to as “paying your dues” and kicking the WWE champion in the face. This faction is not just a monster on the loose, but one that has learned very well from its creator.
With the NWO, nobody could fend them off because they had broken the rules of the game. They were too unpredictable to stop. With NXT, it’s not necessarily about unpredictability. These guys are united. Even as newcomers to WWE, they have managed to intimidate the entire roster and turn the show on its head. Whereas NWO was about breaking tradition for the sake of breaking tradition and doing what you wanted, NXT is breaking tradition for a place in a world of gods that don’t except them unless they pay their dues. They look at the gods of wrestling and see how they fight and squabble amongst themselves over petty matters and hate that they have to prove themselves to these so called veterans.
Last Sunday night, on a pay per view that featured three title changes, they still stole the show. On Monday night, they managed to make even Vince McMahon look sympathetic as they ganged up and assaulted him. Go back to the night they first took dismantled Raw. Look on the faces of the people in the crowd. On that night Nexus left the audience on the edge of their seats, their jaws dropped. Every week, they continue to leave us in silence and for the first time in while, I find myself not trying to predict the future or better book the angle. Instead, I too am left on the edge of my seat, my jaw to the floor.
On a different subject, thanks to all who sent in their matches for a WWE vs. TNA dream card. Several great ideas for matches came in from wrestleview readers. Some of the matches include:
CM Punk vs. Desmond Wolfe
Daffney vs. Melina
Amazing Red vs. Evan Bourne in a 15 Minutes of Fame Match
Randy Orton vs. Jay Lethal
Daniel Bryan and CM Punk vs. Samoa Joe and Desmond Wolfe
Chris Jericho vs. Pope D’Angelo Dinero
John Cena vs. Mr. Anderson
John Cena vs. AJ Styles
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Jericho
Randy Orton vs. Samoa Joe
Edge & Christian vs. Motor City Machineguns
Fortune vs. NXT in a Lethal Lockdown Match
Rhino vs. Ezekiel Jackson to unify the ECW Championships
Thanks again to all who sent their matches in, and thanks for reading!