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Then and Now(Nexus)


Sultan of Swat
Staff member
We've been watching Nexus growing since the first season of NXT. I want to know what your thoughts were of each member when they first debuted in the WWE(after watching a couple of episodes of NXT) and where they are now. I'm going to leave Daniel out of this though.

-David Otunga
-Wade Barrett
-Heath Slater
-Skip Sheffield
-Justin Gabriel
-Darren Young
-Michael Tarver

Doesn't have to be a long description, just enough to know your thoughts. If you have the same feeling about the wrestler that you did then, just say so.

Last edited:


Living in Ikoria
Staff member
Great topic, Biz.

-David Otunga ~ My first thoughts on Otunga were that he had promise. The whole superstar (wannabe) thing he had going could have gone places. Then he wrestled. He was always awkward and unskilled in the ring...I still remember the first time he did his finisher and totally botched it. Even now, he doesn't do it well.

My thoughts on Otunga have only gotten worse as time goes on. I'm fine with his place in the Nexus because he was a part of NXT season 1, but not if it means Young is out and he's in. He's the weakest link, by far.

-Wade Barrett ~ I wasn't sure about Barrett, starting off. He quickly proved himself to be the most "all around" talent on the roster, excluding Daniel Bryan. I'm glad he got the NXT win...I think he improved almost every week before our eyes.

Opposite of Otunga, I think more and more of Barrett every week. He's been great in the Nexus leadership role, great on promos, great in the ring. The guy has a bright future, and I hope his leadership in the Nexus continues for many months to come. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

-Heath Slater ~ My first impressions were that he annoyed the shit out of me, with his bobbing, etc. He became pretty likeable as NXT went on, but I wasn't a huge fan.

As with Skip Sheffield, he's excelled in his role with Nexus. I think he shined the week Barrett was stuck in the U.K., almost stepping into the "2nd in command" role. He still needs to prove himself (to me) with his in-ring work. It's not bad, but I'd like to see a consistently used finisher and some more variety in matches.

-Skip Sheffield ~ I wanted him eliminated right away with his "What it do" crap during NXT season 1. He wasn't bad in the ring, but didn't stand out to me.

He's become an awesome monster for the Nexus stable, and he's doing an incredible job. His work at Summerslam was damn near flawless, and his backstage intimidation of RAW superstars each week is always fun to watch. It's like he has no off switch, and I love it. I'm bummed that he's injured, but I think he'll still have a presence in the Nexus when he gets back (I'm hoping the group will stick around for that long).

-Justin Gabriel ~ I've always liked this kid. In NXT season 1 he was probably in my top 3, I loved his in-ring kicks and 450 splash. His mic skills weren't the best, but he definitely had some sort of undefinable "it factor."

Since joining the Nexus, he's successfully 450ed all kinds of people! McMahon, Steamboat, Cena, etc. I think his mic skills have improved over time, as well. It might be a little hard to notice, but he's stepped into the heel role really well and seems to be one of the guys that will stick around after Nexus is dead and buried. And that stare before the 450? Simply awesome.

-Darren Young ~ He really annoyed me in NXT, at first. Over time, after showing his finisher and kind of working off of CM Punk's character, I got a little more hope for the dude. I think he doesn't get enough credit.

I thought he did well in the Nexus...with him stepping up to fight Cena the night he was exiled, he seemed to act ballsy in doing so. He's not horrible in the ring, but he's not fantastic either. I still think that he's a much better member of The Nexus than Otunga. I've noticed that he was pretty bad with the speaking skills on a lot of early NXT episodes, but with the Nexus, kind of like Gabriel, he's really improved. His backstage promos/threats during the early Nexus reign of terror did a good job of seeming genuine and malicious.

-Michael Tarver ~ I was impressed with Tarver on the first episode (at least I think it was) of NXT. He used a knockout punch to win his match, and they sold his boxing background really well. Like some of the other guys, he's not incredible in the ring during NXT (and now) but he's definitely solid enough to be a part of things. I didn't think he'd win NXT, but enjoyed his protest of the contests. Underrated *clap clap clap clap clap*

He's been da man in the Nexus...I'm not saying he's better than other members, but he stood out to me in their first weeks more than anyone outside of Barrett. He's the one that brings the intensity, the screaming during the assaults, and the presence with that stare and the mask he wears. As with Gabriel/Sheffield, I think he really embraced his role in the Nexus well. He got that chance, and I immediately noticed his mic skills improving. I can remember at least 2 or 3 promos in which he picked up the slack during a backstage confrontation, as far as bringing said intensity and a feeling of threat/danger to whoever they were confronting.

Anyway, my two cents. Great idea on the thread, BR!


Haters gonna hate.
David Otunga: Hated at first, still do.

Wade Barrett: Knew he would win from the start. He has the main event caliber talent level now!

Heath Slater: Hated at first, still do.

Skip Sheffield: Thought he was boring, now I think he's great. He has TONS of potential.

Justin Gabriel: At first, too familiar. He has potential now. He's more like Jeff Hardy than Evan Bourne.

Darren Young: Thought he was a Cena wannabe. Still do. Glad he was taken out of Nexus. Even if I wanted Heath gone first.

Michael Tarver: Hated his gimmick. Now I kinda appreciate it. Not as bad as people think he is. Meant to be in a stable though.