“If You’re Not With Us, You’re The Alliance”
Quite frankly, the holiday season has been incredibly hectic. So hectic, in fact, that I forgot to turn back the clocks…two months ago.
So, I believe it’s about time to compensate for it. Except, I have an idea. Doc Brown, let’s go back to the year 2001. More specifically, June.
I flip on the television to UPN (insert laugh track here) to watch Thursday Night Smackdown!, but all of a sudden see something I am not accustomed too: WCW wrestlers in Vince McMahon’s ring. Guys such as Lance Storm and Hugh Morris taking out some of the WWE (though WWF at the time, will be referred to with the E for purpose of continuity)’s finest in some sort of an “invasion.”
Whoops, I don’t want to be here. Instead, let’s turn the clocks to June 7, 2010. John Cena vs. CM Punk in a match on the “Viewer’s Choice” edition of Raw. As the match is reaching its peak, NXT winner Wade Barrett and a group of other competitors from the show make their way towards the ring. After moments of epic tension, the rookies destroy and decimate the squared circle alongside the surrounding area (yes, even Super Cena too). Seemed an awful lot like some kind of an…“invasion.”
Wait a second. Invasion. It is a term that is all too many times associated with one of the most controversial angles in wrestling history. It is the storyline, that due to its disappointment, turned me away for some time from the mighty McMahon product.
As men like Hugh Morris and Lance Storm took over WWE’s programming, others would soon follow. Big names such as Booker T, Buff Bagwell, Diamond Dallas Page, and many others were being featured once again, even getting chances to main event the weekly episodes. Eventually, they began to assert much more force against WWE’s largest faces and heels, and forming with Stephanie McMahon’s ECW, formed “The Alliance.”
New faces coming in, starting a massive stable, causing mass chaos throughout a company. Back then, this may have been a way for Vince to maximize profit on his product by splitting brands and bringing in big names. In 2010, however, the chips fell into place once again. With the Nexus invasion, Vince saw the opportunity to introduce a group that could dominate and conquer, setting up a war between rookie heels and veteran faces.
Before I move on any further, let’s take a look back at some famous “high risk/low reward” instances.
-Giants signing Barry Zito to a $126 million deal
Six months after the initial Nexus attack, we live in a world where the group has suddenly dissipated. This past week, there was little-to-no mention of the stable at all on any of the telecasts, and we are all left wondering if we’ll ever see anyone but Barrett ever again. In short, it is safe to say that with the exceptions of Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett, The Nexus was a waste.
But why? Let’s move back to The Alliance. At the time of the Invasion pay-per-view, they had star power. The likes of Booker T, Page, Rhyno, and the Dudley Boyz graced the team, and while not overwhelming, undoubtedly more established than that of The Nexus. On that night though, they were clearly outmatched against a WWE team that consisted of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Kurt Angle, and more. By the night’s end, however, Team WCW/ECW gained a powerful ally, as the dramatic Stone Cold heel turn occurred, giving The Alliance a new breath of life.
Back to The Nexus. Summerslam 2010. A massive tag-team match between Barrett’s crew and a stacked WWE team with Daniel Bryan now on their side. For the casual fan, all sides pointed to team WWE winning easily. Not for the smart fans though. We knew the heel turn was coming. The Nexus had bragged about a higher power for weeks, we were finally going to see it introduced. Would it be the incredible and seemingly-inevitable John Cena turn? Triple H perhaps? Only time would tell…
It didn’t, though. A clean win by the WWE knocked almost all of the wind out of the group. Not even Cena joining them as a face could save them, and now they are no more.
The bottom line: Vince missed it. While many see The Alliance angle as a failure due to its inconsistencies and let-downs (myself included), The Nexus has eclipsed it on an even larger scale. It took five men at Survivor Series 2001 to take down Shane and Stephanie’s group, but it only took one to defeat The Nexus. Who knows what one simple heel turn could have done for team of rebels. Regardless of who it would have been, there needed to be a driving force, and through all the plot holes and lack of clean wins, The Nexus imploded from the inside.
It is a testament to what the business has become. It seems that with the PG-rating, predictability has become all too common. While I myself am a big fan of the move to a family-friendly program, that does not mean that good guys should always win. All major groups, be it politically or commercially, fail without a leader and a purpose. To tease a higher power and not deliver on it leaves all with a sense of emptiness, and will leave us to wonder “what could have been.” Because of lack of direction, The Nexus angle soon became irrelevant, and turned into nothing more than one guy pissed off at a group of five others. The Alliance received their leader, and it allowed for the storyline to maintain some relevancy, until once again the hero-first mentality kicked in.
We all know the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In this case, however, if it is broken, leave it that way.
Instead, Vince McMahon tried a mass-stable takeover for the second time. Once again, he dropped the ball. Like the Alliance program, The Nexus was drawn out. Like the Alliance program, bad booking killed the cat. Like the Alliance program, The Nexus was a failure. And like the Alliance program, The Nexus will always be labeled by one word: