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Though they battled one another for the opportunity to become WWE's next breakout star during the inaugural season of WWE NXT, the ravenous season one Rookies united as The Nexus to accomplish a single goal: To utterly dominate WWE. The Nexus' cohesion in spite of its members' combative nature puts the group at No. 7 on WWE.com's list of "Heated Pursuits in WWE History."
Coming from a variety of backgrounds to compete as WWE NXT's first Rookies, The Nexus had little incentive to trust one another initially, let alone work together. But once galvanized into action by WWE NXT season one winner Wade Barrett, ambitious aggressors Heath Slater, David Otunga, Justin Gabriel, Darren Young, Skip Sheffield, Daniel Bryan and Michael Tarver made an immediate impact in WWE when they invaded Monday Night Raw during Viewer's Choice Night on June 7, 2010. On that fateful evening in Miami, the rebellious young warriors dismantled then-WWE Champion John Cena before laying waste to announcers, crew members and even the ring itself.
Demanding respect -- and WWE contracts -- The Nexus quickly cut a destructive swath through WWE, savagely attacking WWE Legends and Hall of Famers such as Bret "Hit Man" Hart, Arn Anderson, Michael "P.S." Hayes and Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. The volatile faction even went so far as to seriously injure WWE Chairman and CEO Mr. McMahon. No one was safe.
Immediately following that heinous first attack, the stalwart Bryan expressed remorse for his actions and parted ways with The Nexus. An ankle injury later sidelined Sheffield, while Tarver and Young were eventually exiled by Barrett and stripped of the group's signature armband. However, as witnessed by the WWE Universe, The Nexus only grew stronger and more streamlined as a result of the changes within its ranks.
In a span of just a few weeks in the fall of 2010, the group attained WWE Tag Team Championships, two new recruits in NXT season two Rookies Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty and -- perhaps their greatest prize of all -- the allegiance of a reluctant and dejected Cena. Following an emotionally crippling loss to Barrett at Hell in a Cell 2010, the nine-time World Champion was forced to abandon his signature virtues of Hustle, Loyalty and Respect to do Barrett's bidding, unwillingly defying legions of WWE fans and his longtime in-ring allies in the process.
A ruthless assemblage of Superstars that have let nothing stand in their way in their pursuit of power, The Nexus could very well represent the future of WWE, and there's little anyone can do about it. Because, as their slogan boldly proclaims, "You're either Nexus … or against us."