Michael Tarver Looks Back In Time On The Nexus And WWE NXT Game Show

When "WWE NXT" began in 2010, it was presented as a combination of weekly episodic wrestling, reality television, and a competition game show. While this period of "NXT" has been mostly forgotten, a heel stable made up of Season One contestants known as The Nexus is still commonly discussed. Among those contributing to the conversation is former Nexus member Michael Tarver, who recently discussed Nexus and the early years of "NXT" on an episode of "Developmentally Speaking."


Tarver described the creative process of early "NXT" as loose and spontaneous to match reality competition trends of the late 2000s.

"In 'NXT,' [the creative team] didn't really know what they were doing from week to week," said Tarver. "They would plan the matches but everything else they would try to make spontaneous ... They would tell us 'Be ready, you might have to do a promo on the spot.'"

Contestants were eliminated every week, with Tarver one of the first to go. "Bryan Danielson and I were the first to be eliminated," said Tarver. "=I was given the impression that I was going to be released based on my performance on 'NXT,' and I'm like, 'It's a fictional contest.'"

Upon the conclusion of Season One, all eight contestants debuted on a now-infamous episode of "WWE Raw" as The Nexus. In their debut segment, the stable destroyed WWE's ring area and attacked John Cena, CM Punk, and other members of WWE's crew. Tarver describes this night as "magical" and a high point during his time with the company (though the debut briefly got Danielson fired from WWE for real).


The Nexus debuted, then immediately died

The initial debut came as a shock to those watching and to many involved — including the members of Nexus themselves, who were not made aware of plans for their debut until the day it happened.

"We didn't know anything about Nexus until the night [we] debuted," Tarver said. "We were pulled into an office and we were told everything. We were just all blown away ... By the end of that night, the world was on fire."


To this day, many wrestling fans feel that the Nexus storyline was poorly handled, specifically regarding their 2010 SummeSlam main event — which saw the remaining seven members controversially lose to a team consisting of Danielson (re-hired and turned babyface), Cena, Edge, and Bret Hart, among others. Tarver co-signs this viewpoint, believing the stable's run of dominance should have continued much longer.

"As it progressed, it's like it moved so fast and blew up so fast they didn't know what to do with it," Tarver said. "There's no reason why the original seven shouldn't have dominated all the way to WrestleMania."

Instead, The Nexus was already spitting up by the end of 2010, and even the ensuing spin-off groups (including The New Nexus and The Corre) didn't make it past 2011. Every original member of The Nexus has since been released from WWE, including Tarver — though former Nexus leader Wade Barrett returned to the company in 2020 as a color commentator, currently contributing to the "WWE Smackdown" brand.


If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit "Developmentally Speaking" and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.