Well, Retribution was fun whilst it lasted, wasn’t it? A group that started off with so much potential, but poor booking led to it being rendered a complete joke. Instead of raising the stock of its members, it’s actively harmed them all. Sound familiar? Probably because it is. Time and time again, wrestling companies actively destroy any heat that factions have, leaving them relegated to minor setpieces when they could be major acts.
Don’t get me wrong, plenty of factions have become legendary in their own right, with some eclipsing the careers of the actual members. However, it feels like more often than not, factions are becoming increasingly rare, and that’s a shame. When done right, they can elevate all members to main event status. When done wrong, they can end up like…
The original Retribution, in almost every sense of the word. The Nexus made an immediate impact, attacking John Cena at the end of Monday Night Raw in 2010 and causing chaos, however they eventually petered out and died a quiet death in the 12 months that followed. There was all the potential in the world for the Nexus, but it was immediately squandered at the first hurdle.
It’s easy to understate how impactful the Nexus’ debut was in June 2010. During that time, the main event picture was growing increasingly stale as fans were bored of John Cena and Randy Orton dominating the WWE Title scene. So when the Nexus debuted at tore everything down, it felt like a major shakeup. Even with the setback of Daniel Bryan’s firing, the Nexus looked unstoppable going into Summerslam’s 7-on-7 Elimination Tag Match against Team WWE. This was where the wheels fell off, only 2 months in.
I honestly don’t understand the logic in this match. Cutting the balls off of your hot new heel group just to boost John Cena isn’t just a poor move in hindsight, but even legends such as Edge and Chris Jericho (who were in the match) were advocating for the Nexus to win. Nevertheless, the match ended after John Cena recovered from a DDT on the floor to beat Justin Gabriel & Wade Barrett by himself to win. What a stupid decision.
From this point on, The Nexus were jokes. Why should you take a group seriously that fails at the first hurdle? WWE tried to reestablish the group by having them attack The Undertaker, but once he became legitimately injured, they went back to feuding with John Cena. Wade Barrett eventually gained the upper hand on John Cena, defeating him at Hell in a Cell to force Cena to join the Nexus. However, this wasn’t as effective as you probably envision it.
JOHN CENA JOINS THE NEXUS
Even though Cena was a member of The Nexus, it certainly didn’t feel like it. First, despite him wearing the armband, Cena never wore the Nexus T-Shirt, always wearing his own gear. And even though he was supposedly underneath Wade Barrett, Cena constantly undermined his leadership, attacking fellow Nexus members. He might as well have not joined, nothing changed.
At Survivor Series, Cena was the special guest referee for Wade Barrett’s WWE Title match against Randy Orton, and Randy won, meaning Cena was forced to leave WWE. Again, this could’ve been interesting had WWE committed. Instead Cena featured on every RAW after Survivor Series, attacking The Nexus, rendering the stipulation pointless. After Cena was re-hired, 3 weeks after being fired, he beat Barrett at TLC and figuratively as well as literally buried Wade.
After TLC, CM Punk took over The Nexus from Wade Barrett in a surprise twist, however this didn’t change much. Whilst Punk had success leading the Straight Edge Society, the Nexus continued to be booked weak. During the 2011 Royal Rumble, the entire Nexus was eliminated by, you guessed it, John Cena. Punk then moved onto a feud with Randy Orton, which lead to him losing at Wrestlemania after the Nexus members were taken out one by one by Randy. No Nexus members accompanied to the ring at Wrestlemania.
Whilst Punk was technically representing The Nexus at Money In The Bank 2011 (read about that match here) he had ditched the Nexus T-Shirt for a much more iconic one. No one was thinking about The Nexus that night, and that night The Nexus quietly disbanded. No fanfare, no angle, nothing. What a sad end to one of the most promising stables in years.
THE BEAT DOWN CLAN
We move on from a faction that fell apart due to bad booking to one who fell apart due to backstage troubles. An unfortunate product of its time, if the BDC had formed a year earlier or a year later, I believe they would be remembered a lot more fondly than they currently are. Like The Nexus, there was lots of potential in the BDC that went unfulfilled; however, the group had plenty of great attributes about it.
Born out of unforeseen circumstances, the BDC formed in May 2014 after MVP turned heel on TNA World Champion Eric Young, turning heel in the process. In a title match between the two, Kenny King and Bobby Lashley attack Eric Young, forming the trio. Originally, it seemed as if King & Lashley would be MVP’s henchmen, similar to other TNA trios such as: The Christian Coalition, The Gathering & Planet Jarrett. However, MVP would suffer a torn meniscus and would be unable to face EY. According to PWInsider, the original plan was to put the title on MVP, but due to injury, that spot went to Lashley instead and this worked wonders for the BDC.
BOBBY LASHLEY: BDC ACE
Whilst MVP was the official leader, Lashley was the crown jewel of the group. He would defend his title in great matches against the likes of Kurt Angle, Bobby Roode and Jeff Hardy amongst others. MVP and King would often trade wins with members of the TNA roster, but Lashley was booked as an unbeatable monster, as he should be.
Lashley would lose the title on 28th October 2014 to Bobby Roode but would win it back on 7th January 2015 with the help of new BDC members: Samoa Joe, Low-Ki and Eric Young. Ever since the title loss, tensions had been building between Lashley and MVP, boiling over the next week when Lashley was kicked out of the BDC.
The defection/recruitment angle was handled really well by TNA; the group still felt like a big deal despite them kicking out the World Champion. However, this would unfortunately be the beginning of the end for the BDC.
THE STATE OF TNA
During this time period, TNA was a straight-up mess. They had just been kicked off of Spike TV after 9 years and didn’t have a TV Station for roughly 2 months before signing with Destination America. As well as this, many high-profile names had left the company within the last 12 months including: AJ Styles, Bad Influence, Sting and The Dudley Boys. And due to the financial hole that TNA found themselves in, many more names would leave the promotion.
Samoa Joe left for NXT in February 2015, leaving a hole that would be filled by Homicide. Hernandez would end up replacing Low-Ki in the group in June, however a contract dispute between TNA and Lucha Underground led to him also being released, along with group leader MVP two days later. Kenny King would leave for ROH and an injured Homicide would be released shortly after.
It was a sad end for the BDC, however had these backstage problems not occured, you get the sense that TNA still had big plans for the BDC, who were the most successful stable in TNA since the praised in-hindsight Aces and Eights. With MVP forming the Hurt Business on Monday Nights, perhaps he has a second chance, along with Lashley, to recapture some BDC magic.
What other factions should I cover? Leave a comment or submit your suggestions to @CKNearfalls on Twitter.