John Cena addressed not putting the Nexus over at SummerSlam 2010, as seen in the video above. Cena was asked about the controversial booking decision by one of our readers at his “An Evening with John Cena” Q&A in Australia this past summer.
In the summer of 2010, The Nexus – Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, David Otunga, Skip Sheffield, Michael Tarver, Darren Young and Daniel Bryan (for one week) – were red-hot and running roughshod on WWE. This led to a Team Nexus vs. Team WWE elimination match at SummerSlam 2010, with Cena, a returning Daniel Bryan, Edge, Chris Jericho, Bret Hart, R-Truth and John Morrison comprising the WWE side.
Chris Jericho and Edge have stated that the original plan was for the Nexus to win the match, with Barrett going over. However, Cena changed the finish and was the sole survivor after eliminating Justin Gabriel and Wade Barrett by pinfall and submission, respectively.
“There was a back and forth between Jericho and Cena about what should happen,” Gabriel, who now wrestles as PJ Black in GFW, told Wrestling Inc. in 2015. “We should have changed the finish, but being rookies we didn’t want to be pushy. We all knew we should have changed it. Everything from that point went downhill. It should have ran for at least a year and put more of an emphasis on some of the characters. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if the powers that-be got bored or if someone got in their ear or what.
“[The finish was] something we found out a couple of hours before,” Gabriel continued. “You try to work stuff out and a lot of guys will try to get stuff changed. We were new, so we knew we had to it. We didn’t have the balls to do it. A guy stood up for us and said we should, and the guy who was adamant about not doing it got his way. A few weeks later he stood up and said we were right, and that he should have done that.”
During the Q&A, Cena said that he doesn’t pick how a storyline is told, although he does have some input.
“This has been a topic of debate amongst really hardcore WWE fans for quite some time because it is their sentiment that I should have lost that match,” Cena explained to the audience. “Why did I win that match? Because that is what we did. It’s difficult for me to blur the lines on this… but I show up to work and do what I’m told. I will give you the gratification of this: I don’t pick how the story is told, I get told that. But I do pick what goes on in the story.
“In that particular moment, it was too much. I think if presented in another way, it could have been a little more palatable. But I can’t change the television show, I’ve never had that power and that’s something I don’t do. If you look at a laundry list of my opponents, you can tell that it’s exactly how I operate. I guessed wrong on the way that the story was told, and I guess that’s why people are so up-in-arms about it. But we tell so many stories. I was wrong once.”
The Nexus angle fizzled after SummerSlam, although it continued through the end of the year. The New Nexus was formed in early 2011 with CM Punk as the new leader, while Wade Barrett created a rival group called The Corre. Punk would drop his infamous pipebomb promo that summer and defeat John Cena for the WWE Championship, and the Nexus permanently disbanded in August of 2011.