With Ryback no longer working for WWE, he's made full use of his podcast, Conversation with the Big Guy, to speak his mind on a number of controversial issues regarding his stay with the company. But none may be as controversial as the claim on the latest episode, where Ryback states that John Cena had "buried" The Nexus, a stable that was originally built up to be one of WWE's most dominant factions in recent history.
After doing well in the "Million Dollar" season of Tough Enough under his birth name of Ryan Reeves, Ryback re-debuted several years later in 2010 as Skip Sheffield, one of the eight rookies included in the first season of NXT, back when it was a rookie search and not the name of WWE's developmental territory. As he was eliminated midway through the competition, Sheffield wasn't expected to make it to WWE's main roster per the mechanics of NXT, but he would help shock the wrestling world on the June 7, 2010, episode of Monday Night RAW.
That night marked the WWE debut of The Nexus, which featured all eight members of the NXT Season 1 rookie class, led by winner Wade Barrett, and also including Sheffield/Ryback, present-day WWE Superstars Darren Young and Heath Slater, and current SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan. All eight men in the stable proceeded to lay waste to the ring, attacking John Cena and CM Punk during their main event match and also attacking the commentators and ring announcer. This helped establish The Nexus as a faction to be reckoned with, but before 2010 was over, they had lost a lot of their momentum, with Cena defeating Barrett convincingly at WWE's TLC pay-per-view in December.As Cena beat Barrett at TLC 2010 by burying him in a pile of chairs, many sources, including Pro Wrestling Torch, had seen the outcome as a symbolic move, one symbolizing John Cena's "burial" of The Nexus and their end as a relevant faction. Some of the stable's individual members, specifically Bryan and Ryback, had enjoyed successful runs in the WWE after leaving The Nexus, but many felt they could have achieved so much more as a unit, had they not been booked so weakly in the final months of 2010. And Ryback appears to be one of those people, as he suggested in the latest episode of Conversation with the Big Guy.
In quotes from the podcast obtained by WrestlingNews.co, Ryback explained why he believes John Cena buried The Nexus or helped make them look weaker than they should be. According to "The Big Guy," The Nexus was quite a well-received faction when they debuted, but Cena wasn't pleased with how enthusiastically they had been received by audiences, despite their heel status.
"It's a fact across the board (and) everybody knows it. (Cena) did not want (The Nexus) to go any further than what it was gonna go past."
When co-host Pat Buck asked Ryback why Cena would want to make The Nexus look bad, his answer was simple — the stable was getting too "over" with fans, or wrestling lingo for becoming extremely popular.
Another alleged example of John Cena making The Nexus look bad came at SummerSlam 2010, where Cena almost single-handedly helped Team WWE beat Team Nexus at SummerSlam. This is an event many blame for starting the stable's downfall, and former member Justin Gabriel said during a Reddit AMA earlier this year (quotes via Wrestling Inc.) that it was John Cena who insisted The Nexus lose the match, despite veterans such as Chris Jericho and Edge insisting that they remain strong and beat Team WWE.
While the rest of The Nexus had to deal with a diminishing push after SummerSlam 2010, Ryback had to deal with a severe ankle injury that would sideline him for over a year and also cost him a WWE World Tag Team Championship opportunity, as he claims. The injury took place soon after SummerSlam, and Ryback said that he was sent to an incompetent doctor from Florida who was sued 10 times for malpractice, instead of being sent to Birmingham, Alabama, which is where WWE wrestlers normally go when they need surgery.
Although Ryback was able to finally head to Birmingham to receive surgery, he claims that no one among WWE's higher-ups believed him when he explained what happened with the Florida doctor. He added that Triple H had even told him that "one day, we've got to pull the plug on you," comments that forever changed his views on the wrestling business and eventually helped drive his decision to leave WWE this year.
Did John Cena really "bury" The Nexus and prevent them from being as great as they should have been? It's still a hot-button topic to this day, but as Ryback has proven, he's not the only ex-Nexus member who blames "Mr. Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect" for their lack of overall success.
[Featured Image by WWE]