In order to defeat an disorganized army, defeat the commander. When competing against a motley group of individuals, defeat their leader. If the group is disorganized and undisciplined, then the group will not survive losing their leader, and the group will either disappear as an enemy or will be easily beatable one at a time. In terms of group dynamics, the inverse is usually true. A well-organized and disciplined group will rally and maintain its structure. It will survive losing its leader and may very well thrive under new leadership. While there are not currently any stables actively operating in the WWE, WWE history is replete with examples.
Nexus fell apart after Wade Barrett’s Defeat
This edition of the 36 Strategies is the Euro 2012 Edition, in honor of Pro-Wrestling’s official Euro 2012 Tweeter / Commentator and Capital One Viking…Wade Barrett. I’m looking forward to Norwich versus Spain in a friendly.
In recent memory, the most significant WWE faction was Nexus. Made up of WWE rookies whose main modus operandi was to sneak-attack and administer eight-against-one beatdowns, they looked to their leader, Wade Barrett, for direction and organization. As long as Barrett was thriving as a WWE competitor, Nexus thrived. Once Barrett started to show moments of weakness, then his leadership was questioned by David Otunga, and the wheels started to fall off the proverbial bus. Once Barrett’s main enemy, John Cena, defeated him in the Chairs match at the TLC pay-per-view in December, 2010, Barrett was out; Nexus became a shell of its former self; and within three months, Nexus was dead.
In the summer of 2010, NXT Season One winner Wade Barrett organized the entire lot of NXT competitors into a stable called Nexus, the purpose of which was to secure WWE contracts for all eight NXT rookies. Under Barrett’s leadership, the Nexus appeared for the first time during a match between John Cena and CM Punk, attacking both Cena and Punk, Punk’s entourage, and also the commentators at ringside. In the next several weeks, Nexus continued to administer eight-on-one beatings to WWE wrestlers and legends such as Ricky Steamboat. They also interfered in matches, costing Cena the WWE Championship in a Fatal Fourway to Sheamus and allowing Sheamus to retain the WWE Championship in a steel cage at Money in the Bank.
As a team, Nexus faced setbacks. Nexus as a team faced WWE wrestlers in a seven-on-seven tag-team match at Summerslam, and they lost. However, the group-loss was not sufficient to end Nexus as a team or dampen their momentum because most of the Nexus success came during their group beat-downs of individual wrestlers. Nexus could remain effective by interfering, sneak-attacking, and taking advantage of their numbers. Clean individual victories were not needed by Nexus members for Nexus to be successful. Barrett still remained successful, and Nexus marched onward.
Losses of lesser members piled up. One by one, Daniel Bryan, Darren Young, Skip Sheffield, and Michael Tarver left the group, were kicked out, or were injured, but this also did not have any negative effect on Nexus because Barrett was still firmly in control. These personnel losses seemed to only rid Nexus of its dead weight and made the group a more manageable size. Moreover, shedding this dead weight seemed to make room for the more promising members of NXT Season Two, such as Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty.
None of that mattered because the leader of Nexus was successful and able to inspire loyalty from his crew because of this success. The Wade Barrett versus John Cena feud was gaining traction, and Barrett was victorious over Cena at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on October 3, 2010. The stipulation of this match left John Cena a member of Nexus after his defeat. Barrett continued on his roll over the next couple of months, as Barrett placed himself in the WWE Championship picture by demanding his contractually-promised Championship match against Randy Orton at Survivor Series in November, 2010. Barrett was poised to win the WWE Championship from Randy Orton, and this would have been a crowning achievement for Barrett as the leader of a stable.
However, just as Barrett was poised to reach the pinnacle of his personal and group success, things started to unravel for the Nexus leader. Once Cena was forced to become a Nexus member and required by the anonymous RAW general manager to follow Barrett’s instructions, Cena swore to undermine Nexus from within, and it was by working against Barrett within the parameters that Barrett set that allowed Cena to continually frustrate Barrett. For his WWE Championship match at Survivor Series, Barrett had chosen Cena as the referee and stipulated that Cena would be fired if Barrett did not win the WWE Championship. Cena’s refereeing led to Barrett winning by disqualification, but Orton retained the Championship, infuriating Barrett. The “fired” John Cena then kept showing up on RAW and using Nexus’ own guerrilla tactics to interfere in matches and administer beatdowns on members that had been separated from the group. Cena’s actions and Barrett’s inability to protect his members from Cena led to discontent within the group and a temporary mini-coup by David Otunga and an invasion of Smackdown. Also, Nexus members convinced Barrett to get Cena rehired in order to get Cena to stop beating them up.
In a desperate attempt to save face and recover the effective leadership of his team, Barrett got Cena rehired and demanded a match at Tables, Ladders, and Chairs. This move backfired. At TLC, Cena not only defeated Barrett, but he beat up all other Nexus members en route to his victory and dropped a string of twenty-plus connected chairs on top of Barrett. This emphatic victory put Barrett out for a while. Nexus was dead.
An attempt to reconstruct Nexus under new management under CM Punk failed within a couple of months after Orton became the target of the New Nexus and Orton punted them out of the WWE one-at-a-time leading up to Wrestlemania.
The Original DX Survived the Loss of Shawn Michaels
Shawn Michael’s Wrestlemania XIV loss to Stone Cold Steve Austin and subsequent forced retirement due to injury left the young and fledgling Degeneration X stable without its leader and without a major title holder caliber wrestler at its head. A weak organization with members not truly committed to the ideals that D-X represented would have folded up and died. However, in this case, D-X had in Triple H a member who was ready to take over the reins of leadership, reorganize the stable into the Four Horsemen format by adding the New Age Outlaws as its tag-team and X-Pac as its fourth member, and build towards elevating himself to the main event level…with his D-X stable there to make sure that happened. This incarnation of D-X was its most successful one, securing the WWE Championship for Triple H and the WWE Tag Team Championships for the New Age Outlaws, and European Championships for X-Pac. The reign of this incarnation of D-X lasted from mid-1998 through the aftermath of Wrestlemania XVI in 2000, when Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were rebranded as the McMahon-Helmsley Faction, with new subordinates in place to ensure Triple H’s success.
Bandits, thugs, and basically any group without unity and discipline can be easily undermined by taking out their leader. The members that remain cannot function effectively without him. So, when opposed by an entire group, determine the group’s level of organization and commitment, and then take out their leader.
Category: Columns and Editorials |