WWE Factions: Why the New Nexus and Corre Have Failed and How to Do It Right

Will ECorrespondent IJune 5, 2011

One of the most simultaneously loved and hated angles in WWE is the faction angle. When done properly, it can become legendary, like with the Horsemen, DX, Evolution, etc.

When done poorly, well, just think late-90s nWo. While factions are a huge part of WWE's history, it's something they haven't been able to really pull off well in quite some time. They were on the right track with the original Nexus, but a number of poor booking decisions prematurely ruined the group, and it'll probably go down now as one of the biggest wasted potential angles in history.

We currently have two factions in WWE serving similar roles on RAW and SmackDown: the New Nexus and the Corre. Neither are particularly credible, nor are they elevating the status of anyone involved. Why have these factions fallen by the wayside? I'll look at the positive aspects of both factions, as well as the problems that are plaguing them and preventing them from succeeding in WWE. I'll also examine if either of them can be salvaged.

The New Nexus

Started: December 27th, 2010

Current Running Time: 160 Days

Current Members: CM Punk (Leader), Mason Ryan, David Otunga, Michael Miggillicutty, Husky Harris (injured)

Championships: Current Tag Champions (Otunga and Miggillicutty)

Overview: CM Punk and three followers who have undivided faith in their leader. Mason Ryan serves as the muscle while Otunga and Miggillicutty are the foot soldiers.

Positives: CM Punk, on paper at least, seems like an excellent choice for a faction leader. He's great on the mic and is always incredibly committed to the character he plays. It's his character work that keeps the New Nexus from being entirely forgettable. Outside of that, Mason Ryan is decent enough as Punk's right hand man.

Negatives: None of the other individuals in the group have any real character traits, to the point where they're essentially interchangeable. It's never really explored why someone like David Otunga, who is an egotistical A-lister, would follow Punk and take his beatings. It's difficult to see Miggillicutty or Otunga getting any sort of bump after this.

In addition to that, the group really hasn't had any major victories, individual or collective, since their inception. Punk's dismal  PPV record is well noted, and outside of their recent tag title victory, the group really hasn't done all that much. A lack of direction has been a problem since day one, and other than costing Randy Orton the WWE title (for which they were all subsequently squashed), we've no insight into their true agenda (other than the generic "taking over" tag line).

Can it be saved?: If CM Punk is indeed taking time off in the Summer, then no. Despite the group's failures, Punk is still the man for the job here. If Punk decides to renew, there is some hope. They could really use a new member, but if they do get one and find some direction, the pieces are there for an entertaining run. Personally, I doubt WWE will give them much attention in the coming months, especially with RAW being overrun with upper mid-card heels.

The Corre

Started: January 14th, 2011

Current Running Time: 142 days

Current Members: Wade Barrett (leader), Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater

Former Member(s): Ezekial Jackson

Championships: Current Intercontinental Champion (Barrett), Former two-time Tag Champions (Gabriel and Slater)

Overview: A group of "equals" who are coming to SmackDown to "take over"

Positives: Wade Barrett just seems like he was born to lead factions. The arrogant Englishman just seems like the guy who would cut backstage deals and manipulate people to get his way, but at the same time be very capable in the ring, and can reward those who serve him well. Like Punk, he seems to be the man for this job. Justin Gabriel is also incredibly talented and, in my opinion, the most underrated superstar in WWE.

Negatives: Hey, I have a great idea! Let's make a new Nexus-like group on Smackdown, but have there be fewer members so their greatest strength is halved! Then people will take them seriously!

That little outburst of sarcasm sums up the Corre's biggest flaw: They're trying to be Nexus, but they're half the size. It is, as Punk put it, a poor man's Nexus. Their primary tactic is to use the numbers game to weaken their opponents, but there's only three of them. Which means all it takes is three baby-faced superstars to team up to completely ruin them, because as we witnessed at Wrestlemania 27 (no WWE, you can't just write this off), they are completely inept at even strength.

In addition to that, just like the New Nexus, they have little to no motivation or hope for moving up the card. They've fought no one other than Big Zeke since Jackson split from the group, and it's difficult to view these guys as a threat when they're taking weeks to finish off one guy. Just imagine how fast they'd be squashed if they went up against Randy Orton...

Can they be saved?: Short answer: No. They've been beaten too many times to be bothered with, and honestly Barrett and Gabriel would be better off on their own right now (Slater can go to Superstars). I say just give Zeke the intercontinental title and simply end this before it wastes any more of Smackdown's airtime.

So I think it's safe to say neither of these groups have reached the levels of success WWE had envisioned for them, or the levels set by previous great factions, and as I've examined, most of the reasons have to do with flawed fundamentals in booking factions. Now we're going to look at these fundamentals in more detail, and run through the requirements for creating good faction, as well as keeping them relevant over long periods of time.


Without a doubt the most important thing a faction needs to be successful is motivation. If a group has no long term goals, then they will eventually lose their reason for being together and meander in the mid-card. And no, winning all the mid-card belts and "taking over" doesn't cut it. Let's use Evolution as an example. The goal was very clear from the beginning: Triple H is going to be the main-eventer of the group, while in return him and Ric Flair are going to make Randy Orton and Batista into the stars of the future. You never doubted why they were doing what they were doing, and all their moves made sense given the motivations of the group.

When a group has a specific goal, there is always tension when they get a chance to achieve it, whether you want them to or not. It also keeps everyone in the group on the same page, and as a result, makes them far more threatening.

Unique and Specific Roles Within the Group

I mentioned this when discussing Michael Miggilicutty and David Otunga's roles in the New Nexus, when I referred to them as "foot soldiers". Far too often as of late, with both these factions as well as the original Nexus at the tail end of its run, there are superstars in groups who are essentially just there to fill out the numbers. Anyone else could fill their role, and they basically just become a warm body that can help in the beat-downs. If you look at the great factions, seldom did they ever have useless members, and if members became useless, they were thrown out.

Whether it's as a leader, a bodyguard, a mouthpiece, a protege, or any other role a group needs, every member should have a special duty within the group. Not only does it make the group as a whole become more efficient, but it also helps people familiarize themselves with the individual members as unique characters.

Do Not Add/Subtract Members Needlessly

This was a huge problem in the original Nexus, and was one of the big reasons the group lost its momentum. When Barrett started removing members on a whim, they immediately lost the whole "We Are One" vibe, because during their peak you really thought these seven guys were in it together, for better or worse.

I'm not saying that every group has to be tight-knit on a personal level, but unless a member is no longer contributing, or is causing more harm then good, then there's no reason to kick them out. When you get rid of people for no reason, then it's harder for the audience to buy into the fact that these people are loyal to one another, which is the basis of any faction.

A Strong Leader

Every group needs a leader, a figurehead, someone who is going to represent the group and solve its problems. A faction leader needs to be fully committed to the character, and also needs to be on the same page as the bookers for what they want out of the faction. Mic skills are just as important, as a leader often needs to put over the lesser-known members in their group.

Now, I've always felt it's best when the leader doesn't wrestle that often. When Wade Barrett was leader of the Nexus, he didn't really wrestle every week on RAW. Because he was hiding behind his group, you assumed he was scared of the younger wrestlers and couldn't compete at their level, but at the same time you never really knew what he was capable of.

That's why it was so interesting to watch the Cena/Barrett match at Hell in a Cell, because you didn't know how Barrett would fare against Cena one-on-one, and it was a big surprise to see him go move-for-move with Cena, even kicking out of the attitude adjustment at one point.

There's nothing like having a heel constantly having protection, constantly ducking the faces' challenges, and then when they have the actual match, you underestimate the heel and you find out he can compete with the faces and win if called upon. Having that level of mystique can really build fan interest in your angle.

The Group Needs To be Strong as a Group

When you have a group of superstars in a faction, in kayfabe they should constantly be planning and strategizing with each other backstage, and building chemistry with one another while wrestling. Essentially, the whole should be greater than the sum of its parts.

So even when the numbers are even, when a group is teaming together in a match, or even just fighting outside of a match, they should have the advantage over any opposing group made up of people who don't normally team together. When Team WWE beat the Nexus, and when Team Big Hellfire Cobras in Paradise beat the Corre, it made the unions seem pointless. Why bother having a group if a bunch of random people could just team up at any time and beat you? 


Factions aren't something that can just be thrown together. If you want to book them right, you need to have a plan in mind for months in advance, otherwise the group fails and just wastes time. This is what has happened with the New Nexus and the Corre, and it's a shame because I personally love the faction angle and would love to see it done right again in WWE. But until the writers come up with a faction that has direction and purpose, we're going to continue to see half-assed groups that just exist to get pointless mid-card title reigns, or simply "take over".


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