Vince McMahon just can't buy a break these days with the "1st season" graduates of his NXT series. First, Bryan Danielson (aka Daniel Bryan) was fired after violating guidelines regarding on-camera assaults on personnel that Danielson seemingly didn't know about. The groundswell of fan support for Danielson would seem to assure a return before the 90-day no compete clause in his contract expires. Given the latest developments, that return may have to be hastened, and quickly.
NXT season 1 winner Wade Barrett (real name, Stuart Sanders) was missing from last night's Monday Night Raw as well as house shows the preceding three days due to the fact that his work visa had expired. Barrett has returned to his native England to await the processing of a new visa that would allow him to return and continue the storyline.
As a result, the six remaining "graduates", now known as Nexus (not to be confused with a popular sci-fi comics series from the 80's), went forward without their established leader last night, adding former grapplers Rick Steamboat, Dean Malenko, Arn Anderson, Mike Rotundo (who had to remind folks of his alter-ego, Irwin R. Schyster, in a promo on Steamboat), and Michael Hayes, along with color analyst Jerry Lawler, to the list of victims. As the newsboards report, there is no timetable to determine Barrett's return, the latest pothole in what is arguably the hottest storyline WWE has had in years.
Meanwhile, over on Friday Night Smackdown, Scotland's Drew McIntyre (Drew Galloway) was "deported" in storyline on the June 25 episode, but in real life, McIntyre is also dealing with visa issues, and has returned to Scotland, leaving behind new bride Taryn Terrell (former ECW GM turned WWE diva Tiffany) while he sorts out his issues. In all honesty, McIntyre's spoiled brat gimmick had seemingly run its course. That he had to leave his wife for the duration suggests that marrying an American citizen doesn't always mean you're exempt from deportation, contrary to what we've seen in a number of movies over the years.
Back to the Nexus. It seemed fitting that they systematically picked off their victims, one by one, last night. It isn't their fault that a different kind of system, for good or bad, is picking them off, one by one, in the short term. Barrett will most assuredly be back, for the sake of keeping the storyline alive and kicking. His case, and that of McIntyre, speaks to the inability of McMahon to cover all the bases. He had to know their visas were expiring, and should've pushed to have them renewed before the expiration dates passed. Had the visas been renewed, things might be different than what we've seen over the last four nights.
A year ago, TNA had the same problem with Canada's Angelina Love (Angel Williams), who has since returned after settling her visa issues. Again, a glaring lack of due diligence in addressing the paperwork of visa renewals resulted in a key player being forced off stage, as it were, forcing the creative team to scramble to create a solution. Now, WWE has that same problem, times two, staring them in the face. When McIntyre returns, he has to undergo a gimmick change, since his role as a whiny, spoiled brat who ran to McMahon every time things didn't go his way rubbed people the wrong way very quickly. Barrett is an even more valuable player, as he has the presence and charisma to carry the Nexus gimmick. The other 6 collectively don't.
The only positive that comes out of this is that it ensures that the Nexus angle on Raw will last into the fall, perhaps culminating at Survivor Series in November. Renewing a work visa isn't a quick process, and WWE is preparing to move forward without Barrett & McIntyre for the duration, however long it is. McIntyre's absence from Smackdown had been teased for some time, especially since he was married last month, but had held off on a honeymoon.
So, what else could go wrong now?