Before being sidelined with an injury a couple of weeks back, Mason Ryan appeared poised to burst into the upper mid-card scene. Now, facing the likelihood that CM Punk will be gone from the company upon his return and the Nexus will be no more, Ryan is a strong candidate for a gimmick change. Rumor has it that the big Welshman is in line to take on the role of bodyguard for one of wrestling’s top heels when he’s ready to return. Essentially, it’ll be the same role he filled for CM Punk, but with a new employer. Leading candidates, as of this writing, are Alberto Del Rio or The Miz. Personally, I don’t see either man as a very likely fit. Both Del Rio and the Miz have had runs with bodyguards / cronies over the past few months, with Brodus Clay and Alex Riley respectively. I’m inclined to believe that if Ryan does indeed fill the role of someone’s heavy, it will be for a star who has not already used an NXT rookie in that position. In my opinion, though, Ryan is much more likely to return as an autonomous unit rather than carrying someone else’s bags.
Meanwhile, other former Nexus members and current Tag Team Champions David Otunga & Michael McGillicutty will also be left to pick up the pieces when their fearless leader departs the ‘E. We may have seen the start of their new position in the company this past Monday, when Zack Ryder appeared at the top of the ramp after their win over Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov on Raw. Delivering his trademark “Woo woo woo, you know it” tagline, Ryder left the Tag Champs looking confused in the ring. According to a number of news sources, there has been at least some internal discussion about aligning the Nexus leftovers with Long Island Iced Z. While the potential faction might seem to comprise strange bedfellows, I really can’t imagine it being anything but beneficial for all involved parties. Otunga & McGillicutty will be utterly lost without Punk and could use the guidance, while any excuse to get Zack Ryder on television is a welcome one.
The repercussions of Punk’s flight from the WWE are far-reaching, and none will feel it more than the remaining members of Nexus. If you were the creative team, what would you do with Ryan, McGillicutty, and Otunga?