Why Michael Tarver Matters

In Why (______) Matters, 3MB will defend someone / something
in Wrestling’s history that’s is otherwise a source of embarrassment.

It’s hard to mistake the “We Want Nexus” chants heard on the recent episodes of Monday Night RAW. They happened during the matches of the returning Wade Barrett, former leader of the Nexus. The first week, they made sense: Barrett facing off against Justin Gabriel, a former Nexus member, was like a mini-reunion, complete with the obligatory reunion skirmish. The second week, the chants were fainter, presumably hearing “We Want Nexus” during a Wade Barrett / Tyson Kidd match is less logical. Kidd is the tag team partner of Justin Gabriel, a former Nexus member. If there’s a 6 degrees of Nexus game, Tyson’s Nexus number is 2.

Image Courtesy of WWE.com

But still, these chants conjure up images / memories of this group of misfits, recklessly attacking intimate objects … and John Cena. 2 years removed from their introduction to the WWE Universe, the members of Nexus have become greater than their whole, their pluses outweigh their minuses. Nexus has 4 Tag Team champions (David Otunga, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Daniel Bryan); 1 Intercontinental Champion (Wade Barrett); 1 US Champion (Bryan); and 1 World Champion (Bryan again: really, Daniel Bryan is the biggest plus to the group). The Nexus’ biggest losses are probably the most baffling, but still turn out for the better: Darren Young, who had a guaranteed contract, somehow lost it – maybe on WWE Superstars when nobody was watching – and had to compete in NXT: Redemption to earn the right to compete on NXT: The Never-Ending Season to re-earn a contract. Young has rebounded and formed a Tag Team with Titus O’Neil known as the Primetime Players, which … well, at least he’s employed.

Skip Sheffield went missing after the SummerSlam 2010 Main Event but the leading theory is that he donated his body to gimmick science. Thus, the debut of The Ryback raised a few questions. Looking like Frankenstein’s Monster, The Ryback is Sheffield’s face mixed with Goldberg’s body wrapped in the airbrushed singlet of Rob Van Dam. There appear to be some side effects to this creation, like an insatiable appetite and occasional red eye. The similarities to Sheffield became more apparent when The Ryback displayed the same propensity for attacking inanimate objects as Skip Sheffield.

And then there’s Michael Tarver, the only member Nexus not currently in the WWE.

Tarver, despite being ousted, had a lasting effect on the WWE. During the first season of NXT, he stood out each time he spoke but for the wrong reasons. Either defining the role in the WWE (“I am the Product”) or announcing his measure of success (“Whether I win or lose, I will not lose”), Tarver’s gab was a gift to us, if never to him.

Gaffs like these paved the way for future NXT microphone flubs like future Nexus member Michael McGilicutty’s phenomenal “Genesis of the McGilicutty” promo or Eli Cottonwood poetic ode to “Mustaches” that earned Cottonwood an award from The Soup; Eli should’ve thanked Tarver during his acceptance staredown of Joel McHale:

Image Courtesy of E! Online; Stare Courtesy of Eli Cottonwood

But Michael Tarver really stood out through his merchandise. When not running obstacle courses or carrying kegs, Tarver spent his time in the t-shirt stop, coming up with a way to stand out. His first shirt, a plain black t-shirt with “1.9” in white letters on it, referenced his knockout punch. Or something. Tarver quickly dropped that, focusing on more NXT-centric t-shirts. He debuted a RUN DMC inspired “RUN NXT” that was simple, effective and sent me to WWEShop.com frantically trying to order one:

Images Courtesy of WWE.com
that was until Michael Tarver showed up wearing a nWo style NXT shirt!

Image Courtesy of WWE

Now, I understand why the WWE could not roll mass production on the RUN NXT shirts; that’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. But the nXt shirt, there’s no excuse. The WWE sold nWo t-shirts for years! They still do! And in Wolfpack red! Plus, they sold 2 different Randy Orton rKo T-shirts in that nWo style. Tarver tapped into the fans consciousness: the nWo design is still cool and we’d buy it again. Of course, what Tarver really needed were votes to remain on NXT. Even though his t-shirt making prowess is why I voted for him, his gift of gabless is what got him disqualified. Hopefully, Tarver’s consolation prize is a job in the WWE’s merchandise department.

Of course, the other thing he’ll be remembered for is the time John Cena beat the ever-loving crap out of him. What a Trooper!

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One Response to Why Michael Tarver Matters

  1. Pingback: 3 Count: #NXTheme 2015 – Sweet 16 | Three Man Booth

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