For fans of Wade Barrett, I’m afraid I have some bad news. Recent reports broke out that Wade Barrett has informed WWE officials that he will be leaving the company at the end of his contract. This leaves many fans wondering the dreadful “what could have been”.
Barrett had the size, talent and even the look to be a top villain in WWE. His time as the leader of Nexus proved that back in 2010. He had strong mic skills, good inring ability and the it was refreshing to see a newcomer get thrown into the main event picture at the start of a career. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there, and despite some glimmers of hope of a resurrection, bad booking and (more frequently) injuries kept that downhill momentum going.
Everyone knows that John Cena singlehandedly killed the Nexus, which lead many to roll their eyes and sigh “not again” immediately after TLC 2010. Many writers noted the symbolic gesture of Cena literally burying Barrett and his credibility as a true heel by piling a bunch of steel chairs on him. After the Nexus stint, we saw Barrett lead The Corre and the Barrett Barrage which was nothing too noteworthy. His character floundered a bit until the Bad News Barrett persona took shape, after a period where he was a pushed as a badass in a wannabe Fight Club that would’ve made Tyler Durden cringe. Finally, it seemed that Barrett was getting some love from the crowd by delivering Bad News. His insults were sharp and many fans found them to be entertaining and witty. Just as the momentum started going his way by capturing the Intercontinental title, a shoulder injury forced him to vacate the belt and miss a long period of time yet again. Upon returning, he won the IC title back, just to end up looking as one of the weakest title holders ever, as he had the belt stolen from him and lost a string of matches leading up to Wrestlemania 31, where, of course, he lost.
From here, Barrett got another chance to make himself relevant by being a surprising winner of the King of the Ring tournament, thus bringing on a new character change as King Barrett. After multiple losses to RTruth, being on the losing end of a rather lacking feud with Neville, and a weird tag team formed with Stardust (be honest: does anyone actually remember their team name of ‘The Lords of Darkness’?) to face actor Stephen Amell, Barrett got to join the League of Nations. The League of Nations started off hot, but fizzled right away. Again, injury set him back and he was mostly seen walking around outside of the ring as Rusev, Sheamus and Del Rio did all the dirty work. Now the League of Nations is hardly a feared force in WWE, unless you’re Kalisto, I guess.
In addition to the injuries, Barrett must see the writing on the wall with the recent talent additions to both the main roster and NXT. Finn Balor, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe, Hideo Itami and at some point Shinsuke Nakamura will be making their man roster callups presumably over the course of the next year or two. Add the recent stars like Kevin Owens, Ambrose, AJ Styles and Reigns, plus the returns of Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Cesaro and Cena, and the future for Barrett gets pretty murky. It is hard to stand out with all this new talent coming especially when he had his opportunity in the past. Whether it’s unfair or not, Barrett is getting pushed out, and he seems to realize it and knows it is best to join a different promotion.
In the end, it’s hard to say if fans really got to see Wade Barrett get a fair shot. Injuries happen, but he seemed to be one of those guys who just couldn’t catch a break. The bad timing of these injuries made him vacate titles, and stop momentum right as things were getting good. Hopefully he’ll be able to reinvent himself in a different promotion, as he deserves better with his skill, size and wit.
Written by Jim Kirwin.