WWE’s Black Friday contract-letting cost the company a King. Wade Barrett tweeted his long-anticipated departure from Titan Towers had been expedited.
— Stu Bennett (@WadeBarrett) May 6, 2016
Wade Barrett’s promising WWE career was punctuated with false-starts, largely the result of injuries. His 2014 return and subsequent run through the Intercontinental Championship as Bad News Barrett proved a highlight of an otherwise mediocre WrestleMania XXX hangover, but surgery sidelined him.
Bad booking also cost Barrett. His 2015 return and King of the Ring win should have finally vaulted him into the upper-midcard and perhaps even WWE World Championship picture. Instead, he ate a fall in a match involving the Green Arrow and kicked cereal as a member of the League of Nations.
However, the worst booking of Barrett was the earliest, which set an ominous tone for his run.
Few entered WWE with as much fanfare, nor as much of an organic reaction as Wade Barrett. When the Nexus arrived on RAW in the summer of 2010 and laid waste to the roster, Barrett instantly got over as the company’s top heel.
Not since Brock Lesnar arrived. Conquered. Left. had a newcomer so immediately established himself worthy of a main-event push.
Until…Barrett got Cena’d.
Wade Barrett and the original incarnation of the Nexus were fed to Cena over the course of Autumn 2010, effectively snuffing out the NWO-style angle WWE’s attempted to recreate at various times.
Survivor Series 2010 should have ended with Wade Barrett defeating Randy Orton for the WWE Championship, just five months into his debut. Highlight the similarities between his ascension and Lesnar’s who also won the top title about five months into his tenure; after all, Lesnar was destroying his competition in UFC at the time, and had some mainstream buzz as a result.
Barrett’s title win sets a collision course with John Cena for WrestleMania XXVII, but also plants the seeds for dissent among the Nexus. Wade Barrett’s growing ego and the group’s reaction plants the seed to elevate members of the group individually, with Barrett already on top.
After winning the Royal Rumble, Cena and Barrett square off in the main event. Cena wins, giving the show the customary Mania finish…that is, until The Miz cashes in his Money in the Bank briefcase, pins Cena (thanks to The Rock, which still gives WWE the big Cena-Rock confrontation that entire show had been built around) and voila: the WrestleMania main event features two new stars, primed for long runs as top heels in The Miz and Wade Barrett.
Sigh. What could have been. Maybe you’re big moment will come at the Tokyo Dome, Wade Barrett. After all, a Wrestle Kingdom needs a King.