It both seems longer and shorter than four years since Wade Barrett entered the WWE Universe proper, appearing on the inaugural season of the reality show-ish version of NXT on SyFy. Paired with Chris Jericho, the big Brit had the look that everyone knows Vince McMahon craves, knew his way around a microphone with a deep voice and an accent straight out of a Guy Ritchie film and handled himself quite well in the ring - not quite to the standard of classmate Daniel Bryan, but miles ahead of guys like Skip Sheffield and David Otunga. His "win" of a guaranteed WWE contract confirmed that the powers-that-be saw something in him.
Then came a June Monday night in 2010, where Barrett lead the first season NXT cast in an invasion of Raw's main event, decimating John Cena, CM Punk, Punk's Straight Edge Society followers, the referee, announcers, the set...
As the leader of the Nexus angle that ran through the winter, Wade seemed to have the proverbial rocket strapped to him. And while there is certainly blame to go around - Creative botching another hot summer angle, the McMahons not wanting to book anyone who doesn't guarantee ratings and buyrates to look strong, Cena wins lol - it would be disingenuous to say that Barrett himself hasn't also failed to connect with the audience and take his character and career to the next level.
Many have latched on to the Bad News Barrett gimmick he has been working on The JBL and Cole Show (with Renee Young!) as the thing that could get him over in a way that six months in the main event and three Intercontinental championship reigns could not. Personally I've been unconvinced. Not because it's not funny; I just haven't been able to figure out how a bit that works for 30 second of a YouTube show translates to angles on the six hours of television WWE has to fill each week.
The appearance of Good News Barrett on episode 49 of The JBL and Cole Show (with Renee Young!) doesn't exactly flip the switch on a light bulb for how to translate this version of the character to the main stage, but it does rekindle some of the confidence that I felt in his success circa 2010. I'm not sure what character tweak gets him over - and I still don't know how you translate Bad/Good News to a proper pro wrestling feud - but it reminded me of the charisma he showed riffing with Chris Jericho way back when.
Whatever Creative can come up for him that allows him to showcase the charm that he displays on The JBL and Cole Show (with Renee Young!) will be a step up from the generic villain character we got during his interminable feud with The Miz for the IC belt from earlier this year. But, at 33 years old, they better not waste any time finding it. His next re-packaging is probably also his last.
Where are you Cagesiders with Wade at this point? Care to explain to me how "Bad News" works on the big stage? Or have another ideas for tapping Barrett's potential? Let's hear from you below!