You may or may not have noticed Wade Barrett has been missing from your television sets for the past month. Barrett hasn't been a seriously featured wrestler within the WWE in two years, so you're off the hook for not noticing his abscense. It's been reported his absence has been traveling related, but even before his visa issues came about Barrett wasn't a regular on WWE programming. WWE creative hasn't found an interesting storyline for Barrett in years now, so perhaps the higher-ups in the company have soured on the once prominent superstar.
Barrett debuted in as great of fashion as any potential WWE wrestler could hope to debut -- leading a dominant heel faction and destroying the top guy in the company. Perhaps, it was simply a case of rising too fast for Barrett. Although I don't think that assumption is entirely fair -- or accurate. The Nexus was over in a big way and had his run on top not ended with a Cena burial these last couple of years may have been a lot better for Barrett.
Since the Nexus, Barrett started a Nexus-lite, grew out his beard, changed his finisher, got hurt, went through more theme songs than victories, and has been off television for over a month. All these changes and Barrett still hasn't come close to being as over or as prominent as he was when he debuted.
The cynic in me isn't surprised to see where Barrett has fallen on the card, but it's a peculiar situation considering his size and skillset matches what Vince McMahon is looking for. Barrett is big, can talk on the mic, and can hold his own in the ring. Barrett is a naturally superb heel, but he hasn't gotten the heat from crowds he got in Nexus simply because he hasn't been in storylines where his actions and promos can really anger fans. Alberto Del Rio suffers the same problem, but he hasn't been shuffled down the card for his non-reactions from the crowd.
One other important aspect as to why Barrett hasn't regained his overness from his Nexus days has been the simple fact that he's not winning as often. Sure, he was given a few victories when he was repackaged. However, Barrett never really beat anyone worthwhile in those squash victories.
You could make the case that WWE's roster is as deep as its ever been. You definitely could. Even so, WWE is lacking in the top heel department. You have Randy Orton...Del R...Damia...umm...The Mi...hmm. WWE has a plethora of top faces John Cena, Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Big Show, and Sheamus along with a pretty solid group of midcard faces. Even with a roster so deep, the balance of top faces and heels is leaning heavily one way.
Enter Wade Barrett. WWE needs to start elevating heels to the top to help sure up the scale within the company at the moment -- Barrett makes sense here. He's still relatively young at age 33, but he's already proven the WWE can count on him to deliver as a top heel. He just has to get booked in a similarly dominant way.
Before Sheamus went down with an injury, most of the internet wrestling community were beyond annoyed with his character. Sheamus' attempts at comedy probably being the biggest reason for the internet angst. Sheamus has a big fan backstage in HHH, which the IWC contributes to his Cena-lite character that wins all the time. However, its always been curious to me as to why the higher-ups have been so fond of Sheamus' work -- but not Barrett's. Sheamus and Barrett's in-ring work are both above average, both are very big guys, but Barrett has the huge advantage on the mic. One would think HHH and/or Vince McMahon would be a big fan of a guy whose ceiling is higher than their number two babyface.
Barrett has been reported to be returning soon, but where is their room for him in their current plans? The only heels within the company really garnering any type of major heet is The Authority, and a corporate, smug Wade Barrett could be a big help in helping him regain his heat. They could also wait a while longer and have him return at the Royal Rumble and record a respectable amount of eliminations and start rebuilding him from there. There are options -- creative just has to work to find them.
Again, Barrett is only 33-years-old and his in-ring style bodes well for him long-term. For a guy whose career once looked so promising its disappointing to see where Barrett currently sits within the company. It's not unsalvageable though -- WWE just has to give Barrett an interesting storyline, win a lot of matches, and most importantly remember just how good of an asset Barrett really is for the company going forward.