Salutations readers and welcome! Today we look at when the WWE saw Wade Barrett as really Bad News...
It was Hell in a Cell 2010 and John Cena had been defeated by Wade Barrett. Despite the fact that Mr Hustle, Loyalty and Respect had decided not to put over the Nexus at Summerslam, he was now forced to become a member of the group and abide by Barrett's rules. Many were interested as to where this could lead.
The Nexus were a remarkable stable that took the WWE by storm in mid 2010. Comprised of the debuting wrestlers from NXT, it was actually an ingenious way of giving a lot of green wrestlers TV time without putting them in a position where they had to do anything too pressurised. Led by the charismatic leader of the first season Wade Barrett, the WWE could be sure to have expected big things from the stable for the year ahead as everyone saw them take down various staples of the WWE- including the Undertaker.
And then John Cena had to get in the way.
Soon, the story became less about the Nexus kicking ass and taking names and more about John Cena making the Nexus look like a bunch of noobs. This became all too obvious when Cena was fired from Raw altogether after disobeying Nexus orders- only to turn up each week beating the crap out Nexus members.
Suffice to say that eventually Cena forced Barrett to let him back on Raw and at TLC 2010, Barrett was piled under a heap of chairs.
And now, with the leader of the Nexus literally buried, the WWE had a conundrum on its hands. It couldn't really go on with the Nexus as a truly fearsome foe if Barrett remained leader, so they passed the leadership onto the CM Punk, who had just returned from injury.
Now, in the normal course of events, a person who had been kicked out of their own stable would be the perfect device to turn them babyface and give them a singles program from which to launch a promising career.
However, the WWE had obviously seen what the Nexus had done for Raw and decided that Smackdown could use some of that magic. So they took Barrett, along with Gabriel and Slater and formed them into a new group known as the Corre- who lived by the creed that they had no leader but were a group of equals.
Of course, what it looked like to the greater wrestling world was that Barrett, Gabrial and Slater were ousted/leaving the cooler Nexus and now trying to establish another stable on Smackdown.
The WWE had to know that the Corre would be invariably be compared to the Nexus, but they seemed happy to plough on with the story anyway. And with the Corre not having the impact that the Nexus because of the simple fact that the Nexus did it first and so unexpectedly.
With this in mind, the Corre was really under the pump from the start. For this to be seen as a success, they had to have made a real impact on the Smackdown roster- perhaps even having Barrett win the World Heavyweight Championship. While they did have some success with Gabriel and Slater winning the tag team titles and Barrett winning the Intercontinental title, the fact of the matter was that as far as Smackdown was concerned they seemed more like an afterthought than the Nexus that was tearing up Raw only months before.
This was made all the more apparent when this apparently terrifying stable was taken out in 2 mins in a 4 man tag team match by Kane, Big Show, Santino and Kofi Kingston at Wrestlemania. This was also not helped when all four men ambushed the Rock and Cena the next night on Raw in order for Cena and the Great One to exhibit their finishers for the crowd- which led to a nice pop but also basically left the Corre- such as it was- dead in the water as far as a push was concerned.
The thing is, when the brand split first occurred and Raw and Smackdown went on their different paths, there was no doubt a more clear point of difference between the two brands. The Paul Heyman -run Smackdown revolved often around established stars like Brock Lesnar and Undertaker on the top while pushing young hungry wrestlers in all sorts of matches.
Raw, on the other hand, seemed to be a much more traditional show, with a heel wrestling champion that was modelled on Ric Flair (Triple H even had Ric Flair in his corner, for crying out loud). Titles seemed to more prestigious, but at the same time the roster did not seem to be rotated quite as well.
As things continued it was natural of course for the shows to become more similar, but the WWE were careful to show that superstars identified with one brand or the other. This was helped with PPV's like Survivor Series and Bragging Rights where the brand's pride seemed to be on the line.
By doing this, the WWE could count on the fact that if hardcore wrestling fans wanted to watch both Raw and Smackdown (not a huge leap of the imagination after all) then there would be something fresh and interesting for the viewer to turn into both nights. What the Corre did was show people who were watching Smackdown...the same thing they saw a couple of months before on Raw (and, if we're honest, still were with the New Nexus) only better.
It's only natural then that the wrestlers who were unfortunate enough to be part of the stable will also be regarded as afterthoughts and Wrestlemania and its post-Raw show merely legitimised this.
The Corre was historically significant then because it showed the WWE audience that Raw and Smackdown's brand separation had finally run out of steam. The shows no longer seemed different and it was becoming more and more clear which was the 'A-show' and which was the 'B-Show'. By trying to rehash the Nexus angle on Smackdown only a couple of months after it had successfully worked on Raw without many of its compelling elements showed only the WWE audience that the WWE was not even really paying lip service to Smackdown as the viable alternative brand.
The Corre also hugely damaged the wrestlers in its stable. Out of the four members, only Barrett has got to any level of prominence- with Slater having TV time as a jobber and Gabriel and Ezekiel Jackson now nowhere to be seen. The crowd saw them as Nexus rejects- and the WWE gave them no reason to think differently. By putting them on the Smackdown roster so close to Wrestlemania, they got caught in midcard purgatory at a time when they needed all the momentum they could get.
That's all for article 19. Next time we look at a match that was so awful the competitors should have been taken out and damn well hu- oh, too late. See you then!