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Extreme Rules 2014 match card preview: WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E vs. Bad News Barrett

In the past month, Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus and Rob Van Dam all fell victim to the Bull Hammer elbow on Bad News Barrett's path to becoming the number one contender to the WWE Intercontinental Title. Is Big E next to fall at Extreme Rules?

WWE Intercontinental Title Match

Big E vs. Bad News Barrett

Two of the most overlooked performers at WrestleMania 30, now face off for the WWE Intercontinental Championship this Sunday at Extreme Rules as current holder Big E faces three-time former champ Bad News Barrett. Will Barrett continue his recent return to form by ending Big E's six month run with the belt or will he end up as just another victim to his Big Ending?

The Road to Extreme Rules

It seemed like WWE had given up on Barrett, as even when he was allowed to start using the Bad News gimmick he himself had developed for The JBL and Cole Show on live WWE programming last December, they only used him to troll people from his podium. The character was going nowhere, but that all changed immediately after WrestleMania 30 was over, as the European fans in attendance went wild for his upset victory over Rey Mysterio with the Bull Hammer elbow on the Apr. 7th Monday Night Raw from New Orleans:

Barrett's confidence was clearly back, as he followed up that impressive win with another one over Kofi Kingston on the Apr. 11th Smackdown when he sent him flying with the Bull Hammer elbow:

With these decisive victories under his belt, it was no surprise that Bad News Barrett was chosen along with Sheamus, Cesaro, Alberto Del Rio, Mark Henry, Rob Van Dam, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler for a berth in the tournament to decide the number one contender to Big E's Intercontinental Championship. In the first round of the tourney on the Apr. 14th Raw, Ziggler became the latest victim of the Bull Hammer elbow and afterwards Bad News vowed to become the next Intercontinental Champion:

Bad News Barrett then advanced to the finals of the tournament when he also struck Sheamus with his Bull Hammer killer blow at the end of a tough scrap between the two on the Apr. 21st Raw:

With the help of a little distraction from a vengeful Cesaro, Barrett won the tournament and became the number IC title contender on the Apr. 28th Raw by clobbering RVD with his Bull Hammer finisher too:

Finally having his sights locked in on the champion, Bad News Barrett heated their issue up with his straight talking on the Apr. 29th Main Event, unsurprisingly badmouthing Big E with his news update for the day:

"Ladies and gentlemen, I'm afraid I've got some bad news. You see, this Sunday I will be taking on a cardboard cutout champion known as Big E, a man so bland, so boring, so dimwitted, that he will go down in history as owning as much personality as a piece of dried toast. But mark my words: once I knock Big E on his big backside, he won't look so big anymore."

Apart from scouting out his potential Extreme Rules opponents, it was a quiet month for Big E, picking up some convincing victories over Del Rio, Titus O'Neil and Damien Sandow, but really the most noteworthy event was his being cleanly pinned by Bray Wyatt with the Sister Abigail in a trios match on the Apr. 7th Raw. Maybe he is ripe for the pickings by Bad News Barrett then?

What's at Stake?

Well, the WWE Intercontinental Championship of course, which has become something of a booby prize of late, dragging wrestlers down rather than elevating them to the next level, but let's hope the recent number one contender tournament and this bout helps to bring a bit of prestige back to a title that has had such a rich history of great champions and memorable matches in the past.

Bad News Barrett's recent winning streak and Big E's mystique are also in jeopardy. Obviously, a loss here for Barrett would be the latest setback in a WWE career filled with stop start pushes and a revolving tale of good news, bad news. On the other hand, Big E being KO'd by the Bull Hammer elbow would end him being viewed as an unstoppable force that seemed so destined for greater glory.

Watch Extreme Rules live on the WWE Network tomorrow night and follow our exclusive coverage, right here at!

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