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Wade Barrett is a five-time WWE Intercontinental champ...Quick! Name something you remember from any of his runs...

This is not a knock on our man Bad News.  Barrett is  a solid worker with good presence who has made gold out of a throwaway gag from a YouTube show in order to rejuvenate his career.

But following his win over Dolph Ziggler to reclaim the Intercontinental title on Raw last night (January 5, 2015), BNB sent out a Tweet to commemorate the occasion (this being the 21st century and all):

In addition to continuing the new wrinkle to his gimmick whereby he mocks WCW catchphrases, this missive gave me pause because of which slogan he was mimmicking.  I didn't exactly doubt that Barrett has held the IC belt five times, but other than the latest run where he was stripped due to injury, I couldn't recall anything about any of his others.

Luckily, this being the aforementioned 21st century, there are all kinds of resources at my fingertips by which I can research just this sort of minutae.  So I did.

  • Defeated Kofi Kingston on March 25, 2011 Smackdown.  Held for three months before losing to Ezekial Jackson at Capital Punishment in June.
  • Again defeated Kingston on the New Year's Eve 2012 broadcast of Raw.  Held onto it for about three months again before dropping it to Miz on the WrestleMania 29 pre-show.
  • Won it back from Miz the next night on Raw.
  • Defeated Big E at Extreme Rules in May of last year.  Was forced to vacate due to a shoulder injury incurred in June.
  • Beat Dolph Ziggler in an Authority-assisted two-out-of-three falls match on last night's Raw.

Until googling it, I don't think I could have told you any of that.  And I'm a hardcore fan who has a part-time job chronicling the WWE product.

Maybe it's because I'm an old man who can remember when the company made a big deal out of Razor Ramon becoming the first four-time Intercontinental champ back in the mid-90s.  But I don't think I'm wrong to want there to be something memorable, something meaningful, from five runs with what has again become the second most prestigious title in the world's largest pro wrestling promotion.

It's extra frustrating because, as Geno pointed out in his Reactions post, Barrett's fifth turn with the strap comes at the expense of the first guy fans have gotten invested in as IC champ in a long time.  Some of that is a result of the relatively recent re-elevation of the belt to second tier status, and the last few months as the most important title we get to see on a week-to-week basis.  But a lot is a credit to Ziggler, who has used hard work and wrestling skill to slowly build a following among a wide variety of fans.

There's a chance that a long program with Ziggler will be the defining element of the Brit's reigns as Intercontinental king, and really cement the belt as a prize that matters in WWE.  But I'm not feeling particularly optimistic.

The defining element of the Intercontinental (and United States, and Tag Team) titles since at least Barrett's intial win has been that it's given to guy the WWE doesn't see as main event caliber, both to keep that character busy and to make wins over them seem more valuable.  It's why I was bummed to see Dolph re-capture the belt after Survivor Series.  It felt like Ziggler had outgrown the IC scene, whereas it did actually seem like a stepping stone for a guy like Luke Harper.

Not even sure what my point is here.  Much like my colleague Jason Martin expressed more eloquently in his post earlier today, the WWE product has me feeling frustrated and worn out.  I can't help but compare their IC title to the IWGP Intercontinental championship from New Japan, a title that's truly treated as the 1A accomplishment for the wrestlers there, and where more things stand out from the average Shinsuke Nakamura entrance than anything from the last ten WWE IC title reigns.

Congrats to Bad News Barrett.  I hope his fifth run with the white and gold is the one that really cements him as the big deal that many in the audience believe he can be.

But forgive me if I roll my eyes, and wish that I cared that wins and losses and titles mattered in sports entertainment.

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