Stuart Bennett, aka Wade "Bad News" Barrett. 6'7", 246 lbs. (or 2.01 m, 112 kg) from Preston, England, though actually born in Lancashire. Winner of NXT Volume 1, led two failed stables in one year, once buried beneath a cart and a bunch of chairs by John Cena. Has a cat named Mr. Whiskers, deliverer of bad news via elbow, though probably not practical in real-world situations. Deliverer of bad news without using elbow. Could be a real life turk for NFL teams if needed. Five-time and current WWE Intercontinental Champion, yet you cannot name one memorable thing he did in those title runs. Also once dated Alicia Fox. Has not been on the disabled list for the last nine weeks. In a row.
Jonathan Good, aka Dean Ambrose. 6'4", 225 lbs. from Cincinnati, Ohio, but now resides in Las Vegas, because let's be honest: wouldn't you rather live in Vegas than Cincinnati? Once an extreme wrestler. No, like really extreme. Explicitly violent. I mean, dude wrestled with glass and chainsaws and such under the name Jon Moxley. Longest-reigning United States Champion in WWE history, because fuck paperwork. The Marty Jannetty of the Shield, as his two former mates have gone on to main event status. Master of titties, giver of no fucks. Probably will still kill Seth Rollins. Also goes by the name of Dean Fucking Ambrose.
WHY ARE THEY FIGHTING?
So what if the belt doesn't mean as much as it used to? Dean Ambrose wants to be on the same wall that Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, The Rock, and Randy Savage were once on. That's a pretty good wall to be on.
WHAT'S AT STAKE?
The WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Wrestling Championship (picture via Wikipedia).
These two met in a match once.
But let's focus on more recent history. For the last few weeks, Dean Ambrose, everyone's favorite crazy person, has been challenging Wade "Bad News" Barrett, the injury-prone-though-it's-not-usually-his-fault (looking at you, Jack Swagger) Intercontinental Champion for a title bout. Barrett refused, thinking... why the hell should I give you a match? Fuck you, buddy.
Well... here's why. Ambrose has a non-title win. Here's the proof.
Ambrose kept asking, Ambrose kept winning, and Wade to his credit, kept saying no. But people who were once slit open by weed whackers in a match don't exactly like being told no.
So Dean, future anchor of the NBC Nightly News, escalated as only crazy people would: get that shit in writing. He built his case by beating another former Intercontinental champion in Luke Harper (I swear, he did hold the white belt once.) With his case firmly made, Wade was gonna agree to that title match come hell or high water. So after Wade defeats the artist formerly known as Idol Stevens (with help from all-around douchebag Mike Mizanin)...
Dean ties up our champion and forces him to sign on the line that is dotted.
"@KyleEdwardsWWE: Hey @DavidOtunga is what Dean Ambrose just did to Wade Barrett legal? #RAW" It's a clear case of duress. Call for retainer— David Otunga (@DavidOtunga) February 17, 2015
Yeah, it probably won't hold up in court, but good luck finding a court in Memphis to reverse it in the next 26 hours.
Merely having a 'contract' for an IC Title match makes it mean a notch more. #RAWOrlando— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) February 17, 2015
JR's right, you know? I mean, it's a long way from its former glory, but it's a step in the right direction.
Honestly, I want MAH BOI DEAN to win this, but I can certainly see this going a number of ways. None of Barrett's runs as IC champ have been memorable (and two of them ended due to injury). The belt's cursed when Wade has it. Let someone else have it. And maybe have him run with it for eleven and a half months. Someone like DEAN. FUCKING. AMBROSE.
I forsee a successful Wade Barrett title defense, I'm afraid. There probably won't be an IC title defense at Wrestlemania, so this is their Mania match. I expect this one to be pretty good, or at least better than decent. If they continue this feud beyond Sunday, I'll be surprised. I hope they do.