clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Wade Barrett: WWE doesn’t sabotage guys, does try to ‘transfer’ reactions

Here’s a perfectly reasonable quote which will probably upset a fair number of WWE watchers. All we ask is that you give us some decorum, please, while expressing your reaction to this potentially bad news.

There’s long been a belief within the community that WWE doesn’t like it when a performer “gets over on their own”. Examples have included Zack Ryder during the initial run of his “True Long Island Story” YouTube show, and Wade Barrett’s “Bad News” gimmick, which started on “The JBL and Cole Show” - a WWE series, albeit one that likely wasn’t being run by Vince McMahon’s main creative team.

In Barrett’s case, the popular act went nowhere. Eventually it was ditched for a King of the Ring crown, before the former NXT winner and Nexus leader bounced around a few stables and partnerships until his release in summer of 2015.

So, Wade (now working as an authority figure for British indie Defiant under his real name, Stu Bennett) would be a good person to talk to about WWE cutting the legs out from under acts who become popular without the company’s help.

That’s what the U.K. website SPORTbible did. And what he told them sounds frustrating for performers who find themselves in the position he did during the “Bad News” run, but is also a pretty understandable way for a multi-million dollar entertainment enterprise to operate:

“They [WWE] misuse a lot of guys, there’s a lot of guys you could do more with but at the end of the day they pick the guys they want to go with and go with them.

I don’t think they purposely sabotage, I think there are limited spots to be at the top of the card or the highlighted guys - there are probably seven or eight guys where it’s like, ‘Ok these are our main guys going forward for the next six to twelve months’ and they need to be the guys getting the biggest reactions, being involved in the biggest storylines and stuff like that.

So if there’s a guy who is getting bigger reactions than them, then I think there is an attempt to, I’m sure, make that reaction transfer on to the guys they are going with - the guys they want to push. There are just a limited number of spots, that’s the issue. You can’t have everyone in those spots.”

Choosing certain performers to focus on is a logical starting point. It’s debatable whether McMahon and his team know when to move on from pushing one of their “highlighted guys” when they’re not getting the hoped for response, or if they’ve been too stubborn to nurture the positive reaction a man or woman they didn’t pick for a top stop starts getting on their own.

And that’s what we’d expect this quote to do - fuel that debate.

While formulating your arguments, check out the whole post at SPORTbible. It includes Barrett offering effusive praise for another talent many people say was misused, including the man himself - Neville.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats