Last night's RAW in a few short words: Eventful, smoke and mirrors, gave a ton away for free. I do like that Taker probably isn't in person until Mania, because it's a "you must pay if you want to see him" deal and that's exactly how the company should use him. The Sting video did very little for me. I think he should talk on the final RAW before WrestleMania and should explain his issues with Triple H in a shoot-style of promo from WCW's perspective. Heyman's promo was one of the finest of his career. That also makes it one of the best in wrestling history. Lesnar's mere appearance was excellent and felt important. Now to Barrett...
This whole hide-and-go-seek act with the Intercontinental Championship is fun and all, but it's ridiculous. As I watched the opening segment of RAW, I thought to myself, "Man, this Authority faction as a group - sucks." Kane needs to go, or at the very least transform into a babyface that does throwaway stuff. Big Show is a joke. The stooges are portrayed as complete goofs, and because of the way WWE wrote Seth Rollins last night, he now comes across like the most gullible individual on Earth. Good call. That's the way to build the true top heel you have left in the company.
Barrett loses again, rinse, repeat. We know what we're getting at WrestleMania. The ladder match will likely steal the show, but then very quickly afterward, the IC Title will mean exactly nothing. Here's the truth, in case anyone has forgotten: Wade Barrett has it all as a professional wrestling talent. He's got height, he's built well, he stays out of trouble, he can talk, and he can work. However, his return was thrown away and he's lost all the momentum he had prior to his injury. With that said, here's how you fix Wade Barrett, and, in the process, make this entire Intercontinental Championship thing far more effective and congruent:
Wade Barrett should be a part of The Authority as WWE Intercontinental Champion.
Think it through. Barrett and Rollins could be having outstanding tag matches against Orton and Reigns or Cena and Bryan or whomever you want, and Wade Barrett is both relatively young and solidly credible in the ring. What is it about the nWo's early success that sometimes gets overlooked? While WCW screwed it up by diluting the group and allowing it to dominate for much too long once the jig was up, what's forgotten is that OTHER Championships were a part of the faction's rise. For example, Hall and Nash had a lengthy Tag Team Championship reign and Curt Hennig held the United States Championship until it was time to permanently elevate Diamond Dallas Page. Any of the nWo opponents could easily be built as the next great hope to bring down Eric Bischoff's villainous reign. The secondary titles were prizes for the nWo and helped the group maintain its power. This booking strategy accomplished two things at once. It elevated the guys in the matches and also elevated those Championships to a level where a US Title bout could main event a Nitro and it would always feel like a big deal.
Barrett as The Authority's IC Champ gives the title and the worker immediate gravitas. As a direct result, it would then make complete sense for guys like Bryan, Ziggler, and Ambrose to want a piece of him and also to desire the gold around his waist. BNB would assuredly be winning TV matches with outside interference or losing via DQ, but he would be on an instant pedestal. Furthermore, every one of the aforementioned fan favorites has had a longstanding issue with someone(s) in The Authority. We've seen angles pairing Ambrose with Rollins, Ziggler with all of them, Bryan with all of them. Give Barrett a push as The Authority's Intercontinental Champion and everything falls into place.
Why these men would want any part of the current Intercontinental Championship doesn't pass the smell test, because the company has given us no reason to give a shit for years. WWE is attempting to push it, not because the title all of a sudden matters in the company's long term plans, but because they need the Mania match to draw money or at least generate interest. Also, the Heavyweight Champion has been at home catching up on House of Cards.
Look at the Tag Team Championships. Last night, we saw New Day over the current Champs and then Los Matadores over the Number One Contenders. WWE wants you to forget about the fact that neither of those teams has won a match of any consequence this century and instead see one win as grounds for a multi-team match at WrestleMania. Sorry, not buying it, just like I'm not buying any Intercontinental importance. It's all just thinly-veiled prestidigitation. We see the coin in your other hand, Mr. McMahon.
Take Wade Barrett, who they've mishandled for quite some time, and play to his strengths. Give him the Authority rub and let him be more of the 2010 Nexus Barrett and less of the guy who, well, is just a guy. He should be an enormous part of WWE's future, especially at a time they desperately need heels. This idea is simple, Vince seems to like him, and honestly, replacing Kane is unquestionably best for business. Big Show stays because of his size, but he certainly needs a makeover. Let Rollins and Barrett be the active roster leaders of The Authority, backed by Triple H and Stephanie, and look to replace Big Show if the right candidate is available and fits the mold. Eventually, in a perfect world, that candidate would be Kevin Owens.