From his early days on World Wrestling Entertainment television, it seemed as if the WWE had big plans for the wrestler known as Wade Barrett. Barrett was booked to be the top superstar on the first ever edition of the original NXT show, a class that also included none other than Daniel Bryan. Barrett was the “winner” of NXT and one could reasonably argue that he was never hotter than he was during the first several months of his tenure with the company. As has been the case with a plethora of talents in the WWE, though, Barrett was squandered and eventually turned into just another guy on the roster.
Barrett’s last shining moment as a member of the WWE roster occurred at WrestleMania 32. Following the biggest show of 2016, Barrett and the WWE mutually agreed to part ways during the spring. It was an inevitable conclusion to Barrett’s time in the WWE, as he had already made the decision that he was not going to re-sign with the WWE and allow his contract to run out in June of this year. Barrett should have a variety of options both in and out of the ring moving forward and the hope is that wrestling fans will not have to wait too long until we see Barrett working for some other promotion.
With that said, things never should have gotten to the point where Barrett felt that it was the right career move for him to voluntarily pass on remaining with the WWE up through the end of 2016. The WWE repeatedly made curious and even bad decisions regarding Barrett, and those who were responsible for those calls may have prevented somebody who could have been a star from getting over among fans. Perhaps things could have gone differently had Barrett been part of the supposed “New Era” of the WWE that has repeatedly been mentioned on shows following WrestleMania 32. It’s too bad we’ll never know what Barrett could have been roughly six years ago
12. Bare Knuckle Brawler
Wade Barrett made his official WWE debut as part of the first NXT class. What we were told about Barrett was that he was a champion “Bare Knuckle Brawler.” Yes, that was the character that the WWE gave to the guy who was, in their eyes, the company’s next big star. It was similar to the gimmick had by the Vaudevillians except for the fact that we were actually supposed to believe that Barrett was engaging in bare knuckle fight clubs throughout England. This was proven to be a terrible decision because Barrett didn’t need a wacky character. Barrett was entertaining just being an extension of his true self.
It was clear from the first handful of episodes of the original NXT that Wade Barrett was the hand-picked star of that class. While that was the case, the WWE decided to give Barrett an awful finishing move. The “Wasteland” slam looked like a cheap version of John Cena’s “Attitude Adjustment,” a different finishing move that has, over the years, been criticized by pockets of wrestling fans. The WWE seemingly eventually realized this, as Barrett went on to adopt the “Bull Hammer” elbow as his finisher years after he made his WWE debut. “Wasteland” was not all that impressive, and it did Barrett few favors.
10. SummerSlam 2010 1.0
Perhaps you as a wrestling fan were not sold in the summer of 2010 that Barrett could be the next big thing in the WWE. Even those critics would have to say that there is, nearly six years after the fact, no way that anybody could defend The Nexus group that was led by Barrett losing to Team WWE at the 2010 edition of SummerSlam. Nexus, which made its debut earlier in the summer, needed to be protected there as much as possible, but the faction was instead buried on one of the biggest shows of the year. Nexus was never the same in the eyes of fans and that the team lost was only one awful decision the WWE made regarding this show.
9. SummerSlam 2010 2.0
Not only did the WWE remove all of the momentum that The Nexus had leading into the SummerSlam event of 2010. The company then thought that the best decision to make for that night was to have John Cena defeat Wade Barrett for the final elimination of the main event match. Barrett was not just beaten by Cena. The leader of the Nexus was forced to tap out clean in the middle of the ring after Barrett and Justin Gabriel had a fair two-on-one advantage over Cena per the events that had taken place earlier in the match. “Super Cena” won out on the day, however, and Barrett and The Nexus were instantly turned into losers.
8. No WWE Championship
The WWE could have righted the wrong that occurred at SummerSlam by giving Barrett a massive boost and awarding him with the WWE Championship at the 2010 Night of Champions show. Barrett winning the title that night, even if he was technically not “ready” for such a push, would have demonstrated that the WWE believed in Barrett and also that the company was switching things up and going in a different direction. That was clearly never in the cards, however, as Barrett never won the WWE Championship at any point during his WWE career. Barrett not having even a brief run with the title could be the worst decision the WWE ever made for the character and for the wrestler.
7. Wade Barrett Versus Cena
After Barrett was unsuccessful in his pursuit of the WWE Championship, he was thrust into a feud with John Cena. You probably do not have to think all that hard to remember or even guess who of the two emerged victorious. Even Cena being fired per the storyline of the time did not prevent him from getting the better of Barrett on multiple occasions. In fact, Cena being fired played a part in Barrett eventually being ousted from The Nexus, a decision that unofficially made Barrett nothing more than a midcard heel who was never going to be at the level of a Cena.
6. Wade Barrett Versus CM Punk
This storyline could have been interesting had the WWE run with it. CM Punk had taken over as leader of The Nexus, but Punk gave Barrett an opportunity to resume his role as leader of the group during an edition of Raw. All Barrett had to do was win a triple threat steel cage match. That offer turned out to be nothing but a swerve, though, as Punk cost Barrett the match and then tossed Barrett from Nexus for good in the process. This was probably the beginning of a feud between a babyface Barrett and a heel Punk, right? Nope. Barrett never got any real revenge on Punk. What a wimp.
5. The Corre
The WWE wanted to remove Wade Barrett from The Nexus. That’s fine. Why, though, did the WWE then make the decision to give Barrett a weaker version of the group known as “The Corre.” The Corre never came close to making the same impact that was made when Nexus first invaded Raw and destroyed John Cena and the Raw set. It was almost as if the WWE wanted to make The Corre look like the old New World Order B-team that was once featured in World Championship Wrestling. This was a complete waste of Barrett’s talents and of everybody’s time.
4. Bad News Barrett
This one makes the list for multiple reasons. All the company could come up with for Barrett, somebody with a good look and solid speaking skills, was a character who delivered bad news to fans. That was it. Because Barrett is so talented, though, he actually managed to get the idea over to the point that he became an unintentional babyface. Rather than run with this and allow Barrett to be entertaining, the WWE, per what Barrett said about the matter in the past, told Barrett that the “BNB” gimmick had become too popular and that it needed to be toned down. We wouldn’t want somebody to get over all on his own, now would we?
3. King Barrett
There was once a time when a wrestler winning a King of the Ring tournament would mean that he was getting a huge push as a big-time player. Nowadays, however, that competition is essentially meaningless. Barrett won the 2015 King of the Ring and his reward for that accomplishment was a comedy feud against R-Truth. The King Barrett name was removed from the character almost as quickly as he received it and fans who watched Barrett during his final months in the WWE could not be blamed for forgetting that he was once wrestling royalty.
2. Lords of Darkness
The harsh truth of the matter is that putting Barrett in a goofy tag team with Stardust wasn’t a terrible decision in 2015 if only because Barrett was, in WWE storylines, largely a joke at that portion of his career. Insult was added to the insult of this team in 2015 when Barrett and Stardust lost a match to Neville and to actor Stephen Amell at SummerSlam. Stardust and Barrett parted ways after that match, as Stardust blamed Barrett for the SummerSlam. Did this lead to Barrett and Stardust having at least a fun and brief feud? Of course not, because that would have made sense.
1. League of Nations
It is oddly fitting that The League of Nations will be the last bad decision that the WWE made regarding Barrett. The group included Barrett, Sheamus, Rusev and Alberto Del Rio, four different wrestlers who had, in one way or another, been buried in WWE storylines. Sheamus and not Barrett was made the leader of The League of Nations, and it was Barrett who was kicked out of the group after WrestleMania 32 because he was a “weak link.” It had, even before his departure from the group, been rumored that Barrett and the WWE would be parting ways in 2016. Barrett deserved better throughout his stint with the WWE and we hope that he finds better in his future endeavors.
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