Friday, June 27, 2014

Turning Bad News into a Good Story: Barrett's Injury

Bad news for Barrett, but there is a silver lining
Photo Credit:
As you may or may not have read on Twitter, Wade “Bad News” Barrett suffered a separated shoulder during Tuesday's Smackdown tapings. The match he got injured in make me really eager to see this episode, strangely enough. He took on Dean Ambrose, and post-match, Jack Swagger tossed him into a barricade to cause the injury. It’s a weird match-up to be sure, but the victim and culprit of the injury are familiar to fans of WWE.

Swagger has become notorious with botching moves in the ring and injuring wrestlers during the peak their career, pushing them back down the card. His most infamous incident land a kick to the head to then-World Heavyweight Champion and crowd-favorite Dolph Ziggler, concussing the Show-Off and extinguishing hopes of a long title reign. At this point Swagger should either be rebranded as the “Career Killer” or, as much as I regret saying this, he should be fired before he really ends someone’s career.

Barrett’s star has been on the rise lately. He was repackaged with the new gimmick as a gruff bearer of ill tidings, relishing in making others miserable and putting his opponents (and the audience) down. He recently won the Intercontinental Championship after beating Big E (née Langston) in a strong match at Extreme Rules and was booked for the traditional contract ladder match this Sunday at Money in the Bank. It appears now that he’ll be pulled from the match and will not be replaced, and pending further examination by a doctor, there’s a good possibility that he’ll be stripped of the title altogether.

Barrett’s no stranger to injuries and incidents taking him off TV during a push. During his last repackaging in 2011 as bare-knuckle brawler, he suffered a dislocated elbow shortly after Elimination Chamber 2012. Work visa issues kept him off TV from August of last year to April of this year, and early on in his career as the leader of The Nexus he had the misfortune of having John Cena no-sell a DDT on the concrete floor. Even if Barrett gets stripped of the title, however, it doesn’t necessarily mean his recent push is over. His current gimmick as the bearer of Bad News™ is incredibly over with the audience and allows for him to be on TV without being in the ring. A series of vignettes showing him rehabbing his shoulder would allow Barrett to keep his patented charm on TV and earn some sympathy with the crowds.

I try not to do armchair booking here, but if I was in charge of Creative, I'd implement the perfect way to keep the spotlight on Wade if he’s out of the ring for a while. I'd run a new tournament for the Intercontinental Championship and crown new Champion in Jack Swagger. Swagger’s manager Zeb Coulter would put over how Jack put down a foreigner and wouldn’t let any other non-American get their hands on the Intercontinental Championship. Swagger would the distance and after he wins, Barrett would then come out and attack him from behind. Yes, I'd remake the infamous Owen Hart/Steve Austin angle after Hart accidentally broke Austin’s neck, where Barrett would cause disqualifications in all of Swagger’s title defenses to keep the title on him. Then, when Barrett is ready to return to the ring, him would take on Swagger for the title. I don’t even want to see a long, competitive, match between the two, I just want to see Barrett destroy Swagger and regain what is rightfully his.

Fans are fretting over whether or not the injury Barrett suffered will end his hot streak, and while WWE’s track record does rightfully cause one to pause, there’s no reason for Barrett to not maintain some momentum during his time off. He exudes charm and has shown a propensity for “maximizing his minutes” even if he isn’t in the ring. WWE may have a bad history of squandering injured wrestlers but they seem to have a lot of faith in Barrett, so I guess I’ve got some good news.