Wade Barrett Will Return as WWE's Next Great Heel
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Rarely does an opportunity open up for a wrestler like the one that is about to present itself to Wade Barrett.
The Englishman, who is due to return to the WWE in the next few weeks after recovering from an elbow injury suffered in February, is in a prime position to return straight into a WWE or World Championship feud and then hold the title for many months to come.
These dramatic returns have precedent through history, such as the time Triple H returned from quadriceps surgery to win the Royal Rumble and then the title at WrestleMania XVIII, or earlier this year when Chris Jericho had a far less successful, but just as high profile, return.
Whether in victory or defeat, these returning superstars give the WWE a boost in ratings and help elevate the talent that is already holding the belt as they are seen worthy to be challenged by a legendary figure. One of the big factors behind this influence is that all returning figures that have had such a push are former champions and long term main eventers.
Wade Barrett does not hold the accolades that any of the previous examples hold. In fact, Barrett has not won either the World Heavyweight or WWE title, so giving this character such a meteoric push would be quite surprising in most circumstances, however a once in a lifetime window has opened for him due to influences outside his control.
Here are the reasons that Barrett will be afforded the opportunity to become the next great heel in WWE history.
The Golden Trio of Dominance Has Thinned the Field
Most eras in the WWE have had one or two face characters that can be expected to win when the going gets really tough, but these are normally balanced out by a heel character or two who could be expected to do the same.
Right now there is not a single heel character who would be expected to beat CM Punk, Sheamus or John Cena when a match really meant something. Big Show may have got the better of Cena with a sneak attack, but he could not win one-on-one. Daniel Bryan, Kane, Chris Jericho and Dolph Ziggler have all come up short against both champions since January.
Only Cody Rhodes, who is currently embroiled in a Intercontinental championship feud with Christian, and Alberto Del Rio, who would be on the prior list had he not suffered a concussion before No Way Out, are active roster members who could possess a threat.
This is the perfect time for someone like Barrett to step up and become the dominant heel who can stand toe-to-toe with the Golden Trio.
One of the key advantages that Sheamus and John Cena possess over their opponents is size and power. Veteran wrestlers like Big Show and Kane may be larger, but they do not have the athleticism to keep up with their younger opponents.
Wade Barrett stands at 6"7 and weighs in at 250lbs, which makes him the perfect size to directly compete with the Sheamus and Cena. Barrett would also have a significant size and strength advantage over Punk which would open up new possibilities there.
No one else in the WWE has this mix of size and strength and can be immediately trusted to be a main event star.
Barrett will turn 32 in August, which puts him in the prime of his wrestling life.
This is hugely important for WWE's creative department as they know that the work put into Barrett's character now will have substance for the next four or five years, if implemented properly, and this would make him a foundation block that the company could build on.
Many of the other talents who possess Barrett's size (or more) like Kane, Big Show and Mark Henry who would be considered for a heel push are getting up there in age. Those of the right age are either smaller talents like Ziggler and Rhodes or athletes who are yet to prove themselves like Antonio Cesaro.
Look and Charisma
Much to the disappointment of certain sections of the wrestling community, in-ring ability is only one ingredient in creating a truly successful wrestler. Barrett is a more than capable wrestler but his most notable asset is his look and charisma.
It's worth remembering that Barrett debuted as the leader of Nexus, which meant the rookie was thrust into speaking roles with some of the WWE's best talkers from the very beginning. Barrett never looked out of place in those early promos and has gone from strength to strength from that point.
This is key for a heel in the modern day as he must possess the innate charisma not to be boring and has the ability on the mic to elicit a sustained negative reaction across the world. Barrett has the biggest chance of anyone to achieve this balance, helping the Englishman stand out all the more.
Randy Orton's Suspension
Orton was the last great heel that the WWE possessed, but his popularity outstripped his usefulness in that role, so he became the tame face that fans have seen over the last couple of years. Orton always had the potential to return to that role as the 'Apex Predator' .
Orton matches Barrett for size and athleticism and has far more experience. 'The Viper' could have easily been the man to take the dark side into battle, but that chance has disappeared due to Orton's wellness policy violation and the knowledge a further one would result in termination from the WWE.
This, more than anything, has opened up the door for Barrett to be the next great heel in the WWE.