After Sheamus held the title for nearly seven months, we now have ourselves a new World Heavyweight Champion.
It’s just not the guy that most of us expected it to be.
If anyone other than Sheamus was going to walk out of Hell in a Cell with the World title around his waist, the widespread expectation was that Dolph Ziggler would be the guy to do it. He would cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase after the Hell in a Cell match for the World title, no matter who the winner was, and leave Atlanta with the World Heavyweight Championship.
Of course, we all know that didn’t happen. Instead, The Big Show shocked the world by beating Sheamus cleanly, ending his lengthy title reign and avoiding a Ziggler cash-in. Although I still believe that Big Show may turn out to be nothing more than a transitional champion, it’s hard to view putting the title on him as anything but a mistake.
The Big Show shouldn’t have won the World Heavyweight Championship at Hell in a Cell. Wade Barrett should have.
I say that primarily because of one simple word: Age.
Big Show is 40 years old, he’s been around the WWE for 13 years now, and he’s a lot closer to the end of his career than the beginning. Barrett, on the other hand, is 32 years old and, in all likelihood, just getting started out in the WWE.
So, which guy would you put the title on? The 40-year-old who’s spent well over a decade in the WWE or the 32-year-old up-and-comer who’s teetered on the borderline of the main event scene for most of his career but is yet to win a World title?
Of course, you’d put the belt on Barrett because it benefits the WWE both in the short and long terms.
The Big Show has not proven to be any sort of a draw whatsoever (in terms of either TV ratings or PPV buys), he’s well past his prime, and his character has been booked so poorly over the years that many fans just don’t buy into him as the unstoppable monster that the WWE is currently portraying him as.
Meanwhile, Barrett has been viewed as one of the WWE’s brightest young heels essentially since he first stepped foot in a WWE ring back in 2010. He made an instant splash by winning NXT, went on to headline main event angles against John Cena and Randy Orton as the leader of the Nexus, and has since established himself as one of the best all-around heels in the entire company.
Yet, the creative team still hasn’t found a substantial storyline for Barrett since his return a couple of months ago, instead just having him float around in No Man’s Land while Big Show hogs SmackDown’s main event spotlight not long after doing the exact same thing on Raw.
How anyone can view this as anything but a giant step backward is beyond me.
The WWE is pulling a TNA here. At TNA’s Bound for Glory pay-per-view last month, the company set itself back big-time by booking a whopping four former WWE stars to win titles by beating guys (or girls) who became mainstream wrestling stars in TNA.
Who thinks it’s a good move to put a bunch of aging veterans over homegrown talent that could have used the rub to help turn them into bigger stars?
I sure don’t. I think that every pro wrestling company on the planet should use the established and respected guys who are near the end of their careers to help build up new stars to carry the company into the future. TNA failed to do that at Bound for Glory, and the WWE failed to do that when it had Big Show beat Sheamus at Hell in a Cell to end his lengthy World title reign.
Sheamus had been booked as an incredibly dominant champion, so it was going to be a very big deal when someone was able to end that title reign. Well, at least it would have had anyone other than The Big Show done it.
The creative team could have very easily put Barrett into that same exact slot and had Barrett and Sheamus face off in an evenly balanced match at Hell in a Cell, only for Barrett to avoid the Brogue Kick, hit Sheamus with the Souvenir and pin him clean to win the World Heavyweight Championship. That would have instantly established Barrett as a viable main-eventer and World champion.
Instead, Barrett’s been relegated to a TV “feud” of sorts with Sheamus that didn’t involve the World Heavyweight Championship and that didn’t even lead to an actual storyline, meaning that Barrett still hasn’t had a legitimate angle since returning from injury a couple of months ago.
So, let me just get this straight: Big Show is the World Heavyweight Champion while Barrett has absolutely nothing substantial to do?
If the WWE put half the effort into booking Barrett that it put into booking Big Show, Barrett would be the new World Heavyweight Champion and Show would be filming Knucklehead 2 or be perhaps somewhere far away from the main event scene—which is exactly where he belongs.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!