The way that the WWE is using Wade Barrett continues to be rather perplexing.
While it’s obvious that the WWE has big future plans for the former bare-knuckle brawler, it’s just as clear that the creative team doesn’t really know what to do with him at the moment.
When Barrett returned from injury back in early September, the WWE could have chosen to instantly push him into an upper midcard or even main event level feud. After all, there’s no need to “reintroduce” a guy like Barrett, who has played a huge role in some of the WWE’s biggest storylines over the last couple of years.
But that’s exactly what creative did, choosing to “remind” us who Barrett is by having him squash a bunch of lower and midcard workers upon his return. In fact, he did that just this week on Raw when he destroyed Brodus Clay in only a couple of minutes.
The WWE has mostly switched gears since then, though, having Barrett go from working with guys on the bottom of the totem pole to working guys at or near the very top of it.
I like that idea a lot—at least on paper. The problem is, the execution of it hasn’t been all that great.
Barrett has been teetering on that upper midcard/main event borderline lately, but it hasn’t resulted in any sort of substantial storyline or feud.
Since his return, we have seen Barrett tangle with arguably two of the WWE’s top three babyfaces, Sheamus and Randy Orton, each on more than one occasion. He’s faced Orton twice (splitting the “series” with him) and has faced Sheamus what seems like 50 times, including in the main event on this week’s episode of Main Event.
I indeed think that the main event is exactly where Barrett belongs. What is unfortunate, however, is that the WWE is using him against top stars on TV too much when these matches should be taking place as part of a bigger storyline or feud.
While the WWE is showing a lot of confidence in Barrett by consistently putting him in the ring with guys like Orton and Sheamus, I wouldn’t call what he has going on with either of them a “feud.” It’s more like the WWE’s way of giving Barrett something to do on TV because they can’t figure out anything else for him.
I mean, wouldn’t it make more sense for the WWE’s long-term future for Barrett to be the one feuding with Sheamus over the World Heavyweight Championship rather than The Big Show? In that case, Barrett would get his first true main event angle since late 2010 when he was the leader of The Nexus.
Yet, now the WWE is wasting Barrett’s talents by giving him a sort of secondary rivalry with Sheamus while “The Great White” really feuds with The Big Show.
What grade would you give the booking of Wade Barrett since his return?
As a result, Sheamus and Barrett have wrestled several times on TV recently, when they could have had a very special PPV-worthy rivalry that involved the World Heavyweight Championship and was much more meaningful. Even though that still may happen, the WWE screwed itself by essentially taking the uniqueness away from that potentially major rivalry by making it a “TV-only” feud over the last several weeks.
The same goes for Barrett’s matches with Orton. Why put Barrett against Orton on TV when you know that he isn’t going to consistently go over Orton and that it isn’t going to result in a PPV feud between the two?
I’m fine with Barrett getting involved with main eventers—in fact, I love it—but the WWE can’t have him face top guys so much that it either halts his momentum or ruins the potential for a great feud down the line.
The next thing you know, we’ll see Barrett vs. Ryback, Barrett vs. John Cena or Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan, and the WWE will continue to use up all of Barrett’s top potential rivals for TV matches that aren’t part of any extended feud.
That’s perhaps why most of the WWE’s top rivalries never seem that fresh because the two superstars involved have, in all likelihood, faced each other or even feuded at some point in the recent past.
Barrett is feeling the effects of that booking right now.
Let’s just hope that the WWE either gives him an actual PPV feud or at least stops giving him what should be PPV matches on TV every week.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!