While the WWE has a couple of established, top-tier stars in John Cena and CM Punk, there is a severe lack of depth on the current roster. That is particularly true in the main-event heel ranks. With that in mind, the WWE needs to develop another elite heel, and Wade Barrett will be that guy.
At the moment, the WWE is relying quite heavily on WWE Champion CM Punk to carry the main-event feuds as the No. 1 heel. He has obviously done an excellent job, but there isn't much aside from him.
Big Show is the World Heavyweight Champion, but he isn't a long-term option. Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler have both been booked really poorly as well, so their respective stocks are down.
Prior to an injury the night after Elimination Chamber earlier in the year, Barrett seemed like he was en route to a main-event push. In fact, there were even some rumblings about the WWE possibly reinstating the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania and having Barrett win. That never came to fruition, though, as Barrett's dislocated elbow kept him out of commission for several months.
Barrett officially made his televised return in September, but he didn't make the immediate impact that many had hoped. Barrett beat the likes of Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan and even Sheamus before getting injured, so the prevailing thought was that Barrett would instantly be in the World Heavyweight Championship mix when he got healthy.
Rather than attacking Sheamus on Raw or at a pay-per-view, Barrett returned unceremoniously on SmackDown and squashed Yoshi Tatsu. His development ever since hasn't been great, but he has had several matches with Orton and Sheamus and has come out on top in a few of them, so he is slowly but surely moving up the ladder.
Prior to the Survivor Series main event being blown up in favor of a WWE Championship triple-threat match between CM Punk, John Cena and Ryback, Barrett was added to Punk's team at the request of Paul Heyman. Barrett initially declined but eventually accepted on the condition that Heyman owes him one.
There are countless ways that Heyman could reciprocate, but I'm led to believe that Barrett will eventually join a Heyman-led stable along with the likes of Punk, Ziggler, Brock Lesnar and perhaps others. Heyman hasn't been perfect over the course of his career in the wrestling business, but when a wrestler is paired with him, it's usually a pretty good bet that said wrestler is in line for a major push.
Even if Barrett doesn't join forces with Heyman, he's still destined for great things. I was immediately drawn to Barrett when he made his debut on WWE programming as a contestant on the first season of NXT. It was apparent from the onset that Barrett had the "it" factor needed to be something special, and the fact that he was declared the winner proved that the WWE agreed.
The WWE was so confident in Barrett's ability that it gave him an unprecedented push, as he was the leader of Nexus and began feuding with some of the company's biggest stars, such as Cena and Orton.
If the company was willing to allow Barrett to go from FCW to the main-event scene in a matter of a couple months, then it's apparent that it is supremely confident in what he brings to the table.
There are a lot of superstars in the WWE who excel at one or two things, but Barrett is one of the rare commodities capable of doing everything well. He has great size, but it doesn't prevent him from performing in the ring. Barrett is actually one of the WWE's better big-man workers, and he can put on a solid match with anyone.
Also, Barrett's persona of a no-nonsense, bare-knuckle fighter is effective. The WWE has made a concerted effort to focus on that since his return, and it creates the perception that he can legitimately beat anyone on the roster, which can't be said for many heels. On top of all that, Barrett is one of the most effective and eloquent speakers in the WWE, and that should serve him well in the future.
The World Heavyweight Championship picture is wide open right now, and I can most definitely see him winning the title over the next few months. Putting the title on a guy like Big Show isn't going to do anything for the company's future, so the time is now to let Barrett ascend to the next level.