Wade Barrett: The Bare Knuckle Brawler's Unending Search for a Finisher
Wade Barrett's current finisher is a short-arm elbow smash dubbed "The Bull Hammer." By the time you finish reading this article however, he may have a new finishing move.
Throughout his WWE career, Barrett has struggled to find a match-capping move.
For many wrestlers, the finisher has been a vital part of their arsenal as well as their persona as a whole. What would Stone Cold Steve Austin's career have looked like without the stunner? Try to imagine every classic Shawn Michaels match without Sweet Chin Music.
Barrett is an impressive physical specimen and the total package as a superstar.
He has the look of a star. He can brawl. He can emote and enthrall on the microphone.
The only thing missing with him has been a definitive finisher. In just two years with the company, Barrett has already had three different finishers and the most recent one has just been renamed.
When Barrett charged into WWE's main roster as the leader of Nexus, his finishing move was a forward fireman's carry slam called "Wasteland."
The move didn't stand out. This is partly because two top stars already used fireman's-carry-based moves.
CM Punk's Go To Sleep is a fireman's carry into a knee strike. John Cena used the fireman's carry to begin his Attitude Adjustment move.
Throw in the occasional appearance of Brock Lesnar and his F-5 and there is just an overload of that family of moves.
Barrett did begin to get more velocity with the slam further along in his career, but it still didn't have the impact one would expect from a move designed to put an opponent away.
It's a fine setup move, but lacks the visual flair and shocking violence of a great finisher.
Winds of Change
About a year into Barrett's WWE run, the company decided to shift gears with him.
They gave him a spinning side slam as a finisher, calling it "Winds of Change."
The move's strength is in its suddenness and echoing impact on the mat. Barrett could deliver the slam at any point in the match.
Why then didn't Barrett keep this as his match-ending move?
There is something very ordinary about the move. After Barrett nailed it, it felt like something else, something bigger and more violent should follow it.
Plus, you can thank The Rock and Booker T for making Barrett's side slam look so unoriginal. Sure, Barrett's version is more spinning and less lifting, but years of watching Book Ends and Rock Bottoms may have numbed fans to a new side slam maneuver.
Barrett's a special wrestler, a megastar in the making. He needs something all his own.
Perhaps that's why the winner of NXT's first season abandoned Winds of Change as a finisher for his newest weapon.
Earlier this year, after returning from injured elbow, Barrett debuted the "Souvenir."
The move begins with Barrett approaching his foe from behind. He wraps him in a single-arm straight jacket hold before whipping him around for a short-arm elbow.
The final step of that move could be an effective finisher, but what leads up to it is too convoluted. Like Christian's Killswitch, it's hard to believe an opponent, however beaten down, would allow themselves to be manipulated in that way.
Changing Barrett's newest finisher name was a wise move. A bull hammer is far more intimidating than a souvenir.
Judging by his past, fans can expect a new finisher in a matter of months.
The Bull Hammer may not be the answer.
It's brutal and impactful enough to do the job, but the setup is awkward. Perhaps all it needs is a tweak. Just a short-arm elbow without the straight jacket element could be more of a quick strike finisher.
Not every wrestler can have a finishing move as memorable as Austin or Michaels, but it doesn't mean WWE should settle with Barrett's.
The Bull Hammer may be the answer, but maybe there's something else out there befitting Barrett. The question is, does WWE stick with his current move until fans get used to seeing it or do does the search continue, seeking out the perfect finisher?
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