Wade Barrett can elevate the prestige of the Intercontinental Championship with a long reign filled with elbows to the head and a wake of fallen foes.
The IC title has been held by legends like Randy Savage, Chris Jericho, Ricky Steamboat and Shawn Michaels. It has also been around the waists of less-deserving wrestlers like Santino Marella and Ezekiel Jackson. Barrett can be much more like the former category.
Barrett is the ideal secondary champ, a man seemingly on the way to main-event status.
There's no need to rush him there. There's no need to crowd the world title picture as long as the IC title is used properly.
Alberto Del Rio, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler and likely Randy Orton and Mark Henry will be among the men fighting for the World Heavyweight title in the coming months. CM Punk, The Rock and John Cena will be in the mix for the WWE title, at least until after WrestleMania.
Until those situations dissipate, the best route for WWE is to make Barrett the dominant figure of the IC title scene.
While the WWE and World Heavyweight titles aren't defended all that often on non pay-per-views, Barrett should be made to put his title on the line on several Raw and SmackDown episodes.
With worthy challengers continually falling short, it makes Barrett look stronger and stronger. The IC title gets a boost in this scenario as well. Constant challengers shows how desired the championship is among the WWE roster.
Barrett has proved that he can consistently produce one of the best matches on each Raw. Check out his intense battle with Sheamus on the Oct. 8 Raw.
Though Sheamus is too high on the card to be a proper IC title challenger, this is exactly the type of match that Barrett can deliver while IC champ. The midcarders without a direction can take Sheamus' place here and push Barrett to his limits.
Send WWE's underused after Barrett's gold, have the dolphins attack the shark.
Alex Riley, Tyson Kidd when he returns, and Zack Ryder are the type of superstars who can benefit from Barrett as champ. When hanging in with the champ, fighting him with grit, their toughness will be spotlighted. Barrett, meanwhile, gets to rack up victory after victory, close calls or otherwise.
Barrett's size, skill and scowl make him a convincing alpha male.
Even though he lost to Bo Dallas recently, he comes off as a man difficult to take down. WWE can further that perception by having him demolish Dallas and move on to a gauntlet of challengers.
With CM Punk holding the WWE title for 434 days and Sheamus remaining world champ for over 200 days, it's clear that WWE is once again comfortable with lengthy reigns. The next one should be reserved for Barrett.
Barrett can be a consistent source for entertaining matches while making lesser-used guys look good by having them come close, but not quite taking his belt away.
Given the opportunity, Barrett can make the IC title a can't-miss prospect while he becomes one of the title's greatest champions.