Bad News Barrett seems to finally be getting some traction in WWE. The man who began his career in the company as the suave British heel has now morphed into a very tough yet lighthearted rule-breaker who truly seems to be having a lot of fun working in front of the crowd.
While it's still relatively early in Wade Barrett's Bad News gimmick, the fact is that WWE fans seem ready to finally accept the new No. 1 contender for Big E's Intercontinental Championship. And considering that the man atop WWE is Daniel Bryan, the truth is that Wade has a better chance of succeeding now than ever before.
From the moment that he first debuted on WWE programming back around 2010, Barrett appeared to be a diamond in the rough. His looks, combined with his charm and old-school heel persona, seemed to give him a leg up on other young stars who were vying for the crowd's attention during that time.
Barrett's work on NXT did not go unnoticed by many of the WWE faithful, who perhaps viewed him as a man who would one day be on the top tier of the company. He just seemed to have that one intangible, that one "it" factor that told the crowd that he was definitely worth its time.
His run as leader of The Nexus only reaffirmed that notion for fans, and it placed him under a spotlight that burned brighter than any he had seen to that date. Barrett seemed to be in a great place and was heading for great things in WWE.
But somewhere along the way, Barrett began to flounder. The Nexus angle went by the wayside, Barrett was the leader of the somewhat disappointing Corre faction, and then he went on a singles career that actually did not amount to all that much.
However, none of that was perhaps due to Barrett's performance in the ring. His repertoire was as old school as his gimmick; he was a tough brawler who could mat wrestle with the best of them. He was a throwback heel in every sense of the word, a man who would have fit in quite well with the original Four Horsemen of the NWA.
But despite what Barrett did or how WWE presented him, he just could not seem to fully get over. Many fans recognized what he had to offer, but the company itself apparently did not. Wade Barrett seemed doomed to languish at midcard status.
However, Barrett may now have a new lease on life thanks to the new WWE world champion, Daniel Bryan.
Bryan took one look at the mold of what a WWE Superstar was supposed to look like, and he completely destroyed it. Daniel got over in front of a crowd that wanted nothing to do with him in the beginning, a crowd that had grown very accustomed to seeing big, perfectly sculpted Superstars in the ring.
John Cena, Batista, The Rock, Randy Orton—those were the kinds of physical specimens WWE fans were used to seeing on TV. Each man looked like he could more than handle himself in a fight, and each man could hold his own against any opponent placed in front of him.
But when it came to Daniel Bryan, it was a whole new ballgame.
Bryan did not look like the typical WWE Superstar. He did not have a truckload of charisma or a huge reputation to work with. All Daniel had was talent—raw talent that gave him an immediate connection with fans.
In Daniel Bryan's WWE, anything is possible. Guys seem to be having fun now; they seem to be more at ease than ever before. It could very well be that a new day has dawned for WWE, a day in which Superstars are encouraged to be themselves more than ever before.
A great example of that is Cesaro. Many fans saw that he had talent and was fully capable of breaking through to bigger and better things in the company. And now that Bryan is WWE world champion, Cesaro is finally getting his shot.
And he's getting that shot next to Paul Heyman, one of the most successful managers in WWE history. While Paul is heel, Cesaro is really not, and much like Daniel, he appears to just be having fun. Has all of that opened the door for Bad News Barrett?
Instead of playing the diabolical heavy, the devious hated heel, Barrett seems to have found his niche as the smiling, fun-loving antagonist who is just enjoying life and likes to beat people up. He smiles to the crowd, he is getting cheered, and he could be on his way to the main event level in WWE.
The fictional reality of good versus evil, right versus wrong, which is prevalent in any pro wrestling promotion, seems to take a backseat at times in WWE. Some of the Superstars have a way of looking into the camera and making fans feel as though the storyline is a sham, and they're just all having fun in the ring.
Bad News Barrett is one of those Superstars, and under Daniel Bryan's WWE world title reign, Barrett could finally have the successful career that many believe he deserves. All a Superstar needs is to find that one connection, that one link to the crowd that establishes him as a talent to remember. It could very well be that Barrett has finally found that connection.
And he has Daniel Bryan to thank for it.