Bad News Barrett has been on a major roll since returning to in-ring competition several weeks ago, and it continued at Extreme Rules, as he successfully defeated Big E to become the new Intercontinental champion. The WWE Twitter feed had the news, and Wrestle Zone described how Barrett got the win:
The Brooklyn Brawler snapped a picture of the new champ, and Renee Young provided her congrats:
Since winning the strap from Curtis Axel in November, Big E had taken on and defeated all comers. In an effort to drum up competition and interest within the midcard, a tournament was held over the past few weeks to determine the No. 1 contender for the coveted IC title.
The tourney was stacked with past and potentially future world champions, but in the end, Barrett was able to come out on top by beating Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus before vanquishing Rob Van Dam in the finals.
Mike Killam of Wrestle Zone summed up the action well:
Very physical match. Ended as expected. Sad that Big E didn't catch on. I blame creative more than anything. #ExtremeRules— Mike Killam (@MikeKillam) May 5, 2014
After Barrett's huge victory, he tweeted out a warning to the incumbent titleholder:
With Barrett gaining a great deal of momentum by virtue of his new character and attitude, it almost seemed like a foregone conclusion that he would exit Extreme Rules as Intercontinental champion for the fourth time in his career.
While Barrett's previous title reigns varied in terms of success, he felt as though winning the title this time around would have meant a little more than it did previously, according to a recent interview with Ring Rust Radio.
"I think any time there's more focus on a particular title, the better it is for the titleholder," Barrett said. "I think with the reduction in the number of titles and now with the combined World and WWE Championship titles, I think it definitely puts a lot more emphasis on the Intercontinental Championship. ... So definitely, I'd like to get my hands on it and pick up that IC title once again."
Barrett's wish was ultimately granted, and he will now have an opportunity to take the IC title to the next level. Thanks to his impressive run through the tournament, along with a fantastic win over Big E, Barrett certainly appears to be on the right track.
As Barrett mentioned, the Intercontinental Championship should be more meaningful now than it has been in quite some time. It used to be considered a stepping stone to the world title, but that changed when WWE decided to utilize two separate world titles.
Although the IC title may never again reach the heights that it occupied when stars like Bret Hart, Mr. Perfect, Ultimate Warrior and "Macho Man" Randy Savage held it, perhaps a renaissance of some kind is on the horizon.
Whether or not Barrett is the right guy to lead that renaissance remains to be seen, but that responsibility rests largely on the creative team's shoulders. Barrett is a hugely talented guy with great skills in the ring and on the mic; however, the Intercontinental Championship won't become truly meaningful again until it is put in significant storylines.
Was having Barrett win the IC title the correct booking decision?
There is more than enough midcard talent on the roster to make that a reality, so there is certainly some reason for optimism. The IC title tourney finally placed some much-needed emphasis on the belt, and maybe the door is open for bigger and better things moving forward.
Barrett has had all the makings of a future world champion since he broke into WWE as the leader of Nexus in 2010. He has had his ups and downs since then, but he finally seems to be gaining some traction with this Bad News character. Since he is still relatively fresh in that regard, there are plenty of storyline possibilities for him in the near future.
The IC title picture has a long way to go, but the Extreme Rules bout between Big E and Barrett was a fine start, and Barrett most definitely has the talent to put the spotlight back on the midcard.
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Quotes were obtained firsthand.