The career of Bad News Barrett—or Wade Barrett, as he will no doubt be remembered in years to come—has shot upwards over the last few months, with his gimmick change really starting to come good.
Barrett burst onto the scene as the leader of The Nexus but was ultimately buried by poor creative decisions and some shocking rivalries. It has taken him a long time to get back to the point he is at now—where he is an incredibly exciting, fresh character with bags of potential.
When the curtain falls on Barrett's career—which, admittedly, is a long way away yet—the first question many people will ask is where the Englishman ranks against all his other countrymen. Guys like William Regal and The British Bulldog, for example.
Of course, the next few years will determine the ultimate answer to that question, but that doesn't mean we can't examine where Barrett is on that list right about now.
First of all, it would be remiss to not address those lean couple of years he is only just waving goodbye to. Barrett was always on the cusp of challenging for a major championship—indeed, he has competed in a fair few matches to determine the contender for gold—but always seemed to come up short.
However, he still managed to keep himself on TV just about enough to remain popular with the WWE's army of fans, who can often be so demanding. That would prove crucial for the future, as it enabled his Bad News Barrett gimmick to get underway with people not forgetting the Englishman's face.
Perhaps the greatest moment of Barrett's career so far has to be his arrival on the main roster with The Nexus. That was a truly shocking evening, and with Barrett as the ringleader of the group that completely destroyed the set of Raw, he immediately had a hugely defining moment to his name.
Although The Nexus would ultimately fail in their quest to take the WWE by storm, the seeds of a promising career had already been planted for Wade Barrett. He had a platform to build on, and it has taken a fair few years to get in a position of relative strength.
In many ways, Wade Barrett's career path looks similar to that of another Englishman—William Regal. Barrett is already a four-time Intercontinental champion, which is no mean feat. However, he does look a way away from the main event picture at this moment in time, which is a situation Regal often found himself in throughout his impressive career.
They both draw on their roots incredibly well. Barrett still retains that brash, arrogant English attitude that many people come to expect from British wrestlers—probably due to the success Regal's character had.
There could be every hope that, at the age of just 33, Barrett will surpass Regal and become the most revered, successful British wrestler of the modern era. Of course, he would still have another man to chase down when it comes to being regarded as the top British wrestler of all time—The British Bulldog.
Although Bulldog didn't win a raft of major championships with the company, he will forever hold a special place in the hearts of British wrestling fans for his ability to entertain. Memories will immediately cast back to SummerSlam 1992, when Bulldog toppled Bret Hart in front of thousands of British fans at Wembley Stadium.
That is no doubt the best match Bulldog ever competed in—and quite possibly the best match of Hart's career. In many ways, that contest was the legacy of The British Bulldog, and it would take something pretty spectacular for Wade Barrett to beat that.
Barrett has age on his side, and in this unpredictable industry, his career could quite possibly ascend to greater heights than that of any other British wrestler before him. That would perhaps mean a title reign or two, but if the Bad News Barrett character continues to impress in the way it has done of late, that is not impossible.
Barrett has a long way to go to beat his countrymen, but you get the feeling he certainly has the capabilities to do so over the coming year.