While it was always clear that Bad News Barrett was going to receive a hero's welcome over the course of the recent WWE tour of the UK, it has to be said that the trip home has come at an excellent time for the Preston-born pugilist.
When Barrett debuted his "Bad News" persona at the end of last year, audiences didn't quite know what to make of it at first. However, week after week, it began to gather steam. In recent weeks, it's been clear that the audience is behind Barrett for the first time in his WWE career, and it seems that all it took was a few bits of bad news.
From his earliest work as the leader of the Nexus, Barrett always seemed like a natural heel. In fact, many were disappointed when his program with John Cena failed to cement him as a main event villain. Since then, there have been times when Barrett seemed close to regaining his initial momentum, only for plans to go awry, causing him to once again drop out of the limelight.
Now, however, we see Barrett being rather unexpectedly cheered on by the WWE Universe. For someone who seemed so well suited to working as a villain, having recently adopted a persona that hinges on statements that provoke the cheapest of heat, this must have come as something as a surprise.
Whether you think of Barrett winning the Intercontinental title just ahead of the WWE's European tour as a happy coincidence or something more premeditated, what seems clear is that it will work wonders in cementing Barrett as a fan favourite.
It seems that WWE is moving away from the traditional wrestling setup of the hero facing the villain in favour of characters that operate with a touch more nuance.
Bad News Barrett is an ideal candidate to lead this charge, changing nothing about the way he operates and allowing the crowd to cheer him on regardless.
With a title defence in place against Rob Van Dam at Payback, it's great to see the Intercontinental title being regularly contested on pay-per-view once more, and hopefully that will continue. If he can maintain his momentum when WWE returns to American soil, Barrett's reign could very well be one of the most memorable in recent years.
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