After beating Big E for the Intercontinental Championship at Extreme Rules, Bad News Barrett was successful in the first pay-per-view title defense of his current reign, as he defeated Rob Van Dam Sunday night at Payback.
WrestleZone.com describes the finishing move:
Predictable or not, that match was extremely entertaining. Bull Hammer connects for the victory. #Wrestlezone— WrestleZone.com (@WRESTLEZONEcom) June 2, 2014
After the match Barrett was in a hash tag sort of mood on Twitter, and conducted a brief interview with WWE.com:
Before heading to the ring, WWE.com snapped a picture of Barrett preparing for his match:
After the match, Barrett once again was clutching the belt via The Brooklyn Brawler:
Despite his status as a heel, there has been a groundswell of support behind Barrett since debuting his Bad News gimmick. Barrett refined the character for several months before returning to in-ring action and winning a tournament to become the No. 1 contender for the IC title prior to Extreme Rules.
Barrett is in the midst of his fourth Intercontinental Championship run, and it can be argued that this one is already more successful than his previous three. He has picked up wins over the likes of Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, Big E and RVD in recent weeks, which has given him a great deal of credibility.
Although Van Dam is no longer utilized as a main event Superstar, beating him is always considered a major accomplishment because he is such a decorated performer. This marked Barrett's second win over RVD in the past month, which says a lot about how much confidence WWE has in Barrett.
The win is definitely a feather in Barrett's cap, but it didn't come as a big surprise to most. Putting the strap on Van Dam wouldn't have made much sense, and he didn't exactly have much momentum entering the match after losing to Cesaro on the go-home edition of Raw, as seen in this video courtesy of WWE's official Twitter account:
For a guy like RVD, though, wins and losses don't really matter. In many ways, he is the current version of Chris Jericho. Like Jericho, Van Dam has already established himself as an all-time great. Despite being a veteran, he is perfectly capable of tearing the house down in any given match.
His greatest attribute, however, is his complete willingness to put over younger Superstars and make them look fantastic in the process. RVD did that once again at Payback in what turned out to be a highly entertaining encounter.
RVD will likely continue to fill a similar role for the foreseeable future, but where Barrett goes from here remains to be seen. He has a lot of momentum and is seemingly on the rise, but what he truly needs in order to thrive is a high-quality storyline.
Was this the right booking decision?
Barrett hasn't had one since returning to the ring, as he has essentially jumped from opponent to opponent without much rhyme or reason. A long-term feud with Van Dam wouldn't seem to be in the cards because Barrett has already beaten him on multiple occasions, but the writers have to find a way to keep him relevant.
Midcard angles involving the Intercontinental Championship used to be commonplace; however, that hasn't really been the case in recent years. Barrett is a Superstar the fans care about, though, and they need to be given reasons to continue caring about him.
Barrett is excellent on the mic and quite capable in the ring, so he is definitely deserving of the spotlight. Cultivating a worthy and credible opponent could be a major challenge, but it is one that WWE must tackle head-on.
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