If 2014 has taught us anything about professional wrestling, it’s that the cruel twist of fate provided by a sidelining injury can cause real problems for WWE Creative.
The most high-profile case of this kind is, of course, Daniel Bryan. His exhilarating story came to its crescendo at WrestleMania XXX when he finally triumphed over the Authority to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Subsequent weeks saw Bryan miss time for his honeymoon and the tragic death of his father. He then engaged in a rather lacklustre program with Kane, which came to a premature end when he revealed that he needed neck surgery.
Suddenly, the WWE was left without its biggest star and was forced to hurry into a new storyline that, admittedly, culminated in an excellent Ladder match at Money in the Bank to crown a new world champion.
The latest star to join Bryan on the injury list is hugely popular British heel Bad News Barrett. He sustained a shoulder injury courtesy of Jack Swagger at the SmackDown taping immediately before he was scheduled to compete in the contract match at Money in the Bank. Creative acted quickly on this occasion, immediately stripping Barrett of the Intercontinental Championship and booking a Battle Royal for the upcoming Battleground pay-per-view.
It’s yet another example of how fragile Superstars can be. Barrett was right in the middle of one of the biggest pushes of his career, revelling in an excellent new gimmick, and he now risks losing that momentum.
However, this presents Creative with an opportunity. The WWE Universe loves Bad News Barrett and will pop for his return. This is the perfect chance to do what has seemed like an inevitability for a long time now: turn Barrett face.
For the last month or so, Barrett has been deployed by Triple H and the Authority as a henchman to battle former members of the Shield. The Wade Barrett the fans love would never allow himself to be someone else’s attack dog, so now is the time for him to snap back and bite the hand that feeds.
Barrett is already a babyface in the eyes of the fans. They love his “bad news” promos, and his hard-hitting bruiser style has won him legions of fans. Much like Bray Wyatt’s reference to the location of each show, his local abuse on the way to the ring is often cheered just as much as it is booed.
A face turn for Barrett opens up a whole new set of feuds for the former leader of the Nexus. With Seth Rollins likely to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship as a heel in the near future, the prospect of a feud between the two is absolutely mouth-watering.
In an era when the WWE is trying to discover a new balance between stale veterans and exciting newcomers, a change of character for Wade Barrett could really be the start of something fresh.
Stephanie McMahon and Triple H have been doing bad British accents for too long. It’s time for them to receive some bad news.