The general consensus among wrestling fans is that Wade Barrett will soon be a star in WWE. Whether you love Barrett or hate him, you can't deny that Barrett will be a main-eventer sooner, rather than later. The guy has amazing microphone skills, natural charisma, size, a great look and he's decent in the ring.
Telling by the fact that he was allowed to go over Randy Orton twice in their feud as well as put him on the shelf, he has WWE Executives on his side. All in all, Barrett soon will be a full main eventer and—probably by mid-2012—a World Champion..
I'm fine with that. I happen to be a big fan of Barrett, and I'm sure he'll make a great world champion. The only thing that worries me is the danger that Barrett will end up like WWE's biggest failure of 2011, Alberto Del Rio.
Now, let's go over the story of Del Rio. He had a great look, in-ring ability and the WWE executives behind him. He'd been pushed majorly since his debut in August 2010. By October 2011, he was a Royal Rumble winner, a Money in the Bank winner and a two-time WWE Champion. Now, 2011 is over and Del Rio is on his way back to the midcard
Many of you might ask yourselves, "How did this happen?"
The answer is simple: Nobody cared about the guy. I'm pretty sure it started after Wrestlemania. Every time Del Rio made his entrance, he was met with the sound of crickets chirping and old men snoring. From then until now, Del Rio has very little consistent heat. Sure, he got some boos when he won the WWE title, but on a regular basis, he gets squat.
Many people attribute Del Rio's lack of heat to the fact that he's not very good on the mic and he's not that charismatic, but the fact that Randy Orton was champion nine times and still gets an amazing ovation every time his music hits means that that reasoning is inadequate.
The main reason why Del Rio is in such a bad place now is sheer bad luck. Let's go back to Wrestlemania 27, when Del Rio had good heat, most of the International Wrestling Cartel behind him and a supposedly bright future. As the Royal Rumble winner, he seemed poised to take the World Heavyweight Championship from Edge on the grandest stage of them all.
But then, he lost.
Edge's career, as we all know, was coming to a close. So naturally, WWE officials decided to allow him one last victory at Wrestlemania, at the expense of Alberto Del Rio.
After Edge retired, Del Rio got another opportunity at the World title, this time against Edge's best friend, Christian, in a ladder match at Extreme Rules 2011. Christian won the match and gave us all a feel-good moment. Once again, the feel-good moment came at the expense of Del Rio's heat.
From there, Del Rio was drafted to Raw, where he had a few meaningless feuds that killed all his remaining heat before winning Money in the Bank in July, and then the WWE title at Summerslam.
He lost the title the next month at Night of Champions, regained it a month later at Hell in A Cell and lost it about six weeks later at Survivor Series, along with the remaining shreds of heat he had left. Most likely, he won't hold the title again for a while.
Now that we've gone over the train wreck that was Alberto Del Rio's main event run, let's get back to my original thesis: How can we ensure that Barrett avoids a similar fate? Granted, he's far better on the microphone than Del Rio and more charismatic, but the danger is still there.
However, there is a way that I think this danger can be nullified. Wade Barrett must face The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 28.
I know all the arguments against that statement: "Not enough starpower!" "That won't draw as much as Taker's match should!" etc.
Now, the first one is an argument that doesn't really make sense to me. Yeah, Barrett isn't a huge star like Shawn Michaels or Triple H.
So what? People are hoping for a dream match at Wrestlemania like Undertaker against Steve Austin or Undertaker against Chris Jericho, but what good will that do for WWE's future?
None at all.
In fact, it'll just make everyone think that the superstars of the past were far better than the ones today, which certainly isn't a good business strategy.
The next argument is equally absurd to me. Do these people not realize that Wrestlemania 28 will feature The Rock against John Cena?
That match alone would draw more buys than most WWE pay-per views these days. This means that for the rest of the card, WWE has the opportunity to focus more on their younger talent, like Sheamus, Cody Rhodes, The Miz, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, CM Punk and Wade Barrett.
Guys like Undertaker, Kane, Big Show, Triple H and Chris Jericho, who are all nearing the end of their careers, should be giving the rub to those guys, not fighting each other in desperate attempts by WWE to remind people of the Attitude Era.
As for whether Barrett should win, I really don't mind. It will be The Undertaker's decision and it's not for me anyone else to question it. The thing is, Barrett doesn't even have to win.
A legitimate, dominating performance following some great build-up—which I think Barrett and Taker would provide—is all that is required in order to make him look like a true star.
After Barrett's match with Undertaker (win or lose), I think the best option would be to keep him on Smackdown for a while and give him some more main event feuds with guys like Sheamus, Bryan and Big Show, preferably over the world title. I'd recommend he win the gold in June or July and his reign last at least three or four months.
By the time Barrett loses the title, he should still look strong enough to be taken seriously as a star. By the end of the year, he should be back where he was until the end of 2010, in the main-event on Monday Night Raw.
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