Craig Wilson, Brian Damage, Russ Morgan, Chris Flackett & Jamie Lithgow
With this blog largely looking at wrestling from a nostalgic standpoint, we were obviously delighted with the return of King of the Ring this week on the Network. In this Sunday Sermon Craig, Brian, Russ, Chris and Jamie discuss what Bad News Barrett’s means for him in the long term.
Craig: First and foremost, I’m delighted that the King of the Ring tournament is back, albeit it as a WWE Network show. It’s a great idea for the WWE to create such a stand alone event for the Network as I’m sure it’s not just me that craved a return for the tournament.
But what does Bad News Barrett’s victory mean in the long term. Is it the break that he needs to reach that next level or is he going to be the next Billy Gunn?
Undoubtedly he’s a character that’s been misused by the WWE for a long term. Sure, he may not be main event material but it was criminal to book him as a jobber IC Champion that couldn’t even stop other superstars stealing the gold from him, let alone defend it.
So, will being King of the Ring make a difference?
Brian: When I found out that there would be another ‘King of the Ring’ tournament, I was super excited. This use to be one of my most favorite events of the year. Having it on the WWE Network as an exclusive makes good business sense. Tease the fans watching on Raw and then make them want to see the conclusion on the network.
Admittedly, I wanted Neville to win the tournament. I feel a victory like this, would help propel him to a new level….but I’m not upset that Bad News Barrett won either. Through not much fault of his own, Barrett suffered a serious shoulder injury at the hands of a stiff and careless Jack Swagger. Barrett has all the skills to be a great star in the WWE. He can wrestle, he can brawl and he can talk. It all depends how the WWE utilizes him moving forward, but Barrett has real potential to be a main event star quicker than most.
Russ: Lets hope that this can push Barrett up a mark. I agree with Brian, KOTR was always a favourite of mine as it would test the endurance of any wrestler. Lets hope that the interest in this may make WWE think possibly of reviving it in a PPV format.
Brian: I will say this, they need to instantly start pushing Barrett as a top star on the rise. Don’t have him go out on Raw next week and job or look weak. They did that with Sheamus when he won the King of the Ring and it was silly. Barrett has paid his dues and has earned this opportunity.
Chris: The return of King of the Ring has been a very pleasent surprise. And as said earlier, having it as a network only event makes sense as an incentive to the cautious fan to take out a subscription.
Like Brian, I wanted Neville to win but actually, in the long term, this may be better for everyone. He hasn’t come out of it looking bad at all, and at the same time it doesn’t feel like he’s being pushed down our throats as a superhero. WWE has learnt from the Roman Reigns situation, perhaps?
Bad News Barrett by no means is an undeserving winner. But WWE has a history of blowing hot and cold with him. If WWE wants future KOTR’s to be a big draw, if thats the plan, they need to make this win mean something. A strongly pushed Barrett would certainly bolster the flagging mid card.
Craig: You’re absolutely spot on. A well booked Bad News Barrett is just what is required, especially as doubts hang over the health of Daniel Bryan.
Re Neville, I’m just pleased that he’s part of the mix. He’s been brought up from NXT, booked well – I like the underdog thing – and the fans are taking to him. Long way to go but it’s no surprise that a guy with such an arsenal of attack moves grabs the attention of the WWE fanbase. Long may that continue.
So what next next for Barrett? I wonder if we’ll see Bryan stripped of the gold sometime soon, if his health doesn’t pick up. Barrett too obvious a winner of a subsequent tournament?
Jamie: Thankfully Barrett has already jobbed in Cena’s US Open Challenge, otherwise I would have predicted that to be Barrett’s next ‘step’.
All pessimism aside, as a Barrett fan I am more buoyed by this KOTR win than any of his IC Title wins. Every time he has held that title I have felt that he is champion purely because somebody has to be. However, there doesn’t have to be a King of the Ring. WWE went out of their way to bring the tournament back, and selected Barrett to win it; there must be a reason. My hope is that Barrett goes on somewhat of a winning streak until Daniel Bryan returns, and thus Bad News will get his shot at feuding with a top name in the company. Moreover, I suspect the rushed return of the tournament is probably a direct knock-on from Bryan’s injury problems.
Brian: I don’t think the KOTR tournament was a last minute idea. I’d like to believe that the WWE believes in Bad News Barrett and wanted something other than IC title wins to have the character accomplish. I really do think they are grooming Barrett to be a future world champion which would mean he would be historical for the company on so many levels considering there has never been a British world champion in the WWE.
Craig: It would be a huge deal over here, certainly, if Barrett was to become the first WWE World Champion from the UK. Magnus doing it in TNA grabbed headlines and that was only TNA.
It’ll be interesting to see what they do with Barrett short and long term. I think him and Rollins would be a very entertaining problem although there’s the obvious problem of both superstars being heels and, of course, Barrett not being a serious contender at the moment. A couple of PPV wins on the back of a good push on TV will change that though.
Chris: To add to that, Barrett has more potential as a star than Magnus. I was watching TNA at the point he won the title (I’ve since stopped), and I wasn’t impressed. He had the look, sure, but I just don’t think his mic and ring skills were up to the task.
Barrett, I think, if pushed convincingly, with a few strong TV and PPV wins, could see himself in a really solid position. A program with Neville would do both wonders but they’ve already gone at it…here’s an idea; a feud with Cena to unify the IC and US titles. Barrett winning cleanly with Cena actually selling his offence. Now, that has real potential buy would Cena allow it?
Brian: I’m pretty sure John Cena wouldn’t refuse to job to anyone if it made sense. Cena seems to me at least to be more of a company guy than others like say Hulk Hogan was. Barrett unifying both secondary titles would certainly help him go in the right direction. Even if it was a few victories over main event caliber opponents like Randy Orton, Cena, Roman Reigns etc…
You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.