When the WWE debuted their new hit show NXT (now it's own touring brand) many in the WWE Universe did not know what to expect. Watching it unfold, there was very few positives to take, but the eventual winner, Wade Barrett with legend Chris Jericho as his 'pro', was one of those.
Barrett had previously been a bare knuckle fighting champion and had spent several years with the companies developmental system, FCW. This provided him with plenty of experience and knowledge, of which was clear to see during his time on the first season of NXT.
NXT provided a springboard for Barrett, winning the competition guaranteed him a spot on the main roster, and his debut was one of the most significant in recent history. So lets take a look at his debut, and other significant moments throughout his career this far.
You're either Nexus or you're against us
It was the June 7 2010 edition of Monday Night Raw, one of the most memorable RAW endings in history, created one of the most shocking debuts at the same time. The night that the Nexus debuted, lead by Wade Barrett.
As the group invaded the main event between two of the WWE's top guys (John Cena and CM Punk), the Nexus ran riot, destroying everything and everyone in sight including; the announce team, time keeper, the ring and all the surrounding equipment.
The invasion left the WWE Universe silenced and shocked, it showcased the companies belief in the rookies and placing Barrett as the leader of the stable put him over instantly.
The group continued to dominate Raws and Smackdowns, having a major presence on pay-per-views during the first few months of the Nexus's inception. Whilst the stable was a major talking point, and one of the hottest things in wrestling, it was Barrett who was the focal point, the center of attention.
Whether it was Barrett's promo's or his in ring battles, people were glued to his character and enjoyed seeing him develop. The British superstar quickly rose to the top of the ladder, competing in several WWE Championship matches with Cena, but failing to win the big one.
Even though Barrett never captured the WWE Championship during his time as the leader of Nexus, the fact that he was put in that position made many fans believe he was the future, and that somewhere down the line he would eventually hold it.
However, even though the Nexus was ground breaking and different from anything the WWE had done before, it still had it's issues and they led to the downfall of the stable. Whether it was the early firing of Daniel Bryan, the constant injuries to group members or incorrect booking, the stable never grew to it's full potential.
One major turning point for Nexus took place at Summerslam, the group had gotten over as a major heel faction, and people were invested. The main event 7 on 7 match that took place seemed to be an opportunity for Nexus to continue their emphatic dominance.
Sadly, the company did not back Nexus that night, and had Cena go over on the group and get the victory, a moment that quickly pulled the plug on the momentum the group had built.
But, even as Nexus's star power faded, group leader Wade Barrett continued to be an important part of shows, and was still featured on T.V. predominately. The WWE may have given up on Nexus, but they had yet to give up on Barrett.
Whilst this may have been his greatest opportunity to stake his claim as a permanent main eventer, he did have great success during this period, but it was all over and done with far too soon.
Out of the ashes of the Nexus rose the Corre, in all it's fiery glory. However, unlike a phoenix, this stable did not rise to the top in a blaze of glory, but simply fizzled and then burnt out, like a cheap firework.
The Corre never got going, the group failed to win over the WWE Universe in the same vein that Nexus had, it felt like a cheapened, dirtier version and was something that was forced rather than natural.
Once again though, Barrett was the stand out performer within his stable, the leader of the pack once more. This time, he was rewarded for his efforts, with his first every championship, the Intercontinental Championship. Whilst he would eventually drop the belt to fellow Corre member Ezekiel Jackson (one of the causes of the groups split), it continued to put him in the limelight.
Even in an unsuccessful stable, Barrett continued to be a presence showcasing the natural talents of which he has in abundance. But his title reign was short lived, and his time spent as the leader of the Corre did more harm than good to his personal career in the long run.
The Barrett Barrage
Having spent his debut year as the leader of stables, constantly having other talent surrounding him, helping him win matches and sharing his promo time, the opportunity arose for Barrett to prove himself on his own and thus, Barrett's barrage was born.
A string of impressive victories quickly placed Barrett back to the upper levels of the card, and he brushed off his unsuccessful time with the Corre like it did not matter. Barrett's first feud during his 'barrage' would be with the Viper, Randy Orton.
The pair had great chemistry, both in the ring and on the microphone and they managed to create a rivalry that interested people and was entertaining. Orton and Barrett had a string of pay-per-view matches that elevated Barrett once more, proving he could comfortably perform with the best in the world.
Just as Barrett was regaining the momentum he had during the beginning of his career, he suffered a partially dislocated elbow which left him out of action, putting the breaks on any push WWE had planned for him.
Barrett made his return with a new look, and a character that was much more aggressive, harping back to his bare knuckle fighting years. Unfortunately Barrett never found the form he had shown during his feud with the Apex Predator and was seemingly stuck in the mid card, with no real direction.
A string of feuds with the likes of; Kofi Kingston, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel failed to lift Barrett to the top of the mountain where he had once been, with the company struggling for ideas, and a visa issue Barrett was taken off T.V.
I'm afraid I've got some Bad News
When Barrett eventually made his return on Raw, he did it in typical Barrett fashion, looking to stand out from the pack and make a significant impact. Bad News Barrett was introduced to the WWE Universe for the first time, and his popularity quickly returned.
The Bad News gimmick was one that he had been using on the Youtube show; The JBL and Cole show, after success on a small scale it proved to work perfectly on the larger scale of Raw. The fans bought into it, and it was not long until Barrett once again became the Intercontinental Champion, for a fourth time in his career.
After years of trying to find the right spot, moment and gimmick to get Barrett to the level people had expected of him, it appeared the Bad News angle would be just that. But once again, injury struck, separating his shoulder in a match with Jack Swagger saw the champion back on the shelf.
Barrett returned and regained his Championship almost immediately, for him to drop the belt again at Wrestlemania to Daniel Bryan. With the hopes of a Bad News feud with the most over guy in the company (Bryan) things did not seem so bad.
But, injury hit again. This time not to Barrett but to Bryan, putting an end to the feud before it even got started and all of a sudden he fell from title match to pre show.
All hail the King
When the WWE shocked the Universe and randomly brought back the King of the Ring competition, most felt that it would be young superstar, Neville who would get the crown and have a career defining moment. But it was Wade Barrett (no longer Bad News) who was to be given the opportunity.
Another chance it seemed for Barrett to prove himself and his abilities, with a gimmick that suited his heel persona so well. It seemed like a perfect fit, but the booking of the newly crowned King has been so poor that not only has Barrett failed to climb the ladder again, but has fallen to an almighty new low.
Finding himself consistently on pre-shows or in quick squash matches on both Raw and Smackdown, King Barrett has become a joke, a superstar to not be taken seriously.
His most recent pay-per-view outing came at Summerslam, where he was seemingly shoved into the Stardust vs The Arrow match, along with Neville, simply to take the pinfall to ensure that Stardust did not look weak.
Has WWE dropped the ball?
Barrett has talent, both in ring and outside of it. He has charisma and personality and has proven on several occasions he has the ability to cope with a change of character and work with what is put in front of him. So why has his career failed to take off?
Yes, he has held the InterContinental Championship, and been involved in several World Title matches, but he has never been utilized in the way he could have been. From the moment he debuted with Nexus, he seemed a big deal, but WWE have clearly felt otherwise.
There is clearly many reasons as to why his career never reached the level it could have, suffering injuries at key times during his runs have not helped, or having visa troubles, forcing him to be off T.V.
But the WWE itself seems to simply lack the confidence in giving him the final push to get him to where he could have been, ending Nexus, creating the Corre, taking away the Bad News gimmick or the poor handling of his run as King as just a few examples.
Can Barrett ever get to the top? Well with Barrett now at the age of 35, he is not a youngster anymore, finding himself in movie roles could be a sign that he is looking at career aspects outside of wrestling. More and more NXT superstars are coming to the main roster, who are younger and have longer career prospects.
It would seem as if Barrett has hit the heights of his career and is now simply around to fill up the numbers, it is unlikely the WWE will push him hard again, and it is now a case of what could have been.