The WWE has dropped a compelling storyline before – this is nothing new, but I’m genuinely disappointed with the sudden plug-pull on the Intercontinental Cup to determine the new #1 contender.
Over the last few years there has been an influx of new faces to the WWE, but for the most part, the stars in the mix for the World Titles hasn’t changed that much. Despite the rise of new stars, and in some cases guys that I could see being legitimate players down the road (Wade Barrett being one of them), the mid-card titles that these new stars tend to hold are very-much on the back burner.
When Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston, The Miz, and even Daniel Bryan, held the US/IC Championship Titles, I got the sense that they were given the titles as merely something to do as opposed to a springboard. When Barrett attained the IC Title in his most recent reign, for some reason, it felt like a launching pad.
Ultimately I think the plan is for Barrett to drop the IC Title and then challenge for the World Title- perhaps in a feud with Sheamus. As we’ve seen, those two have several solid matches on television over the last few weeks. As good as the end of the road for Barrett’s IC Title reign looked, I’m a bit perplexed as to why the opportunity of a legitimate #1 contender story was dropped.
The chance to make this angle great and give some younger stars some spotlight was huge, and staring WWE in the face.
About ten years ago, the WWE put together two great stories involving buildups to titles, specifically to just become the number-one contender to challenge for the Tag Team Titles (2002) and the US Title (2003), respectively. In the fall of 2002, the WWE Fans were given a treat when we saw Kurt Angle/ Chris Benoit, Edge/Rey Mysterio and Los Guerreros all feud for months over the number-one contender opportunity.
In the summer of 2003, there was a tournament to determine the #1 contender for the US Title. This was arguably the angle that made John Cena a star, and he would go on to feud with the Undertaker later in the summer before eventually winning the strap at Wrestlemania 20.
I understand that the company wants to capitalize on the sudden insertion of Bo Dallas into the fans’ eyes right now – he did a great job in NXT, and received a positive reaction from the fans at the Royal Rumble earlier this week. The chance the WWE had to play out the #1 contender tournament, and place Bo Dallas in it along with several other mid-card talent, would have been outstanding. I envisioned a month-long tournament, culminating at the Elimination Chamber and then the winner facing Barrett at Wrestlemania for the IC Title.
While the stoppage of the tournament is a bit of a letdown, I had a feeling this morning about where this could be going. What if the WWE wants to expedite Barrett’s title drop so that he can become a challenger for the Heavyweight title a bit quicker? The two paths here are:
1.) Barrett beats Del Rio sometime soon and quickly loses the title to Sheamus or Randy Orton.
2.) Barrett challenges one of the above three at Wrestlemania for the title.
Regardless of the way this goes, I’m a huge fan of Barrett. He’s a believable Champion that would serve the World Title scene well.
Let’s make it happen.
*You can follow me on Twitter at @Eddy327