The past 22 months have been pretty lackluster when it comes to the Intercontinental Championship. But that could all change, as I’m afraid I’ve got some good news for you.
Bad News Barrett won the Intercontinental Title from Big E at Extreme Rules this past Sunday. It was the only title change of the night, and it was pretty expected that WWE would put the strap on one of its more popular guys. And what made the match interesting is that neither Big E or Barrett are disliked by the crowd.
The only difference between the two, however, is that Big E puts a lot of people, myself included, to sleep with his character and charisma - or lack thereof. E is a pretty impressive guy when looking at him, and his matches are very good, but he needs work on the mic. His promos are forced, and he talks with uncertainty when he does speak at lengths.
But enough about Big E. Barrett has been ever-evolving his character since he debuted in the WWE as the leader of Nexus. Barrett is just a flat-out brawler, but a great technical wrestler. His finishing move, the Barrett Barage, is fast, brutal, and a believable knock-out move. He’s a throwback to the champions like Ken Shamrock and William Regal who had a brutal side as well as good in-ring ability as wrestlers.
But what has made Barrett so popular with the fans is his latest gimmick. Since December, Barrett has been bringing “bad news to the WWE crowd. He was re-packaged after a character he developed on the “JBL and Cole Show.” The gimmick was annoying at first, especially because fans at the time didn’t know why Barrett wasn’t wrestling, and instead making appearances like this. In all honesty, I thought he was hurt, but later read it was related to his work visa.
Barrett finally returned to the ring in April when he destroyed Rey Mysterio the day after Wrestlemania. The crowd was absolutely hot for Barrett’s return, and they’ve continued to be hot for him since his return. A week later, it was announced Barrett would participate in the Intercontinental Title No. 1 contender tournament. He went on to demolish Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus and Rob Van Dam to face Big E this past Sunday. Barrett won in a very good match to win the belt for the fourth time in his career.
Finally, the WWE put the Intercontinental Championship on someone who deserves to carry the belt. Since July of 2012, the end of Christian’s reign, the IC belt was held by The Miz twice, Kofi Kingston, Curtis Axel, Big E and Barrett three times. (The two previous reigns of 99 and 69 days by Barrett were only separated by thankfully a one-day reign owned by Miz.)
Moving forward, Barrett can bring out some great competition for the belt. Cesaro was in the tournament, and would put on an incredible match with Barrett. Damien Sandow and Dolph Ziggler, who are both in jobbing doghouses, would be great opponents. RVD, a six-time champ, and Cody Rhodes, a two-time IC champ, need to get back to chasing titles. And though the Shield is in a feud with Evolution, any of those three members would put on a great program with Barrett as well.
The WWE has shied away from making the IC belt such a coveted number two championship. Right now, the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship are unified and on Daniel Bryan’s shoulders. With there only being one major title chase, the IC champ needs to step up and really legitimize the belt again.
If WWE utilizes Barrett’s title reign well, this could be the beginning of a thrilling Intercontinental title picture again.
Sheamus Wins US Title on Raw
The Intercontinental Title wasn’t the only belt to change hands this past week. As a part of Shield’s current feud with Evolution, Dean Ambrose was finally hosed out of his United States Championship. Ambrose, after successfully defending it on Smackdown last week in a fatal fourway, lost it on Monday in a 20-man battle royal when Sheamus threw him out of the ring to win the championship. The loss ended a 351-day title reign, the longest since Rick Rude held the belt for 419 days.
Sheamus is a great choice for the championship. He’s another talker, a former World Champion, and one of the most popular stars in the WWE. Unlike with the Intercontinental Championship, he continues a good run of US Champions the past two years that was made up by a 239-day run by Cesaro, Kingston’s 34 days and Ambrose’s impressive 351 days.
But despite being held by great and deserving wrestlers who could make the belt interesting, their title runs weren’t memorable. Ambrose barely defended his title, and Kingston’s one-month reign was boring. Sheamus needs to actively defend the title and sustain a good feud with any of the guys mentioned above in the Intercontinental title picture in order to sustain that belt’s legitimacy. If not, it could be in danger of falling down the same road as the IC belt has.
HBK’s Viral Video
Shawn Michaels doesn’t make as many appearances as I would like, preferably because I think HBK is one of the most entertaining WWE super stars of all time.
HBK, who is retired, has a lot of free time now. All he does is sit at his Texas home, read books and does interviews with an imaginary interviewer. But his boredom will soon end as his new tag team partner showed up: the new Can-Am Spyder RS-S.
I had no idea what this was when I got the email. Then I watched the video and I have to say that is one sweet looking ride. But the product aside, this three-minute commercial was pretty funny, and featured some classic Shawn Michaels humor. The video officially launched this morning. Check it out!
Power Rankings - The best performers of the past week - May 5
1 Daniel Bryan (1) - Won first title defense against Kane.
2 Bray Wyatt (8) - He’s got the whole world, and Cena, in his hands.
3 Wade Barrett (UR) - Won the Intercontinental Title on Sunday.
4 Sheamus (UR) - Ended Dean Ambrose’s US title reign.
5 The Shield (5) - Big win over Evolution on Sunday despite loss on Monday.
6 Evolution (UR) - They’re back, and only Shield stands in their way.
7 Cesaro (4) - Like him or not, but being a Paul Heyman guy helps.
8 Kane (UR) - It took a lot from Bryan to beat him, but the was isn’t over.
9 Paige (UR) - Won Divas title in debut and hasn’t lost since.
10 The Usos (6) - Cooled off a bit but are still the champs.