You’re Either Great or You’re Not

Photo by WWE

CAUTION — WHILE RICH JONES DID A GREAT JOB WITH THIS STORY, AS USUAL, IT DOES CONTAIN A SPOILER FOR THIS WEEK’S SMACKDOWN.

This week on WWE Smackdown, Wade Barrett secures his place in history by winning the Intercontinental title for the first time. In fact, Wade Barrett has never won any championship belt since joining the main roster and becoming the first NXT winner.

As the leader of the original Nexus, Wade Barrett came very close to winning the WWE title from Randy Orton. However, after heading to the blue brand, Barrett has seen very little success by himself. The Corre is not booked nearly as effectively as the original Nexus was, this has resulted in a group that makes very little difference on Friday nights. Last week on Raw, the action seemed to point toward an 8-man tag match at Wrestlemania with The Corre facing Santino, Kozlov, Big Show and Kane, but things may be headed in another direction. Barrett has been crowned the newest Internet continental champion and fans and holding out hope that he will defend on the biggest stage of them all.

What kind of champion will Wade Barrett be? Randy Savage, Greg Valentine, Ricky Steamboat, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Stone Cold, The Rock and Chris Jericho are some of the greatest wrestlers to ever step foot in the ring. All of these superstars made the Intercontinental belt meaningful despite a low position on the card. Many times, the Intercontinental matches were considered to be far better than those put on by the WWF/WWE champion. However, the history of this belt also includes people such as Jeff Jarrett, The Mountie, Marty Jannetty, Dean Douglas, Ahmed Johnson, Marc Mero, Val Venis, Road Dogg and a whole list of other superstars that failed to rise above the midcard. In fact, Kofi Kingston is the perfect example of a guy that has been unable to succeed despite all of the talent in the world. Kofi has been relegated to such a spot because of timing problems during his feud with Randy Orton. However, Kofi has learned a very important lesson, the right timing can make or break a superstar. Is the time right for Barrett? What type of champion will he be? All of these answers and more depend on strong booking from the writers at WWE.


4 Responses to You’re Either Great or You’re Not

  1. Avatar Jason
    Jason says:

    Does the IC title even mean anything anymore? Can it really make a guys career stand out? There was a time when the IC title was a headliner. Those early names you mentioned were the headliners of the B shows and also the A shows when Hogan did not work. The Hart era was probably the time where it started to get phased down as the 2nd biggest match on the card (usually running behind some mixup of Hogan, Piper, Flair, Undertaker, Warrior as main eventers), but even then those champions were at least put in the spot of being the television draw on Monday Night Raw or the syndicated shows. The Rock/HHH runs were probably the last of the meaningful runs where the belt meant something and helped a career. Unless you are given the big belt I dont think it means anything for a jumpstart to a career.

    • Avatar richjones
      richjones says:

      Hart Vs Bulldog is probably one of the greatest matches ever. Mr. Perfect vs Bret Hart is another amazing match. This is the era where you claim it was being phased down? HBK had some amazing matches for the IC title with Razor (after the Bret Hart era). In fact, Mysterio and Jericho had an amazing feud over the belt not too long ago. Ziggler put on some outstanding performances while holding the belt, much better wrestling matches than anything any Cena has put on. I personally would prefer a match between Kofi and Ziggler to Sheamus and Orton. If you can disagree that Texas Tornado and Mr. Perfect are two of the greatest workers, you need a history lesson. Specifically if you believe that Warrior or Hogan outperformed Hart or Michaels in the ring.

      • Avatar Jason
        Jason says:

        Rich, I think you are misinterpreting my comments. You article stated that “All of these superstars made the Intercontinental belt meaningful despite a low position on the card”. My point is that they never had a low position and were in fact headliners thru 90 or 91 at the house shows. By phasing down I mean they no longer were put on top of the house show. Hart would be wrestling guys like Berzerker underneath a Flair/Piper main event at MSG rather than headlining like Savage/Steamboat in a cage would have done in 1987. But they were in a position to consistently headline on TV in the main event, which rarely happens anymore.

        The belt isnt important anymore and hasnt been since the late 1990s. That doesnt mean there arent good matches involving the title or promising wrestlers who hold it, just that holding that title (and maybe even the World Title since most of the focus always seems to be on the WWE title) doesnt put you in a position to stand out the way it used to in the past. I would think at least 90% of the wrestlers would say that they have a better chance of getting recognized and promoted by getting booked in a non-title feud with John Cena or Randy Orton than by being the Intercontinental champion.

        Texas Tornado was far from a good wrestler by the time he had the Tornado name. Pretty popular guy, but going back and watching those matches from when he beat Perfect onward he was pretty bad. I would imagine that played a role in why he lost the title by November. Hogan was probably better during that period when he wanted to have a decent match. Warrior Wildness, well thats a different story….

  2. Good points by both of you. Certainly you can’t argue the IC title started to get devalued once the 1990s came, no matter who had the belt. Rare exceptions but only here and there.