Stu Bennett - more commonly known as Wade Barrett from his time with the WWE - is surely one of the most under-utilised stars in the company's history.
At 36-years-old, the Englishman barely scrathed the surface of his potential in Vince McMahon's promotion, even though he was a five-time Intercontinental champion and former King of the Ring winner.
It's that latter accolade that perhaps bothers him the most.
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Speaking to Wrestlezone Daily, the former season one winner of NXT detailed how rushed the whole process of the King of the Ring was in 2015 and although the concept itself has proven to be solid down the years, the WWE gave little thought to it this time around.
“The title of King of the Ring can be prestigious but if it’s followed up by non-existent writing then it’s pointless," Barret declared. "Which I think was the issue in regards to me. The tournament itself is fine, there were some good matches and we got a bit of hype behind it and then it was followed up with three months of two grown men fighting over a toilet plunger. Which, you know, you follow something up with writing like that and it’s not going to lead to anything good. The title of King of the Ring is fine on it’s own but you have to follow it up with good writing.”
Chances are, the WWE just put the tournament together to provide some content on the WWE Network and attempt to drive subscriptions.
Even if they had hoped the win would catapult Barrett into the main event picture, according to the Preston North End fan, the company never gave him a serious chance.
“It was thrown together very last minute. I think we did the quarter finals the week before and then we came back the next week and did the actual semi-finals and the finals on a one hour special on the WWE Network. Probably about forty minutes before the show went live we didn’t even know who was winning the tournament. We knew that it was going to be me and Neville in the finals. It all honesty, a complete lack of thought had gone into it. I was given Booker T’s old outfit from ten years earlier. Obviously it didn’t look great. There was no follow up to it with a storyline or anything like that. If it was meant as an attempt to push me or get me over I think there really wasn’t any effort put in from the word, ‘Go.'”
When you think about Steve Austin, Owen Hart, Brock Lesnar, Triple H, Edge and Kurt Angle winning the event, it really meant something to their careers. Barrett was almost given the win for the sake of it with no thought process for its direction.
Barrett really was wasted in the WWE and he was one of the hottest heels in the industry as the leader of the Nexus. Right now, he is essentially retired until his hunger returns and one has to wonder if creative mishaps like this are partly to blame.
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