HomeWrestlingSuperstar Spotlight: Wade Barrett and Ryback

Superstar Spotlight: Wade Barrett and Ryback

michael dworkis looks at two of the bigger new stars in the WWE…


Wade Barrett


Background Check:
No longer considered a rookie in WWE, Barrett is still marked as one of the rising up-and-coming stars in World Wrestling Entertainment. I disagree, he is a star. Having two Intercontinental Title reigns and owned the main event spotlight for the better half of a year since his debut, Wade Barrett certainly is everything his character boasts about.

One of those boasts regards his previous life as a bare-knuckle brawler. This, is true. Inspired by “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, the former Marine Biologist and scientist would also begin training to become a wrestler. However, he also chose to make extra cash by roaming the UK and parts of Europe to compete in bare-knuckle brawls. Having been successful, Barrett continued this path until he decided to leave that dangerous and often injury-filled path to fulfilling his goal of wrestling professionally.

In 2006 he began in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), one of the developmental territories of WWE. When OVW separated from WWE, Barrett was assigned to the new territory, FCW and became a “contestant” on NXT. Easily the brightest standout after Daniel Bryan was eliminated, Barrett handily won the NXT contest. Shortly after, he invaded WWE Raw with The Nexus, members who were eliminated from the competition. He quickly rose to main event status, competing against John Cena for the WWE Championship.

One of the things that Wade Barrett and yours truly have in common, we both believe the 1992 SummerSlam match between Bret Hart and The British Bulldog was one of the greatest ever.

Current Status: Intercontinental Champion
Barrett is a force in the ring and on the mic. The guy is super-talented in both aspects. Having wrapped up a long feud with Kofi Kingston, taking the Intercontinental Title, the former Bare-Knuckle Brawler continues to defeat top-tier stars, most recently for example, Randy Orton.

Something is holding him back from returning to the main event. He was out with an injury for about six months, so fans may have forgotten about the impact he had in 2010. Although that was only two years ago, two years can be a long time. Barrett has the talent to survive in WWE for a long time, the question is will WWE see a need for him in another two years. There are a lot of new, talented individuals making their climb in WWE and my hope is that Barrett does not get lost in the shuffle. I would cry if he ever wound up in TNA. Barrett is a mainstay, that is for sure, and I see him making a slow climb back towards the WWE/World Title scene.

Future Outlook: Future WWE/World Champion



Background Check:

Say it like Vince: “RRRRRRRYYBACK!!”
Formerly known as Skip Sheffield, the first-season NXT contestant started out as a contestant on Tough Enough, way back in 2004. Yeah, almost 10 years ago. Not so much a rookie as you thought. Although Ryan Reeves lost in the finals, WWE signed him to a developmental contract anyway, and sent him to Deep South Wrestling (DSW) to begin training. In 2005 he moved up to OVW, but was released in early 2007. After filming a movie and working on his own, he was brought back in 2008 under the Ryback name, and was given a Terminator-like gimmick. His second run did not last long, while he did win their Heavyweight Title, he lost it and then lost a loser leaves OVW match. Reason being, WWE called him up to FCW.

Once in FCW, he competed from 2008 until 2010, and the got his big chance. He was renamed Skip Sheffield, given a goofy cowboy gimmick was under the tutelage of William Regal on the show NXT. He only lasted a month on the program, but made his return when Wade Barrett formed the Nexus. Unfortunately in the summer of 2010, Sheffield suffered a major injury requiring multiple surgeries, which sidelined him until the end of 2011. In 2012, he came back as Ryback, the monstrous wrecking machine we see before us.

Current Status: Monster Machine
Being a monster in the ring is a good thing. Gives main eventers something to fear. Ryback spent a lot of time devouring jobbers and bottom second-tier superstars. While the WWE Universe was bored to death of him being fed the same thing over and over, little did we know this was all part of the ultimate plan, which worked. Having slowly but surely gone through a number of wrestlers, Ryback was built up enough that when he finally faced off against someone big, it paid off huge. On September 24th, 2012, CM Punk chose Mick Foley to take out his anger, one Ryback came to make the save. That began his main event status on Raw.

Since joining the ranks of top-tier stars, one has to wonder where he goes from here. He faced off with Punk numerous times, for the WWE Title, and each one ended with a bizarre finish. Interference, DQ, insanity… Ryback did not get the belt. With good reason, it is simply too soon. Give him the belt now, and you run into Batista Syndrome. Batista was a monster, but when he had the belt, he was at his worst. He was always better at chasing the belt, rather than wearing it. Of course, compare Ryback to Goldberg, minus the undefeated streak, which WWE is very, very smart for not repeating, because once you lose that, you lose part of the reason why you draw as a star. Goldberg steamrolled over all challengers, and then when he beat Hogan for the title, the question of “Who’s Next?” was finally answered… No one. There was nothing left to accomplish.

Despite this, Ryback will be a major title holder one day, just not soon. Maybe towards the end of 2013, but definitely nothing big until after WrestleMania.

Future Outlook: Future WWE/World Champion, consistent main eventer


Michael Dworkis
Michael Dworkis
Michael Dworkis has been a writer for The Pop Break since 2010. For over a decade he has contributed columns featuring Anime, Comics, Transformers, Television, Movies, and most notably, Professional Wrestling. Additionally, one of the key players in the original Angry Nerds column and a guest on one of Bill's various podcasts. When he is not grinding away at his next feature, or shouting expletives at the television while playing video games or watching wrestling, Michael actually has a full-time job,as a Mental Health Professional, working at a medical practice in New Jersey, and runs his own telehealth private practice. A family man through-and-through, requiring his three children to memorize all the Autobots and Decepticons on the collection shelves while also educating them in all things Marvel and Star Wars. You know, the stuff Disney owns.

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