The wrestler formerly known as Wade Barrett was interviewed by Wrestlezone on Thursday to promote his new movie Vengeance. During the interview the former Intercontinental Champion dished on his King of the Ring win. Many fans were hoping that something would have come out of Barrett’s win, but were left disappointed as it ultimately led him downhill and released from the company. His comments on King of the Ring confirmed what many of us figured out already:
The title of King of the Ring can be prestigious but if it’s followed up by non-existent writing then it’s pointless. 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 its own but you have to follow it up with good writing….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.”
I remember when I first started watching WWE, and then known as WWF, King of the Ring was one of the PPV events that you looked forward to. King of the Ring was up there with Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, Survivor Series, and WrestleMania. Those were the big four, and with King of the Ring, it was a major PPV at that time. The yearly tournament was prestigious, and usually when a Superstar won the tournament that meant big things for them. Winners such as Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Owen Hart to name a few tremendously benefitted from the tournament. Not everyone benefitted from it, but over the years when you reminisce about careers, many of those Superstars had career moments in this event.
However in recent years, it was more of a nostalgic effort and soon became an afterthought once the recent winners saw no benefit from it. Now that’s a tragedy in this play.
When Barrett won the tournament, the pre-teen in me was so excited that he won, because I felt like he would finally get that push he so deserved for so long. I was so wrong, and it was like a punch to the gut for him to be relegated to the storylines he had. Maybe I had my hopes up, but why bring it back if there’s nothing going to be done afterwards? While WWE is doing great with its new brand extension, they really dropped the ball with King of the Ring before that. I’ll say it: today’s kids will never know the excitement and joy that came from watching King of the Ring and witnessing the winning Superstar achieve immortality. Literally.
King of the Ring was what made Stone Cold Steve Austin for what he is today. King of the Ring is what started the historic feud of Bret Hart and Jerry “The King” Lawler. The title made the Superstar more prominent but gets you nothing today, as I also stated earlier. This is a prime example of how bad WWE’s booking has gotten, and crap booking like what happened to Barrett is what eventually killed his career in the WWE. When it was rumored that he wouldn’t be re-signing with the company, it didn’t surprise me at all. When he was released it pretty much confirmed that.
With the brand extension in its infancy, it’s hard to tell whether WWE will try King of the Ring again. If they do, they ought to bring back its legitimacy. But if they don’t plan to do that, then they might as well retire King of the Ring for good. I rather it not be brought back again if the winner doesn’t reap its rewards. It’s not fair to today’s talent, and it’s not fair to both old school, new and casual fans of WWE.
Barrett got the short end of the stick on this one yet again. He was last year’s sacrificial lamb and it did absolutely nothing for him in the long run. His admission told us what we already guessed, and it’s just a shame that this is the way WWE treated both Barrett and the historic event. Maybe it is time to let go of the past and move on.