For the past week, the WWE has been touting the Intercontinental Cup tournament. It was scheduled to play out on Main Event over the course of a few weeks with the winner becoming the No. 1 contender for Wade Barrett's Intercontinental Championship. It appears as though the tourney is no more, however.
According to Barrett via Twitter, he was able to get WWE officials to cancel the tournament. Barrett's explanation is obviously storyline driven, but something had to have happened behind the scenes that caused the creative team to nix the angle.
Stu Bennett @StuBennett
I am pleased to announce that I have managed to negotiate a complete cancellation of the #IntercontinentalCup tournament.2013-1-30 17:20:10
I'm personally a bit disappointed since I'm a huge fan of tournaments in professional wrestling. They used to be a fixture, but are rarely utilized anymore. Barrett hasn't really had anyone to feud with since defeating Kofi Kingston for the title, but having him face the tournament winner would have been an extremely simple and logical solution.
With that said, I do believe the WWE is making the right decision. Based on the Intercontinental Cup commercial that aired a few times, the tourney would have featured Dolph Ziggler, Antonio Cesaro, Randy Orton, Darren Young, Kofi Kingston, Damien Sandow, The Miz and Cody Rhodes. The concept was interesting, but none of them would have made sense as challengers to Barrett.
Five of them are heels and wouldn't have any prayer of winning the tournament. Orton is going to be vying for the World Heavyweight Championship, The Miz is feuding with Cesaro over the United States Championship and Barrett has already beaten Kofi. If that was indeed the lineup that the WWE planned to roll with, then it was probably best to blow the concept up and start over.
My best guess for the abrupt change is that the WWE decided to push Bo Dallas at the last minute rather than going through with the tournament.
Dallas won a separate tournament to earn a spot in the Royal Rumble match and he performed well as he lasted over 21 minutes. Dallas also shockingly eliminated Barrett, which prompted Barrett to pull him over the top rope and nail him with a Bull Hammer Elbow.
Dallas then followed that up by defeating Barrett in a singles match the following night on Raw. That would seem to indicate that a feud between Barrett and Dallas is in full force. It's also likely to lead to a match between them at Elimination Chamber. That renders the Intercontinental Cup useless, so it definitely seems like the WWE called a last-minute audible.
It's obvious that the WWE is interested in building up Dallas quickly and immediately throwing, him into the fire against the Intercontinental Champion is a good way to do that. In order to make him look even more credible, the WWE could have kept the Intercontinental Cup tournament, though, and had Dallas win it.
That would have given him three more important wins on his resume and he would have seemed like a legitimate threat to beat Barrett at Elimination Chamber. Dallas does already have a win over Barrett and he eliminated him in the Rumble, so I suppose he can be called a threat regardless, but the Intercontinental Cup would have been a logical way to prepare him for the big time.
The Intercontinental Cup was a good idea, but it ultimately didn't have the proper competitors. None of the potential winners would have made sense, but it could have been saved by utilizing superstars who could have benefited from winning it. The star power wouldn't have been as great as the tournament that was originally proposed, however, it would have been logical at the very least.
Once Barrett beats Dallas at Elimination Chamber as I expect him to, hopefully the WWE revisits the concept of the Intercontinental Cup. By that time the writers will have a firm grasp on how they plan to use certain guys at WrestleMania, so they can be much smarter about crafting a potential field for the tourney.
We may not have the fortune of seeing a No. 1 contender's tournament on Main Event in the immediate future, but I doubt that we've seen the last of this concept.