In what is some genuinely horrendous timing, intercontinental champion Bad News Barrett suffered a fairly serious shoulder injury at this week’s SmackDown taping.
There is no word on the severity of it, but as the company’s official site noted, it doesn't look good.
Barrett himself gave a small update on his official Twitter account a few days ago:
Barrett has previously dealt with arm/shoulder problems in the past. He suffered a dislocated elbow in early February 2012 and was out for several months afterwards.
But after years of languishing in the lower midcard, the British star was actually starting to get somewhere with his wickedly entertaining “Bad News” gimmick. The act was funny, topical and often one of the highlights of Raw.
For the first time since he led the rogue Nexus faction in 2010, the 33-year-old looked like he could be a main eventer again. Barrett winning this week’s Money in the Bank match and gaining a title shot seemed like a strong possibility too.
However, even if this new injury proves to be serious and the star will not be allowed to compete for several months, Vince McMahon and his booking team should not give up on him.
The creative team should work around his injury and accommodate him. He should be kept on television for promos until his shoulder recovers (Randy Orton’s hilarious RNN updates in late 2002 would serve as a good template for what to do with Barrett.).
For one thing, his “Bad News” act is working. It’s arguably the most successful WWE gimmick to come about in the last couple of years. WWE cannot just give up on one of its few successes now, not when it is going so well.
Dropping the gimmick now would also do considerable damage to Barrett’s career. He has a tremendous amount of momentum now—taking him off television entirely for several months will squander it.
Wrestling fans can have short memories; would Barrett still be as remotely over if he were to return from a long hiatus?
Of course, you could argue that—at a time when WWE desperately needs new stars—the company shouldn’t be wasting air-time on someone still on the bench. That's a perfectly valid point.
But Raw has three hours a week on the USA Network. The company has far more air time if you factor in SmackDown, as well as its other shows on the network. You’re telling me they can’t spare some time for Barrett?
No doubt Barrett, and his many fans, will be greatly disheartened by this most recent news.
But this doesn’t have to be disastrous. WWE can salvage this situation. It just has to be willing to put the time and effort in.