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Wade Barrett – From Nexus Leader to a Halted Barrage

Wade Barrett is rather unique character in today's WWE: As a WWE rookie, he received a huge push straight into the main event - and despite satisfying all wishes each fan could have (great promos, charisma and even one slight evil grin made whole audiences boo him), he got relegated to midcarder for one year before he started his Barrett Barrage - which came to a halt because of a shoulder injury.

Time will tell if he really is one of a kind - but let's see what this Englishman has achieved so far in his career:

Before wrestling

He was born Stuart Alexander Bennett on August 10 1980 and lived in England as well as in Wales during his childhood days. Back then, his favorite wrestler was - surprise, surprise, the British Bulldog.

In his teenage years and beyond, he lived an strangely ambivalent life: On the one hand, he trained as a bareknuckle boxer, on the other hand, he graduated with a degree of marine biology in Liverpool. But this illustrious career didn't seem to be satisfy 'Stu' - he decided to live his dream and become a professional wrestler.

Pre-WWE

He was trained by independent wrestler John Ritchie and WWE veteran Al Snow (the guy with his head). In June 2004, he debuted for NWA UK Hammerlock Wrestling as 'Stu Sanders'. Within a year, he won his first important title as Dropkixx IWC Heavyweight champion. His potential would not go unnoticed.

In development

His talent secured him a tryout at WWE in November 2006 - including playing a small role in a RAW episode as security guy (along with later WWE rival Sheamus). It seems he impressed some higher ups: he was drafted to Ohio Valley Wrestling (the development league for WWE back then) where he managed to win the OVW Tag Team titles together with fellow Englishman Paul Burchill against the Major Brothers (aka Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder). Watch both teams in action (sadly not for the title in this match):

Sanders & Burchill vs The Major Brothers

When WWE decided to move away from OVW to its new developmental league FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling), Sanders was able to win the FCW tag team championship within mere months. This time, his partner was a certain Drew McIntyre. They named their tag team 'The Empire' (reminds you of the stable 'United Kingdom' in WWE '12, doesn't it?). But they lost their titles soon after to The Puerto Rican Nightmares, Eddie Colon (who wrestles as Primo now) and Eric Perez again:

The Empire vs Puerto Rican Nightmares

After the break-up of The Empire and a color commentator run as Lawrence Knight in the beginning of 2009, Sanders finally got a new ring name: Wade Barrett. He once described his new character as "an extension of my dark side".

The first NXT winner

In February 2010, Barrett was an integral part of the first NXT season where he was mentored by no other than Chris Jericho. His first match was against a well-known opponent:

Wade Barrett's NXT debut vs Daniel Bryan

After being strong throughout all episodes, Wade Barrett managed to win the first NXT season, earning a WWE contract and a title shot. But he had planned a lot more ...

The Nexus

7 June 2010: When Wade Barrett entered a WWE ring for the very first time to interfere in the main event between John Cena and CM Punk, he wasn't alone. He brought all other NXT rookies along. They destroyed not only Cena and Punk but each and every WWE official around the ring as well. Afterwards, each rookie hit his finisher on Cena.

Barrett & Friends invade RAW

In the following weeks, the intentions of the 'Nexus' of superstars became clear: They all wanted proper WWE contracts and eventually, they received them after a series of attacks on virtually everybody. Under Barrett's firm control, the Nexus dominated and ravaged the WWE for half a year - Barrett even defeated John Cena who himself became an involuntary part of the heel stable. During this story, Barrett's mic work started getting better and better (also thanks to Cena who had to play an unusual part):

Cena in the Nexus

But sadly, Barrett was constantly denied the big victories: At SummerSlam, he had to make way for SuperCena, and at Survivor Series, Cena was responsible for Barrett not winning the WWE Championship. While this led to Cena being fired, he was able to get reinstated and taking out Nexus in the following week one by one, culminating in burying Barrett's run as Nexus leader - and his main event presence - under a ton of chairs at TLC 2010 ...

From The Corre to the bottom

After being humiliated by CM Punk and losing the support of the Nexus, Barrett went to Smackdown to lick his wounds. He immediately started a feud against The Big Show. In the following week, he formed a new stable named "The Corre" ... yes, Corre. Apparently, it had something to do with copyright issues (officially, Slater was not able to spell the word correctly) yet they went with that illiterate name. Barrett was joined by Ezekiel Jackson and his old Nexus buddies Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel.

Finally, Wade Barrett won his first Championship gold - while he didn't manage to grab a big title, he won at least the Intercontinental Championship from Kofi Kingston. Up until now, it has been his first and only WWE title reign: Enjoy one of his best promos before his match at Capitol Punishment:

Amazing heel promo

Of course, he had to lose his title against his former ally Ezekiel Jackson after this rather controversial speech - that's simple wrestling logic, folks. After The Corre disbanded and Barrett was on its own, things were pretty much uncertain. He lost a feud against Sheamus afterwards.

The Barrett Barrage

In fall 2011, Barrett rose from midcard hell once more. This time, he would fight for himself since he wouldn't accept anyone holding him down again, and it was time to get rid of the "legion of parasites" around him. He then initiated the 'Barrett Barrage' and started an impressive winning streak, first against midcarders, then against some bigger prey. His biggest victory was certainly annihilating Randy Orton's team at Survivor Series 2011, with Barrett hitting his Wasteland on Orton to secure the win. Again, while Barrett dominated at first, Orton ultimately won the feud, thereby putting the Barrett Barrage to a grinding halt.

The injury

On the February 20 episode of RAW, Barrett got injured when him and R-Truth tried to catch Dolph Ziggler. Later and after some brief hope, it became clear Barrett had suffered a partially dislocated elbow which would sideline poor Wade for three to four months, putting an end to Barrett's Wrestlemania dreams.

The future?

At the moment, while the WWE is on the Road to Wrestlemania, Barrett sits at the curb and is forced to watch the WWE highlight of the year - although it is highly unlikely he would have played a bigger part in it anyway.

But his injury could be a chance, too: Maybe he can reinvent himself. Maybe WWE finally realizes the rough Diamond Barrett is. Maybe he will rise from the ashes once more. One thing is for sure - there are not many wrestlers with his presence, his charisma and his promo skills in the WWE these days.

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