Everybody grimaces, and rightly so, when Bad News Barrett comes on TV. Terrible material, terrible delivery, terrible response.
But it’s not a terrible idea.
Bad News Barrett is so typical of WWE. Take a gimmick that could be good, script it poorly, rush it out there, and then blame the performer when it doesn’t work.
Barrett’s character has something memorable. Something easily repeatable: “…I’ve got some BAD NEWS.” That’s key to any gimmick. I just did it on Toronto radio regarding the selection of Canada’s Olympic hockey team: “You’ve got more resources than any hockey nation…but I’m afraid I’ve got some BAD NEWS.” I got a bigger pop than Wade Barrett has, at least so far.
So, how could Barrett’s gimmick be better? That’s the question to ask. He has a solid look, and he’s not bad in the ring. How could his gimmick improve?
One flaw was preparation. When you script a gimmick like Bad News Barrett, you should have 10 monologues in the can that are KILLER. You should know – before that gimmick ever goes in front of a camera – that you have 10 monologues that are funny/biting, and will get the character off to a solid start.
Instead, I bet they write for Barrett on a week-to-week basis, which means it’s jammed in among the preparation for the overall show. Assembly line. Get it out of the way and move on. That’s a sure formula for mediocrity. Or worse.
They’ve should have had pre-taped vignettes for Barrett. Imagine a hospital emergency room. A woman squeals, “My sister! How is my sister?” Pan back to the doctor, and it’s Barrett: “I’m afraid I’ve got some BAD NEWS.” Freeze-frame. Post the graphic: #BadNewsBarrett. Imagine an NFL locker room. “Coach, did I make the team?” Pan back to the coach, and it’s Barrett. “I’m afraid I’ve got some BAD NEWS.” Freeze-frame. Post the graphic.
Another flaw is something that victimizes every WWE performer and show: Those who write for WWE just aren’t funny. Talk about BAD NEWS…
WWE is fond of thinking it competes with movies, TV sitcoms, etc. To a degree, that’s true – although you’ve still got to appeal to the basic fake wrestling fan, and WWE doesn’t do that as much as it should. That’s why more people used to watch wrestling, than watch wrestling.
But if you think you compete with those entities, you need great material. You need better writers. You need a good sense, for example, of what is and isn’t funny, and WWE has no idea. You need a good sense of what is and isn’t biting, and WWE has no idea. Triple H is a microcosm. He thinks he’s funny, but he’s not. In entertainment, that’s the worst combination possible.
WWE still does serious very well. That’s why Brock Lesnar can silence an arena. He’s easily identified as a real-life bad-ass, and they know what to do with him.
Wade Barrett, not so much.
Will Barrett’s character improve? Will his career improve? I’m afraid I’ve got some BAD NEWS…
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX