Hello everybody, it’s your friendly neighbourhood JeriKane, and welcome back to the Hidden Gems series. Today, we’re going back in time to 2014, and an episode of Monday Night RAW. In an era when The Authority was running rampant, The Shield was exploding, and Roman Reigns’ big push was in its very early stages, we had a thriving mid-card scene away from all the drama and despair in the main event, with the centerpiece of that scene at the time being a man named Bad News Barrett. Now, Barrett had been at or near the top of the WWE at this point for about four years, which during that time saw him pick up wins against the likes of John Cena, Randy Orton, and Daniel Bryan. However, he was never quite able to get over that last little bump in the road to see him reach true main event status, for one reason or another. He was an amazing
However, he was never quite able to get over that last little bump in the road to see him reach true main event status, for one reason or another. He was an amazing heel but never could get the WWE title or a Money in the Bank contract. He was always popular as well, but never quite as much as he was when he became the “Bad News Barrett” character on The JBL & Cole Show in the summer of 2013. While out with an injury, Barrett truly embraced and became this character and gained popularity with it online, to the point that when he returned to WWE TV in December 2013, he had his name changed from “Wade Barrett” to Bad News Barrett, complete with a podium to boot. He would show up during the night and deliver “bad news” to superstars before and after their matches. Once Barrett returned to the ring full-time in April 2014, he was off and running, with a successful, popular gimmick, and he quickly won the Intercontinental Championship from Big E at Extreme Rules in 2014.
Meanwhile, everybody’s favourite loser Dolph Ziggler wasn’t having the best time in his career, going from the absolute highs of winning the World Heavyweight Championship in April 2013 to the concussion that ultimately took that title away from him. By the end of 2013, he was losing to Fandango, and by February 2014 he was wrestling on Superstars seemingly every week. After WrestleMania XXX however, things would pick up ever so slightly for the Zig-Zag Man, as he would become one of the competitors in the 2014 Money in the Bank Ladder Match. It would be around this time where he and Barrett would collide head-on, for an epic encounter for the IC title on RAW. Two superstars who were better than the company treated them, looked to prove yet again to management that they belonged at the top of the card. In a way, this match was kind of a launching pad for Ziggler, as he would go on to win the IC title a few months later at SummerSlam, and would even reach his (in my opinion) career high with a star-making performance at the Survivor Series later that year. While for Barrett, it would be the last time he would truly be seen as a legitimate threat, as he would soon after go down with an injury that kept him out of action until early 2015. Despite winning the Intercontinental Championship back as soon as he returned (from Ziggler no less), he was no longer treated as a big deal, being part of comedy angle after comedy angle, until ultimately he was sentenced to career-death with the “King Barrett” gimmick, after winning the King of the Ring tournament in 2015.
This Hidden Gem serves as a reminder of what Ziggler and Barrett could do in the ring when given the chance to really go out there and tear the house down. With Barrett seemingly done with active competition, and with Ziggler all but gone from the WWE, we may never get to see these two men go at it again. So, let’s get into this match, and enjoy it together because it’s a treasure. Or should I say, gem? Wink wink.
Bad News Barrett makes his entrance first, and the pyro display he got was quite cool. Rest in peace pyro. He then gets on the mic and calls Dolph Ziggler’s ego huge, and then says that after he beats Dolph tonight, Zig-Man will have to change his name, just like Washington D.C.’s “racist, constantly losing, NFL team.” I have no idea what that’s in reference to as I don’t watch or particularly care for sports. Regardless, Barrett’s laugh afterwards made me laugh, so I’m doing alright. Back from the break and out comes Dolph Ziggler to absolutely zero reaction, which is a hilarious contrast to Ziggler being hyped as hell on the entrance ramp. Don’t worry Dolph, that’ll change by the end of the year. Your crowd reactions, I mean. They’ll be great. Your enthusiasm and will-to-live, on the other hand, will be gone in about a year. Some poor WWE camera man likely got fired that night after he zoomed in on a crowd sign that said: “Ziggler is money.” Of course I agree, but after all these years, I don’t think WWE does, and they’re who matters here. Ziggler says he “knows what time it is” which is great because I don’t. If I had to guess, I’d reckon this match probably went on at around the half way mark on the show. Anyways, Justin Roberts does the introductions (after their entrances, which makes this match feel like an even bigger deal), and we’re off and to the races.
Michael Cole reminds us to use the hashtag “ICTITLE” to discuss this match on Twitter. Maybe I’ll do it, Cole. It’ll be three years too late, but I might just do it. Barrett is super aggressive right out the gate, with some big forearms to Ziggler’s back, followed by some kicks to the gut in the corner. Ziggler gets choked on the top rope but fights back with some punches. He then attempts a sneaky schoolboy pin for a two count. He follows that up with a beautiful dropkick (not as good as Maven’s though), for another two count on BNB. Ziggler gets some more minor offence in, before rag dolling to the outside after a clothesline from Barrett. BNB sends Ziggler face first into the ring apron (the hardest part of the ring, if you didn’t know), then sends him inside to get a two count, all the while the crowd is chanting “Baaad News.” Barrett locks Ziggler in a few different submission holds until Ziggler fights out, and now the crowd is chanting “Ziiiiiggler.” These damn fans are just supporting whoever is in control. Despicable, I say. Ziggler with a back elbow, and then a huge running crossbody, followed by a 10-punch in the corner, then he finishes off that flurry with a neck breaker.
JBL is shouting at Dolph to cover Barrett and it’s quite funny. JBL can be a good commentator sometimes. It’s not often, but when JBL does something great, it’s fucking great. More often than not though, he’s just kinda there, trying to string words together. Ziggler tried for a famouser but he got caught with a Winds of Change side slam. That move is really awesome. I don’t think anybody does it in WWE these days though. I’d say the closest we have is Baron Corbin when he does the Deep Six, which in itself is also an amazing, beautiful move. It looks something like a pretty dove at sea. A majestic bird in the wild. Well, now I want to see a recreation of the No Mercy 2007 PPV poster, but this time with Big Breakfast holding the bird in his hands. Wade News Barrett went for the cover after that Winds of Change, but only gets a two count. ‘Cause of course, pretty moves don’t put wrasslers away. See also: Deep Six, Blue Thunder Bomb, Kevin Owens’ frog splash. Wade Barrett sets up Ziggler for the Wasteland (dope name, decent enough move), but Ziggler escapes and hits a Zig-Zag. All the while Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler are talking about, I believe, football teams. Dolph couldn’t take advantage, which allowed time for Bad News to roll out of the ring. Smart man, that Barrett.
We head to a commercial break, but DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW ALL THE ACTION LIVE ON THE WWE APP AVAILABLE ON ITUNES AND GOOGLE PLAY. They didn’t really say that. I kind of hoped they would, but they didn’t. Sad face. We return from the break to see Ziggler attempting to murder Barrett with repeated elbow drops to the chest. Look away, Jerry. Look away. Ziggler gets a two count as Wade News kicked out of death. BNB again rolls to the ropes and hits Ziggler with a shoulder to the gut. Barrett then chucks Ziggler to the outside and proceeds to hit that running Cactus Jack elbow drop from the apron to the floor. I forgot he used to do that. I love it, Maggle. Heart eyes. Barrett rolls Zig Man back into the ring for, you guessed it, a two count. We follow that up now by taking a trip to rest hold city. This bus stop doesn’t last long, however, as Ziggler gets out, but he gets kicked in the face for his efforts. The story of his career. Another day, another two count. Barrett heads to the top rope, but Ziggler quickly jumps up and hits him with an X-Factor. Zig Zag goes for the cover and gets a two count. This Washington D.C. crowd is really into this match now, as am I. Barrett attempts a powerbomb, to no avail as Ziggler punches at him until Barrett turns it around into another Wasteland. This time, he connects! Yet Ziggler kicks out at two! God damn, this is legitimately hype.
Barrett has a fit in the ring because he couldn’t get the job done there. Stay on him, Wade. BNB inverts the elbow pad, you know what that means. BULL HAMMA as JBL would say. Dolph Ziggler, on the other hand, says not today, as he gets out the way, and hits a famouser for another two count. I can’t remember Ziggler ever actually beating anybody with that move. His dad obviously did it better. He won matches with it. Ziggler went for another Zig-Zag, but Wade News Barrett was able to hold onto the ropes. Zigs then grapevines him for a pin fall, but it’s not enough as Barrett kicks out again. Ziggler then jumps into a fucking epic Bull Hammer by Barrett, and that’s all she wrote. Like JBL said on commentary, count to twenty, because this one’s over.
Match Rating: 4 gems
That folks, was easily one of the best TV matches of the last 5 years. It was perfect, it had a nice beginning, and then kept slowly and slowly building until that god damn amazing ending. There was literally nothing wrong with this match. No botches (which is surprising, considering Ziggler attempted and eventually hit a famouser in this match), no blown spots, nothing. Just pure, amazing, built-for-television wrestling. By the end of this match, they had the crowd in the palm of their hand. I had absolutely no doubt in my mind when I gave this match a four gem rating. Hell, it could even be considered five gems if you’re not too uptight about your top tier rating (which I may or may not be). This match was also definitely more memorable than anything that happened at the Money in the Bank PPV that followed it, in my opinion. It’s a shame that Barrett got hurt when he did because these two likely would have had some classics at SummerSlam and Night of Champions later in the year. Either way, I’m just grateful we had this one match, and damn was it good. A++, my friends. This is a must-watch.
Next week on the Hidden Gems series, we’ll be going back to 2015 for some more women’s wrestling action. Until then, I am JeriKane, and this was a Hidden Gem. See you next time.