KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Another chapter in the heated rivalry between WWE NXT alums Justin Gabriel and Wade Barrett is written as Gabriel won a high-stakes battle royal and challenged The Bare-Knuckle Brawler for the Intercontinental Championship.
Justin Gabriel won the battle royal to determine the No. 1 contender for the Intercontinental Championship
Following Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett’s defeat at the hands of R-Truth on Raw, it appeared as though Barrett’s momentum since reclaiming the title 24 hours after losing it at WrestleMania was coming to a screeching halt. On WWE Main Event, The Bare-Knuckle Brawler kicked off the evening by acting as though he wasn’t concerned about any of the battle royal participants. His nonchalant attitude quickly changed when he was interrupted by The Great Khali — who then proceeded to enter the contest.
Barrett watched the action from the locker room area as Khali, Justin Gabriel, The Usos, 3MB, Santino Marella, Primo, Epico, Yoshi Tatsu and Alex Riley tried to be the last Superstar left standing and earn an immediate opportunity for the title. Although former World Heavyweight Champion The Great Khali was certainly the biggest threat, the other Superstars in the battle managed to remove The Punjabi Playboy from the battle fairly early.
As the field began to thin out, the excitement from the WWE Universe inside Knoxville’s Thompson-Boling Arena mounted. Following the shocking elimination of former U.S. Champion Marella, Gabriel managed to stave off elimination by Drew McIntyre, only to skin the cat and pull the former Intercontinental Champion to the floor below. As the South African Superstar regained his footing inside the squared circle, Primo charged forward but Gabriel’s quick reflexes allowed him to secure the victory by countering Primo’s attack, resulting in the Puerto Rican Superstar tumbling to the floor below.
Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett def. Justin Gabriel
Justin Gabriel and Wade Barrett share a history with each other dating back to their time as Rookies on WWE NXT season one. Both Superstars have competed against one another many times, including earlier this year on WWE Main Event. With momentum in his favor and the stakes higher than ever before, however, Gabriel was set on shifting the course in this heated rivalry.
Feeding off the energy from his impressive battle royal victory, the South African highflier’s initial offense was fast-paced and effective. Having been both an ally and opponent of Barrett, Gabriel was well aware that his onslaught had to be constant.
Unfortunately for Gabriel, though, he could not match the strength and resilience of The Barrett Barrage and the two Superstars engaged in another back-and-forth contest that has become the staple of their rivalry. Gabriel nearly pulled off a major upset on more than one occasion, but when the Intercontinental Champion found an opportunity, he seized it and grounded his South African nemesis with a powerful Bull Hammer elbow to retain the title.