With the recent podcast on Talk is Jericho & looking back at his stuff around Summerslam 2010, I got thinking about Wade Barrett's potential.
Back then they weren't quite as bad off for main eventers; Taker was still about, Edge wasn't retired, Jericho was back and Cena & Orton weren't quite as stale as they are now. I suppose the need to look forward wasn't as important then.
Even though he was just in the door, would it have been that bad a thing to get behind Barrett back then? He came in as important and had a huge impact on their first night... Obviously Cena neutered them at Summerslam but I felt it was a strong end to 2010 for Barrett with a title win the only thing missing.
Keeping in mind that I was literally paying almost ZERO attention to the product around the time of the Nexus angle, I think they should have put him over Orton for the title and lead to the payoff of Cena escaping the Nexus at Wrestlemania by winning the title from Barrett. It would seem to be a pretty obvious and natural direction for the storyline to go, and Barrett was literally a guy developed within the system from day one (well, more or less) so it's not like this was a situation where they couldn't trust someone.