As noted earlier, Stu Bennett (former WWE Superstar Wade Barrett) was interviewed this week by Chris Van Vliet.
Here are some highlights from the interview:
Chris Van Vliet asked Bennett “If you hadn’t got injured, what would the path have continued to be for you in WWE?” Bennett said: “Who knows? I was on a real low when I got injured, so, not that there is ever a good time to get injured, but that was as good a time as any. It’s different if you are in the build to WrestleMania and I’m about to take on Roman Reigns in the main event and three weeks before I come down with an injury. That would be disastrous. Right before I got injured in 2012, I got eliminated in a Battle Royal by Santino Marella. I’m a huge Santino fan. He is one of the funniest guys I’ve ever been around and one of the best comedic wrestlers of all time. I genuinely believe that. I think it says a lot about where my career was at that point that Santino was eliminating me from a Battle Royal. I heard people actually say that I was about to get this big run at Money In The Bank. I wasn’t. I was at a real low at that point. It was a good opportunity for me to get away and do something else which fell into my lap.”
Bennett talked about the NWA’s position on not running shows at this time: “Very quickly when this pandemic broke down, everyone got locked down, probably at the end of February or the beginning of March. NWA management came out and said very specifically there are no circumstances by which we will be putting on shows without a crowd. Billy Corgan sees the audience as an integral part of professional wrestling. I agree with him. I’ve seen the stuff other companies are doing. Not to take a shot at them, I just think you lose so much when a fanbase isn’t there. It’s not like a pure sport like football, rugby or soccer where the importance is winning or losing. In wrestling, it really isn’t the most important part as we all know in this day and age. The important part is the entertainment and the emotion that it brings out. It is very difficult to bring out that emotion.”
Was there one specific thing that happened that in WWE that made you say, I’m done. I want my contract to run out? “I think it was probably a period of time of things slowly not going my way. From the very early days of my wrestling career, I always had the carrot dangled and I had this chase and climbed up a ladder and then slowly made more progress. I would say probably around the time of Bad News Barrett, I looked great at the time I got shredded. My catchphrase is over. The fans are reacting to everything I’m doing here. My merchandise was selling for the first time in my career apart from the Nexus shirt. I had the shirt that was the number one seller. My in ring work, I was actually happy with it for the first time ever. I debuted in WWE in 2010 and I was still pretty green. I was only working 6 minute matches in FCW and working with a caliber of guys who were not actually that good on the whole. There were a lot of young green guys. I always felt I was a step behind to say the least when it came to working with a Cena or a Randy Orton in 2010. By 2014, I was that much more experienced. I had my own in ring personality and my matches were very strong. At that point, I felt there was no reason not to pull the trigger on me and move me up to the next level and have me in more main event level spots and build the show to a certain degree around me or my character. When that didn’t happen, Bad News Barrett got completely taken away from me which I thought was a very bad idea for me at the time and I was given the role of the King of the Ring which I didn’t want to do from the word go. I was aware there was no writing backing this up. I felt I was booked into a corner of just a dead end. This wasn’t going to go anywhere. It’s so hard to get over in the wrestling world but when you do get over, you really want to cash in on it and make this count. To have that taken away from me for what I thought was incredibly poor foresight, you give me King of the Ring and then follow King of the Ring up with what i thought was really poor writing and booking. The final straw after I dedicated so much time and effort into progressing in the wrestling world, to see that was my reward, was very disappointing and I became disillusioned and I felt I needed to get out of this.”
Bennett on the rumor that WWE wanted Nexus to return this year: “They called me about it. They made a pitch to me. I hadn’t actually spoken to anybody in WWE for the better part of four years, in management anyway. So, this was the first contact I had pretty much since I left. They had this idea. I didn’t think it was very good. If I was going to go back and do something with WWE again, I expected it to be more impressive than what they were offering me. So, I turned it down. It wasn’t going to work with me. I believe they were still going to do something with Darren (Young) and a couple of others. I don’t believe Ryback got the call. They didn’t want Skip Sheffield back. He was a bit upset about that, I joke.”