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Interview Highlights: Stu “Wade Barrett” Bennett on Life After Wrestling, Losing Passion in WWE, Bad News, and More

Stu Bennett, formerly known as Wade Barrett to WWE fans, sat down with Sports Illustrated’s “Extra Mustard” and gave an interview on his life after wrestling among other topics.  You can read the full interview at this link, but here are a few highlights:

On Losing his Passion for Pro Wrestling:

“I’ve had a lifelong passion, and really obsession, with professional wrestling since I was a very small kid.  That passion never left me. I was always inspired to be involved and be part of good TV and do projects that would inspire me professionally. Unfortunately, in 2015 and again in 2016, I was asked to play a character and perform storylines that I found thoroughly uninspiring. After making repeated attempts to change my career trajectory and having those efforts turned down, my passion for playing the role of a WWE Superstar went away.”

On Fan Reception to him:

“The best thing about being a pro wrestler was having that fan base behind you.  The fans never, ever stopped inspiring me. What stopped inspiring me was the fact that the material that I was performing on screen wasn’t something that I found interesting. If I don’t enjoy it and I don’t have a passion for it, then I can’t see how anyone else watching it could enjoy it. If you look back at my career in 2015 and 2016, most people would struggle to pinpoint anything that they thought was good. There simply weren’t those moments, and I’m aware of that as much as anybody. I’m aware when it’s not entertaining because I’m the guy right in the middle of it. That wasn’t the only issue—it wasn’t purely a creative thing, there were other issues going on behind the scenes between me and WWE, but that was the most obvious one.”

On “Bad News Barrett” and enjoying that character:

“‘Bad News’ Barrett was a really fun time.  The reactions from the crowd I was getting were really about my speaking and my portrayal of a character rather than my in-ring work. You can even go back to the Nexus era, when I was cutting promos every single night. People were really hanging on my every word, and I was really dictating a lot of the shows that we were doing. I’ve always had that confidence in my performance ability and my ability to speak in character. One of the most exciting parts of the Nexus and ‘Bad News’ Barrett eras were I had a lot of influence in the character and I had a lot of influence in how I was going to portray myself.”

On “King Barrett” being a very WWE-controlled character:

“When I became King Barrett, the influence I had in the character was taken away. I was told, ‘This is your outfit, and here is your promo that you have to say word-for-word.’ Any time I tried to tweak the storyline because I thought it wasn’t working, or because it wasn’t me, I was denied. The lack of control over my career reduced my passion more than anything.”


About Bill Wentz (1543 Articles)'s Senior Columnist, writing with the site since 2009 and a lifelong wrestling fan dating all the way back to the early Wrestlemania years. As a strongly opinionated fan, you can get my thoughts regularly on Ring Rap Audio and Around the Ring on Thursdays, as well as in "Wentz's Blog" in print. Look for my live show reports as well for MMA, WWE, ROH, and more. Outside of wrestling, I have a strong obsession with trucks, winning awards statewide with a truck dubbed the "Brahma Bull Edition." Interact with me on Twitter @Bill_SoonerFan or by email at

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