Stu Bennett, who wrestled under the name Wade Barrett while in WWE, is the most recent guest on the Talk is Jericho podcast with pro wrestling legend and Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho.
While he is currently a major part of the DEFIANT wrestling promotion in the UK, Bennett is a former five-time WWE Intercontinental Champion who spent more than six years competing on the company’s main roster. In May 2016, after wrapping up his program with the now-defunct League of Nations faction, it was announced that “Bad News” would be leaving WWE after opting not to renew his expiring contract.
During the interview, Bennett talked with Jericho about burning out on the road with WWE for so many years, and how he actually related to many of the stories told in Jericho’s multiple autobiographies in between his many stints with the company.
“I was burned out on the road. When you start on the road everything’s new, everything’s fresh, and you don’t care that you’re away from home for 275 nights a year. And you’re constantly exhausted and beat up, and even if you’ve got bad booking or something like that it’s all fine because you’re living this amazing experience.”
“After I’d been up there several years I kind of got to the point where even the little things were irritating me. The travel was really killing me. It seemed to be that every Raw and every Smackdown, every Monday and Tuesday I’d get to the arena and I’d be so disappointed when the script of the show came out. Every single week it was like, ‘man I don’t want to do this.’
“I would plead my case to people in the creative team or management about doing something different, or tweaking it this way. It just seemed like whatever I was doing, I was banging my head against a brick wall. It got to the point where it felt like Groundhog Day.”
“My contract was running up, and I’d signed a pretty long contract after the Nexus deal. They got me on a pretty long contract there, and that was just coming to a head, so they’d approached me a couple of times about re-signing and extending, and coming up with a new deal. It hadn’t even gotten to the point of negotiating, I just explained to them, ‘I need to get out of here, this is killing me. I need to go do something else for awhile and get away from pro wrestling.’ Which is essentially what I did. It wasn’t some master plan to go and do something else. I just knew, whatever I was doing I needed to get away from WWE. At least for awhile.”
“It wasn’t just in terms of the creative that I wasn’t happy with. There was some stuff behind the scenes, I had fallen out with a couple of people in the talent relations and management department. It was just, ‘okay this is all coming together now, and with my contract coming up I just need to get away.’ And that’s how it all shook out.”
Bennett also vividly recalls the night he stormed off the set of WWE Smackdown, packing his bags and driving out of the arena after an argument with a member of talent relations.
“I went into the building that day, and I knew I was kind of tying up loose ends at that point. There was one big issue that I had kind of been banging heads with talent relations on for a long time, and it kind of came to a head there, that day. We get there at 2 o’clock, and around about 3 or 4 o’clock I end up having this big blowup with talent relations there, which looking back is all very silly, but we had this blowup.”
“I get really angry, they get really angry and I’m not on the show anyways so at that point I was like, ‘you know what? I’m just gonna grab my bags and go home. I am done.’ This is basically me leaving WWE. It was a pretty stressful moment. Obviously I was angry, I was mad, so I want and grab my bags, went straight to my car, slammed my bags in the car and started driving up that ramp.”
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Bennett has a new movie coming out called Vengeance where he plays an ex-soldier turned mercenary on a path of revenge after the murder of his best friend. He’ll also be the UK host of the next season of Netflix competition series Ultimate Beastmaster, which is interesting because the U.S. host for the upcoming season is CM Punk!
Make sure you check out Jericho’s entire interview with the former “Bad News” Barrett on iTunes, by following the link above, or wherever else you typically find your podcasts.