A familiar face is returning to WWE this week for a guest announcer role on NXT. Wade Barrett will be joining the NXT announce team for at least this week, according to Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet. It has not been confirmed by WWE yet, but they may choose to keep it quiet until NXT airs tomorrow night. The taping schedule usually sees WWE two episodes of NXT back to back every two weeks at Full Sail University, so Barrett would be part of the taping for this week’s show on Wednesday.
The announce team needs a replacement for at least this week because Mauro Ranallo flew home to his home province of British Columbia, Canada from California recently to attend a family matter. We hope Mauro and his family are doing okay.
Since the global pandemic started in March, Ranallo has been doing NXT commentary from his home in California along with Beth Phoenix, who is at her home in North Carolina. The third person on the team was Tom Phillips in Orlando, but a few weeks ago it was Vic Joseph in Orlando. When Ranallo missed NXT Takeover XXX this past Saturday, it was Joseph, Phoenix and former regular NXT announcer Corey Graves (who is now on Smackdown) on the call. Since Ranallo is likely unable to be part of the broadcast this week, WWE (more specifically, the NXT boss Triple H) likely made the call to get Barrett to fill in on commentary.
The report from Pro Wrestling Sheet notes that it is just a one-shot deal and that Barrett hasn’t signed a full-time deal to return to WWE. What we don’t know is what WWE will do for NXT the following week because if they tape two episodes tomorrow, they might as well use Barrett both weeks. We don’t know if that’s the plan, though.
Barrett’s most known for being the leader of the Nexus group in 2010 after he won the first season of the NXT “competition show” that WWE aired that year. Barrett would go on to headline several PPVs with the likes of John Cena and Randy Orton, but he did not become a World Champion in WWE. Barrett did go on to win the Intercontinental Title five times, he won King of the RIng in 2015 (that didn’t really go well for him) and the “Bad News Barrett” really got over for him. Sadly, WWE didn’t capitalize on the popularity, kept him as a heel the whole time and it fizzled out from there.
Barrett has been absent from WWE since his contract expired in 2016 and he chose to leave the company. Barrett hasn’t done much wrestling post-WWE. He has done commentary work, though, most recently with the National Wrestling Alliance. Barrett has also done acting work. Barrett recently turned 40 years old and his real name is Stu Bennett and if you check out his Twitter account, he promotes his acting work quite a bit.
The NXT announce team moving forward will likely remain Vic Joseph, Mauro Rannallo and Beth Phoenix, but perhaps Barrett will be used more regularly if he does well. That’s up to him and WWE to decide.
It is also not known if Barrett will return to commentary for the NWA when they resume taping soon.
Analysis: I watched plenty of the NWA product and Barrett was very good in the commentary role. I think it will be pretty easy for him to be successful in WWE because he knows the company well, he likely keeps up the product and I think he’ll be a nice addition to the team.