There were reports over the last month that Wade Barrett was talking to WWE about signing a new deal to join the NXT commentary team and now it’s official. It was reported by WWE that Barrett “officially signed with NXT as part of the commentary team.” Barrett has been filling in on NXT over the past month with Mauro Ranallo moving on from WWE, so now Barrett is full-time on the NXT announce team with play by play man Vic Joseph and Beth Phoenix, who calls the action from her home in North Carolina. Barrett appears at Full Sail University where NXT tapes to join Joseph at the shows. Barrett joked on Twitter about it under his @StuBennett (his real name) account.
— Stu Bennett (@StuBennett) September 16, 2020
The NXT boss man Triple H commented on the deal as well.
Thrilled to be “officially” working together. Wade will add a valuable perspective to the commentary table and add insight from his years of in-ring experience each week on #WWENXT. #WeAreNXT@StuBennett https://t.co/J9ekxxftlM
— Triple H (@TripleH) September 16, 2020
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, it was revealed that Barrett agreed to a one-year deal with the option to extend the deal with WWE. It’s likely just a deal to be an announcer since Barrett, who is 40 years old, stopped wrestling in 2016 when his WWE contract expired.
Barrett referenced his “Bad News” Barrett name in talking about how this is good news:
“I hope this lasts for a long time, that’s our intent, so there is no bad news to share, but never forget, there is always a little bad news up my sleeve.”
Barrett also spoke about the vision of the NXT commentary team while also praising the talent on NXT:
“Our aim is to be different, a little more unique than the other WWE programming. We don’t want to be a carbon copy of what you hear on Raw or SmackDown. I’ve known Beth for years, and she is incredibly talented, and I am just getting to know Vic. I’m excited to learn from and work with both of them, and I’m really excited to develop this into a really tight unit.”
“This isn’t a developmental brand. I’ve followed the careers of The Undisputed Era, Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, and Rhea Ripley for a long time. There are so many up-and-comers, and NXT is a destination where you can see people turn into stars. Bronson Reed is a powerhouse and reminds me of a young Mark Henry. Coming from England, I might be a bit biased, but I can’t wait to see Ridge Holland’s rise into a megastar. He has all the potential in the world. I’m also especially excited to call Shotzi Blackheart on a weekly basis. She is going to be a massive star. The opening match-up tonight between Shotzi and Io Shirai will be fantastic, so make sure to get there nice and early to watch.”
Barrett explained that while he is physically doing well, he wants to focus on commentary at this point in his career.
“Pro wrestling has always been a true love of mine, especially commentary. Physically, I feel 100%. My body feels incredibly good. I’m not doing commentary because I had a career-ending injury. I want to focus on commentary because I’m passionate about it. That’s not to say I won’t pull the boots back on at some point, but commentary is my focus and I am extremely excited about it.”
“I am as passionate, as motivated, and as excited to be in the NXT broadcast booth as I ever was to be in the ring. I can’t wait for the next few months and the next few years. I am thrilled to share the stories of the stars of NXT, and I am very grateful for the chance to entertain people every week. I am so excited for this new role.”
Barrett also commented on rumors that he may be part of the Retribution group that appears on Raw, although you can tell this comment was a bit tongue in cheek.
“My focus is on commentary and NXT. But you know what, I’m not going to kill that Retribution rumor. My Twitter hasn’t stopped blowing up since they first appeared. People seem to be happy accusing me of being under that mask, so I’ll let them carry on.”
The interview also covered Barrett talking about doing commentary work earlier in his career as part of the FCW development brand, working with the NWA and more.
You can check out Barrett on NXT commentary tonight and for at least the year. Let’s hope it lasts a lot longer than that.
TJR Thoughts: Barrett is a great fit. It’s a smart hire. I’m glad he’s enjoying it and I’m looking forward to hearing him on NXT on a regular basis going forward.