He was the winner of the first season of NXT, and he was the former leader of the The Nexus and The Corre. Barrett has won the WWE Intercontinental Championship five times (tied with Triple H and Edge for the fourth-most reigns in history). He also became the twentieth and last winner of the King of the Ring in 2015.
Professional wrestling career
Bennett decided to become a professional wrestler at the age of 21, and was trained by Jon Richie and Al Snow. He made his professional wrestling debut in June 2004, using the ring name "Stu Sanders", as a surprise entrant in a 30-man battle royal held by NWA UK Hammerlock Wrestling. Sanders also performed at numerous Dropkixx Wrestling and All Star Wrestling events, as well as wrestling in Wales for Welsh Wrestling.
World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE
Developmental territories (2007–2010)
Bennett participated in a tryout with WWE in 2007, and signed a developmental contract with them in October. He was assigned to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) under his Stu Sanders ring name, where he was defeated by Ace Steel in a dark match. He later formed a tag team with Paul Burchill and the pair faced the Major Brothers in several matches. On 2 January 2008 Sanders and Burchill defeated Colt Cabana and Charles Evans in the final of a tournament for the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship. Sanders and Burchill held the title for nearly two months before losing it to Los Locos (Ramón and Raúl) in a four-way match also involving The Insurgency (Ali and Omar Akbar) and The Mobile Homers (Ted McNaler and Adam Revolver).
After WWE ended their relationship with OVW as a developmental territory, Sanders was moved to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) with several other wrestlers. On 6 May 2008, Sanders and Drew McIntyre, collectively known as The Empire, defeated The Puerto Rican Nightmares (Eddie Colón and Eric Pérez) to win the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship. They lost the titles back to the Nightmares at FCW's first TV taping on 17 July. The team broke up after the loss, and Sanders began wrestling under his real name before changing it to Lawrence Knight at the 9 October FCW television taping. On 19 February 2009, Knight announced that he was the new FCW commentator, alongside Dusty Rhodes. He became colour commentator due to an injury, in which he tore his Latissimus dorsi muscle and required surgery. In August 2009, Bennett was renamed yet again to Wade Barrett, partially named for Wade Dooley. Bennett describes the character of Barrett as being "an extension of his dark side". He returned to in-ring competition in FCW in December 2009.
NXT; leader of Nexus and The Corre (2010–2011)
It was announced on 16 February 2010 that Barrett would be competing on the first season of WWE NXT, with Chris Jericho as his storyline mentor. His first appearance for NXT was on the inaugural episode of NXT on 23 February, when he acted as Jericho's ring announcer. Barrett made his in-ring debut on the following episode of NXT, defeating Daniel Bryan. On the 13 April episode of NXT, Barrett won the "talk the talk" challenge and was awarded his own custom made entrance theme. On 11 May, Barrett was ranked in first place in the Pros Poll. On the 1 June episode of NXT, Barrett won the overall competition, and a WWE contract, by defeating David Otunga and Justin Gabriel in the season finale. On the 7 June episode of Raw, Barrett was at the forefront of an attack by the NXT rookies, as they interfered in the main event match between John Cena and CM Punk, attacking both competitors, the Straight Edge Society, the announce team, the timekeeper and the ring announcer, before they destroyed the ring area and surrounding equipment. Cena in particular was heavily targeted by the rookies, who hit him with their finishing moves. On the next episode of Raw, Barrett and the other rookies (minus Daniel Bryan) demanded full-time contracts from Raw General Manager Bret Hart, who instead fired Barrett and had the rookies removed from the building. Later in the show the rookies attacked Hart and gave him until the Fatal 4-Way pay-per-view to decide on their contracts. At Fatal 4-Way, the rookies interfered in the main event for the WWE Championship, costing John Cena the championship in the process. The following night on Raw, Vince McMahon fired Hart and announced that a new 'anonymous' General Manager had been hired and the seven rookies received WWE contracts. The group of rookies continued their path of disrupting main events, as they attacked both Cena and McMahon, who had been acting as the referee. The following week, the group was named The Nexus. That same week, Barrett was absent on Raw as his work visa had expired and he had to return to the United Kingdom to apply for a new one. With his visa situation cleared up, Barrett returned the following week. On the 12 July episode of Raw, the Nexus, sans Darren Young, competed in their first match together and defeated John Cena in a six–on–one handicap match. The following week, Barrett made his singles match debut on Raw by defeating Mark Henry. the Nexus continued to feud with Cena and the Raw roster, resulting in a seven-on-seven elimination tag team match at SummerSlam. Barrett was the final member of the Nexus but submitted to Cena, causing the Nexus to lose the match. After Darren Young was exiled from the group and Skip Sheffield was injured, the Nexus faced Cena, Edge, Randy Orton, Sheamus and Jericho in a five-on-five elimination match on the 900th episode of Raw on 30 August. Barrett won the match for his team by last eliminating Orton.
Barrett received his guaranteed championship match from winning NXT at Night of Champions, where he was unsuccessful in a six-pack challenge match for the WWE Championship, despite eliminating Cena. The feud between Cena and the Nexus continued at Hell in a Cell on 3 October, when Barrett defeated Cena to force Cena to become a member of the Nexus. The following night on Raw, Barrett, with the help of the rest of the Nexus, won a battle royal to determine the number one contender to the WWE Championship, when Cena eliminated himself on Barrett's orders. Barrett received his championship match against Randy Orton at the Bragging Rights pay-per-view. After ordering Cena to help him win, Cena interfered in the match causing Barrett to win via disqualification, which meant that Orton retained the championship. The following night, Barrett was granted a rematch at the Survivor Series pay-per-view, and allowed to choose a guest referee. He chose Cena, stating that if Barrett won the match and the WWE Title, Cena would be allowed to leave the Nexus, but if Barrett failed to win the title, Cena would be fired. At Survivor Series, Barrett was unsuccessful in winning the WWE Championship from Orton after Cena pushed him into an RKO by Orton. Cena was fired as per the match stipulation after Survivor Series.
Due to Cena's interference, Barrett received a rematch for the championship the following night on Raw, but was attacked by the fired Cena, costing him the match. After Cena attacked several members of the Nexus over the next few weeks, they demanded that Barrett re-instate him, or be exiled from the group. On the 13 December episode of Raw, Barrett agreed and rehired Cena. As a condition of his rehiring, Cena had to face Barrett in a Chairs match at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view, which Barrett lost.
Barrett made his first appearance since the TLC pay-per-view on the 3 January 2011 episode of Raw, where he confronted CM Punk, who had taken over the leadership of the Nexus in his absence. Punk gave Barrett the opportunity to regain the leadership, stating that if he won a three-way steel cage match involving Orton, Sheamus and Barrett to determine the number one contender for the WWE Championship, Punk would give up the leadership. However, during the match, Punk came down to ringside, attacked Barrett as he was about to win and took off Barrett's Nexus armband, symbolically removing him from the Nexus. Barrett went on to lose the match.
At the television tapings of the 7 January episode of SmackDown the next day, Barrett made his SmackDown debut by attacking The Big Show. The following week he was joined by Ezekiel Jackson and his former Nexus stablemates Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater, who had left the group the previous Monday. The following week the group was named The Corre. Barrett later qualified for the Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship, but came up short after being the first man eliminated by The Big Show. On 22 March, at the tapings of the 25 March episode of SmackDown, Barrett defeated Kofi Kingston to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship. At WrestleMania XXVII, The Corre were defeated in an eight-man tag team match by the team of Kingston, The Big Show, Kane, and Santino Marella. Barrett went on to successfully defend his championship against Kingston on the 22 April episode of SmackDown. On the 6 May episode of SmackDown, Barrett, Gabriel, and Slater attacked Jackson, removing him from the group. On the 13 May episode of SmackDown, Barrett then challenged Jackson to a match for the Intercontinental Championship at the Over the Limit pay-per-view, and Jackson accepted. At the event, Gabriel and Slater attacked Jackson during the match, causing Barrett to lose by disqualification, but Barrett retained his Intercontinental Championship. He would then have to defend his Intercontinental Title against Jackson again on the June 3 episode of SmackDown. During the match, Jackson threw Barrett out of the ring, resulting in Barrett losing by countout, but Barrett still retained his Intercontinental Title as a title cannot change hands via countout. Barrett then instructed the Corre to attack Jackson, but then abandoned Gabriel and Slater, whom Jackson fended off. On the June 10th episode of SmackDown, The Corre dissolved after Barrett, fleeing from Jackson, walked out on Gabriel and Slater in a 6-man tag team match against Jackson and The Usos, causing them to lose the match.
The Barrett Barrage (2011–2013)
At WWE Capitol Punishment, Barrett lost the Intercontinental Championship to Jackson. He invoked his rematch clause against Ezekiel Jackson for the Intercontinental Champion on the 24 June episode of SmackDown, but lost.
On the 1 July episode of SmackDown, Barrett was announced to be one of the participants for the SmackDown Money in the Bank match at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, facing Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Kane, Sin Cara, Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes and Sheamus, which was won by Bryan. On the 22 July episode of SmackDown, Barrett faced Sheamus and both men were counted out. The following week Wade Barrett came to talk about how he was deserved to be Mr. Money in the Bank, Daniel Bryan came out and put him in the LeBell Lock. The following week, he was at commentary during Bryan's match. On the following SmackDown, Barrett attacked Bryan after the latter's loss to Alberto Del Rio. At SummerSlam, Barrett defeated Bryan in a singles match. He then had a short feud with Sheamus, where he lost on three occasions. On September 23 episode of Smackdown, Barrett defeated another former Nexus and Corre teammate, Justin Gabriel.
On the October 21 episode of SmackDown held in Mexico, Barrett dismissed his past alliances with a "legion of parasites", claiming that the only person he needed for him to succeed was himself, and he vowed that the "Barrett Barrage" was beginning. Barrett followed this announcement by beating Daniel Bryan. The next week, he would obtain wins over John Morrison on Raw and Trent Barreta on SmackDown. Barrett's winning streak continued as he and Cody Rhodes defeated the WWE Tag Team Champions Air Boom (Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston) on the October 31 episode of Raw and the November 4 episode of SmackDown when he defeated Sheamus, following interference from Christian.
The following week, after being announced as the Team Captain for the Survivor Series against Team Orton, Barrett defeated Randy Orton. Barrett's winning streak was broken on the November 14 episode of Raw, when he was defeated by Orton via disqualification after Team Barrett attacked Orton. At Survivor Series Team Barrett defeated Team Orton, with Barrett and Cody Rhodes being the sole survivors in the match. On the November 25 episode of SmackDown, Barrett competed in a Fatal-4-Way match against Orton, Rhodes and Daniel Bryan to determine the #1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship which Bryan won. Barrett would continue his feud with Orton by attacking and distracting him during matches. On the December 9 episode of SmackDown, Barrett and Orton were put in two Time to Beat the Clock Challenge matches, with the winner choosing the stipulation for their match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs. Barrett defeated Ezekiel Jackson in 7:53, however, Orton pinned Dolph Ziggler in 7:51 and chose a Tables match. At Tables, Ladders, and Chairs, Orton defeated Barrett after hitting the RKO mid-air with Barrett landing through the table. Barrett and Orton would continue their feud on the December 23 episode of SmackDown, where they engaged in a brawl that ended backstage with Barrett getting hit with a RKO onto a car. This led to a Falls Count Anywhere match on December 30 episode of SmackDown, where Barrett pushed Orton down a set of stairs before exiting through the door. Orton suffered a herniated disc as a result, taking him off television for a number of weeks. After Orton returned from injury in late January 2012, he eliminated Barrett from the 2012 Royal Rumble match.
At Elimination Chamber, Barrett failed to capture the World Heavyweight Championship after being eliminated fourth by Santino Marella. On the February 20 episode of Raw, Barrett suffered an partially dislocated elbow after Big Show threw Dolph Ziggler onto Barrett during a 10-man battle royal, and was thus taken off television.
In August 2012, WWE aired vignettes promoting Barrett's return, showing Barrett fighting at an underground fight club in an attempt to "reignite the flame". Barrett made his return on the September 7 episode of SmackDown, quickly defeating Yoshi Tatsu in a squash match. Following his return, Barrett would go on an undefeated streak, defeating the likes of Justin Gabriel, Tyson Kidd, and various other competitors. Barrett suffered his first defeat since his return to the WWE in a Lumberjack Match against the World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus. He bested Randy Orton on the October 26 edition of SmackDown, but was defeated by Orton in a rematch on the October 29th edition of Raw. Barrett was able to avenge this loss by defeating Orton once again on the November 2nd edition of SmackDown. On the November 5 edition of Raw from Birmingham, Barrett defeated Brodus Clay. The next day, on the November 6 edition of SmackDown, Barrett teamed with Big Show in a tag match defeating Sheamus and William Regal. Barrett would then go on to join team Zigger for Survivor Series 2012 at the behest of Paul Heyman. At the event, Barrett would eliminate Kofi Kingston before being eliminated by the Miz. Despite this, team Ziggler went on to win the match. The following night of Raw, Barrett defeated Kingston again, this time in singles competition after targeting his eye. This earned Barrett a title shot which sets up a match between Kingston and Barrett at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs for the Intercontinental title. At the last Raw of 2012, Wade Barrett defeated Kofi Kingston to become a 2 time IC Champion, and on the January 4th edition of SD, retained the title against Kofi. On April 7, at Wrestlemania XXIX, Barrett lost the IC Championship to The Miz via tapping out to the Figure-Four Leg Lock. The following night on April 8 on Monday Night Raw, Barret won the title back The Miz via Souvenir Elbow, by banging his head on the steel rig post, making him a 3-time Intercontinental Champion. On the May 20th episode of Monday Night Raw, Barrett joined in an unlikely tag team with Fandango to face The Miz and Chris Jericho. With contrasting personalities, Barrett eventually wrestled alone against The Miz and Jericho as Fandango left him to dance with his valet Summer Rae at ringside. Barrett consequently lost the match when he tapped to The Miz's Figure-Four Leg Lock and Fandango fled from the pursuing team of Jericho and The Miz.
On the May 24th episode of Friday Night Smackdown, Barrett came to the ring during The Miz TV show during the opening hour of the night's broadcast. Having no respect for Fandango after his conduct during their losing tag match, Barrett warned Fandango that should they cross paths ever again he would make certain no one ever remembered the name Fandango and that he would shove his teeth down his throat. Then Barrett proceeded to fight with The Miz prior to their official title match for Barrett's Intercontinental Championship. Fandango remained at ringside briefly serving as commentator during the match. Eventually Fandango cost Barrett the match via kicking The Miz in the head causing a disqualification ruling. Although Barrett retained his title, he joined Fandango in an assault on The Miz before turning on Fandango with a surprise Bull Hammer knock-out.
On the Memorial Day edition of Monday Night Raw on May 27, Barrett faced Fandango in a match officiated by The Miz as special guest referee. It resulted in a Skull-Crushing Finale by The Miz on Barrett leading to Fandango pinning Barrett. However the Miz attacked Fandango after the match, mockingly counting a pin by Summer Rae who landed on Fandango during the attack. This continued to fuel the ongoing feud between Barrett, The Miz and Fandango. On the June 10th episode of Monday Night Raw, it was announced by Paul Heyman that Barrett will face The Miz and Curtis Axel in a triple-threat match at Payback for the Intercontinental Championship. On June 17, at Payback, Barrett was pinned by Curtis Axel, after The Miz's finishing efforts, resulting in Barrett losing the title. On the following night on Raw, it was intended for Barrett to have a title rematch until Vickie Guerrero announced a surprise impromptu match involving the returning Christian who went on to defeat Barrett during the opening hour of the show.
Barrett faced several fellow heel wrestlers including Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Jack Swagger, Fandango, Dean Ambrose and Antonio Cesaro in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a World Heavyweight Championship contract at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view which was won by Sandow.
In the weeks leading to SummerSlam, Barrett was involved in a scenario that escalated into a feud with Daniel Bryan. It began when Bryan was attempting to be a "Corporate"-quality contender suitable to challenge for the WWE Championship. At the behest of Vince McMahon, Bryan was to shave his beard as part of his "Corporate Makeover" which Barrett joined in on. He was shave Bryan's beard off during a Raw show but instead was lured into a trap by Bryan and wound up losing his own beard. Later that same week on Smackdown, Barrett faced Bryan in a match carrying an added incentive by Barrett where Bryan could possibly be shaved. Bryan saved his beard while also winning the match. After Bryan's unsuccessful title match at SummerSlam against John Cena, Barrett requested a match with Bryan involving a steel cage during the main event of the August 23 airing of Smackdown which Bryan went on to win.
Bad News Barrett (2013–2015)
After a period of absence from WWE television due to legitimate Work visa issues, he was repackaged by WWE as Bad News Barrett on the Dec 2 Raw, a persona Barrett had assumed on the The JBL and Cole Show; in which he would instill "bad news" upon the WWE Universe, usually from a heightened podium. On the Jan 15 episode of Main Event, Barrett announced he would participate in the 2014 Royal Rumble Match. While the taping of Smackdown recorded January 21 (and aired on the 24th) stated he would still be a participant, he revealed on Twitter that night that he would not be in it. Barrett made his in-ring return the night after WrestleMania XXX, defeating Rey Mysterio. Bad News then went on a short win streak before being entered in an Intercontinental Championship tournament; he bested Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus and finally Rob Van Dam to be crowned Number One contender at Extreme Rules. There, Barrett defeated Big E. Langston to win his fourth title reign as Intercontinental Champion. He then defeated Rob Van Dam at Payback to retain his Intercontinental Championship via pinfall. In the June 9 edition of Raw, he competed in a WWE World Heavyweight Championship Qualifying Match for the Money in the Bank 2014 but failed after a Brogue Kick by Sheamus. However, Triple H put him in the Money in the Bank ladder match for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship contract on the 23 June Raw. The following night at the SmackDown tapings, Barrett separated his shoulder after he was thrown into the barricade by Jack Swagger, so he was pulled from the pay-per-view. Michael Cole subsequently announced that Barrett's injury will require surgery and he will be forced out of action for a number of months, effectively stripping him of the Intercontinental Championship. After a five-month absence, he returned in November at Survivor Series, in a segment on the pre-show. He returned to action on the 29 December edition of Raw, defeating Cesaro and turning face for the first time in his WWE career.
On the first Raw of 2015, Barrett captured his fifth Intercontinental Championship. Barrett was able to walk away from WWE Fastlane as champion, picking up a disqualification victory over the Lunatic Fringe, Dean Ambrose. Despite the victory, Ambrose attacked Barrett and took his Intercontinental Championship hostage. He held his fifth Intercontinental Championship until WrestleMania 31, when Daniel Bryan captured it in a fast and furious Ladder Match. The following week on SmackDown, Barrett nailed Bryan with a Bull Hammer elbow, causing the new champion to lose his match against Sheamus. Barrett was later scheduled to compete against Daniel Bryan at Extreme Rules for the Intercontinental Championship. However, due to Bryan's injury, Bryan was sidelined for the event. Barrett would instead face Neville on the pre-show. Neville won the match after hitting Barrett with the Red Arrow.
King Barrett (2015-2016)
On the Monday Night RAW after Extreme Rules, Bad News Barrett defeated Dolph Ziggler to advance to the semi-finals of the 2015 King of the Ring tournament. The next day on the WWE Network, Bad News Barrett defeated R-Truth in the semi-finals. Then later in the night, Barrett defeated Neville to become the 2015 King of the Ring. He became the twentieth King of the Ring winner in the process. His ring name was also changed to King Barrett following the win. Barrett would face Neville for a third time at Payback. Barrett would lose that match by count-out. Barrett would then enter a feud with R-Truth after R-Truth defeated him via pinfall on Smackdown three days before Elimination Chamber. R-Truth would then eliminate Barrett in the Elimination Chamber match for the vacant Intercontinental Championship at Elimination Chamber, making Barrett the first person eliminated. Barrett would face R-Truth once again in the pre-show to Money in the Bank. Barrett would lose that match by pinfall. On July 4, Barrett and Kane faced Dolph Ziggler and the United States Champion John Cena in the main event of a live WWE Network special in Tokyo, Japan. Barrett and Kane lost the match after Cena pinned Barrett.
He was released from his WWE contract on May 6, 2016.
Following his release, Bennett stated that since he chose not to sign a new contract with WWE in August 2015, his contract was supposed to end in June 2016, but he and WWE agreed to an earlier parting of ways. Bennett planned to take a "break from the wrestling industry", but said he would be "back in the ring when the time is right".
What Culture Pro Wrestling (2017)
Bennett did commentary for What Culture Pro Wrestling during their World Cup events in 2017. On September 30, 2017, Bennett was announced as the on-screen General Manager of Defiant Wrestling, the rebranded What Culture Pro Wrestling.
Defiant Wrestling (2017-present)
After almost a year of inactivity, Bennett returned to professional wrestling when he provided commentary for two What Culture Pro Wrestling (WCPW) events: No Regrets on 29 April 2017 and the Mexican qualifiers for the Pro Wrestling World Cup. On 30 September, Bennett was announced as the on-screen general manager of Defiant Wrestling, the rebranded WCPW.
Bennett was born in Penwortham and lived in Preston until the age of six, when he moved to Wales with his family. He has an older brother named Martin. As a child, Bennett was a fan of "The British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith. He supports Preston North End. Before becoming a professional wrestler, Bennett was a bareknuckle boxer while living in Liverpool. Bennett has a degree in marine biology from University of Liverpool. He worked in a science laboratory and later as a Recruitment Consultant at Venn Group's London Office, whilst training to become a wrestler.
On 15 June 2008, Bennett was arrested in Tampa, Florida and charged with battery on a law enforcement officer (a felony) and obstructing an officer (a misdemeanor). The arrest took place outside of Champps Restaurant and Bar (2223 West Shore Boulevard North) at 2 am. Bennett was released the next day. According to FCW sources, all charges were subsequently dropped by police.
Bennett has two tattoos. The first is a barbwire tattoo on his left deltoid. He later expanded it to cover the entire deltoid. The second is a tribal design directly underneath the former tattoo.
Wade Barrett acts as the main antagonist of the Villain Story in WWE 12's Road to Wrestlemania.
"God Save The Queen" "I'm afraid I've got some bad news!" "Can i have some decorum please!"
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- Backbreaker, sometimes while slingshotting
- Big boot, sometimes to an opponent trapped in the ropes
- Belly to belly suplex
- Diving elbow drop
- Multiple knee lifts to an opponent trapped in the ropes
- Powerbomb, sometimes dropped into a sitout position
- Pumphandle falling powerslam
- Short arm clothesline
- Single underhook followed with punches to the ribs
- Winds of Change (Spinning side slam) 2012–present
- "The Bare Knuckle Brawler"
- "The Bare Knuckle Fighter"
- "The Bare Knuckle Champion"
- "Mr. Bad News"
- "The Jackal"
- "The Pinnacle"
- "His Majesty"
- "The Cosmic King"
- Entrance themes
- "We Are One" by 12 Stones (June 7, 2010 – January 3, 2011; used while a part of The Nexus and in Singles Competition)
- "End of Days" by Jim Johnston (January 14, 2011 – January 27, 2012; used while a part of The Corre and in Singles Competition)
- "Just Don't Care Anymore" by American Fangs (January 29, 2012 – May 15, 2013)
- "Rebel Son" by CFO$ (May 20, 2013 – May 6, 2016)
- "In Control" by Hot Tag Media Works (WCPW; 2017)
Championships and accomplishments
- Dropkixx IWC European Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #109 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2010
- PWI Feud of the Year (2010)- The Nexus vs. WWE
- PWI Most Hated Wrestler of the Year (2010)- as part of the Nexus
- World Wrestling Entertainment
|CM Punk • David Otunga • Husky Harris • Mason Ryan • Michael McGillicutty • Skip Sheffield • Daniel Bryan • Darren Young • Heath Slater • John Cena • Justin Gabriel • Michael Tarver • Wade Barrett|