Wade Barrett On His New NXT Commentary Deal, Shotzi Blackheart, Leaving WWE Before, & More

As noted earlier, Wade Barrett has officially signed with WWE to work as a full-time member of the WWE NXT announce team. He will call the show each week with Vic Joseph and WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix. Barrett spoke with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated and revealed that he has signed a one-year contract, which includes an option to extend the partnership. Barrett said he hopes the gig works out for a long time. He also referenced his old “Bad News Barrett” gimmick, joking that there could always be some “bad news” up his sleeve.

“I hope this lasts for a long time, that’s our intent,” Barrett said of the new one-year deal with an option to extend the partnership. “So there is no bad news to share, but never forget, there is always a little bad news up my sleeve.”

Barrett said he, Phoenix and Joseph aim to be more unique than the other WWE commentary teams.

“Our aim is to be different, a little more unique than the other WWE programming,” Barrett said. “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.”

Barrett is not ruling out a return to the ring, but he talked about being passionate for commentary. He also noted that the neck injury he left WWE with in 2016 has since healed.

“When I left in 2016, I was emotionally burnt out and beat up,” Barrett said. “I knew I needed to do some projects away from pro wrestling, but this has always been my passion. And even when I needed some time away, I still found myself looking at results online and then checking out the show on TV. 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.”

Barrett also noted that he had a “fantastic experience” working with the NWA, following his debut on commentary this past December. He planned to sign a long-term deal with the NWA, but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented that from happening. Barrett also revealed that it was Triple H who called him to work NXT commentary earlier this year, noting that this is the ideal role for him. Barrett praised NXT as WWE’s third brand, and gave a nod to stars like The Undisputed Era, Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Rhea Ripley, Bronson Reed, Ridge Holland, NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai, and Shotzi Blackheart, who he’s excited to call each week.

“This isn’t a developmental brand,” Barrett said. “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 expressed gratitude for the opportunity to return to a high-profile role after being away for four years.

“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,” Barrett said. “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.”