The NXT big thing
We chat to British sensation Wade Barrett about his NXT win and his plans for WWE domination.
Last Updated: 11/06/10 9:56am
British sensation Wade Barrett is set to take the WWE by storm after winning the inaugural season of WWE NXT.
The well-built Brit with a strong bare-knuckle fighting background saw off seven other contenders to win WWE NXT and claim a WWE contract and a championship match at a forthcoming pay-per-view event.
Confident and eloquent, Barrett isn't afraid to speak whatever's on his mind and he spoke to skysports.com shortly after his NXT victory.
He told us all about his experience working with mentor Chris Jericho and spoke about his secret plans to cash in his title shot.
Barrett also spilled the beans on his finishing move, the Superstars he'd like to come up against - and England's chances of World Cup glory this summer!
skysports.com: Congratulations on winning the first series of WWE NXT. Were you surprised or did you fully expect to win the contest?
WADE BARRETT: Pretty much from the beginning I was confident that I was the best of the eight rookies on there. I had the most complete package and I felt I was probably the closest of the rookies to being a WWE Superstar. When it comes to the voting from the Pros, I wasn't sure how they were going to go. There could have been some sort of strategic voting with people wanting to get certain guys out so their rookie could win, so I was never 100 per cent.
Also the guy I was up against in the final, a guy called David Otunga, would have brought a lot of publicity to WWE by winning because he has a pop star wife in Jennifer Hudson. I thought maybe that might come into play and cost me a victory. But that didn't happen and I was pretty thrilled with the win.
skysports.com: Other than yourself, who did you feel were the stand-out competitors on NXT?
WADE: I think Otunga, in terms of his charisma and personality, was a standout. In terms of in-ring ability I was very impressed with Daniel Bryan and Justin Gabriel, who was the only rookie to beat me in the course of the show. He's got some very flashy moves, a lot of kids like that sort of thing, and I was impressed with his abilities in there. He was a very tough competitor. But I think in terms of the whole package, I was head and shoulders above all of them.
How much did you learn from your NXT mentor Chris Jericho?
WADE: Chris was a really good influence for me. He was very quick to pick up on the things he was doing in matches and on the microphone and the things I needed to work on. He really stressed the importance of how I needed to be strong in every single aspect of what we do. Not just in-ring work, not just on the microphone, not just how I look, not just my personality but everything as a whole. He stressed to me from the beginning that I needed to be strong in every area and when you compare me to the other rookies that were on the show, every one had one glaring weakness apart from me. The fact that I worked on all those areas is what pushed me through to victory.
Do you feel the NXT format is a better way of getting noticed rather than being immediately sent to Raw or Smackdown?
WADE: In the majority of instances, NXT is better. The season we had ran for 15 weeks, which basically gave eight brand new guys a guaranteed 15 weeks of TV for one hour a week. I don't think there's ever been guys debuted in the history of WWE that have had that kind of exposure and that kind of link with seasoned veterans like the WWE Pros. The exposure levels we got are unprecedented and as a result we're all bigger names than we would have been had we been regular guys on Raw or Smackdown, beating some guys up for a couple of weeks.
Now that you have gone through the NXT process, would you like to be a mentor on a forthcoming series of the show?
WADE: Yeah. One day I'd definitely like to go back and be one of the Pros. I've got a few things in the pipeline at the moment that will probably keep me away from being able to do that and I obviously need to build up my experience levels. But certainly one day I'd like to go back to the show and help some other young guy out - and hopefully continue my winning streak on that show!
Not only have you been awarded a contract, you will also receive a title shot at an upcoming pay-per-view. Which championship do you have your eye on?
WADE: That's top secret at the moment. I'm discussing things with Jericho as I speak. We don't want to let the cat out of the bag in terms of which one we're going to go for - or which PPV we're going to cash it in on - but you can be pretty certain that when I do cash it in it's going to be a win for Wade Barrett.
Which brand would you like to appear on?
WADE: I appeared on Raw this week with the rest of the NXT rookies when we invaded the show. We're pretty set on heading to Raw at the moment, but that might change. We haven't made a final decision because technically we weren't supposed to be there. We just showed up. It's probably going to be Raw at the moment, but that's subject to change.
You took on John Cena on Raw. How much of a buzz was it to get in the ring with somebody like him?
WADE: It was a huge moment when I wrestled him seven weeks ago in a Beat the Clock challenge. We lasted five minutes and just to be in the ring with a guy like John Cena after all he's achieved and the kind of reaction he gets from the crowd was a pretty incredible feeling. It's something I've aspired to get to for a long time, so to be suddenly thrust into that position and to have to take on pretty much the best in the WWE was a great moment. It was a losing effort for me unfortunately, but I think I did enough in that match to show I've got a lot in my arsenal. Given a bit more time and seasoning I can be a real threat to some of the top guys in the WWE
Which of those top guys are you most looking forward to getting in the ring with?
WADE: One guy I'd like to take on is the Undertaker. He's pretty much been one of the top guys for the entire time I've been watching the WWE. When I was 10-years-old I used to watch him and be in awe of him, so I'd definitely like to take him on.
Triple H is another one I'd definitely like to go for and there's Drew McIntyre from Scotland and Sheamus from Ireland. They're guys I used to wrestle in the UK independent scene before I got to WWE, so I'd like to take those two on in the big stage as well.
There is somewhat of a British and Irish invasion in WWE at the minute. What does that say about the strength of wrestling this side of the Atlantic?
WADE: The independent scene in the UK is struggling with a lack of investment. I think it's always going to look like the poor relation of WWE, by virtue of the fact the WWE is by far the strongest player in the world of sports entertainment. The product the WWE put out is so far ahead of anything else on the market, so people are naturally disappointed when they show up to see an independent company. That's always going to be against them.
But in terms of the talent in the UK, I know there's some real good talent out there and some real good performers. You just have to be able to look past the surroundings and the lack of pyro and that sort of stuff. If you're going to go to an independent stuff, just enjoy the in-ring stuff.
Have you got an official name for your finisher yet and when will you get this entrance music that you were promised?
WADE: The finisher is called The Wasteland - it's named after the site of the majority of my bare-knuckle fights when I was starting out in the wastelands of Europe.
In terms of the music I won three months ago... it's been a real pain trying to get it sorted. They came up with some music for me shortly after I won the talk competition on NXT and they sent the music through to me. To be honest it was pretty bad, it didn't suit me or my character so I sent it back and told them to work on some new stuff. I know the studio has been really busy writing a score fro a new WWE film so it's on the back-burner a little bit. Hopefully it should be sorted in the next two to three weeks.
And finally as an Englishman, you must have your eyes on the World Cup. Will you be watching and how well do you think England will do?
WADE: I absolutely will. I'm a huge football fan, I'm a Preston North End fan and a big fan of England as well. I'm rather lucky because I haven't had a day off for about six weeks and rather conveniently my first day off for a long time is on the day of England v USA, so I'll be watching that. I've been trying to get some of the American guys up for watching it but nobody seems particularly interested. I might be watching it on my own somewhere! I'm very excited, I think this could be England's year. Fabio Capello will have the boys working hard and hopefully we'll win the World Cup!
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