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WRITTEN RECAP: Talk is Jericho with Stu Bennett on leaving WWE, frustrations with creative and talent relations, if he has an interest in returning to the company, his intense reaction to being in the “worst segment” in Raw history

Talk is Jericho

Release Date: 06/06/2018

Recap by: Caitlin Lavelle

DIRECT LINK TO LISTEN

Timestamps

0:00- Introduction (starts at 0:33)
3:00- Interview starts
7:30- Bennett on leaving WWE
12:15- Bennett on his booking in WWE
14:30- Jericho & Bennett explain the structure of RAW
16:30- Bennett’s last day at WWE
19:10- Bennett on the League of Nations
27:00- Bennett on his wrestling prospects post-WWE
36:45- Ad
39:19- Interview resumes
41:40- Jericho & Bennett on 3/11/2013 Highlight Reel Bomb
48:00- Bennett on Defiant Wrestling (FKA What Culture Pro Wrestling)
54:45- Bennett on returning to WWE
59:20- Bennett on the Bad News Barrett character
1:09:20- Outro

0:00- Introduction (starts at 0:33)

In today’s podcast, Chris Jericho is talking to Stu Bennett, formerly known as WWE’s Wade Barrett. Bennett is currently the on-screen General Manager of Defiant Wrestling. He’s also staring in the movie I am Vengence, which is set to hit movie theaters this Fall, and is providing the UK commentary for this season of the Netflix series Ultimate Beastmaster.

3:00- Interview starts

7:30- Bennett on leaving WWE

Bennett says, “I was kind of burned out on the road. When you start on the road everything’s new, everything’s fresh and so cool, and you don’t care that you’re away from home for 275 nights a year, and you’re constantly exhausted and beat up. Even if you get bad booking it’s fine because you’re living this amazing experience. But after I’d been up there several years I’d kind of gotten to the point where even the little things were irritating me.

“Every Monday and Tuesday, I’d get to the arena and be so disappointed when the script for the show came out. Every week it was, ‘man, I don’t want to do this’. I’d kind of plead my case with people in the creative team or in management about doing something different.

“It just seemed that whatever I was doing, I was banging my head against a brick wall. It got to the point where it felt like Groundhog Day.

“My contract was running up. I’d signed a pretty long contract (post-Nexus), and that was just coming to a head. They’d approached me a couple of times about re-signing or extending. It hadn’t even come to the point of negotiation. I just explained to them, ‘I need to get out of here. This is just killing me. I need to do something else for a while and get away from Pro Wrestling.

“There was some other things. It wasn’t just creative that I wasn’t happy with. There was some other stuff behind the scenes. I’d fallen out with a couple of people in the talent relations team and management department. I’m not going to go into exactly what that was about, but it was just, okay, this is all coming together now to show with my contract coming up, it’s time to get away.”

“(WWE) is literally nonstop, all encompassing, taking over your life. To go from that to suddenly kind of being at my house all day with nothing to do is the strangest thing I’ve ever done. I liken it to a death. You almost mourn this change in your life at first. It took me probably six months to get it out of my system.”

12:15- Bennett on his booking in WWE

Bennett says, “I felt a lot of the times, especially about the Nexus time and for the next couple of years that I was kind of there as a guy they wanted to do something with. I always thought I was in an unfortunate position where there are limited spots to be in those top roles.

“You have your regular guys who are always going to be there, your John Cena, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho who are already filling up those top spots. Then you’ve got those younger guys coming through. Sheamus, Del Rio, Miz. These are the guys that, maybe if one of those guys weren’t there, perhaps I would be a guy who they could slot up there, but the fact that they were going with those guys really left me with no place to go. I felt like I was one of the next in line. They were keeping me on the backburner with Intercontinental Titles and things like that.

“I was kind of in this holding pattern until 2014. In 2015/2016, I felt like despite working harder and attempting to improve my promo, improve my character or improve my physique, not only was I not getting higher, I was actually going backwards in terms of my position on the card.

“For a large period in 2015 and 2016, I was really being used as an enhancement guy. I was being used in the meaningless filler segments of the show, to lose in two or three minutes with no storyline and no buildup.”

14:30- Jericho & Bennett explain the structure of RAW

Jericho says, “There are 16 segments on the show. Obviously 1 & 2, super important, 15 & 16, super important, and whatever the crossover hours are (Bennett later says these are segments 6 & 11). If you’re ever in 4, 9, 14, that’s not a good thing. They are the epitome of filler segments.”

Bennett says, “You would never see a John Cena, a Brock Lesnar, someone of the ilk, they would never be in those spots. Those would be those death segments.

“For me, it genuinely felt like I had been in those spots for a year plus with no light at the end of the tunnel. I knew I was going to get those and having that hanging over you was kind of killing me.”

Bennett says he was still enjoying working at live events even when he was dreading working at TV.

16:30- Bennett’s last day at WWE

Bennett says, “We did WrestleMania in Dallas. We did RAW the next day in Dallas. I got kicked out of the League of Nations that night. I knew, I’m pretty much done here. We’re just going to run out the next few weeks of my contract.

“The next day, we have a Smackdown show at Houston. That Houston building, you go in the door and drive down a giant ramp. I went in the building that day. I knew I was tying up loose ends. There had been one big issue that I had been banging heads with talent relations about for a long time. It kind of came to a head that day.

“Around about three or four o’clock, I ended up having a big blow up with talent relations. Looking back, it was all very silly. I’m not on the show anyway, so at that point I’m like ‘you know what? I’m just going to grab my bags and go home. I’m done’.

“I was angry. I was mad. I slammed my bags in the car, and I start driving up that ramp. I see the light shining at the end of the tunnel to the outside. I’m thinking, ‘It’s freedom.’

“I get to the top of the ramp. Just as I’m about to burst out, a car pulls across in front of me and stops me in my tracks. I look up and it’s you (Jericho), We lock eyes. You flip me the bird, and just keep driving down the tunnel.

“I thought, that was my big goodbye to WWE – getting flipped off by the guy who brought me in, storyline-wise.”

19:10- Bennett on the League of Nations

Bennett says, “They were doing something with Sheamus at the point. He had the Money in the Bank briefcase, and he was pretty cold coming in to the point where he was cashing it in and time was running out. I think the theory was, let’s put some steam behind Sheamus by having this legit faction of guys around him who make him a more credible threat than he was perhaps seen as at the time.

“They put us around (Sheamus) to help him before he had this feud with Roman, then ultimately to make Roman look like he’s conquering these four bad asses.

“In terms of the quality of writing, you’re not much of a threat just because you’re four guys getting your asses kicked each week. I think at one point we had a 4-on-1 match with Roman, and he ended up going over in the match somehow.

“In reality, it’s just so ridiculous. It doesn’t help (Roman) at all. That strong babyface booking can be counterproductive. We were booked so weakly that when he does conquer us, it was just meaningless.”

27:00- Bennett on his wrestling prospects post-WWE

Bennett says he had, “preliminary chats with people in Japan”, and that TNA got in touch with him after he left WWE.

36:45- Ad

39:19- Interview resumes

41:40- Jericho & Bennett on 3/11/2013 Highlight Reel Bomb

Jericho says, “When I came to that back, Vince was like, ‘Oh, that promo was terrible.’ I said, ‘It was bad. It was poorly written. It was s**t.’

“I found out afterwards that Michael Cole on instructions from Vince called it the worst segment in RAW history. The next night on Smackdown, I went out there. I was, no pun intended, stewing. I was just looking at Cole. I went over and ripped the top of the thing off and slammed the desk. I was like, ‘You f—ing asshole!’ He was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ I was like, ‘You mother f—er!’ I kind of roughed him up a bit. I lost my mind.

“Everyone was mad at me. Of course, Vince knows why. I said, ‘Why would you say it’s the worst segment in RAW history?’ Vince said, ‘Well, it was pretty bad.’ I said, ‘Vince, of all the shit you’ve had on this show, and with all the stuff I’ve done on the show, you’re going to call that the worst segment in RAW history?’ He was like, ‘Maybe I overreacted’, and I’m like, ‘Damn right, you overreacted!’ I was so mad.

“Afterwards, I went to apologize to Cole. I was like, ‘I’m sorry, dude.’ They were going to fine me and all of this stuff, and I knew it wasn’t his fault but I couldn’t help myself. I just lost it.”

48:00- Bennett on Defiant Wrestling (FKA What Culture Pro Wrestling)

Bennett says Kenny McIntosh from Inside the Ropes approached him about going on a four-day speaking tour in the UK, where the format would be a storytelling Q & A. Bennett decided to do it. McIntosh asked Bennett if he wanted to participate in a What Culture Pro Wrestling show that fell at the end of that speaking tour, and Bennett agreed to do commentary on the show for two nights.

Drew Galloway (McIntire) and Cody (Rhodes) were on those What Culture shows. Bennett says he had a great experience. A couple of months later, Defiant Wrestling approached Bennett and asked him to fill their General Manager roll.  

Bennett says, “It’s very little time commitment. I do four or five days’ worth of shows every two months. I get to be back around the locker room, back around the guys and see guys from the UK scene who I haven’t seen in years.

“It’s so much fun to be around it again. The parts that I was missing that I didn’t even know I was missing, I get my little fix from that. It’s kind of sticking my toe back in and slowly getting going with it again whilst leaving my door open to pick up other opportunities.”

54:45- Bennett on returning to WWE

Bennett says, “Part of the problem with me returning is that I’m going to get cheered. You’ve never seen me work as a babyface. Believe me, it’s horrific. I’m going to figure out a way when I do come back not to get cheered.

“If I do come back, or when I do come back, I’m going to be a heel. I think I’m going to be a career heel.”

59:20- Bennett on the Bad News Barrett character

Bennett says that the two most fun periods of his career were working as a color commentator for six months in FCW and being Bad News Barrett. Bennett says that, as Bad News Barrett he had a laugh every night, and that his aim wasn’t to entertain the crowd but rather to entertain his friends watching back home in the UK.

Bennett says, “I knew it was working when I’d be walking around the corridor and the locker room and I’d hear people saying the catchphrase. Then I’d walk past Triple H and he’d say the catchphrase, then Stephanie would say it, and Vince would be saying it.

“That’s another one of those moments that led me to move on (from WWE). I felt there was a ton of momentum there, and it wasn’t my decision to stop that character. It was someone else’s decision.

“I was Bad News Barrett, saying the catchphrase. Then I wasn’t allowed to say the catchphrase, but I was still Bad News Barrett wearing the T-Shirt.

“We trashed something that was over.”

1:09:20- Outro

Rating 9/10

This is a really good podcast. I sort of had the impression that Bennett was done with wrestling, but it sounds like he definitely plans on returning to WWE in the future. It was also surprising to learn that Bennett is passionate about commentary. It will be interesting to see whether Bennett returns to WWE, and if so what role he will play and how successful he’ll be in that position.

Writer Bio

Caitlin is a wrestling fan who hopes to one day discover that she is the illegitimate daughter of Vincent Kennedy McMahon and the rightful Anonymous RAW General Manager. Until then, she’ll keep on living in Orlando, Florida with her husband and son.

 

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