I'm afraid I’ve got some bad news!
WWE Superstar Bad News Barrett has made his latest impact on the wrestling industry with that statement, and he will look to build off the momentum he has in the ring as he takes on Big E for the Intercontinental Championship at Extreme Rules on Sunday, May 4 on the WWE Network.
After beating Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus to advance to the finals of the WWE Intercontinental Championship No. 1 Contender's Tournament, Barrett was able to defeat Rob Van Dam on the April 28 episode of Raw and earn his title shot at the pay-per-view.
Barrett is already a three-time Intercontinental champion, but he has been missing in action for months. While many fans were not initially sold on his new gimmick, his all-in approach to the character has been infectious. The WWE Universe is buying what he’s selling.
Featured columnists Donald Wood, Mike Chiari and Brandon Galvin sat down for an exclusive interview with Barrett and talked about his hunt to capture the WWE Intercontinental Championship, his road to the top, his character change and so much more.
Here is the interview with WWE Superstar Bad News Barrett.
Donald Wood: The Intercontinental Championship tournament culminates with a title match at Extreme Rules. After so many months away from the ring, how would it feel to capture the gold at a pay-per-view of this magnitude?
Bad News Barrett: You know it’s always good to be on a pay-per view in WWE, that’s never a given. So first of all, you have to work your way on to a pay-per view, then to be put into a title match is pretty cool, especially after how long I’ve been out of the ring. I think it was back in November I disappeared off TV for a while then came back and just started talking. Hopefully, fingers crossed, I’ll beat RVD tonight at Raw then go on to take on Big E at Extreme Rules, so that’s what I’m hoping for.
Mike Chiari: You’ve already been Intercontinental Champion on three occasions, but now that the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships are unified and there are less titles for the Superstars to vie for, do you feel like winning the IC title this time around would mean more in terms of maybe being a launching pad to the main event scene for you?
Bad News Barrett: I think any time there’s more focus on a particular title, the better it is for the titleholder. I think with the reduction in the number of titles and now with the combined World and WWE Championship titles, I think it definitely puts a lot more emphasis on the Intercontinental Championship. Also, considering the fact that The Shield have had the U.S title with Dean Ambrose carrying that for a while and hasn’t been defending it at all. I can’t remember the last time he defended it. I think about six months or so since he last defended it, so I think that puts even more emphasis on the intercontinental title as the main secondary title in WWE. So definitely, I’d like to get my hands on it and pick up that IC title once again.
Brandon Galvin: The tournament to become the No. 1 contender for the Intercontinental Championship has been well received by fans. What are your feelings of tournaments in professional wrestling, and would you like to see the King of the Ring tournament make a return to WWE?
Bad News Barrett: Personally, I love tournaments and I think American sports in general have that sort of playoff format for championships where you need to beat a team to get to the next round and obviously World Cup soccer is set up that way too, so for me tournaments are great. It gives the fans a reason to be invested in something, it’s not just a series of cold matches, and I think with each match having something at stake is the key. It drives fans’ interest in the matches that we’re putting on and it certainly means something when someone can get to a final with the champion because you have to work pretty hard to get there. So hopefully that means fans are more invested in it, and I think it provides some good entertainment. And to what you said about the King of the Ring, I was a big fan of that when I was younger, so if that comes back, I’d be very happy about that.
Donald Wood: As Mike Chiari mentioned, an Intercontinental Championship win would be your fourth and put you in elite company. The list of champions who have won the belt four times or more includes legends like RVD, Razor Ramon, Edge, Triple H and Chris Jericho. What would it mean to see your name on the list with stars like that?
Bad News Barrett: It would be pretty cool. Ultimately I’d like to have just held it once and had it for the entire time, the last three years or whatever it would be, the fact that you’re a four-time champion also means that you lost it at least three times, possibly four times, so it’s kind of a good thing and a bad thing. To be always in that mix and challenging and getting titles is important for me. I want to stay relevant on TV and involved in important angles and things like that.
Mike Chiari: The genesis of the Bad News Barrett character took place on non-televised WWE programming on the JBL & Cole Show, and knowing how well the fans have responded to you, do you expect more Superstars to follow your lead and utilize other media platforms in order to get themselves over in the future?
Bad News Barrett: I could definitely see that happening. I’ve kind of been the first success of a character that’s been born on WWE.com and that’s the way of the future. WWE has always been very proactive in using technology like Twitter and being on the cutting edge of whatever is developing like that so the fact that we were able to try something out on social media and it got that response and creative team heard about it and was interested from there. The fact that I was able to do that away from TV programming, which is hard to get time on when you’re trying to debut a new character, it’s worked out pretty well for me for sure, so I’m sure people have seen that and decided to think of some ideas on their own. So the JBL & Cole Show, which is the vehicle I used to get my character out there, and other platforms on WWE.com and the new WWE Network will be used in the future to sort of throw some stuff at walls and see what sticks on there.
Brandon Galvin: What made you decide to take a chance on the Bad News character, and how do you anticipate the character evolving?
Bad News Barrett: At the time when I came up with it, I wasn’t really doing anything too much on the show. I was on the low, cold matches, and I wasn’t really involved in any program or anything, so I felt like I wanted to do something different. The guy at WWE.com suggested that they use me in some way on the JBL & Cole Show, so I had to think about it and Cody Rhodes came up with the idea originally where I would just keep giving bad news to everyone in somewhat of a reflection of my personality in the locker room. Thankfully it seemed to work in the form we were using it at the time and people responded to it and we took it from there. In terms of how it will evolve, that’s very difficult to predict. I wasn’t expecting people to be cheering me at the Hall of Fame when I came out to give bad news and the response I got later, the kind of babyface response where people were looking forward to hearing my bad news, it wasn’t something I anticipated. So, it’s something I’ll just go with the flow and see how people respond and that really dictates how a character will evolve.
Donald Wood: There has never been an English world heavyweight champion in WWE history. Does that discourage your crusade to become the top star in the business, or does it motivate you more to achieve something of that magnitude?
Bad News Barrett: I always thought as a kid that Davey Boy Smith should have been the world heavyweight champion at some point. He was my guy, he was my favorite and you can look at William Regal again as somebody who, in my opinion, should have held the title at some point. So certainly there have been times in the past where people could viably have held that title but the pieces didn’t fall into place, so certainly I feel like I’ve got all of the ability to do that. I think I have all the potential to be the No. 1 in WWE and hopefully I’ll carve out those opportunities myself and get to carry that title. I don’t carry a monkey on my back where I’m carrying the expectation of people in England, but I look to be the guy that finally does it and be the first English world champion. But it’s a little way off at the moment. I need to get myself back in the main event. In 2010, I got pretty close with The Nexus, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. So I’m going to get back on the climb back to the main event and hopefully get a shot at that championship.
Mike Chiari: WWE has a huge European tour coming up in May, and knowing how popular you are with the fans over there, especially in England, do you feel like that presents you with an opportunity to capitalize on your current momentum and perhaps take that next step and reach that next level in your career?
Bad News Barrett: You know what, I love going out there and getting the kind of response I get from the fans out there. I was a huge fan of Davey Boy Smith when I was a kid and with all of his talents and how great he was in the ring, the key thing I liked about him was that he was from the same place as me so I understand people being patriotic and supporting their guy. Whether that will springboard me into something else, I’m not sure, but hopefully so from my point of view I want to take my career as far as I can. I always look forward to the two times a year we go over to the U.K and seeing the kind of response I get. So it’s a real honor for me to go back there and see the British fans so I’m just going to enjoy going back there and have as much fun as I can. If something comes from it, great, but if not I’ll still enjoy it.
Brandon Galvin: You originally set the tone for NXT and what fans could and should expect from the development system and its superstars. What are your feelings on the current state of NXT, and do any of the wrestlers there reach out to you for advice and guidance?
Bad News Barrett: I’d say I’ve been really impressed with what I’ve seen from NXT. I’ve been involved in two developmental systems in my time with WWE. I was in OVW for a short time before WWE severed links with that and moved them on to FCW in Tampa. With the progression from OVW to FCW with the improvement in facilities and the trainers, I think that’s happened once again when they transitioned over to NXT in Orlando. I think they’ve got a much better facility again and they’ve got more trainers, more available and the technology they have is incredible. A company like WWE is always looking to improve and the developmental system is no different. I think there’s some really cool things down there and the guys and girls who are working down there looking to get on the WWE shows have some great opportunities, and I think it’s really beneficial for the future of our industry. In terms of people reaching out for advice, I don’t really know too many of the guys down there too well but certainly there’s a couple of the British guys down there who’ll text me and keep updating me and there’s also a few other guys I look out for down there. I think they have a lot of trainers with great advice available to them but if anyone did have any questions for me I would definitely be available.
At 33 years old, Barrett is a unique position in his career. After years of paying dues in the wrestling business and in the WWE, he is once again on the ascent and looking for the opportunity to prove his worth to the company.
While his run with The Nexus should have led to much bigger things, his new lease on life as Bad News Barrett has reinvigorated his career. With crowds starting to show his character support despite being a heel, the hope is that he can translate that into a successful run as IC champion.
That must start with a victory at Extreme Rules.
*All quotes obtained firsthand.
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