He is celebrated as the purveyor of ‘Bad News’, the powerhouse who has serenaded fans of WWE the world over with his “booms” amid punk rock music, his trash talk and his signature finishing move, The Bull Hammer Elbow. Now this superstar, Bad News Barrett is on an India tour and was recently in Bangalore too. The agenda? To promote wrestling in India, WWE and its various programmes like SmackDown and Raw.
During the WWE tour, which Bangalore has seen after two long years, Barrett even interacted with children from the NGO, The Open Door Foundation. Even as he reveals to us how their open-hearted enthusiasm and knowledge of WWE trivia floored him, he is quite kicked about how big WWE is in the country and how crazy and wild the fans are. He enthuses, “We have tons of fans here so it is a great opportunity to come out here and say hello to them. We always want to build our relationship with fans around the world and here in India especially, it has been a long time since we have been here. So we are all very excited to come out here again and let the people in India come and watch us perform. In fact, this is the kind of environment I would like to perform in. I have to say, the audience here in India for WWE is just going to grow.”
We ask him, after years of going back and forth, will WWE finally come to India? While he doesn’t confirm anything, this trip strongly suggests that the country will have its own Indian version soon, depending on TenSports India, which has just inked a deal with WWE till 2019. However, Barrett is quick to tell us that a special video game is on the cards, the worldwide release date of which is October 31. “It’s called WWE 2K15. I have played on the advance copy of it. It’s incredible actually, the realism, the graphics on this one is a huge step above what we have seen previously. They have brought in new calendars, monitoring systems to pick up all the minutiae about our faces and movements. It will be like watching TV,” he tells us animatedly.
Growing up in England, Barrett was trained in bare-knuckle brawls which was how he got into the wrestling arena. His rise to eminence was noted by all when he won the WWE NXT in the first season, setting the momentum for the championship. Recalling those early days, he opines, “NXT is completely different now than when I won it. Then, it was almost like a reality show. The winner became a WWE Superstar. Whereas now, it is a developmental system which has produced great talents like The Shield, The Wyatt Family, Bo Dallas and people like that, which is good. WWE universe is going to get access to these superstars of the future.” Occasionally some of them also come to him for advice, to learn about his talking ability, the way to woo the fans. But for the most part, he says, “They have great trainers down at Orlando who give them what they exactly need to know.”
It’s been a while since we have watched him on television, Barrett having been out of action after sustaining a shoulder injury during a match with Jack Swagger. What was disappointing even more than the injury was that he had to forfeit his Intercontinental Champion title. But he will return in November and he tells us, he will return with a vengeance. “I want my title back,” he exclaims and adds, “I don’t care who has the title, whether it is Dolph Ziggler, The Miz or anybody else. I will claim it back. And after that, I want to go to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.”