Wade Barrett Says Transition From NXT To NXT 2.0 Was “Necessary”

Wade Barrett

NXT commentator Wade Barrett recently discussed the current incarnation of NXT and labelled the transition from the ‘Black and Gold’ era to ‘NXT 2.0’ as “necessary”.

Wade Barrett decided to step away from wrestling and was granted his release from WWE in 2016. However, he returned to the company in 2020 to join the NXT brand as a colour commentator, a role he still holds today.

Barrett recently appeared on Busted Open Radio to promote this Sunday’s NXT Worlds Collide show and discussed his transition from in-ring performer to announcer:

“In terms of my transition from being an in ring guy to being a commentator, I think at the back of my head, I always knew I wanted to do commentary one day. So that’s probably part of it. I think I always felt it was something I really wanted to gravitate towards as I got older. The most difficult thing probably is accepting that you are no longer the star of the show.

As you know from your time in the ring, anytime you were on camera, anytime you got an opportunity, you wanted to pull as much of that spotlight towards you, and hang on to it and direct it in whatever way you can towards Tommy Dreamer, or for me towards Wade Barrett. You realise now when you’re on the commentary desk, it’s no longer about you. I’m a backing dancer for whatever talents are in the ring, Bron Breakker, Carmelo Hayes, Mandy Rose. It’s never about me anymore.

Anytime I’m talking about myself on the show, I’m trying to do it to bring in some experience from my career to explain what’s going on with these younger talents who are coming through now. So I had to accept that as soon as I decided to move on to the desk. This isn’t about me. I’m no longer the star. So that was a mental transition as much as anything else, and once I accepted that, the whole situation got a lot easier for me.”

The former WWE Intercontinental Champion also discussed the decision to re-brand WWE’s developmental brand as NXT 2.0:

“I would say it was a seismic shift when we went from the Black and Gold brand to NXT 2.0 about a year ago. I know it turned off a lot of our viewers. A lot of people who were fans of The Black and Gold era kind of felt slapped in the face maybe and there was such a jarring change to what we went to. I felt previously the Black and Gold era wasn’t really serving that traditional developmental show that we once had when I went through OVW or Florida Championship Wrestling. I

t was all about these young guys coming through, okay 12-18 months at most, and then you’re on your way. You’re gonna be off and running. I feel like Black and Gold, great TV show in its own right, great wrestling show, but it kind of morphed away from that. There was an element of the younger talent who were trying to break through not able to get those opportunities on the show and perhaps the roster at times was starting to get a little stale. It was the same faces for many years.

Great competitors in their own right, but I think the change was necessary, and now opened up a ton of opportunity for people like Carmelo Hayes, Tiffany Stratton, Bron Breakker to go out, develop, grow, and show what they can do and be the next generation of WWE stars who are going to be on Raw and SmackDown.”

It was revealed last week that Wade Barrett has signed a new contract with WWE that will keep him with the company for another two years.

H/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription.