2023 will mark an incredible seven years since former WWE wrestle Wade Barrett wrestled his final match in wrestling. As the wrestling world gears up for the 2023 Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania 39, we look back at the final match in the controversial career of Wade Barrett.
Also known as Bad-News Barrett, he made waves in the WWE as part of the first season of the NXT gameshow. Winning the competition and earning a shot at Randy Orton’s WWE Championship, he recruited his fellow NXT competitors to form the legendary stable known as The Nexus.
The Nexus became the hottest team in wrestling for a time, with Wade Barrett seeming destined to become the first ever British world champion. That never happened however, as John Cena’s backstage politics meant that he never won the big one and lost all the matches he had against the 16-time world champion, usually in humiliating fashion.
He won multiple Intercontinental titles in a six-year run in the WWE, but found true fame during his 2014 run. Changing his name to Bad-News Barrett, he won over the crowd by delivering bad news from a towering podium and insulting his opponents in hilarious manner. While he started out insulting the crowd, he soon became too entertaining to boo and garnered some of the biggest cheers on the show.
He won a tournament in 2014 and defeated Big E to become the Intercontinental Championship. He was also the favourite to win that years Money in the Bank contract, until an injury took him out of the match and put on the shelf for nearly a year. Seth Rollins eventually won what should have been his and became WWE Champion, something the Englishman never achieved.
One of his biggest matches is one people definitely misremembered all these years later. If you were to ask most people, Wade Barrett’s last match was against The New Day at Wrestlemania 32. The match itself isn’t fondly remembered, but the aftermath certainly is. Wade Barrett (then King Barrett after winning the King of the Ring) grabbed a microphone and proclaimed that “No Three Men Can Beat The League Of Nations”, cuing up three legends of the past to run in and attack them.
First saw Mick Foley, also known as Mankind, Dude Love or Cactus Jack. He was followed by Shawn Michaels, the two-time WWE Hall of Famer, former DX member and who Ric Flair calls the “Greatest Of All Time”. The third and final competitor was “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, the wrestling legend who is possibly the biggest star in the history of the WWE. Those three men ran in, beat up Wade Barrett and co and danced with the New Day to send the fans home happy (until the incredibly dull Triple H vs Roman Reigns main event.
However, you may notice one thing about this Wrestlemania match. The New Day only have three men in their team (Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) whilst the Leagaue of Nation boasted four men – Wade Barrett, Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus and Rusev (Miro in AEW). This led to a mismatch, meaning one had to miss out. That man was Wade Barrett.
So no, his last match was not at Wrestlemania 32. He left soon after the became a commentator in various promotions accross the world – including the ill-fated World of Sport reboot on ITV. His last match in WWE was an even more poorly remembered match, on the Monday Night Raw after Wrestlemania 32.
Barrett and Sheamus took on WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston & Big E in a championship match. They earned the shot by winning the night prior, although it was curious that Wade Barrett, who didn’t take part in the win at Wrestlemania, was picked as the second man in the team. In traditional wrestling fashion, he went “out on his back” when he was pinned by Kofi Kingston and lost the match for his team.
He requested his release soon after and Wade Barrett was released by WWE on May 6th, 2016. He was let go alongside various other former WWE stars, including Santino Marella, Damian Sandow and Alex Riley. His release was announced by WWE.com and was not mentioned on WWE TV.
When talking about why he wanted to be let go by WWE, Wade Barrett said, “In all honesty, I needed to go away and just do something else and clear my mind and kind of recalibrate where I was going in life.”. He since returned to the company as a commentator and performs weekly on Friday Night Smackdown. There have recently been rumours that he could return to the WWE in the 2023 Royal Rumble, which you can read about below.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.