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Stu Bennett On What Made Him Decide He Was Done With WWE, Disliking King of the Ring Outfit

July 24, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Stu Bennett Wade Barrett King Barrett

Stu Bennett discussed the end of his WWE run, his King of the Ring gimmick and how it factored into his decision to ultimately exit the company in a new interview with Chris Van Vliet. Bennett won the King of the Ring in April of 2015. Bennett would continue with WWE through early 2016 but has said that he decided not to resign with the company in August of 2015 in the midst of his King Barrett run.

Speaking with Van Vliet, Bennett explained how that character change frustrated him in terms of the writing and how it replaced the Bad News Barrett gimmick which was getting him over. He also discussed how he disliked the outfit and thought the gimmick would be great for someone like Heath Slater, who he says would have loved it and could have done something more with it. Highlights and the full video are below:

On if there was one thing that made him decide he was done with WWE: “I think it was probably a period of time of things slowly not going my way, I would say. So I always had, from the very early days of my wrestling career I always had the carrot dangled of, ‘Okay, I’m chasing this, chasing this, chasing this.’ Climbing up a ladder and then slowly making more and more progress. And I would say probably around the time of Bad News Barrett, I felt that, ‘Okay.’ I looked great at the time, I got shredded, my catchphrase is over, the fans are reacting to everything I’m doing here. My merchandise was selling for the first time in my career apart from the Nexus shirt, which weren’t really mine. I had a shirt that was the #1 seller. I was like, ‘I’m really’ — and I actually felt for the first time too. My in-ring work, I was actually happy with it for the first time ever. I know when I’d debuted in WWE in 2010 and I was still pretty green. I’d only really been working six-minute matches in FCW, and working with a caliber of guys who weren’t actually that good on the whole. There was a lot of young green guys who I was working with. So I always felt that I was a step behind, to say the least, when it came to working with a Cena or a Randy Orton and those guys. That was in 2010. By 2014, I was that much more experienced and confident now. I had my own in-ring personality and way of moving, and I felt like my matches were very strong too. So at that point, I felt there was no reason not to pull the trigger on me and move me up to the next level, and have me in more main event-level spots, and build the show to a certain degree around me or my character.

“And that didn’t happen. Bad News Barrett got completely taken away from me, which I thought was a very bad idea for me at the time. And I was given the role as the King of the Ring, which I didn’t want to do from the word go. And I was aware there was no writing backing this up. And I felt very much I’d been booked into a corner of just a dead end, and ‘This wasn’t going to go anywhere.’ And after — it’s so hard to get over in the wrestling world. But when you do get over, you really want to cash in on it and make this count. And so to have that taken away from me for what I thought was incredibly poor foresight or, you give me King of the Ring. And then to follow King of the Ring up with what I thought was really poor writing and booking. it was the final straw, I think, after I dedicated so much time and effort into progressing in the wrestling world, to see that was my reward. [It was] very disappointing, and I became disillusioned and at that point I felt that I needed to get out of this.”

On disliking the King of the Ring outfit: “Well first of all, I didn’t like the outfit. And I was told several times, ‘Vince wants you to wear the outfit.’ I hated the outfit, I thought it was really hokey and it reminded me of something from pantomime … at Christmas time, people dress up in very camp costumes, it’s all a bit, you know, ‘He’s behind you’ and all that. It’s a little tongue-in-cheek. Which wrestling is a little bit like that, but if I’m supposed to be a heel and a bad guy, I’m wearing this outfit that nobody’s taken seriously. If you wanted someone to do that, give it to Heath Slater. He would have loved that, it would have worked really well for him. That’s just not my personality. I’m a 6’6″, broken-nosed, big, tattooed heel who’s supposed to be nasty. And wearing that outfit, from the second I walk out people are just not interested because it just doesn’t fit. It doesn’t fit me, it doesn’t fit my persona. Heath would have killed it. And why they wouldn’t give it to a guy like Heath I don’t know, or a Santino [Marella], or something like that. But it really kind of neutered me.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chris Van Vliet with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.