On the day Buckingham Palace in his native England revealed the name of the latest Royal — Charlotte Elizabeth Diana — World Wrestling Entertainment star Wade Barrett is feeling a little royal himself, but not due to the latest in line for the throne.
He’s feeling royal because he is royalty, wrestling royalty, following his crowning in the WWE’s King of the Ring tournament, making Barrett the 20th King of the Ring in WWE history.
It’s an honour befitting, well, a king. And one Barrett admits he’s proud of.
“It’s absolutely huge,” he said over the phone just hours before WWE Raw is held at the Bell Centre in Montreal, a city steeped in Royal history. “I’ve been a wrestling fan since I was about nine or 10 years old and I saw a bunch of the King of Ring tournaments when I was a kid. I was always a huge fan of it.”
Bret (The Hitman) Hart’s run as one that stood out for the influential future wrestler. “I’ve always been a massive fan of the tournament. It’s been a few years since we last had one, I think five years, so it feels great to bring it back and be the first king in a long time.”
A number of stars used the King of the Ring crowning to propel their careers, including Haku, Hart, Owen Hart, and Triple H, while for others, such as Harley Race, it was a tribute to their legacy. Barrett plans to not only follow suit, but to restore glory to the crown, if you will.
“I think my best times in my career have been when I’ve had a lot of mic time, when I’ve had an opportunity to use my voice and talk. I feel now that I’m the king of WWE, I should be getting a lot more mic time and I think that’s only going to be a good thing for my career. I have every intention of making this work and using this to propel me to the main event.”
His first exposure on Raw will come in Montreal, a city steeped in wrestling history, and controversy. Those types of crowds, Barrett says, tend to bring out the best in performers.
“I think everything we do as performers is based off the kinds of reactions we get,” he said. “Whether it’s on the mic or whether it’s in the ring, we’re constantly feeding off the energy of the crowd, if they’re high or if they’re low and the kinds of responses they give me on the mic, I’ll react to that. It’s certainly a very responsive thing. No matter where we are in the world, we’re going to get different responses. It’s up to us as performers to try and respond to that as needed.”
After missing long stretches due to major surgeries in the last five years, Barrett declares himself healthy and ready to emerge as a major player.
“I’ve had two surgeries in just over five years with WWE,” he said. “It’s very dangerous,what we do, which is why we always say don’t try this at home. In terms of my health, at the moment I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in, both how I look and how I feel. I’m 34 years old and I feel as good as I did when I was 21. I feel great right now and hopefully I’ll stay injury free for a while and keep this run as the king going for a little bit and get on to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, which is the ultimate goal.”