WWE announce Penwortham's Preston North End fan Wade Barrett will join Smackdown commentary team
and live on Freeview channel 276
The Penwortham star, real name Stu Bennett, is stepping up to a commentary role on Smackdown, one of the wrestling giant’s flagship shows.
He had previously been serving as an announcer on WWE’s NXT brand, a programme used to develop the company’s stars of the future.
The move represents a major promotion for the huge PNE fan, with his first show behind the Smackdown desk taking place on Friday’s season premiere in the US which will air on BT Sport in the UK.
Barrett will sit alongside veteran Michael Cole doing colour commentary for the foreseeable future.
He tweeted: “BOOM! Excited to bleed blue on #SmackDown alongside the GOAT Michael Cole for a little while! What a crazy opportunity..
“And THANK YOU #WWENXT.. I’ll be back!”
The 42-year-old announced back in August that he’d signed a new two-year deal with WWE and has clearly impressed higher-ups with his work out-of-the-ring.
How long he will be on Smackdown remains to be seen with popular announcer-turned-wrestler Pat McAfee taking some time away from the company to cover American football having previously been sat alongside mainstay Cole since April 2021.
Barrett hasn’t competed in the ring since initially leaving WWE in 2016 but returned to the company in August 2020, joining NXT.
He has also dabbled in acting and was a prominent figure in ITV’s short-lived reboot of World of Sport Wrestling.
It is for his in-ring work that he is best known though. monikers including ‘Bad News’ Barrett and ‘King’ Barrett seeing him win the prestigious Intercontinental Championship five times.
Speaking to BT Sport earlier this year, it’s a case of ‘never say never’ for an in-ring return.
"My body’s good, I’ve always said I’m fit, healthy and I’m feeling good,” Barret said.
“If the right opportunity presents itself then maybe we’re going to see Wade Barrett return in the ring one day.
“I’m not chasing anything. I don’t have this desperate itch I’m trying to scratch.
“That having been said, I don’t think you ever really retire when you’re a wrestler.”