Preston's own Stu Bennett - aka former WWE superstar Wade Barrett - heads up new ITV wrestling show WOS Wrestling
Preston's own wrestling superstar has taken the reigns as one of the UK's most popular wrestling shows has been re-born.
Stu Bennett, a former WWE Intercontinental Champion formerly known as the villainous Wade Barrett in the world’s leading wrestling franchise, is the general manager of ITV’s WOS Wrestling.
Stu, who was born in Penwortham and lived in Preston until the age of six, said: “I was offered an opportunity to be involved in the biggest thing in British wrestling for 30-plus years and I jumped at it. I’d have been crazy to turn it down.
“I’m a life-long pro-wrestling fan and wanted to do whatever I could to help give the men and women involved in the British wrestling scene the national and hopefully international platform that their skills and dedication deserve.”
The show is a re-launch of the network’s World of Sport show that aired from 1965 to 1985 and is running every Saturday for 10 weeks.
Regarding his new role, the 37-year-old said it is “a new direction for me which gave me the biggest opportunity to shape and mould the show into something that I felt represented British wrestling’s best chance to be back in the mainstream”.
A lifelong North End fan, Stu notably gave the Lilywhites a team talk in August 2016, something former manager Simon Grayson said helped inspire them to their first win of that season.
Speaking about potential bloopers, Stu joked: "I have a temper when things don't go my way, and when that happens my language can get a little colourful.
"Thankfully our sound editor was lightning-fast with the mute button."
The first episode of WOS Wrestling saw 1.2 million people tune in which, to put into context, was already slightly more than a third of what the WWE’s 25-year-old flagship show – Monday Night RAW – achieves on a weekly basis.