Former WWE Intercontinental Champion and Nexus leader Wade Barrett will appear on WWE television tonight for the first time since May 2016 as he serves as the color commentator for the latest episode of NXT. WWE released a video of Barrett arriving at the commentary table to work with Vic Joseph before show got started, which you can see below. NXT's usual play-by-play commentator, Mauro Ranallo, missed NXT TakeOver XXX this past Saturday due to a reported family issue and will also miss this week's episode.
Even though Barrett has worked for a number of companies since his WWE departure — most notably Defiant, World of Sport, Lucha Underground and the National Wrestling Alliance — he has not competed in a match since April 2016. Barrett's appearance is reportedly a one-time occasion, and as of now he has not signed a new deal with the WWE.
"I was miserable for a long time for the last few years I was in WWE," Barrett said. "I have no beef or hate for them, but it was just how I was feeling at the time. Once upon a time if you go back to the early 2000s all the way to 2014 all I cared about in life was being a wrestler, going on the road, performing in front of crowds, getting big, climbing the ladder. But then at some point around
"While I was working for the WWE in 2013 and 2014, TV deals had come to me, movie deals had come to me, sponsorship deals had come to me and they were all turned down by WWE because they would involve me being taken away from their shows," he continued, talking about his goals in the acting world. "Their steam train is running all over the world and I would have to step out of that steam train and go film for four weeks, or go shoot a film for two weeks or even two days to go film a series of commercials or something like that. But they couldn't afford to take me away from that time so I knew that if I wanted to go and do something else, the only way for me to do that is to first step away from WWE and figure out how I make contacts and how do I start speaking to people in the film world and finding agents and that sort of thing. So one had to come first, and that was to come first to get the curtain off of WWE," he said.
Barrett has quite a bit of history with the NXT brand. Back in 2010 he won the first season of NXT back when the program was a competition show. He then led the entire class from the first season in an invasion of the Raw roster, forming a group known as The Nexus.