In 2016 Wade Barrett didn't just walked away from WWE, he walked away from wrestling entirely. He's made sporadic appearances for indie promotions since then, but he hasn't returned to the ring since departing WWE.
Barrett joined Sam Roberts' podcast and talked about the risk he took by quitting something he had done for 15 years.
"Absolutely it was a risk," Barrett said on leaving wrestling to go into acting. "I mean, it was a risk I needed to take. I hate to portray this as being a guy who wanted to leave WWE and go act in some movies and take it in that direction, but that absolutely wasn't my plan. I left WWE because I was utterly miserable wrestling at the time and I needed to get away from the business."
Barrett had a three-year contract offer from WWE as well as offers from every other major wrestling promotion, but his heart was set on stepping away from the ring. He knew he needed something to fill the void that leaving wrestling created, and that "something" just happened to be acting.
"Looking back at some of the acting that I had done, that was what I really enjoyed doing that and I had made some contacts in the UK through some acting work I had done with WWE Studios, and I had a chance to speak with them," Barrett said. "Fortunately for me there was a script that came up called I Am Vengeance, which I am pretty excited about how things are going, but that certainly wasn't the master plan."
Ironically, Barrett's first major acting role came in a WWE Studios-produced film called Eliminators. He then got the acting bug from that and it, in part, is what led to his eventual exit from WWE.
Roberts asked Barrett if he has any plans to return to the ring or if he's done with wrestling altogether.
"I think one of the things that happened to me in the last couple of years in the WWE where I realized how unhappy I was in that environment, was that I realized that I needed variety and balance in my life," stated Barrett.
"I shouldn't say never, but at this time a full-time wrestler with nothing else going on just doesn't appeal to me. I like having the balance in my life. I like being outside doing other things like hosting a show on Netflix, or shooting a movie, and then I am going to go do a little wrestling commentary or this sort of thing, and then I am going to go spend a week in Greece with my girlfriend, which I had just come back from. These things were not available for me while I was working for WWE on a full-time schedule and would never be available as you work full-time with WWE.
"So, the older I got the more I started to appreciate balance and variety in my life and once you get a taste of that returning and realize how happy it can make you it is very difficult to conceive giving that up again."
Barrett is currently one of the hosts for UK version of Ultimate Beastmaster. The show airs on Netflix and CM Punk is also one of the hosts for the United States version.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.