Stu Bennett, aka Wade Barrett, has successfully transitioned from the squared circle to the TV and film industry. Another former athlete in Vinnie Jones did the same after a lengthy soccer career in England.
Bennett and Jones worked together in the movie I Am Vengeance: Retaliation and Bennett spoke about that when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
"I got beat up by Vinnie Jones. I got paid for it, yes, and it was a lot of fun but I did get beat up," said Bennett who grew up as a fan of Jones.
"I'm a kid of the 80s and obviously British. Vinnie Jones in the UK in the 80s was pretty much the equivalent of Mike Tyson. He was terrifying and he was on football pitches kicking the hell out of everybody. So as a kid watching him, yes, he was a frightening prospect.
"Then he went on to have this amazing film career which I was a fan of. So, to get to work with that guy that I held in an esteemed position for pretty much my entire life was awesome. It was a lot of fun working with him but kind of terrifying at the same time."
Bennett said that when he first moved to the US and went to OVW and FCW, all of the Americans and Puerto Ricans only wanted to talk about Vinnie Jones. He was their idea of British action star much how the current generation sees Jason Statham.
"I ain't gonna lie. When they called me and said they got the villain for the second one and it's Vinnie Jones, it was pretty amazing," stated Bennett.
Jones has made quite a name for himself through film as he portrayed Juggernaut in X-Men: The Last Stand. As a fellow Englishman, Bennett was asked what it was like to share a set with Jones.
"When we got Vinnie, I knew that two things would happen. I knew he would put in an incredible performance because for what we needed for this film, there's no one better on the planet for that kind of villain performance. I also knew that we were gonna get a spotlight on the movie by virtue of the fact that he was associated with it. So, those were the two things I took for granted," stated Bennett.
"What I didn't think about was the fact that Vinnie has been in about 100 films. He's worked with the absolute best in Hollywood including actors, directors, cameramen and every part of the film industry. So, what he also brought to the film was advice for me as a performer, advice for the director, advice for tweaking scripts and advice for the camera guys on how to sell shots. His level of knowledge was incredible and that's something that people don't realize about a guy like Vinnie. When you see the terrifying character that he is both on and off set, you kinda neglect the fact that he has this brilliant mind for the movie industry too. We all benefitted hugely from that."
Jones appeared a couple of times in WWE including at Capital Carnage which took place in London in 1998. Bennett discussed Jones' wrestling fandom and some of the wrestlers he's worked with.
"I don't think he's a modern-day wrestling fan but he actually worked with WWE in the past. He did some stuff with Stone Cold Steve Austin and I think he brought him down to the ring at one of the UK-only PPVs in the early 2000s or late 90s," recalled Bennett. "Coincidentally, he worked on a show called Arrow with Stephen Amell and in the episode he was in, Cody Rhodes was also in it. Vinnie had just left the set with Cody before he came to shoot with me so he was kinda up on the wrestling world before he came to work with me.
"In addition to that, there was a WWE movie in the early 2000s with Nathan Jones and Stone Cold called The Condemned. So he worked with them on that and was pretty familiar with the wrestlers. I don't think he watches as much today and I don't know if he knew who I was and I didn't really want to get into that. I spent 90 percent of the time talking with Vinnie about his 80s and 90s soccer career. So I was pestering him everyday about stories with big matches and rivalries. I'm sure he was sick of me by the end of that but he gave me all of the info and gossip on all that stuff. I was a fanboy."
Stu Bennett stars in "I Am Vengeance: Retaliation" which will be released today in the United States and July 13th in the UK. It will be available on all major video platforms and on DVD. Stu's full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.