NXT commentator Wade Barrett has recalled working with Wayne Rooney in WWE – and he had an absolute blast.
The Preston-born wrestler physically clashed with the Manchester United legend for a brief moment when the world famous promotion rolled into town in 2015, and a social media war of words led to a brilliant ringside skit.
Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, Wade remembered: ‘That came about because I’m a Preston North End fan, and we’d drawn against Manchester United in the FA Cup that year.
‘Very exciting for PNE fans, it doesn’t happen very often that you get to play Manchester United, obviously. I was thrilled! I watched the game, PNE did amazing well.
‘I think we were winning at one point, then Man United pulled one back. There’s 10 minutes to go, PNE looked like they were going to get a draw against the mighty Manchester United!
‘And then there was a penalty which Wayne Rooney literally dived for. That’s not a biased opinion, you can go back and check it – it is a blatant dive.’
Wazza – and United fans – might see things differently, but the former Intercontinental Champion is clearly still hurt, claiming the striker ‘shamelessly’ took the penalty to score the winner.
‘At this point, I’m heartbroken. I immediately in my anger, tweet Wayne Rooney accusing him of diving, threatening to give him a Bullhammer,’ he said of the aftermath, referring to his signature move.
‘Then I put my phone down, I move on, calm down, forget about it.
‘He ends up replying, this goes into a kinda jokey back and forth where we’re going to have a WrestleMania match, but then obviously it all dies away and nothing happens.’
Some time passed, and Wayne wanted to visit WWE when the company rolled into Manchester for their annual UK TV taping, with one of his son’s being a massive fan.
‘I start suggesting [something] to the guys in the management team,’ Wade explained. ‘He wanted to come backstage with his kid, and meet Triple H and a few others.
‘They brought me into the room too, we had a quick chat and suggested this idea to him. He was down for it, his kid was really excited about it.’
The incident made headlines around the world, and Barrett – who recently returned to WWE as a commentator on the NXT brand – admitted there was ‘something hilarious’ about the entire situation.
‘We did what we did – had a little jaw-jack, I talked a little smack like I tend to do, and he slapped me! That was it, it was a lot of fun,’ he smiled.
‘There’s something hilarious about two boys from the north of England getting into it in this giant American company that is WWE. A lot of fun, loved every second of that – great guy too!’
Maybe he’s forgiven Rooney for that penalty after all!
*Watch NXT live every Wednesday night on BT Sport.