Stu Bennett says he’s been preparing for a career outside of the ring a lot longer than people might know and credits Dusty Rhodes for being an earlier supporter of his commentary abilities.
Bennett recently spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard and was asked when he knew he wanted to transition from the ring to the broadcast part of wrestling. Bennett, who has worked for World Of Sport, Defiant and NWA as an on-air personality, says he knew early on in his WWE career that commentary is something he’d like to explore. Bennett explained that Dusty Rhodes saw something in him early on in Florida Championship Wrestling and that getting the opportunity to tell a story in that form is something that has always appealed to him.
“Yeah, 100 percent. I’d say even prior to WOS, in fact probably even before anybody knew who Wade Barrett was, I was a commentator in Florida Championship Wrestling in 2008 and 2009. I was in developmental at the time and this was a time when developmental was seen as the “red-headed stepchild” of WWE, it was never mentioned and you’d never see references to us on the WWE website, anything like that. Nobody really knew what was going on in Florida apart from the people in Florida that got the local network’s show.
“Dusty Rhodes, who was the head of creative at that time in FCW, liked the way I presented and liked the way I talked. He was a supporter of mine and gave me the opportunity to be the color commentator down there. He liked what he saw and he left me on there for the better part of a year, and soon after that the writers of WWE TV took notice and said, ‘We like the way this guy talks, can he wrestle?’ ‘Yeah, he can wrestle.’ ‘Let’s get him on the show!’ And I was on NXT season one straight away then. That took me in a different direction and obviously I wrestled for a long time, but in the back of my head, I knew that when I was done in the ring, whenever that would be, I would want to go on and commentate in some capacity, someplace. To this day, it’s something that I love doing. It’s a chance for me to add story, add character, add personality to essentially what is a stunt show in the ring. It allows me to tell other people’s stories by commentating and that has always been the draw of pro wrestling to me above anything else.”
The Watch List takes a look at what matches you should be watching while you’re at home and they come recommended by your favorite professional wrestling stars.
Bennett pointed to Allysin Kay versus Thunder Rosa for the NWA Women’s Championship at the Hard Times pay-per-view as a match that really impressed him. Readily admitting he was his “own biggest critic,” Bennett said he couldn’t put recommend any of his matches for the feature, but the hard-hitting women’s title match was very deserving of the honor.
“I will say there was a match from earlier this year that I was commentating on from the NWA pay-per-view show called Hard Times. The match was for the NWA Women’s Championship, it was Allysin Kay versus Thunder Rosa and in my eyes that was the best match I’ve seen in years,” Bennett exclaimed. “I know there’s going to be a lot of people listening to this that perhaps aren’t as familiar with Allysin Kay or Thunder Rosa as they could be because they haven’t worked in WWE, but I promise you if you go track this match down it is superb.
“It has everything and it is a shining example of how far women’s wrestling has come over the last few years, from how people of my generation really remember women’s wrestling to now come to that. They were phenomenal and they just deserve so much credit for that. In my eyes, I think that’s going to be up there when people do their end-of-year, best matches of 2020 [lists],” Bennett stated. “That one has to be on there. If people are going to get their eyes on NWA, which they should, that match has to be on there.
“I think historically there’s been the notion that the women’s matches aren’t brutal or aren’t as technically sound as the men—this match is the retort to any claim anybody can say about that. It’s absolutely superb,” Bennett said, “it’s got everything you could ever want from a major, high-profile championship match. Both women were fantastic and definitely check it out.”
The Hard Times title match between Thunder Rosa and Allysin Kay is available to watch on FITE; we also added some free-to-watch recommendations to the list and selected matches from their respective careers as well as Bennett’s WWE tenure.
The Nexus Debuts
WWE RAW — June 7, 2010
Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton
WWE RAW —Nov. 22, 2010
Taeler Hendrix vs. Allysin Kay
Queens Of Combat 8 — March 18, 2016
Thunder Rosa vs. AQA
Title Match Wrestling Ladies Night Out 4 — August 18, 2018
Thunder Rosa (c) vs. Allysin Kay (NWA Women’s Championship)
NWA Powerrr Episode 17 “Pride vs. Thunder” — February 4, 2020
Check out the full-length matches at this link.
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