by Chuck CarrollBy Chuck Carroll

LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — Fans of WWE know that CM Punk’s abrupt departure and Daniel Bryan’s injury may have created an opening for a new top talent. And unless the company decides to fill the void with the current repeat cast of top billing stars such as John Cena, opportunity could be knocking for Bad News Barrett.

If you’re not wrestling fan, there’s still a strong chance you’ve heard of the wildly popular WWE reality show “Total Divas” on the E! Network. The reality show follows the lives of WWE’s female talents (a.k.a. Divas) in and out of the ring, offering viewers a rare glimpse into life backstage.

The show has quickly become WWE’s crown jewel of programming outside of “Monday Night RAW” and “Smackdown.”

The popularity of the show hasn’t been lost on the men in the locker room.

Barrett said fellow pro wrestler Tyson Kidd, who is a mainstay on the show as the husband of featured Diva Nattie Neidhart, gets recognized more for “Total Divas” than he is for his in-ring work.

“He’s a great pro wrestler. He’s technically very astute and a great performer,” said Barrett. “But for whatever reason he gets more people coming up to him saying hello because they’ve seen him on the Divas show then they have seen him wrestling in the ring, which I thought that was pretty amazing.”

As for how much reality there is in a pro wrestling reality show: “I think for the most part it’s genuine characters and genuine personalities… As with any TV show their aim is to make it entertaining. So, certain scenarios might be set up where they’re put into a very strict environment and seeing how they respond. It’s not like they have lines like a movie… it’s a lot of improv.”

Back inside the squared-circle, Barrett has some very real goals for his wrestling career.

“I want to be champion of the world. There’s never been a British world champion before,” Barrett said. “I think that’s a terrible statistic and somebody needs to wipe that out. Hopefully, it’s me. I’m going to take it as far as I can. There’s certain elements involved in pro wrestling that aren’t solely down to the performer. There’s only so much I can do. I’ve kind of stopped beating myself up about things not working out the way I want them to every time.”

He currently holds the WWE Intercontinental Championship and is scheduled to defend the title against Rob Van Dam at the Payback pay-per-view on Sunday. Barrett will return to Washington on June 23 for a live broadcast of RAW at the Verizon Center.

NOTE: During the interview, Barrett also talks about the influence of ECW in the U.K., unionizing pro wrestling, whether there’s enough fans to support serious competition for WWE, and NFL players becoming pro wrestlers.

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