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By Mike Johnson on 2019-10-10 11:00:00

The following interview was conducted the morning of 10/2 at the WWE Performance Center.

Mike Johnson: All right, Mike Johnson here with "The Bruiserweight", Pete Dunne. So, sir, the scuttlebutt is you're moving full-time to the United States. Confirm or deny?

Pete Dunne: Confirm, but I don't think that changes my status in this company. I think for the last three years I've been an independent wrestler, main roster wrestler, NXT wrestler and NXT UK wrestler. I'm all over the place, and I like the way that it's opening up. Right?  Cesaro can come do NXT UK, and I don't want to close any door unnecessarily, but as of now the focus is USA every Wednesday.

Mike Johnson: We're here to talk about NXT on USA, but let's talk for a second about NXT UK. What did it mean to you to kind of be one of those cornerstone people to help set that on the map with the UK championship tournament and with the advent of the weekly show? What does that mean to you that, that's going to be a big part of your legacy?

Pete Dunne: Yeah, so, there's been a lot of proud moments over the last few years and obviously one of the bigger ones is NXT UK forming and becoming what it has. It was great being backstage at the last takeover, and not having to be a part of it. I came out at the end with Tyler, but it wasn't built anywhere near around me, which at the start it had to be. And being able to step back and watch it and see it's still flourishing, and Tyler went out there with WALTER and had a fantastic match and realizing, we built this and I feel like today's just another one of the moments where we're going to look back and pinpoint it as, "That was important".

Mike Johnson: So as someone who grew up over in the UK, coming over here to be part of NXT on national TV, here in the United States, on a scale and on a level that's equal to Smackdown and RAW. What does that mean to you as the kid who's like, "I love wrestling, I want to get involved", and kind of find your way? And now you find yourself in the middle of all this. Like what does it mean to you on a personal level, and does it blow your mind, or is it just like another day in the office?

Pete Dunne: So for me, it blows my mind. The day I signed the contract, I then decided, I'm never going to think like that ever again. And it's time to get to work and just concentrate on work ethic, and then opportunities present themselves. You know, I was always goal-orientated to get here and then the dare sign that I was like, okay, I'm here now. Let's do it. Let's get to work. And any opportunity that's presented itself. I've tried to take the ball, and run with it as best as I can. And you know, like I say, today is no different. Today is one of them days where I'm going to grab the ball, I'm in a room with it and hopefully we can take the same all next to put it out to a huge, a variety of people watching it.

Mike Johnson: What does it mean to you that people look to you as sort of the modern day interpretation of Billy Robinson or William Regal, that sort of Brit-style grappler and to kind of carry on that chain of excellence. What does that mean to you as a performer?

Pete Dunne: It's really flattering, and obviously, to be put into that position by William Regan himself, is amazing. To be able to work that closely with the small times I got to. But people like Fit Finlay and Dave Taylor and obviously, Robbie Brookside and all these people have huge influences on me. So it's really cool, and I think what's the most special about it to me is, I thought being the size I am, I'd have to be a flippy guy and go out there and wrestle a certain way. And it was when I realized like, Oh no, the way I want to wrestle the way I like, and to be able to be an ambassador for pro British wrestling, that works. You know what I mean? And, being able to realize that is special and it's gone even further than it before it would. Right? And, now we're at the point where I'm a featured talent on such a huge network, on a huge show and, and we're officially, the third brand and being the ambassador of British wrestling, let's do it.

Mike Johnson: So there's probably no definitive answer to this, but how much do you expect to go back and forth still to perform for the UK brand? They have TV tapings this weekend. Are you booked for those?

Pete Dunne: Yeah. No, I'm not booked for those. I'd love to go back and forth whenever the opportunity presents itself. And I'd even love to be involved in whatever else I can to help it along. You know what I mean? Whether that be going out there and helping people at the Performance Center, whatever it is. I'd definitely want to continue to be back and forth. I can't give you a definitive answer when I'll be back, especially back on the network for it. That could be years or whatever. But definitely at some point I will be back there and I'm definitely still heavily involved and even if I'm just watching outside of it and then talking to the laser on the shows, trying to help wherever I can still important to me.

Mike Johnson So has there been, you traveled all over the world, has there been ever a weird moment of culture shock? Is it weird coming here and living here in the States? Like, are there things you miss from home other than obviously family and friends? Like is there as there been a moment where you're like, "I cannot believe this is happening to me"?

Pete Dunne:  Not really. I think I'm one of the most traveled wrestlers in the world at this point over the last couple of years, being able to do independence outside of there. So I would come out here for four weeks, and then I would go off to Australia and then come back for a day and then go off to Canada, come back for a day, and then I'd be off to Singapore or wherever. I was all over the place. So the days of culture shock are long gone for me. But this is what I always wanted to do. I went to travel as much as possible. Let me say that the people like the William Regals and the Dave Taylors, that's why I looked up to them because they were British wrestlers that, they'd go away and make a name in America or do these like crazy tours at different places. And that's how I always saw myself wanting to be as a professional wrestler and just live in that life, being able to do what I wanted to. It was great.

Mike Johnson: All right, so we've seen Imperium and Walter show up and recently. If it's up to you, who are some of the European talent, NXT talents that you'd like to see slide over? Like as much as people talking about, now it's a lateral move from RAW and Smackdown to NXT, as opposed to a call up. Who would you like to see, if there's a slot open, go, all right. That person from NXT UK is ready or I'd love to see someone from WXW get pulled up here or from Progress". Is there anybody that you're like, "I know when they get here and they're on the USA Network, they're going to make a splash"?

Pete Dunne So there's obviously guys in the UK, people are familiar with already. People like Mark Andrews, Trent [Seven], Tyler [Bate] or these guys that hopefully they get to come in and out. Even if, it's not a full time move. I'm hoping that they can bring more exposure to annex to UK, come in, show everyone what it's about and then go out, just like I've done the last few years. That would be great. And then outside of that, on the independent level, there's people that I wrestled Cara Noir a couple of weeks ago. He's fantastic. He's got a, I know his character, he's got a unique entrance. All of that kind of stuff would translate brilliantly on TV, and he's great in the ring too  And then there's young talent. There's people, like one name I keep mentioning is, Connor Mills. You know, he's very young, and he's by far from, sorry, the finished product. But I guarantee in the next year, two years, maybe five years, or however long it takes him. Just because he's working so hard, and he's naturally talented. He's going to be, he's going to be somewhere. So there's so much talent in the UK that I'd love to see her, and it's just a matter of time before they start filtering in.

Mike Johnson: So you said you had that moment when you signed the contract, now it's put your head down and get to work. How excited are you to get to work?

Pete Dunne: Yeah, always same. Same for me. Business as usual. Let's keep it rolling. This doesn't feel that out of the ordinary for me. I will say, the locker room is definitely much more of an excitement, possibly more healthy competition. But for me, I don't let these things get to me. I'm fully aware of how huge this is, but treat this as another day. Let's get to work, let's get it done.

Mike Johnson: How different is the locker room feel here to the NXT UK locker room? Is it kind of, a similar energy, or is it different?

Pete Dunne: Similar energy in the sense that everyone wants to go out there and kill it, and they're putting in their competition. There's competition with each other, but it's very positive way, and everyone wants everyone to do well, and maybe they just want to do a bit better. But the difference in the UK is, we've all known each other for so long. There's a lot of people here. I've known for years, but in the UK, the entire roster, I've been in the room with at some point, everyone knows each other so well, but it's definitely a little bit closer, but nothing drastic.

Mike Johnson: All right, so one last question for you. If they put you to work tonight, what's your dream match? 

Pete Dunne: From NXT, anyone in NXT?

Mike Johnson: From NXT, yeah. If they say, "All right, we're going to give you 30 minutes to do what you can do on the USA network", and they'd be like, "Pick your opponent". What will showcase each of you best? Who in that moment, what's your initial response?

Pete Dunne: First name comes to mind would be Velveteen Dream. I just feel like me and him are on two opposite ends of the spectrum, character-wise. Right? And I feel like it's an interesting dynamic that it'd be fun for me in front of him and obviously hopefully that translates out to the audience. Really, we've done a little bit in the past, but on TV at least, never had that singles match. Nothing. That'd be cool.

Mike Johnson: All right, well hopefully we get to see that more in the future. A continued success to you. We'll talk to you down the line and enjoy the moment.

Pete Dunne: Thanks man.

Mike Johnson: Thank you so much.

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