Pete Dunne: WWE's United Kingdom Champion on the success of NXT UK, facing Walter, and his future plans
The Briton discusses the importance of more talent being given the spotlight after the success of the NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool in January
Pete Dunne is referred to as "the face" of NXT UK by Paul 'Triple H' Levesque, the WWE's executive vice president of talent, live events and creative.
Strong praise but deserved for Dunne as being front and centre of the WWE's move to have a British brand.
Dunne has been the WWE United Kingdom Champion since beating Tyler Bate in May 2017 and he successfully defended the title again at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool in January against Joe Coffey in the main event.
He also appeared in January's WWE Royal Rumble in Phoenix, Arizona, where he went up against the superstars of Raw and SmackDown.
The 25 year old discusses his role in the WWE's UK scene, a future programme with new talent Walter, and how he would feel about moving over to the United States in the future.
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On the success of NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool
"I think there's a lot of pressure going into a Takeover like that and I think everyone delivered. I think everyone should be proud of it and there's some exciting stuff come out of it. I think there was buzz going into it, you know, but I think we all came out of it with a lot more of a buzz about the brand so it's exciting."
On what returning to Blackpool two years after the United Kingdom Championship Tournament meant to him
"I will say when I walked into the building, myself and Tyler it was really nostalgic which sounds mad, right, because it's only been two years, but how much has happened in the last two years there's definitely a really nostalgic feeling there so that was nice. Two people we don't let the emotion get to us very often, but we definitely took a moment and said this is actually really cool."
On the prospect of a feud with Walter
"It's an exciting prospect, you know. I think he's done great work on the Independence and someone I've wanted to have here for a long time. And I think it just goes to show how deep the talent pool is in Britain. I know he's not British but he definitely made a name over here and I think, you know, it goes a lot deeper than that too. I think that's how this brand is gonna continue to grow is bringing in people like that. I can't wait to get in the ring with him. He's someone who's a completely different style than I've got the opportunity to work with in this company so it's an exciting prospect."
On if he sees himself remaining in the UK or heading to the United States long term
"I think there's two sides to that. So there's a side that this isn't a race, like personally for my career this isn't a race. I'm 25 years old so if I can build this and spend a few years doing this and then maybe go to NXT in the US and have more of a full time schedule there and then eventually work my way to main roster, it's definitely a slow burner, I think that's a good thing.
"But then the other side of it is sort of what I want do and if I had my choice right now I'd still be here. If I had the option to go to main roster, if I had the option to go more full time in Orlando I'd still be here because I've been passionate about British wrestling because I've been a part of this when it was literally non-existent. So to bring it to this point is just exciting to see how far we can keep pushing it."
On NXT UK's roster expanding to have more focus on other talents
"When you have something like a UK tournament it's hard for more than two to five people to sort of build that brand around. Obviously it's early days. I take Blackpool as the kick start, the real beginning of this. Obviously there was a bit of buzz there but that's what's really kicked it over the edge and now we have the performance centre and all that ready to go. So there's the chance now where we can start building this brand around other people."
On assessing the past two years with WWE
"I don't even get time to think or sort of step back and go, look at how far we have gone from there to there because it's always right, next thing, next thing, next thing. So it's a case of making those conscious efforts, even if we are sitting there on a train doing media going, 'This is another cool think I guess, so we'll just tick that off the list'. So it's been a great two years and let's keep it moving."
Updated: February 15, 2019 11:00 AM