The Bruiserweight gets real on wrestling in 2020 (Photo: WWE)
Pete Dunne is still in his 20s, but the NXT superstar is already paving the way for future generations.
The British wrestler – who made his name on the independent scene before making a name for himself on the NXT UK brand – is taking every experience in his stride and knows he is already in a position to help those following in his own footsteps.
Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk before tonight’s NXT TakeOver: WarGames event, he said: ‘Even pre-pandemic, I’d done a bunch of production stuff at NXT UK.
‘It’s something that I’ve made clear to the company that I wanna do long-term when my wrestling career’s over.
‘They’ve been great and given me that opportunity to start doing it young and start learning exactly how all that works.’
Although Pete has taken on a more official role, the 27-year-old Brummie grappler – now plying his trade in Florida – admitted he’s always wanted to learn from his own experiences and pass those lessons on, and has done so unofficially in the past.
‘It’s something I always took a lot of pride in,’ he admitted. ‘I think the way British wrestling got as popular as it did was people being selfless and being able to pass on experiences that they’ve had.
‘The best example of that is the company being good enough to me to let me still be part of the independents for the best part of two years.
‘I’m in the Royal Rumble and then rubbing shoulders with Shawn Micheals and Triple H and William Regal, and then able to go back to the independents and share that knowledge.’
Pete has learned from the best (Photo: WWE)
The so-called Bruiserweight recently returned to NXT in the US after months back in the UK due to the pandemic, and his comeback saw him align with Pat McAfee, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch.
Tonight, they’ll team up to take on Pete’s long-time rivals the Undisputed Era inside WarGames itself.
‘Whenever you’re in the ring with those guys, Kyle O’Reilly especially, it’s real, we’re competing,’ he admitted, noting it’s the same with other UE members Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and Roderick Strong.
‘I’m glad we can look back in a few years and say, that was a great story that went – almost my entire run through NXT has been intertwined with them.
‘I can’t wait to look back and see where this finally goes – If it eventually pays off or whether it’s something that goes on for the rest of our careers.’
Pete has praised Pat’s passion for pro wrestling (Photo: WWE)
The story continues to build, and former NFL star McAfee adds another wrinkle, while fans have been justifiably impressed by the way the wrestling rookie – albeit a lifelong fan – has effortlessly settled into this world.
‘He loves the wrestling business. He wouldn’t be doing this otherwise. This isn’t a payday to him, he doesn’t need that – he’s already successful in his own right,’ Pete pointed out.
‘I think you’ll see this Sunday how involved and into this thing he is. He’s not just a celebrity coming in for a pop. He’s here because he loves to be a part of this.’
Beyond tonight’s show, Pete is looking forward to making the most of being back in the ring, although he’s delighted to be spending time with his wife and two-year-old daughter without needing to be on the road all the time.
‘It’s at the point in my daughter’s life, if I’m on the road I can’t just phone her and have a conversation. She’s only just started saying the odd word, so now is my time to be at home and spend that time with her,’ he said.
‘I don’t really know. I’m at the point where right now I don’t what down time, I want to keep this rolling.
‘I was blessed with that amount of time off, but now it’s time to knuckle down, focus and keep the ball rolling.’
*NXT TakeOver: WarGames airs tonight (Sunday, December 6) at midnight on the WWE Network.