On the March 11 episode of WWE SmackDown, Butch made his debut alongside Sheamus and Ridge Holland.
Many fans weren't thrilled to see that Butch, better known as Pete Dunne in NXT, had undergone such a name change after being with the company since 2016 and formerly holding the NXT UK Championship and NXT Tag Team Championships.
Speaking to Mark Andrews on My Love Letter To Wrestling, Butch gave his thoughts on the change.
"It's exciting, but it's also a little bit, I mean, it's just different. But, I think it's time to change it up a little bit. Like I said, five years, fresh start, why not try something a little new? The thing is with me, whether it's a name change, or whatever it is that changes, that's not really what endeared me to the audience in the first place, right? It's the, I like to think anyway, it's the quality of the in-ring work, and that's what I'm going to keep the same. Of course, it's going to get better. It's going to improve as time goes on. So that's sort of my perspective on it. If I can endear the crowd with the quality of my in-ring work, that's what I'm gonna continue to do," he said.
Dunne had wrestled on the March 1 episode of NXT, losing to Carmelo Hayes.
When asked how he learned about the change, Butch said, "I kind of had an idea of the fact that my NXT time might be coming to an end for a few weeks now. But in terms of the call up to SmackDown, and everything that came with it, that was really fast. It would have been the day before I was traveling, pretty much, starting to find bits and pieces out. But, yeah, I've known for a while that oh, really since the change in NXT, I've known that, ‘Okay, I'm probably going to the end of my spell at NXT.’ Especially in the last month or so, things have really amped up oh, you know, you start hearing things in that kind of stuff. but WrestleMania season, that adds to it oh, what a great time to be called up. I'm in the mix."
Aside from the pandemic, Butch had been a mainstay on NXT TV since 2019 and even challenged Adam Cole for the NXT Championship at Survivor Series 2019.
Speaking about his time in NXT and the run coming to an end, Butch said, "Yeah, I was lucky to have as long as I did in NXT. To be honest, there was a time there when I felt like it'd be a shame to stop being in NXT. Obviously, we're always wanting to move on and be a part of WrestleMania and that kind of stuff. But there's definitely a time there where NXT was rolling how it was. So many people to work with, every match was exciting, whether we were on the road, TV, TakeOver, especially. Whatever it was. It seemed like a really sad thought to be out of there. But it's definitely time to move up. So I'm grateful for five years, but it's exciting to see what comes next."
Butch has yet to make his in-ring debut on WWE SmackDown. He, Sheamus, and Ridge Holland are currently feuding with Kofi Kingston.
Fightful will have live coverage of WWE SmackDown beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Friday.
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