When Fightful last connected with The Bruiserweight Pete Dunne, he was using a spindly-legged kid as a javelin in a match in Scotland.
Now, he's a focal point of today's WWE UK Championship Special, and he's facing Tyler Bate for the UK Title on tomorrow night's NXT Takeover: Chicago. But it wasn't always this way for the 23 year old Dunne, who started training as a mere boy.
“I had to grow pretty fast in wrestling," Dunne told USA Today. "I was 12 years old, and I was surrounded by grown men and taking three- and four-hours drives and going to other countries. I think that molded my personality. At about 16, I realized that style of wrestling that was in the U.K. wasn’t really the style that I like. It’s very popular, but it was not exactly what I was going to settle for.
“It was great to do on the side. I really liked doing it, but it’s not what I wanted. I wanted to do something different. Wee started our own little promotion called Attack Pro Wrestling, which is still going now although I can’t be there very often. That helped me realize who I am as a wrestler and provided opportunities where I could try out different stuff. It’s not all about the moves in pro wrestling but we were able to go out there and we used that as a platform to build ourselves up and be the wrestlers we wanted to be.”
“I had an idea of who I am and who my character is through what I’ve done on the independents,” he said. “I used that as my developmental, trying to get to WWE."
Now that he's realized his dream of getting into the biggest wrestling company in the world, he understands that he needed their help to fully realize his potential.
"Once I got to WWE, what they did with me, with the hype videos and the way they shot me and the cameras, I learned a lot more about who I was as a character. Having done more NXT stuff since then has also helped me get that character across. The audience better understands who I am now and I’ve gotten tons more exposure.”
The whole WWE experience has been quite a trip for Dunne.
“It’s been really crazy. In a short span of time, everything has changed so much. I’ve gone from having a tryout to a title match at NXT TakeOver. For myself in particular, it’s felt almost like overnight fame."
Well, if you win your title match on Saturday in Chicago, Pete, get ready for that fame to grow exponentially.
FIghtful will have full Live Coverage of the WWE UK Championship Special later today beginning at 3pm est, as well as NXT Takeover: Chicago tomorrow beginning at 8/7c.
You can read more from the USA Today interview at this link.