Now known as Butch, the former Pete Dunne was the latest guest on Mark Andrews: My Love Letter to Wrestling by BBC Wales, where he discussed his arrival on the blue brand and moving on from NXT.
“I was lucky to have as long as I’ve been in NXT,” Butch said. “To be honest, there was a time there when I felt like it would be a shame to stop being in NXT. Obviously, we all wanted to move on and be a part of a WrestleMania and that kind of stuff. But there was definitely a time there where NXT was rolling how it was and there were so many people to work with.
“It was, every matchup was exciting on the road, TV, Takeover. Especially when it was and it seemed like a really sad port 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.”
The former WWE United Kingdom Champion noted that he wanted to continue to endear himself to the WWE Universe with the quality of his in-ring work, following his arrival to SmackDown on March 11.
“It’s exciting but it’s also a little bit, I mean, it’s just different,” Butch explained. “But I think it’s time to change it up a little bit. Like I’ve said, five years, fresh start. Why not try something a little new? The thing is with me, whether it’s a name or whatever it is that changes, that’s not really what endeared me towards 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, 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 going to continue to do.”
Butch also explained his new wrestling outfit, which at the same time has seen him adopt a whole new attitude and gimmick, aligning himself with Sheamus and Ridge Holland.
“It’s always been something that I’ve been, I’ve sort of skirted around and been on the edge of, right?” The former NXT Superstar said. “Like me, Trent, and Tyler would do, you know, the promo photos in it or whatever and even before when I was doing stuff with Ridge and Oney and Danny in NXT and we were sort of skirting around it, whereas now it’s, we’re gonna go the whole way with it.
“So, why not, right? It feels right, it’s a fit, and I’m 28 now. I’m growing up even further, I’ve been in NXT for a long time. So if there’s ever a time to try something new and just for it, it’s right now. I’m excited to see what it brings.”
The former Bruiserweight also disclosed when he received the information that he would be leaving NXT to join the SmackDown brand.
“I’ve kind of had an idea of the fact that my NXT time might be coming to an end for a few weeks now,” Butch said. “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.
“So yeah, I’ve known for a while that, really since the same in NXT, I’ve known that, ‘okay I’m probably coming to the end of my spell at NXT’. And then, especially in the last maybe month or so, things have really amped up and you know, start hearing things about that kind of stuff. But, WrestleMania season, that adds to it. What a great time to be called and to be in the mix.
“So I’ve already been looking, right, I’ve already been looking up to, even though I was in NXT, still getting to do things like the Rumble and Survivor Series, so I’m slowly ticking them all off. And obviously, Mania is the big one so it’s a great time to get the call-up and be in, be in the mix.”