Pete Dunne has been under a WWE contract for just over 2 years. He established the NXT UK brand and held onto the United Kingdom Championship for almost 700 days. For having only been involved with mainstream wrestling for a brief amount of time, it begs the question: just how far can Pete Dunne go?
‘The Bruiserweight’ recently took a step away from the budding UK brand and set his sights on the NXT North American championship at TakeOver Toronto. Ultimately, Dunne failed to leave with a new title clenched between his teeth. So what exactly is next for the Brummy bruiser? Should he remain as part of the American branch of NXT, or might he return to his home-turf?
The former UK champ has proved himself as one of the most popular acts in all of NXT, having received a huge ovation when he made his surprising return to Full Sail to challenge Velveteen Dream last month. Dunne was the X-factor walking into the triple threat at Takeover: Toronto. In a way, he was considered a natural successor to Dream’s definitive reign as the mid-card champ. Unfortunately, the NXT writers didn’t quite think it was the right time to pull the trigger on Dunne as a mainstay of NXT and thought best to keep his contention brief.
Regardless, Dunne could still find himself in a top spot on the NXT roster. With Johnny Gargano now out of the title picture, Adam Cole is looking for a new challenger for his NXT Championship. Pete Dunne’s status is of a top-tier talent and would definitely pose a credible threat to Adam Cole, especially after scoring a few victories over him and The Undisputed Era during their big feud that culminated at the Royal Albert Hall last year.
Pete Dunne and Adam Cole could become one of the most talked about rivalries in NXT history, the first of many potential NXT/NXT UK crossovers. Dunne and Cole both come in as two of the most talented performers under the WWE umbrella and could put together an insanely fun match for us to watch. Do I see ‘The Brusierweight’ walking away with the NXT title? Certainly. Pete Dunne is marketable, he’s well-received by all corners of the WWE Universe and has proven himself worthy of leading the charge as the face of a brand.
But after two years of time within the developmental system, might it be time for Pete Dunne to be brought onto the main roster? WWE main programming is severely lacking in UK representation — outside of Finn Balor, Drew McIntyre and Sheamus, there’s very few that have managed to break through onto the big stage. NXT UK is all about molding a new troupe of British stars for the WWE, Pete Dunne has by-far been their biggest success and that should be highlighted on either Raw or SmackDown Live.
Dunne has already been given a few moments of exposure on WWE TV, having debuted on Raw in November of 2017 and being a surprise entrant in this year’s Royal Rumble match, so even the casual audience are somewhat aware of who exactly ‘The Bruiserweight’ is.
Pete Dunne could easily find himself in the mix on the main roster, perhaps as part of the mid-card to begin with before eventually moving into the main event scene in attempt to become the first-ever British World Champion. Again, Dunne has the credibility to stand alongside the biggest names in wrestling today; as long as he’s allowed to continue to perform at his peak, then there’s no doubt he’ll be able to get over with the worldwide audience.
There are some absolute dream matches that could happen with ‘The Bruiserweight’ on the main roster. Names like Daniel Bryan, Aleister Black and even the Cruiserweights over on 205 Live could bring out the best in Dunne and create some of the most impressive, physical matches we’ve seen on the main roster in years, matches akin to the MOTY candidates he had with Tyler Bate and The Undisputed Era during his time in NXT.
News broke recently regarding Pete Dunne’s plans to return to Progress Wrestling this September. Where this is likely a one-night only deal with Progress, Dunne could certainly return to the British indie scene to help re-fill the gap he and his NXT UK cohorts left behind. Debates have fired back and forth between BritWres fans regarding whether the scene is suffering without the likes of Dunne, Moustache Mountain and Walter since being locked down with exclusive contracts.
‘The Bruiserweight’ has done so much for the BritWres scene and deserves massive credit for that. Perhaps one last hurrah as part of the biggest indie promotions could help re-build the scene and polish the stars that are currently breaking through as the hottest products. Pete Dunne can act as a huge draw for smaller promotions in his last run on the British indies, before finally breaking away from his roots and leaving the UK in good hands.
Regardless of where Pete Dunne ends up, he’s destined for big things in the wrestling industry. But his star can’t be sat on for too long, WWE need to pull the trigger on ‘The Bruiserweight’ should they hope he becomes a major star in the big leagues. He could make it in NXT, on the main roster or even back on the indies if they needed a suitable ambassador. I can’t wait to see where he ends up in the near future.