‘The Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne has been a professional wrestler for over fifteen years, that fans have come to know today wasn’t always what they knew him to be. At the tender age of 12, Pete Dunne initially emerged under the training of Steve’ Psycho’ Edwards in the city of Coventry, England. That early training, much like anyone getting their foot into the door, was only the fundamentals of wrestling. It would only take one year for him to meet someone that would long become someone he has had a longstanding friendship with, Mark Andrews.
“Yeah, so it’s a funny thing in that backstage production work is not necessarily for everybody, right? There are certain people… I don’t know. It’s something, for me, that when I first started and I was always fascinated with that other side of it, I think there are certain people that gravitate towards that and then there are certain people that have zero interest in that whatsoever.
For me, the ones that have interest in it, like Pete, he’s just a sponge. He will dig into every single aspect of this business and engage in it in every single way you allow him to. Like, he’s just incredible and to be honest, especially at such young age, has an incredible mind for it.” – Triple H on how Pete Dunne wants to take in all facets of the business, including production.
As time passed, Dunne would compete under a mask as ‘Tiger Kid.’ A persona he kept until he would lose a mask vs. hair match to Helix. It would be at that point when Tiger Kid would make his exit, and Pete Dunne would be born. Over the course of five years, Dunne would learn his craft, competing all over the UK for several smaller independent promotions.
In 2011, Dunne helped to co-create the ATTACK! Pro Wrestling promotion. While there, he truly shined as both a heel and a champion. Pete dominated during his time in the promotion. Over the course of the five years that he was there, Dunne grew as a performer, entertainer, and wrestler.
It was also while he was competing with ATTACK! Pro Wrestling that he began competing in Japan. During his time in Michinoku Pro, Dunne would take part in both tag team and singles action. While his time there was short, it certainly lent itself to new matches and opportunities for then 19-year-old.
‘The Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne
The Emergence of The Best Technical Wrestler in The World?
It was also important for him to grow and evolve as a performer and a character. This began to take place for Pete Dunne once he returned home from Japan. He continued to compete for prominent United Kingdom promotions like Revolution Pro Wrestling and PROGRESS Wrestling. Both of these companies lent themselves to not only new matches for Dunne but familiar ones as well. Longtime friend and then rival Mark Andrews, Flash Morgan Webster, ACH, Puroseau legend Yugi Nagata, and former IWGP World Champion Will Ospreay were among those that Dunne had stepped into a ring with.
One of Dunne’s greatest rivals would also become one of his greatest allies…Tyler Bate. He stood across the ring from Bate at PROGRESS Chapter 28. Aligned with him at Chapter 39. And walked with him at Chapter 47. In fact, much like Tyler Bate, Mark Andrews and Dunne had long traveled in similar circles both professionally and personally.
Dunne’s success in the United Kingdom & Europe also opened doors for him to compete on the other side of the world. Over the course of a few years, Dunne competed in the United States. Along with friends and allies Trent Seven, Mark Andrews, and Tyler Bate, he would participate in the King of Trios tournaments over the course of four years between 2014 and 2017. In 2017, Dunne, Bate, and Seven would win the King of Trios tournament.
“[Tyler is] one of my two favorite people to wrestle [the other being fellow U.K. performer Mark Andrews], and I’m really glad I got to share that one with him. I had a big hand in training Tyler. I got him his first-ever booking, which was against me in a tag match. As proud as I am of myself for being able to hold this WWE title, I was incredibly proud of him, as well. The two Brits on such a huge show of this magnitude.” – Pete Dunne on who his favorite opponents happen to be
While all these opportunities presented themselves for the bruiserweight, a new title and a new tournament introduced the WWE audience to him. As part of the United Kingdom Championship Tournament, viewers were learning all about Pete Dunne. With his introduction came his own admittance of where his name came from, what it meant, and what it’s intended to do. This time, a much cleaner cut, Pete Dunne debuted in the tournament and shared all facets of ‘The Bruiserweight.’
“Weight-wise, I fit into the cruiserweight category, but I’m something really different and unique. I’ve worked really hard on that; to be different, to be unique, to look different when I walk out, and to wrestle different – my final approach is so different for a cruiserweight.
Obviously, cruiserweights are known for their flashy offences and high-flying moves, and that’s not me. I’m aggressive, gritty, and something a lot more rough and ready, with a sense of British-ness about it that I’m really proud of. There’s definitely influences from Fit Finlay and William Regal in there as one aspect, as well as traveling around and picking up pieces from other parts of the world.” – Pete Dunne talking about how and why he is so different.
As time passed, Dunne left an impression on those within the business. That he cared more than simply performing. There was a quality about him that isn’t common in wrestlers. His interest and keen nature of listening in and absorbing exactly what each match and production provides became key. Once NXT UK was born, it became home for Pete Dunne, who successfully carried the title and brand as its champion for nearly 700 days.
“Clearly, when we were in the UK, Pete was one of the people have shown interest in that. Lately, WALTER has as well, and we’re always more than happy to certainly give them the opportunity to do that. And of course, Pete did a phenomenal job, and then, of course, we were beginning to transition him over here.
So you aren’t going to use him on TV as much over there but, while the wait was happening, we utilized him as much as we could, and we’ll continue to do that with the people that show interest in that respect.” – Shawn Michaels on how Pete Dunne thrived during his time in NXT UK.
Prior to coming to the WWE, ‘The Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne captured unofficially 24 championships throughout the world. As of this writing, Pete Dunne is only 27 years of age and has called himself the best technical wrestler in the world. While the moniker could get the ire of some, it actually is held in high regard, in fact, by the likes of former WWE Champion Daniel Bryan (Bryan Danielson).
“Pete Dunne just did this promo… it was really good! He talked about how he thinks he’s the ‘best (technical) wrestler in the world.’ Right? And you can see the thinking. I would say that, when I was in Ring of Honor in 2005, 2006, 2007 and all that kind of stuff, and I was in my twenties, it’s like, ‘Yeah, these are guys who are… they’re becoming the best!’
And Pete Dunne, when you watch him work… You may argue that some people are better. Right? They may be better at this, or they may be better at that. And when you look at him, and you look at some of the other guys, it’s like, who’s the best? That’s become subjective. But they’re in the discussion!” – Daniel Bryan discusses why Pete Dunne is one of the best in the world.
‘The Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne has made an indelible mark on the UK and Europe wrestling scene. He has been able to parlay that into something greater. To think his success all begun before the e.