WWE may have just found their first ever English world champion in Pete Dunne.
Among the many takeaways from this past stacked weekend in WWE for me was that not only is Pete Dunne destined for big things, there is no reason why he should not be a part of the main roster right now.
Unless you’re AJ Styles, almost everyone goes through WWE’s developmental system, regardless of whether it’s for a long or short stint. Kevin Owens was called up to Raw after only five months, whereas it took Sami Zayn several years to become a member of the main roster.
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Dunne, on the other hand, is in a weird spot at the moment because he isn’t technically a part of NXT but rather the roster for the upcoming WWE United Kingdom Championship show. Granted, he made one appearance on NXT a few months ago, but he has been nonexistent on the program otherwise.
After the tournament back in January received rave reviews, plans were put in place to give the grapplers from across the pond their own WWE Network program. It looked like the special that aired on May 19 would be the pilot episode for said show, but it was later revealed it was merely a one-off featuring the U.K. Championship competitors.
The next night, Dunne contested an instant classic with Tyler Bate and beat him in decisive fashion to capture the prestigious prize. Although what the immediate future holds for him is uncertain, it should involve a call-up to WWE’s main stage.Photo Credit: WWE 2017
There is no doubt that Dunne would immediately find success on either Raw or SmackDown Live given he has all the tools necessary to be a big star, including a unique look, exceptional skills on the mic and in the ring, and an awe-inspiring presence.
One would think that WWE would jump at the opportunity to promote Dunne to the main roster as soon as possible considering they need English stars at the moment. It’s unknown when Paige will be back on TV (if ever) and Jack Gallagher is currently relegated to the Cruiserweight division, so it’s up to Dunne to become the first British-born world champion in WWE history.
Before Wade Barrett, the only other England native to come close to capturing a top title in WWE was William Regal, with whom Dunne has had an interesting relationship since the U.K. Championship tourney. Dunne made a strong first impression on night one of the event when he blindsided Sam Gradwell, much to the disgust of Regal.
After decisively defeating Gradwell the next night, Dunne further disrespected Regal by causing chaos when he ambushed Tyler Bate. The two are a lot alike in several aspects, and it is imperative we see that feud continue to grow in the months head.
It’s fairly unlikely we will ever see a match pitting the two against each other given Regal has retired from in-ring action. That said, doing something similar to the Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz feud from SmackDown Live would make for entertaining TV on NXT if Dunne isn’t headed to the main roster any time soon.
Of course, it’s easy to say that so-and-so belongs on the main roster and should be pushed pronto. In fact, a case can be made for well over half of the NXT roster (a.k.a. “developmental”) being on either Raw or SmackDown Live at this point.
The real reason why many stars from the black-and-yellow brand aren’t brought up right away is because WWE doesn’t have anything for them creatively. However, the main roster desperately needs top-tier heels and Dunne would flourish regardless of where he ended up.
Aside from current Universal champion Brock Lesnar, there are few true stars left in WWE that come across as special attractions. Perhaps it’s because he hasn’t been overexposed yet, but Dunne has that aura about him that forces fans to pay attention whenever he shows up.
In the meantime, the U.K. title will make for a solid secondary championship in NXT. He and Bate stole the show in Chicago and it’s only inevitable before they clash in a rematch for the strap, possibly on an upcoming episode of NXT.
Whether it’s a U.K.-exclusive program, NXT or the main roster, the Bruiserweight is bound for super stardom, though the sooner he surfaces on the grand stage of WWE, the better.