Former NXT Star Claims They Were Offered ‘Butch’ Name Change Years Ago

Butch aka Pete Dunne

Pete Dunne was infamously renamed Butch a few weeks ago, but he wasn’t the first to be offered the name change.

The 11 March edition of SmackDown saw Pete Dunne officially join the WWE main roster, aligning himself with Sheamus and Ridge Holland. Aside from a couple of Main Event outings, this marked just the fourth main roster appearance for ‘The Bruiserweight’, the most recent of which came when he challenged Adam Cole for the NXT Championship at the 2019 Survivor Series pay-per-view.

Here, the former WWE United Kingdom Champion would be renamed Butch, much to the chagrin of the Internet Wrestling Community. The Birmingham, England native wasn’t the first to be in line for the moniker, however, as former NXT star Bull James reveals he almost got the name during his stint in the black-and-gold brand.

Talking on the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast, James, who spent close to three years under WWE contract, explained how Butch was part of his list of potential ring names prior to him donning the name Bull Dempsey (h/t Sportskeeda):

“There’s all this uproar about Pete Dunne being Butch. Butch was one of the names I put on my list, thinking, ‘Oh, they’ll never use this’, but not realizing that Bill DeMott’s nickname for his son was Butch, so he loved it. He kept trying to get me, like, ‘Oh, I think you should be Butch’. I’m like, ‘I don’t wanna be Butch! Please don’t make me Butch’.”

Bull James was released from WWE in February 2016, where he had enjoyed bouts opposite Tyler Breeze, Hideo Itami, and DIY; the pairing of Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. His last televised match aired on 30 March 2016, close to two months after he was let go, as he lost to Samoa Joe in under two minutes.

Continuing, the 34-year-old explained how he doesn’t see the name change affecting Dunne’s career trajectory:

“It’s funny that Pete has it now. He’s so talented, man, that a name is not gonna hold him back. He’s awesome.”

Pete Dunne signed with WWE in early 2017. He’s a former WWE United Kingdom Champion and NXT Tag Team Champion alongside Riddle, with the duo also winning the 2020 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, while also serving as a producer for the NXT UK brand.