Butch, formerly known as Pete Dunne, has opened up about the decision to change his ring name, and when he found out the switch was coming.
On the March 11th episode of Friday Night SmackDown, Pete Dunne made his debut on the main roster. However, the appearance wasn’t quite what fans were expecting.
As Sheamus and Ridge Holland cut a promo backstage addressing their rivalry with the New Day, the duo introduced the world to their newest ally, Pete Dunne. Or as he was now known, Butch. While WWE Superstars having their names changed or altered is nothing new, the switch caused serious debate online.
After all, the star had been using the name for more than a decade, and had become a regular on both NXT UK and UK under the moniker.
Speaking to Mark Andrews on the My Love Letter To Wrestling podcast, Butch said that controversial change was exciting, explaining that it felt it was time to try something new.
“It’s exciting, but it’s also a little bit, I mean, it’s just different. But, I think it’s time to change it up a little bit. Like I said, five years, fresh start, why not try something a little new? The thing is with me, whether it’s a name change, or whatever it is that changes, that’s not really what endeared me to 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 on. 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 gonna continue to do,”
The former NXT United Kingdom Champion revealed that although he felt his time in NXT was coming to an end, the move to SmackDown came about incredibly quickly.
“I kind of had an idea of the fact that my NXT time might be coming to an end for a few weeks now. 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.
But, yeah, I’ve known for a while that oh, really since the change in NXT, I’ve known that, ‘Okay, I’m probably going to the end of my spell at NXT.’ Especially in the last month or so, things have really amped up oh, you know, you start hearing things in that kind of stuff. but WrestleMania season, that adds to it oh, what a great time to be called up. I’m in the mix.”
Butch later reflected on his five years in NXT, admitting that at one point he thought it would be a shame to ever leave. Despite that, he now feels that the time was right to move on.
“Yeah, I was lucky to have as long as I did in NXT. To be honest, there was a time there when I felt like it’d be a shame to stop being in NXT. Obviously, we’re always wanting to move on and be a part of WrestleMania and that kind of stuff. But there’s definitely a time there where NXT was rolling how it was. So many people to work with, every match was exciting, whether we were on the road, TV, TakeOver, especially. Whatever it was. It seemed like a really sad thought 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 British star is yet to make his in-ring debut on SmackDown, but has already made his presence known by attacking Kofi Kingston.
H/t to Fightful for the transription.