Interviews with Bobby Roode, Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate

NXT TakeOver Chicago interviews

Bobby Roode Interview

With NXT TakeOver Chicago approaching, USA Today sat down with Bobby Roode ahead of his NXT Championship match with Hideo Itami as well as giving an insight into the 18 year veteran. They cover topics such as his transistion from “The It Factor” in TNA, to Glorious in NXT, what he has learnt from working with Shawn Michaels and the growth that NXT has experienced since his arrival.

This has been a learning curve for me,” Roode said. “It’s been a lot of fun learning and trying to get better. A lot of (the difference) is the presentation, but your performance has to match the presentation,” Roode said. “The ‘It Factor’ was maybe not as flashy with the robes and the music, but I haven’t changed my thinking; I haven’t changed my psychology; I haven’t changed my wrestling in any aspect. … But as far as the ‘Glorious’ character, the song itself has helped evolve what I am in the ring

In my mind, there is no better person to learn from than Shawn Michaels,” Roode said. “One of the things I’ve never really learned a lot about was just the emotion of what you do with certain emotions at certain times, so we talk a lot about the character development stuff, how to carry yourself and honestly, just everything, really. Shawn is Shawn Michaels. Every time you can have him in your ear and sit down and hear what he has to say is beneficial”.

From the moment, I got to the hotel (at NXT TakeOver: Dallas last year) and then to the arena and started to meet the NXT talent and see the production of everything and having an opportunity to talk to Triple H that night, I knew then this is where I needed to be and this is where I wanted to be. The greatest decision I’ve ever made in my career was to come here. All I wanted from the moment I got here was the opportunity. One year later, it’s been pretty incredible.The schedule is getting really busy,” he said. “The growth that we’ve had from when I first started here up until this point has been incredible. Looking at this whole year and then going into WrestleMania next year, I can see NXT being a full-time brand.

Pete Dunne Interview

USA Today also sat down with Pete Dunne ahead of his UK Championship match with Tyler Bate at NXT TakeOver Chicago. His “Bruiserweight” character is discussed and highlighted as well as his career up to this point, using a child from the audience as a weapon against his opponent, what he has experienced whilst working with WWE and what he plans to do with his remaining time on the independent scene.

Dunne had established “The Bruiserweight” – weighs like a cruiserweight, hits like a bruiser – in two short nights with an American audience that had little or no knowledge of him.

“I had an idea of who I am and who my character is through what I’ve done on the independents,” he said. “I used that as my developmental, trying to get to WWE. Once I got to WWE, what they did with me, with the hype videos and the way they shot me and the cameras, I learned a lot more about who I was as a character.

“Having done more NXT stuff since then has also helped me get that character across. The audience better understands who I am now and I’ve gotten tons more exposure.”

“In a short span of time, everything has changed so much. I’ve gone from having a tryout to a title match at NXT TakeOver.” For myself in particular, it’s felt almost like overnight fame. … We were told before (the U.K. tournament) about the reach of WWE Network, but I don’t think we understood how much until we were sitting in the hotel afterward and looking at our phones.”

“I had to grow pretty fast in wrestling,” said Dunne, 23. “I was 12 years old, and I was surrounded by grown men and taking three- and four-hours drives and going to other countries. I think that molded my personality. At about 16, I realized that style of wrestling that was in the U.K. wasn’t really the style that I like. It’s very popular, but it was not exactly what I was going to settle for.

“I don’t know if I’m going to still be on the independents (with the WWE show) so I’m trying to have the best time that I can until I have to take all my energy and focus it on WWE,” he said. “I’m trying to do something different and completely out of the box and give the audience something they’ll remember. … Pulling the kid out of the audience, I hope that is going to be something that kid and his family remember for the rest of his life. … Right now, I can be a bit more free and a bit more relaxed to be myself and hopefully go out there and have more fun.”

Tyler Bate Interview profiled Tyler Bate ahead of his UK Championship defense against Pete Dunne at NXT TakeOver: Chicago. Topics covered include his starts in wrestling, being the youngest champion in WWE history, what he expects from the Chicago audience and how this match will be different to their first match together for WWE in the finals of the UK Championship tournament

At 20, most people are going to college or trying to figure out what to do with their lives. Not Tyler Bate. He’s already a WWE star in the making. The Dudley, England, native is the inaugural WWE United Kingdom champion and the face of a burgeoning brand. Bate became the youngest person in WWE history to win a singles title when he knocked off Pete Dunne in January, being only 19.

How has he been able to seize championship gold so young? How has he grasped the art of pro wrestling so quickly? Bate himself isn’t sure. “I don’t rightly know,” Bate told Bleacher Report. “My friends have always called me an alien.” Bate credited surrounding himself with knowledgeable people and being gifted with natural athleticism for his progress. He played a number of sports as a kid, including a surprising one for a guy who suplexes people for a living. “I did gymnastics at a young age,” Bate said. “It gave me good control of my body”. A drastic change in his diet aided him on the mat as well. Bate explained that he went vegan just over a year ago. He had been loading up on meat and rice and wasn’t happy with the results. “I was feeling bloated all the time, feeling really heavy and groggy,” Bate said. “As soon as I turned vegan, that kind of went away. I felt a lot lighter.”

Regardless of where the road veers for Bate and his UK brethren, the goal for the Superstars will be to maintain what they’ve begun.

“It’s all about keeping the momentum that we’ve built so far,” Bate said.

As for Saturday in the Windy City? Bate is thrilled about the energy the audience will bring.

“I’m very much looking forward to the fans, as typical as that sounds,” Bate said. “Chicago fans are quite infamous for being rowdy, louder-than-everyone-else fans.”

And when he and Dunne meet again, the two grapplers are in position to outdo their Jan. 15 collision. They will be more rested, for one. Their clash in Chicago won’t be their fourth match of the night as it was in Blackpool. And Bate believes he and Dunne were just getting started in that tournament final.

“When I first faced Pete at the UK tournament, we barely scratched the surface of what we can do and show the WWE Universe,” he said. “Both of us have plenty more tricks in the bag that we can pull out. It’s just going to be balls to the wall.”

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