In the NXT UK brand, many wrestlers have emerged as potential stars of the future, but there were always three men who seemed destined to dominate this particular division. Current UK Champion into his 600th day Pete Dunne, winner of the first-ever WWE UK Championship Tournament Tyler Bate and the man he shared NXT Tag gold with, Trent Seven. The latter two of this stunningly talented trio were on hand at our day in the NXT UK Performance Centre to answer questions about the facility and the future of the UK roster.

With the training of the newest British stars being the order of the day, we were curious as to how this training experience would have compared to their own. Tyler shared the details of his first facility. ‘I trained in a unit. It wasn’t very big. It was probably about as big as this room. It had a ring and a punching bag for whatever reason.’

Trent: ‘For striking.’

Tyler: ‘Yeah, for striking. It was considered pretty good for the 7/8 years ago when I started training. That was as good as it got. Just a room with a ring. There really wasn’t many places you could train with a ring. It was mostly just matted floors, like a judo hall.’

Trent: ‘That’s exactly where I started. Gym mats on floors taking all kinds of life-shortening manoeuvres for hours and hours and hours. That’s how you learnt then, but obviously, things change and evolve. We’ve had the luxury over the last two years of using the Performance Centre in Orlando and to see the development of the UK Performance Centre over only four or five months, it’s just been incredible. We’re at the point now where we’ve got an absolutely world-class training facility. Not only for wrestling but for strength and conditioning, and the high level of coaching we’ve got here with Matt Bloom, Robbie Brookside, and John Moss. So you can be coached by strength and conditioning coaches like Sean Hayes and you can be taught by one of the greatest British wrestlers of all time, and the facilities and the surroundings that come with that are luxurious.’

With the UK Performance Centre being such a big milestone for the UK wrestling industry, Trent was prompted for any advice he would give to those seeking to one day make it to the PC, ‘My advice would be to find a reputable local training facility where you can learn the basics, go to shows, and watch wrestling. Consume the content. The real thing for me that sped up the process, because I started physically wrestling so late, is just watching it on the telly.’

Tyler: ‘I spent a lot of time travelling around and trying to meet new people and trying to get my name out there to promoters and people who matter because that person might tell the next person about how nice you were to them, and even that can go a really long way. Just be a really nice person.’

With British independent wrestling seeming so prominent in the global scene, Tyler was asked about what it was that made the UK such a big influence in the industry right now. ‘I don’t even know if we are influencing anyone in the world, to be honest. Everyone just seems to be coming here now instead of influencing anyone around the world, they just think Britain is where it is now. That’s where the buzz is. Everyone’s just coming over here now.’

Trent: ‘It’s a hotbed for talent at the moment. There are 30 of the best performers in Europe in that Centre. Not just the United Kingdom but all of Europe. They’re getting trained by the best wrestlers and the best coaches in the world. Who wouldn’t want to come here? Even if you take the performance centre out of things, the independent scene has been smoking hot for the past two or three years. We’ve worked really, really hard to build that base. It always filters down and there are people here that did wrestle for those few top companies, there are people here that didn’t, there are people from all countries around the world and the point is, we all come together and hopefully, it will just be the start.’

Every single time Tyler and Trent make the news cycle, it seems that they are adding another ‘first’ to their CV. They were both involved in the first-ever WWE UK Championship Tournament, Tyler was the first WWE UK Champion, and NXT Takeover Blackpool is the first UK Takeover event for the first-ever non-North America NXT brand. They were asked if Blackpool was going to be their biggest show to date. Tyler had an interesting insight on the subject. ‘I like to treat everything like it’s the biggest thing in our career because you never know when your next match is going to be your last.’

Trent: ‘You never know who’s watching as well. I didn’t know that William Regal was watching me in ICW and PROGRESS when he did and it was quite lucky for me that he was. There’s only ever one first impression you get to make. Blackpool is the first UK Takeover. That’s not going to stop either. There will be the first UK Championship match at WrestleMania. That’s the thing that we have to push for. There will be the first-ever NXT UK European tour. Let’s go for it. Let’s shoot for the stars.’

Speaking of firsts it seemed a fitting moment to bring up what it felt like to be part of the first-ever WWE UK Championship Tournament. Trent reminisced about seeing two of his best friends in the final, ‘I don’t think I’ve ever felt like that at a show at all before. The fact that it was two people I felt so close to going out there. But I think people underestimate how much pressure was actually thrown on us. That was 16 guys, no one in the WWE Universe knew who we were and we were live on the WWE Network two days on the bounce. I don’t think that will ever happen again, to be really honest. They went out there and it will arguably be a classic for the rest of our time. That moment in the ring at the end, with the confetti coming down and we all got the chance to get in there and celebrate.’

Tyler: ‘I didn’t even get a chance to recognise what was going on because it was all such a rush. It was only within the span of one month that we knew anything was happening. You just had to go.’

With Tyler and Trent being recognised as the ‘locker room leaders’ of the UK division, a division the whole of the UK wrestling scene will be working towards, we wanted to know if they felt the pressure of being tasked with setting a good example. Trent had this to say, ‘Good question. The thing about it is the diversity, which I believe the three of us, myself, Tyler, and Pete, bring. I am (not considerably, but slightly) older than Tyler Bate. So I’d like to think we bring a wide variety of opportunities regarding help and advice to the table. There’s some extremely talented people out there and I’ve learnt half the things I know now off Pete and Tyler. Coming together as a team, we’re just going to get better and better and better together.’

Given that the main roster are currently working towards storylines for the 2019 Royal Rumble, we were curious to find out if they had any ambitions towards the event. Tyler’s goal is refreshingly simple, ‘I just want to lift the biggest person. That’s all I want to do.’

All images courtesy of WWE

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