For those still in need of an introduction, WWE United Kingdom champion Tyler Bate plans on making his first acquaintance a memorable one this Saturday at NXT’s TakeOver: Chicago.
For those still in need of an introduction, WWE United Kingdom champion Tyler Bate plans on making it a memorable one this Saturday at NXT’s TakeOver: Chicago.
“Fans will learn I am an alien and I’m capable of anything you can think of in a wrestling ring,” Bate said. “Anything that you can possibly think of, I can more than likely do.”
Bate, 20, began wrestling in his hometown of Dudley, England at the age of 14, but his style and delivery rivals those who have worked in the business for three times that length.
“I have no doubts that my match with Pete Dunne is going to steal the show at TakeOver,” Bate said. “I plan on taking Pete’s head off and holding it high above my head for all of Chicago and the WWE to see.”
Bate is the youngest singles champion in WWE history, and his youth is a critical component in his success. Bate is blissfully unaware that there are limitations inside the ring. He delights European crowds with his own version of the Cesaro Swing maneuver, which includes spinning two wrestlers, giving one an airplane spin and performing the giant swing on another.
“That is the product of squats in the gym,” Bate said. “Lots and lots of squats. I’ve always been quite naturally athletic, so when I started wrestling, it came quite naturally—like I was always meant to do it.
“I did the airplane spin, but credit is given where credit is due—Chris Brooks gave me the idea. He thought it would be great if I spun two people around, and it worked. I’ve got the legs to do it.”
Despite his relative inexperience compared to a number of wrestling’s grizzled veterans, Bate does not consider himself a newcomer to the industry.
“I’ve been wrestling now for six years, which is longer than some of the people who were in the U.K. Tournament,” Bate said. “I don’t consider myself new to the business.”
The United Kingdom Tournament was spearheaded by Paul “Triple H” Levesque and crowned a champion this past January. The event, Bate said, was a whirlwind that materialized quicker than he ever dreamed possible.
“A bunch of us had a try-out in November, then two weeks before the press conference, we all got a phone call that there was going to be a U.K. Championship Tournament,” Bate said. “It was very short notice, but we just took it as it came and went with the wind.”
Bate instantly seized the golden opportunity as soon as he received a phone call with an invitation to the tournament—as well as the chance to be the face of the division—from William Regal.
“It came as a huge surprise,” Bate admitted. “I wasn’t expecting to be a part of the WWE, let alone a WWE champion, so that was really cool.”
Bate said he felt at home during the U.K. tournament at the historic Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, Lancashire, England.
“A lot of the crowd knew who we were from independent shows around the country like Progress and ICW,” Bate said. “It was really cool getting a chance to teach the fans about who all of the new British guys were, it was almost like starting all over again.”
British wrestling audiences can be rumbustious. The crowds chant, holler, and sing, and even decomposed KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Give It Up” to a catchy rendition of “Tyler Bate.”
“I try not to hear it in my sleep, but I love it,” Bate said. “They’ve been singing it for quite a while now.”
The tournament created a whirling dervish of motion that led Bate to receive lessons on wrestling psychology from Triple H.
“Learning from Triple H face to face was an amazing experience,” Bate marveled. “He is one of the biggest stars ever in the business.”
Bate will also be visible during the WWE Network’s United Kingdom Special, which will stream exclusively at 3 p.m. ET Friday with a re-air scheduled for prime time at 8 p.m. Bate defends his U.K. championship against Mark Andrews from a match that took place in Norwich, England, and the affair will be broadcasted by the legendary Jim Ross and Nigel McGuinness.
“Jim Ross was commentating when I was growing up watching wrestling,” Bate said. “There isn’t any other way to explain that other than saying how cool it is. I’m quite excited to be a part of this now.”
Bate’s title match on Saturday against Dunne at TakeOver will mark Ross’s first return to the broadcast booth since he called the Undertaker-Roman Reigns main event at WrestleMania 33.
“I got to go over and watch WrestleMania,” Bate said. “AJ Styles and Shane McMahon was my favorite match this year. I’ve always been a big fan of the big flippy stuff, really, as ridiculous as that sounds. It’s really cool when Shane McMahon is able to pull out a shooting star press.”
Bate’s underground rock style of wrestling is now on display for a worldwide audience of eager critics, and he is ready to set the land of the dollar bill aflame this Saturday night with Pete Dunne in the heat of a summer night.
“I wrestled him when I was really young, even before I had a mustache,” Bate said. “It’s pretty cool to show what each of us is capable of, and I quite like sharing the ring with Pete, especially on the WWE level.
“Maybe the U.K. thing intertwines with the WWE roster, and hopefully, one day, I get to work with the guys I’ve been fans of for a long time, like Randy Orton and John Cena.”
Chicago, a staple city of professional wrestling, is ready to welcome Bate with open arms. Yet if he fails to live up to the crowd’s expectations, there is a chance that he will remember the Windy City more for its brisk and bluster than the hospitality.
“I’ve never been to Chicago,” Bate said. “I know Chicago is quite famous for being rowdy and loud. I imagine it’s like the British crowd, and I’m looking forward to see what they throw at us.
“Me and Pete barely scratched the surface of what we were capable of during the U.K. tournament, so I’m really looking forward to showing the WWE Universe what we can do at TakeOver.”