The legendary soul singer is hitting the road in celebration of her iconic album.
We sat down with first-ever WWE UK Champion Tyler Bate to discuss the WWE UK Tournament, being at WrestleMania, other UK wrestlers he’d like to see join WWE and what advice he’d give to wannabe wrestlers
At the mere age of 19, Tyler Bate – from Dudley of all places – won the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament back in January become the inaugural WWE UK Champion. Yep, NINETEEN. You read that right. And even more impressively, he defeated Pete Dunne (who’s now the current WWE UK Champion after beating Bate for it recently at NXT TakeOver: Chicago – please keep up) in the Final, not long after a vicious attack from the Bruiserweight himself.
But it wasn’t just a case of a new guy coming and getting ‘lucky’. Tyler’s been “wrestling since I was 14 years old” and he doesn’t consider himself “new”. But getting this opportunity at such a young age, it must be daunting and mind-blowing. “I grew up watching these guys I’m on tour with,” the now 20-year-old says of the WWE Live tour he’s been a part of on his way to Norwich for the first WWE UK Championship Live weekend. And as a “big fan of Randy Orton”, being on the same show as him is all that hard work being repaid. With interest.
So, we caught up with Tyler Bate at Epic Studios to find out just how this whirlwind has been, who he thinks should be in the WWE UK division and what advice he would give to anyone out there wanting to join him…
ON THE EFFECT THE WWE UK CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT, AND BEING THE FIRST-EVER WWE UK CHAMPION, HAS HAD…
“I feel like the UK show as a whole has hugely affected the UK and the Indies, really. We get the best of both worlds: being able to work for the WWE and still do the Independent shows. Us being at the WWE… we’ve kind of taken our buzz and our popularity now from the WWE show to the Independents and now widened the range of Independent fans.”
ON TAKING THE WWE UK CHAMPIONSHIP TO THE RING AT INDIE SHOWS…
“That’s the first time ever that a WWE title has been on an Indie show – I’m pretty proud of that.”
ON THE MOST MIND-BLOWING EXPERIENCE WWE HAS GIVEN HIM SO FAR…
“Just being at WrestleMania, really. That experience as a whole is kind of like the most mind-blowing experience for me so far. And it was the first WrestleMania I’ve ever been to! And to get to go to a WrestleMania as part of the WWE… it’s wicked. So that’s been the most mind-blowing thing. Like, meeting Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts… he was just walking around and I was like, ‘Wicked!’ Even, like, Tajiri was just around and I was like, ‘Ah, this is the best!’”
ON WHAT OTHER WRESTLERS HE’D LIKE TO SEE IN THE WWE UK DIVISION…
“That isn’t considered a part of WWE UK? There’s so many. Jimmy Havoc would be cool. I’m a big fan of Joe Coffey from ICW – I really like him. Chris Brookes, I’d like to see him and Kid Lykos – that’d be really cool. Marty Scurll, Will Ospreay – they’d be cool, they’re really big names in the UK.”
ON WHAT ADVICE HE WOULD GIVE TO TRAINEE WRESTLERS…
“There’s one bit of advice I’d give and it’s to take everybody’s advice, and make your own version of what they’re saying and not fall into the stereotype of what wrestlers are – being six-foot and jacked with abs in trunks and boots. That’s done; that time of wrestling has finished now. It’s all about diversity and who’s different… who’s got personality.”
ON WHAT HE’D SAY TO PEOPLE WANTING TO BECOME A WRESTLER…
“You never really know unless you try, do you? I was quite lucky enough to be quite physically gifted from a young age. I did gymnastics from the age of eight, so I already had really good body control and stuff. But yeah, you never really know until you try, so give it a crack. You might find that you’re a lot better than you think, but then you might also find out after a few sessions that it’s not really for you.”
There’s plenty more WWE action taking over the UK over the coming months, starting with the WWE NXT tour which culminates at Download Festival. Here are those dates:
5 June – GE Oil & Gas Arena, Aberdeen
7 June – First Direct Arena, Leeds
8 June – Centre, Brighton
9 – 11 June – Download Festival 2017
Tickets for WWE NXT are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.