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    Saturday, December 30, 2017

    31 Days of Wrestling (12/30/17): The Statement vs. Pete Dunne

    Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2017 produced for us.

    Pete Dunne is no stranger to our countdown of fine matches. We've already featured the Bruiserweight's saga against fellow Brit Tyler Bate in an earlier post, and he becomes one of the few men to be featured more than once in this series with another highlight of the year.

    To say that 2017 has been a great year for Dunne might be an understatement. In the short span of 12 months, the Bruiserweight has transformed himself from a well-kept British secret into one of the most acclaimed young talents in the world right now. From his run in the inaugural WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament to his ongoing reign as the WWE UK Champion, there has been no other wrestler whose stock has skyrocketed as much as Dunne's has.

    Along with his British Strong Style buddies Tyler Bate and Trent Seven, Dunne is also in one of the more unique situations in wrestling today. While his affiliation with WWE means we get to see him shows like NXT and RAW, he's still able to work the independent circuit. Dunne still shows up in promotions such as PROGRESS, RevPro and ATTACK!, much like he did before. Thanks to the newfound exposure from his matches in the WWE, this would also pave the way for Bruiserweight to make his mark in other parts of the world—such as this next match we'll be talking about.

    Photo taken from the SPW Facebook page.

    When Singapore Pro Wrestling (SPW) announced this match back in August, it marked the first time Dunne would have a significant presence in Southeast Asia. His opponent would be none other than Singapore's own "The Statement" Andruew Tang, one of the region's most prominent wrestlers. In recent years, The Statement has been making a name for himself thanks to his matches against some of Asia's finest. A match against the reigning WWE UK Champion would prove to be his toughest test yet.

    Thankfully, SPW has put up the whole match on its YouTube channel, which you can see below:

    Credit goes to The Statement here—he came in as the underdog against a superstar like Dunne, but more than held his own in this 20-minute bout. Dunne was at his best heel here, mocking the smaller Statement when given the opportunity. It's unusual to see a match where the Bruiserweight is the bigger guy, but it fits his gimmick so well when he's the one physically bullying his opponent around the ring. Dunne maintained an air of confidence the whole match, and he probably wasn't surprised when he picked up the victory. What was surprising, though, was his show of respect towards The Statement and the rest of the fans after the match, promising that they'll meet again down the line.

    Beyond the in-ring result, this match is a representation of one of wrestling's biggest trends of 2017—the continuous globalization and cross-pollination of wrestling around the world. The Bruiserweight was just one of many names to have plied their craft in Southeast Asia this year, giving fans an opportunity they thought they'd have to sell their kidneys for previously.

    Through the hard work of people in the wrestling industry, we're seeing more and more of these "dream matches" come to life. Just this month, Dunne (along with Seven and Bate) returned to Southeast Asia, competing in Kuala Lumpur for the newly established Asian Wrestling Entertainment (AWE). On that same card, former PWR champions Jake De Leon and John Sebastian were in another match. Did you ever imagine that you'd see these names together in one show? Welcome to a new era of wrestling, folks.

    This trend has also continued in our own local scene, giving us some of the year's highlights. International talent such as Billy Suede, The Regime and Ho Ho Lun have all plied their craft in the country this year. Greg Bownds is set to come back and defend his AWF title against Rex Lawin in a future MWF show. Local talent has also seen action abroad—just recently, Crystal was involved in SPW's attempt to crown the first Queen of Asia. Wrestling's borders are getting smaller and smaller, and we look forward to seeing what 2018 has in store for us.

    Hey, you never know—maybe Pete Dunne plies his trade in Manila next year. A man can dream, right?


    31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2017.

    Read our previous entries:

    1. The Okada/Omega Trilogy
    2. Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker (WrestleMania 33)
    3. The Mae Young Classic Finals
    4. Billy Suede vs. Jake De Leon (Wrevolution X 2017)
    5. WarGames
    6. Prince Puma vs. Pentagon Dark (Ultima Lucha Tres)
    7. Fatal Four Way for the WWE Universal Championship (SummerSlam 2017)
    8. Manami Toyota's Retirement
    9. Jinder Mahal Wins the WWE Championship
    10. Roman Reigns Tries To Take The Torch (No Mercy 2017)
    11. Hanzello Shilva vs. Aldrin Richards (MWF Balikbayan 2017)
    12. Tetsuya Naito vs. Kenny Omega (G1 Climax 27 Finals)
    13. The Implosion of #DIY
    14. Ubusan ng Lahi (PWR Vendetta 2017)
    15. The First (and Second) Women's Money in the Bank
    16. Cody Rhodes Wins the Ring of Honor World Championship
    17. The Beginning of the Zo Train Era
    18. Killshot vs. Dante Fox, Hell Of War (Ultima Lucha Tres)
    19. The 16-Time Champ is Here
    20. Kenny Omega vs. Tomohiro Ishii (G1 Special)
    21. Kurt Angle Joins The Shield for the TLC Main Event
    22. Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne (NXT Takeover: Chicago)
    23. The Festival of Friendship
    24. Christopher Daniels Wins His First World Title (At 47)
    25. John Cena vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (SmackDown Live!)
    26. Kazuchika Okada vs. Katsuyori Shibata (Sakura Genesis)
    27. Billy Suede vs. Chris Panzer (Bakbakan Sa Bayanihan)
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    Item Reviewed: 31 Days of Wrestling (12/30/17): The Statement vs. Pete Dunne Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Anthony Cuello
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