Last night’s episode of WWE SmackDown featured the main roster debut of one of NXT’s longest-tenured and most beloved stars, Tyler Bate. Fellow former WWE NXT UK Champion Pete Dunne was in need of a tag team partner to take on Pretty Deadly, and he called upon his friend and occasional nemesis, Bate, to help even the odds. In the end, Dunne and Bate stood tall, but it feels like the feud between the two teams is just getting started.
In the wake of Bate’s SmackDown appearance, speculation swirled as to which WWE brand he was now on. Today, we have an answer, as he has officially been added to the SmackDown roster on WWE.com.
After a very brief stint on the UK independent scene, Bate was signed to the WWE NXT UK brand in 2016 and was announced as one of the sixteen men to compete for the brand’s inaugural Championship. At the age of nineteen, Bate went on to win that tournament, and become the second youngest person to ever hold a WWE championship. He reigned for 125 days before dropping the title to Dunne at WWE NXT Takeover: Chicago. I was privileged to attend that event live, and I regularly cite it as one of the greatest matches I have ever seen in person. Definitely worth going out of your way to see.
Last night’s WWE SmackDown also saw Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns return to the show. In the main event, AJ Styles, LA Knight, and Randy Orton were battling to become his opponent at the WWE Royal Rumble, but The Bloodline had other plans. In the waning moments of the contest, the group descended on the ring and proceeded to beat up all three competitors. This incensed General Manager Nick Aldis, who informed Paul Heyman, who was standing ringside, that Reigns would now have to face all three men at the Rumble in a Fatal 4-Way match.