British WWE star Pete Dunne insists it isn't "all over" for the country's wrestling scene after backing an ongoing Parliamentary inquiry into the industry.
Fans were left stunned earlier this year after a string of allegations were made against a raft of big names in pro wrestling in what became known as the #SpeakingOut movement.
A number of individuals stepped forward and told their stories that alleged a damaging, systemic problem with improper conduct, sexual and emotional abuse within parts of the industry.
The movement jolted some of wrestling's biggest names into action, with US giants WWE and AEW releasing wrestlers who'd been implicated.
It prompted action from Westminster, as it was announced an all-party Parliamentary Inquiry was to be launched into professional wrestling in Britain back in September, led by co-chairs Alex Davies-Jones MP and Mark Fletcher MP.
Dunne is one of the brightest exports from these shores currently plying his trade in the States, and said at the time he was "shocked and disgusted" by the claims.
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He quickly assumed a position as a voice in which fans felt they could trust, leaving many to look to the Birmingham-born Dunne as an authority on the matter.
In an exclusive interview with Daily Star the 27-year-old – who was a mainstay of the British wrestling scene for much of his 13-year career to-date – insists that the industry can recover.
He says he was "doing the best I could" at the outset of Speaking Out and now wants the inquiry to go further.
He said: "It was horrible to hear these stories come out and everything that came with that because British wrestling was, alongside my own career, something I was trying to build.
"The whole time, I was trying to give back as much as I could, but with the pandemic and, of course, the Speaking Out stuff, that combination has really hurt British wrestling.
"But that doesn't mean that it's all over for British wrestling. Things are starting to move back to normal and [Speaking Out] is now at a Parliamentary level which is great.
"I was doing the best I could, and so were a lot of people, but it's above us, and we need people who actually know how to make the correct changes.
"I am glad it is in their hands… hopefully from here it can only move in the right direction and people are aware of the changes that need to be made.
"Fingers crossed, in a year's time, British wrestling looks completely different."
The Inquiry finished taking a range of written submissions late last month and plans to publish a report in the early part of next year.
Davies-Jones told the BBC at its outset: "The disturbing reality and lived experience for many female wrestlers is, more often than not, entrenched in misogyny… Wrestling has fallen through the gaps because it's not necessarily a sport.”
Dunne, currently a tag team champion on WWE's NXT brand, will undoubtedly have his part to play. He revealed he'll be among the names to meet with the cross-party group of MPs – but accepts the task of putting right the many wrongs that led to years of alleged abuse and improper behaviour is not a fight he can lead himself.
He says some of the improvements needed are obvious, and gave his backing to anything that leads to "positive, professional" change within the business.
"There are small changes that, as a talent, I would love to see," he added.
"At every show there should be first aiders there, and even if it's something as simple as a DBS check.
"The only thing I can recommend and see are those small, simple changes that are kind of no brainers.
"Anything above this, as I say, I'm so glad it has moved to a Parliamentary level. I get to have a meeting involved with the people involved in that party and they're passionate about finding some kind of change.
"I really do want to urge people to listen to them and talk to them. Even though people perceive someone like me as the forefront of British wrestling, I am not qualified to suggest changes and whatever else, it's completely above me.
"All I can say is that I fully support any positive, professional change to the industry. I want it to be better and, of course, safer.
"Fingers crossed they're the people to do it, so I urge people to reach out to them and listen to what they're saying."
Pete Dunne features on WWE NXT, airing each week on BT Sport in the UK. For more details visit wwe.com.
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