Thursday, December 10, 2015

NXT Advent Calendar Day 10: The long road to a Perfect 10

The man currently known to us as Tye Dillinger has been wrestling for nearly fifteen years. Debuting in 2001, Shawn Spears was trained by TNA veterans Eric Young and Cody Deaner. For five years, he regularly worked every Canadian indie imaginable as he tried to make a name for himself, frequently coming into battle with the stars of that era from Canada and the US.

Nor is this even his first rodeo in WWE. Shawn Spears signed with WWE nearly a decade ago. Arriving in Ohio Valley Wrestling in the second half of 2006, "The Canadian Sensation" made an impact on the roster with wins over Simon Dean, Cody Rhodes and Idol Stevens (now better known as Damien Sandow.) He won the TV title from a pre-comedy gimmick Santino Marella, which lead to battles with Colt Cabana, Paul Burchill and a very young Wade Barrett.

But when he was finally called up to the ECW brand in 2008 as Gavin Spears, he saw none of the success he had in OVW. Debuting within days of one Scotty Goldman, he followed Colt Cabana's path of barely getting a cup of coffee on the main roster before he was unceremoniously released.

Thus began four more years as Shawn Spears, toiling across the indies, but now with a bit more renown than before. He worked regularly against veterans and newcomers alike, such as the below match where he teamed with TNA's Angelina Love to take on the always impressive Brent Banks (then just Brent B) and Seleziya Sparx.

He arguably has risen to the truest definition of the journeyman wrestler. He re-signed with WWE in 2013 and almost immediately made his NXT debut. But much like his previous WWE run, he quickly dropped matches to Mojo Rawley and CJ Parker. He would get a couple wins with new partner Jason Jordan, including one against Sawyer Fulton and a pre-Lone Wolf Baron Corbin. But they would quickly return to jobber status for almost a year before Jordan unceremoniously dropped Dillinger and set out to find a new partner.

Now on his own, Dillinger started to gain a fan following in NXT. But it was with his debut as The Perfect 10 and his first victory in over a year and a half over Solomon Crowe that started the crowd going wild. Now back in his role as a babyface, Dillinger's profile has risen, even if his win-loss record remains on the negative side.

Hopefully this time, the talented fifteen year vet will finally make a big splash on the main roster.

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