Shawn Spears speaks on making waves in AEW after being left “miserable” in WWE following call-up to SmackDown from NXT
Shawn Spears has revealed he was left “miserable” following his switch to Smackdown from NXT, prompting his decision to quit WWE
The popular 39-year-old was a huge part of a golden era of sorts for WWE’s black and yellow brand following his run as Tye Dillinger.
After a fairly unassuming start, he was relaunched as the ‘Perfect 10’ in the summer of 2015, with his charisma and performances against the likes of Andrade, Bobby Roode and SAnitY earning rave reviews.
In 2017 his surprise cameo at Royal Rumble – entering the Rumble match at 10 of course – was one of the highlights of the show. His call-up to SmackDown following later that year over WrestleMania 33 weekend in Orlando was equally enjoyable.
While he enjoyed some initial success, his run on the main roster was fleeting to say the least. The Canadian was featured sparingly across 2018 and early 2019 before requesting his release from WWE which was granted in February of 2019. Shawn Spears told Matty Paddock in an exclusive interview that it was a decision he knew he had to make with time running down on his wrestling career.
"“It wasn’t that I felt I had anything to prove [after leaving WWE] because I was always very confident in my abilities. I always felt I could perform at any level and in any spot on the card – and I’ve been on every spot of the card, especially in my NXT days,” Spears said during the interview. “At the height of the Perfect 10 character, it was tough to find a wrestling show anywhere, independent or not, that didn’t have people chanting ‘ten’ at some point in their shows, so it was a real cool little phenomenon that kinda caught fire. Once I moved to SmackDown, things kinda fizzled out, and fizzled out quick.”"
"“After a certain point in time, creatively you become stifled. You look for outlets to keep ideas fresh and the more those doors close and the outlets get cut off, the passion gets cut off as well. I’ve been doing this 19 years in January and I’ve loved this all my life… but when I started to feel like I wasn’t loving wrestling anymore, I knew it was time for change,” Spears shared during the conversation. “I’m much closer to the end of my career than I am at the beginning, so when I’m 75 years old and I look back at my career, how do I remember it? Do I want to remember that I stuck around for X amount of dollars and was miserable, or do I want to say ‘you know what, I really enjoyed those last couple of years – I had a blast and don’t regret a moment of it?’ That was the overall consensus in leaving and that was the reason behind it.”"
Spears was, unsurprisingly, not out of work long before All Elite Wrestling came calling later that year.
He quickly made a name for himself as heel in AEW – and about as detached from the Perfect 10 character as you could get – when at Fyter Fest 2019 he nailed Cody with a sickening chair shot that, criticized or praise, garnered massive social media attention.
Now aligned with the legendary Tully Blanchard – and with a renewed, gritty persona – Spears looks set to again begin climbing the ranks and keeping himself firmly in the minds of wrestling fans.
That’s all the opportunity he’s ever wanted, as he went on to add of his AEW arrival:
"“It was a good pressure, I thought it was a good opportunity to show a different side of myself and to finally be able to act on the ideas and concepts that I’ve been keeping in my back pocket for an ungodly amount of time. It was an opportunity to say ‘it is all on you’, to go out there and perform and speak, which I hadn’t had an opportunity to do anywhere else, and see what you can actually do.”"
“I thought I did a really good job of that and, at the end of the day, the people who book the show are the people who book the show and the outcomes are the outcomes – a lot of people can have their [view] on this person winning or losing, but the show is the show.
“But going into AEW, I thought I arrived in the best way possible, turned a great deal of heads and made a great deal of headway – no pun intended – with the chair shot heard around the world.”
Watch Shawn Spears and the stars of AEW on Dynamite each Wednesday night – for more details visit allelitewrestling.com