Shawn Spears

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Shawn Spears
Shawn Spears headshot promo.jpg
Birth name Ronnie William Arneill
Born (1981-02-19) February 19, 1981 (age 33)[1]
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada[1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Gavin Spears[1]
Tye Dillinger
Shawn Spears
Billed height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)[1]
Billed weight 235 lb (107 kg)[2]
Billed from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada[1]
Trained by Eric Young[3]
Derek Wylde[3]
Cody Deaner[3]
Debut 2001[4]

Ronnie William Arneill[1][3] (born February 19, 1981) is a Canadian professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Shawn Spears. He is currently contracted to WWE under the name Tye Dillinger.

Early life[edit]

Born and raised in St. Catharines, Ontario, Arneill attended Laura Secord Secondary School.[2] He played hockey for over ten years until he decided to leave the sport and enter professional wrestling.[5] During his childhood, he was a fan of Rick Rude, Rick Martel, and Mr. Perfect.[3]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career (2002-2006)[edit]

Arniell trained with Eric Young at the WrestlePlex school before receiving further training from Derek Wylde and Cody Deaner.[3] Upon wrestling his debut match in March 2002 as Shawn Spears, he began wrestling for some of the biggest independent wrestling promotions throughout Ontario and the United States, including Border City Wrestling, World Xtreme Wrestling, and Blood Sweat and Ears. In February 2005, Arneill made an appearance on an edition of WWE Heat in a tag team match against Rosey and The Hurricane.

After sending a tape to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) officials, Arneill was called for a try-out in Buffalo, New York.[3] He was signed to a developmental contract by WWE following the tryout, on January 21, 2006.[3]

World Wrestling Entertainment[edit]

Developmental territories (2006-2008)[edit]

After signing his WWE contract, Arneill was assigned to the company's developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). He made his OVW television debut as "The Canadian Sensation" Shawn Spears, where he defeated then-SmackDown! superstar Simon Dean. After his victory, Dean attacked Spears until Spears was saved by Al Snow, who fended off Dean with a chair. After his debut, Spears quickly made an impact in OVW with a short undefeated streak that was soon ended by Aaron "The Idol" Stevens when Stevens made Spears submit. After this, Spears formed a tag team with Cody Runnels and they feuded with The Throwbacks for the Southern Tag Team Championship. On December 15, 2006, Spears and Runnels won the title from The Throwbacks.

On March 17, 2007, Spears won the Television Championship from Boris Alexiev, his first singles title in OVW. Soon after winning the title, he became more focused on championships and even began trying to steal Runnels' Heavyweight Championship opportunity. During Runnels' Heavyweight Title match, Spears interfered and performed a piledriver to Runnels, preventing him from winning the Heavyweight Championship and thus solidifying his heel turn. Spears then began feuding with Runnels and eventually lost the Television Championship to him on July 6, 2007 before winning it back one week later. He once again lost the title on September 19 to the debuting Ted "Manbeast" McNailer. Spears later regained the Television Title, only to lose it to Colt Cabana. Spears then began feuding with Cabana and the pair would go on to win the vacant Tag Team Title with on November 7 after defeating Paul Burchill and Stu Sanders. On December 19, Cabana and Spears' feud culminated in a ladder match in which the winner would claim the Tag Team titles for themselves and choose a new partner. Spears lost to Cabana, who then chose Charles "The Hammer" Evans as his new tag team partner.

After OVW split with WWE, Spears debuted in WWE's new development territory Florida Championship Wrestling and teamed up with Nic Nemeth to defeat The Puerto Rican Nightmares for the Florida Tag Team Championship on August 17.[6] Nearly a month later, Nemeth and Spears lost the title to Joe Hennig and Heath Miller on September 11.[6]

ECW (2008-2009)[edit]

Spears in 2011

On the August 19 episode of ECW, Spears made his WWE television debut as a heel under the name Gavin Spears as part of Theodore Long's "New Superstar Initiative" in a losing effort to Ricky Ortiz.[1] After his ECW debut, Spears began splitting time between ECW and FCW. On the September 2 edition of ECW, Spears was defeated by Super Crazy.[1] After a three month absence due to competing in FCW, Spears returned to television on the December 16 episode of ECW, where he lost to Finlay in what turned out to be his final match for the company. On January 19, 2009, Arneill was released from his contract.[1]

Independent circuit (2009–2013)[edit]

The day before he had been released from WWE, Arneill had broken his hand, and was unable to wrestle for 12 weeks following his release as a result.[3] On May 27, 2009, Spears wrestled and lost to fellow WWE alumnus Elijah Burke in a tryout dark match for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling at their Impact! television tapings.[7] On June 12, Arneill wrestled at a Ring of Honor show, where he defeated Alex Payne. On August 15, he teamed up with Idol Stevens to capture the WWC World Tag Team Championship after defeating Thunder and Lighting. On October 31, Spears and Stevens lost the World Tag Team Title back to Thunder and Lightning.

On May 16, 2010, Arneill, under his Gavin Spears ring name, teamed up with El Hijo de L.A. Park in a losing effort to Dr. Wagner III and Gigante Extassis on an Extreme Air Wrestle show in Mexico, marking his first tour of Mexico.[8] On May 28 and 29, Arneill made appearances at the 2010 Anime North convention.[9]

Return to WWE (2013–present)[edit]

On September 15, 2013 it was reported that Spears had re-signed with WWE. He now goes under the ring name of Tye Dillinger. He began to wrestle for WWE's developmental system, NXT.[10] He made his NXT debut in a losing effort against Mojo Rawley.[11] On the January 9 NXT tapings, Dillinger wrestled CJ Parker in a losing effort. Dillinger got his first NXT televised win teaming with Jason Jordan on April 17th episode of NXT, Dillinger and Jason Jordan defeated Baron Corbin and Sawyer Fulton, on the June 5th episode of NXT, Dillinger and Jason Jordan defeated two indie wrestlers from FIP. On the August 7th episode of NXT, Dillinger and Jason Jordan lost in the first round of a Tag Team tournament match to Enzo Amore and Big Cass.

In wrestling[edit]

Spears performing his running Death Valley driver
Spears performing a belly to back suplex in December 2011

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Shawn Spears in December 2007
  • Adrenaline Live Wrestling
    • ALW Georgian Bay Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[1]
  • American Combat Wrestling
    • ACW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[12]
  • Canadian Independent Wrestling Alliance
    • CIWA Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[1]
  • Florida Underground Wrestling
    • FUW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Kenny Kendrick[13]
  • Ground Breaking Pro Wrestling
    • GBPW Championship (1 time)[14]
  • Great Lakes Championship Wrestling
    • GLCW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Flexx Falcone[1]
  • Neo Spirit Pro Wrestling
    • NSPW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with J.T. Playa[1]
  • Pure Wrestling Association
    • PWA Pure Wrestling Championship (1 time)[1]
  • Tri-City Wrestling
    • TCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "OWOW profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  2. ^ a b "Wrestler set to return home for match in Merritton". 2012-09-20. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kapur, Bob (November 3, 2010). "Spears not bitter about years in WWE developmental, brief TV time". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved May 8, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Cagematch profile". 
  5. ^ Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0. 
  6. ^ a b c "Champions Roll Call". Florida Championship Wrestling. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Boutwell, Jason (May 21, 2010). "Viva La Raza! Lucha Weekly". WrestleView. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  9. ^ "GCW "Super Anime Extreme Wrestling"". 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Gutteridge, Darren (2013-11-11). "Gutteridge's WWE NXT Review: Kassius Ohno main events against Luke Harper, Mojo Rawley vs. Tye Dillinger (a/k/a Gavin Spears), Alexander Rusev vs. Sylvester Lefort, and Leo Kruger vs. El Local". Retrieved 23 December 2013. [unreliable source]
  12. ^ a b "American Combat Wrestling news". 
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ "Ground Breaking Pro Wrestling history page". 
  15. ^ a b "OVW championship histories". 
  16. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2012". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved 2012-08-25. 
  17. ^ "WWC World Tag Team Championship history". 

External links[edit]