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Tye Dillinger

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Tye Dillinger
ShawnSpearsSpeaks cropped.jpg
Dillinger in 2012
Birth name Ronald William Arneill
Born (1981-02-19) February 19, 1981 (age 36)[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)[2]
Billed weight 223 lb (101 kg)[2]
Billed from Niagara Falls[2]
Trained by Eric Young[3]
Derek Wylde[3]
Cody Deaner[3]
Debut 2001[4]

Ronald William Arneill[1][3] (born February 19, 1981) is a Canadian professional wrestler, currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the SmackDown brand under the ring name Tye Dillinger. Arneill previously worked in the independent circuit as Shawn Spears. He also worked with WWE between 2006 and 2008 as Gavin Spears.

Early life[edit]

Born and raised in St. Catharines, Ontario, Arneill attended Laura Secord Secondary School.[5] He played hockey for over ten years until he decided to leave the sport and enter professional wrestling.[6] During his childhood, he was a fan of Rick Rude, Rick Martel, and Mr. Perfect.[3] Arneill is a supporter of English football team Chelsea F.C.[citation needed] and he is an avid Detroit Red Wings Fan

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career (2002–2006)[edit]

Arneill trained at the Hart Wrestling School in Cambridge Ontario with Smith Hart, Ike Shaw and Waldo Von Erich and then 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] He made a cameo appearance in Cyber Sunday as an employee who calls himself Stan, as he gets superkicked by Shawn Michaels of D-Generation X upon learning that he doesn't know the meaning of the word "controversial".

World Wrestling Entertainment[edit]

Ohio Valley Wrestling (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.

Florida Championship Wrestling (2008)[edit]

After OVW split with WWE, Spears debuted in WWE's new development territory, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), and teamed up with Nic Nemeth to defeat The Puerto Rican Nightmares for the Florida Tag Team Championship on August 17.[7] Nearly a month later, Nemeth and Spears lost the title to Joe Hennig and Heath Miller on September 11.[7]

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]

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2009)[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.[8]

Extreme Air Wrestling (2010)[edit]

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.[9]

Super Anime Wrestling (2010)[edit]

On May 28 and 29, Arneill made appearances at the 2010 Anime North convention.[10]

Ring of Honor (2013)[edit]

On June 12, Arneill wrestled at a Ring of Honor show, where he defeated Alex Payne.

World Wrestling Council (2013)[edit]

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.

Return to WWE[edit]

NXT (2013–2017)[edit]

On September 15, 2013, it was reported that Spears had re-signed with WWE, and he was assigned to WWE's developmental territory NXT under the ring name Tye Dillinger.[11] He made his televised NXT debut in a losing effort against Mojo Rawley.[12] In early-2014, Dillinger formed a tag team with Jason Jordan, with the two described as a pair of blue chip athletes. The team of Dillinger and Jordan got their first televised win on the April 17 episode of NXT, defeating Baron Corbin and Sawyer Fulton. On the June 5 episode of NXT, Dillinger and Jordan defeated local competitors. On the August 7 episode of NXT, Dillinger and Jordan lost in the first round of a NXT Tag Team Championship tournament to Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady. Dillinger and Jordan then appeared infrequently together, with Dillinger mostly being used as enhancement talent. On the February 25, 2015 episode of NXT, Dillinger's partnership with Jordan officially ended when Jordan unhappy with his partner not initially tagging him in, jumped off the apron and walked out on Dillinger just as he went to make the tag.[13] After the match, an enraged Dillinger called out his old partner but instead was met with a quick loss to Baron Corbin.[13]

On the August 12 episode of NXT, Dillinger debuted a new gimmick as the "Perfect 10", and defeated Solomon Crowe. At NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, Dillinger faced the debuting Apollo Crews in a losing effort. On the April 27, 2016 episode of NXT, he defeated Buddy Murphy, and was scheduled to face the debuting Andrade "Cien" Almas at NXT TakeOver: The End, where Dillinger was defeated, although he received praise for his performance.[14]

On the September 28 episode of NXT, after defeating Angelo Dawkins, Dillinger was approached by Bobby Roode, who proposed the two team up for the 2016 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, which Dillinger accepted. The following week, Dillinger and Roode took on SAnitY (Alexander Wolfe and Sawyer Fulton). During the match, Roode walked out on Dillinger, resulting in the team losing in the first round. The following week on October 19, Dillinger called out Roode for a match at NXT TakeOver: Toronto, which Roode would win. On the December 14 episode of NXT, Dillinger defeated Eric Young by disqualification in a #1 contender Fatal 4-Way qualifying match. At NXT TakeOver: San Antonio, Dillinger was defeated by Young following a distraction from Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain. At NXT TakeOver: Orlando, Dillinger would team up with Roderick Strong, Kassius Ohno and Ruby Riot to take on SAnitY in an 8-person mixed tag team match in a losing effort. Dillinger made his last NXT appearance on the April 5 tapings, closing out the event by winning a Steel Cage Match against Eric Young, and celebrating with the audience a final time.

Main roster (2017–present)[edit]

On January 29, 2017, Dillinger was a surprise entrant during the 2017 Royal Rumble pay-per-view as part of the eponymous match. He entered at number ten and lasted five minutes, before being eliminated by Braun Strowman.[15] On the April 4 episode of SmackDown Live, Dillinger made his main roster debut, defeating Curt Hawkins. The following week, Dillinger would defeat Aiden English and again on the May 2 episode of SmackDown Live. At Backlash, Dillinger would defeat English once more, ending their feud. On the July 4 episode of SmackDown Live, Dillinger competed in a Independence Day Battle Royal to determine the number one contender to the WWE United States Championship, lasting until the final three before being eliminated by Sami Zayn. The following week, Dillinger lost to WWE Champion Jinder Mahal, marking his first pinfall loss on the main roster.

In wrestling[edit]

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

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Shawn Spears in December 2007


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "OWOW profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  2. ^ a b c "Tye Dillinger bio". WWE. Retrieved March 24, 2016. 
  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. ^ "Wrestler set to return home for match in Merritton". 2012-09-20. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  6. ^ Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0. 
  7. ^ a b c "Champions Roll Call". Florida Championship Wrestling. Archived from the original on 2011-02-19. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  8. ^ "Page not found". Retrieved 24 August 2017. 
  9. ^ Boutwell, Jason (May 21, 2010). "Viva La Raza! Lucha Weekly". WrestleView. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Events - Super Anime Extreme Wrestling". 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-05-13. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  11. ^ Meltzer, Dave (2013-09-15). "SUN UPDATE: Night of Champions preview, Mayweather fallout, surprising challenge, WSOF fight canceled last minute, Riddick Bowe pro wrestling debut and rips Konnan, Watson off UFC in UK, Big Total Divas episode, WWE name birthday". Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ a b Melok, Bobby (2015-02-25). "WWE NXT results - Feb. 25, 2015: Finn Bálor battles The Brian Kendrick, Kevin Owens attacks Alex Riley". Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  14. ^ Caldwell, James. "6/8 "NXT Takeover" Results – CALDWELL’S Complete Live Report on "The End"". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  16. ^ a b "Tye Dillinger". CageMatch. 
  17. ^ a b "American Combat Wrestling news". 
  18. ^ "WWE NXT House Show Results 5.29.15 – Citrus Springs, Florida May 30, 2015 Posted by Jeffrey Harris". 
  19. ^ a b Kreikenbohm, Philip. "FUW « Events Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". Retrieved 24 August 2017. 
  20. ^ "Ground Breaking Pro Wrestling history page". 
  21. ^ a b "OVW championship histories". 
  22. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2017". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved 2017-08-31. 
  23. ^ "WWC World Tag Team Championship history". 

External links[edit]