Tye Dillinger Talks Entering the Royal Rumble and Working with Eric Young

After four years in NXT, ‘The Perfect 10’ Tye Dillinger has finally made it to the main roster.

Debuting on the SmackDown Live after WrestleMania, Dillinger has already defeated Curt Hawkins and Aiden English on the blue brand thus far. However, this isn’t Dillinger’s first involvement on the main roster, with the Canadian originally appearing on the ECW brand back in 2008 under the name Gavin Spears for what was an admittedly brief run. More recently though, Dillinger famously appeared in this year’s Royal Rumble match, entering--of course--at number 10. Talking with TV Insider, Dillinger recently discussed when he found out about the opportunity.

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“It was probably hours beforehand. It had been snowballing the months leading up to it with the concept, the idea and the possibility. They got a kick out of the thought that I come in at number 10,” Dillinger said. “So I heard all those rumors and things. But this is sports entertainment, so things can change on a daily basis. For that reason you have to be ready to go at any time. So when my number was called, I was ready to go.”

Dillinger’s incredible career turnaround has been impressive to watch and a pivotal turning point for the once NXT mainstay was the start of his now beloved ‘Perfect 10’ gimmick. It was August 2015 when Dillinger first used the character on television and his popularity has skyrocketed since, eventually transforming into one of NXT’s hottest babyface acts. “It was the power of the WWE Universe and community. Being able to give back, that is what rallies people behind you emotionally,” Dillinger continued.  

“It’s been their word, their voice that has taken the ‘Perfect 10’ persona further than I possibly could and further than I think most people possibly would. It just keeps rolling and rolling. Hopefully, the more it does I can keep moving up and be a part of community events and make an impact. It’s the greatest thing in the world.” This past week on NXT television, Dillinger completed his NXT run with a dramatic cage match opposite recent nemesis Eric Young, a man that played a part in training him over fifteen years ago.

“It has been amazing to work with him. Though he is a different guy than he was back then. His character has its own agenda, and he is with these three weirdos in Sanity who share his beliefs,” Dillinger said. “To be able to know a guy for 15 years and go different paths, only to culminate in Orlando on probably one of the biggest shows NXT has to offer like TakeOver, it’s surreal. It’s a homecoming for me and for him as well.”

The Dillinger-Sanity saga was at the center of the last four months of Tye’s NXT stint and the cage match was certainly a fitting end and finale, not just for that particular feud but also Dillinger’s time in NXT as a whole. Now officially on the main roster though, time will tell what ‘The Perfect 10’ has to offer on ‘The Land of Opportunity’ SmackDown Live. For the full interview with TV Insider, click here.

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