“I will not allow anybody else to try and break me down. Try to make a point, let them know that I am the greatest around”.
These lyrics not only echo the not so bright moments of a “perfect” past, but are also a rallying cry for the now promising future of Shawn Spears. Since his appearance on the AEW roster, the former Tye Dillenger has shown how versatility can not only keep your name in the lights but also help navigate to the next phase of an almost 20 year, in-ring career. With the help of Spears’ manager, Tully Blanchard, it seems his recent attitude change and accessory choice may be the catalyst to the heights we have wanted to see Spears reach since his debut one year ago.
While Spears’ current career path has reached him to new heights of success, the time he spent with his previous employer is still an essential part of his story. Spending what was almost a collective ten years under the WWE banner, Spears had his share of ups and downs spending much of his time in the company’s developmental territories. Eventually, Spears would strike gold with one of his final efforts to make it in WWE taking on the persona of “The Perfect 10” Tye Dillenger. The new motivation was a huge hit with the audiences, but just as quickly as it started, Spears was moved up to the main roster where it quickly fizzled out.
Spears eventually asked for his release from WWE in search of what he called on the Chris Van Vliet show “a chance to start over” further conveying being able to “wrestle the way I want to”. Last May, Spears found the perfect option signing with new pro wrestling start-up, AEW, and debuting at their inaugural show, Double or Nothing, in Las Vegas. The crowd response to Spears debut was tremendous, but little did we know how quickly Spears’ ascent up the AEW roster would be.
At AEW’s next big show, Fyter Fest in June, Spears sealed his next role wrapping a steel chair around the head of friend Cody Rhodes after his match with Darby Allin. With a brutal chair shot causing Cody to need staples in the head, this moment proved to be the epic peak of storyline Shawn Spears needed to hit the next level. Adding in legendary heel Tully Blanchard as Spears’ manager around this time only solidified Spears’ legitimacy as a heel and more importantly, a top star.
After a great match at September’s AEW pay per view, All Out, Cody moved on to a World Championship program with Chris Jericho as Spears’ story began to slightly get lost in the AEW shuffle. A handful of short-lived feuds and AEW Dark matches ended up being perfect for Spears’ story at the time as it kept him in the spotlight while searching for the next path of success. While at this point, AEW’s “Chairman” seemed to thrive using his vast skill set and years of experience to adapt and help the young roster flourish and find themselves. His matches with young talent such as Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss prove how valuable Spears is no matter his place on the card.
Following an interactive “find the perfect tag team partner” campaign and Spears’ squash-like loss to Dustin Rhodes at this past May’s Double or Nothing pay per view, it was getting a little more difficult to put a finger on which direction Spears’s career was taking next. Recently we were treated with a new segment which saw Spears manager Tully Blanchard threatening to leave Spears, condemning the tag partner search and Spears’ comedy antics, and compelling him to find his inner fire to take the world by storm. Ideed, in an emphatic promo, he yelled, “If you want to have a legacy! If you want to be a champion! If you want to be the best! You’ve gotta dig something out of your heart!”. Now, for anyone who has been a supporter and believer in Spears up to this point knows how amazing and promising this moment was, but it was what came next that gave the real hope and excitement.
Blanchard presented Spears with a box containing a black, fingerless glove. Any long time fan knows the significance of the black glove to the world of professional wrestling. Megastars of the past such as Blackjack Mulligan, Barry Windham, and Ted Debiase used the glove oftentimes symbolizing a new heel direction in the making. With the history going back to the peak days of Blanchard and the underhanded tactics that can be used such as the loaded glove trick, I see this as the beginning of a very intriguing next phase for Spears and Blanchard.
As Shawn Spears has reflected on his storied career in wrestling, he has mentioned that he would like to wrap up his career in the next two years, and has worked to set himself up for an ideal post-career life at 40 years old. Speaking about the happiness of his marriage with WWE star, Peyton Royce, and his new entrepreneurial endeavor of Flatbacks Wrestling School with friend and NXT star Tyler Breeze, Spears almost seems like he could walk away today and be completely satisfied with the career he will leave behind.
Shawn Spears has made a career out of defying the odds and it looks as if we are coming up upon the best act yet. Bringing together his vast experience from his time with WWE, his newfound freedom with AEW, and the motivation from the steel-eyed machinations of Tully Blanchard, Spears is ready for the most prolific phase of his career. The donning of the black glove represents not only an intensified attitude but a culmination of hard work, passion, and desire to move up the AEW roster by any means necessary. I truly believe we are about to enter the best stage of Shawn Spears’ already successful career, a true resurrection of perfection.