The Perfect 10 Tye Dillinger discusses his journey from hockey to pro wrestling during an interview before a WWE NXT show on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 at the Havert L. Fenn Center in (South Florida) Fort Pierce.
Born and raised in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, Dillinger will wrestle fellow Canadian Bobby Roode in a huge match near his hometown at NXT TakeOver: Toronto, which is Saturday, Nov. 19 live on WWE Network from the Air Canada Centre.
During a conference call to promote the mega-event, WWE’s Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative Paul Triple H Levesque said: “Both guys being from Toronto, I have a feeling that place will come unglued for that match.”
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Dillinger with his captivating Perfect 10 persona and Roode with his spectacular Glorious entrance are two of the best going today.
Fans love chanting “10!” while flashing 10 fingers repeatedly along with Dillinger -- who wears 10 on his jacket, 10 on his trunks and 10 in his heart.
He even displays different sized cards with the number 10.
Stone Cold had ‘What?’ and Daniel Bryan had ‘Yes!’
How is the ‘10!’ movement, and what will it take for it to reach another level? Is it truly just the fans embracing it more or is there more to it to try and grow it?
Levesque answered: “Building a character and making them into something more is not about a singular chant. Austin wasn’t built on ‘What?’ Austin wasn’t built on ‘3:16.’ Austin was built on a lot of things. Same with Daniel Bryan. The character and the underdog factor and him as a person are something you just gravitate toward.
“Now there are all kinds of components.
“In NXT, our fans love to not only be a part of it, but they love the fact that we are NXT. They’re just as big a part of it as anybody, and that’s really cool.
“So the ‘10’ factor has latched on, but the story telling has to be right, and I think when the time is right for the ‘10’ movement to go they way I think a lot of people think it will go, it will head that way.
“It’s just about timing and about the right story telling and everything that needs to happen with it...and not only the writing but also the performer being able to capitalize on it the best way possible.”
- A Perfect 10 star is born
Dillinger talks about the birth of the The Perfect 10 persona as well as NXT TakeOver: Toronto and Roode.
It will be a Glorious Perfect 10 battle for Canadian bragging rights at NXT TakeOver: Toronto.
Tim Hortons anyone.
- Second chances
Formerly Gavin Spears in WWE’s ECW in 2008, Dillinger received his release in 2009 but later earned a rare second chance with WWE in 2013, and he is making the most of it.
- Getting started
Debuting in 2001, he worked the Canadian circuit, the U.S. indies, WWE developmental groups Florida Championship Wrestling and Ohio Valley Wrestling, Ring of Honor, TNA Wrestling and Puerto Rico’s WWC.
Dillinger, 35, was trained by former TNA Impact Wrestling champion Eric Young, who is now part of SAnity in NXT. He received further training in Canada from Derek Wylde and Cody Deaner.
- Cody Deaner On Tye Dillinger
JV: Any recollections of his earlier matches?
CD: “Everyone's first few matches suck. They are never good. But, Tye broke the mold. He was the exception to that rule. I remember the first few matches I saw of his. They did not suck. It’s hard to describe in words, but I just knew from early on that he was going to be great. He was good from the start. But I knew he was going to be great. And now ... (pun intended) ... he’s perfect. Haha.”
JV: What you saw then and what you see now.
CD: “What I see now from Tye is the younger version of himself times 100. It always used to seem like he had something within himself that was just dying to come out. The "real him" within whatever persona he was putting on. Now he’s found it. ‘The Perfect 10’ Tye Dillinger is the man inside the performer that was always dying to come out. Now he's out. And the fans are reaping the benefits.”
JV: Did he have tremendous work ethic?
CD: “He always had tremendous work ethic. That’s one common denominator in all successful people. Work ethic. Not talent. Work ethic. And Tye had that in droves.”
JV: What he was like inside the ring and out?
CD: “Tye was, and is, a charismatic guy inside and outside of the ring. Obviously, inside the ring he turns the volume up. But, I think one ability Tye has is that when he’s in the ring, he can give a fan or the camera a ‘look.’ It’s hard to desribe. It’s like a toungue-in-cheek wink at the audience. A look that says, you're going to enjoy what I’m about to do. And they do. Always. The fans are all in with whatever he does. And that's very hard to get the audience to buy into what you're doing. Tye can get them to ‘buy in’ with just one look. I've seen him give that same look to women outside the ring. And if he gives them that look ... watch out. They’re done. They’re putty in his hands. Haha.”
JV: Was he a big hockey fan?
CD: “I assume he was a big hockey fan. All Canadian kids are hockey fans, by default. We have to be. It’s in our blood. But, we never talked hockey. We were so immersed in our love of wrestling; that's all we ever talked about. Our similar, undying passion for professional wrestling.”
- 10 Back Then
Growing up a hockey player who loved pro wrestling, the Canadian-born Dillinger said his favorite hockey team is the Vancouver Canucks and his favorite player was the Russian Rocket Pavel Bure, a top goal scorer who ironically wore No.10.
- NXT TakeOver: Toronto
NXT TakeOver: Toronto is 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19 live on WWE Network from the Air Canada Centre, the night before WWE’s Survivor Series at the same venue.
The Perfect 10 Tye Dillinger vs. Glorious Bobby Roode.
NXT champ Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Samoa Joe.
NXT women’s champ Asuka vs. Mickie James.
NXT tag champs The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) vs. #DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa) -- two of three falls.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: TM-61 vs. The Authors of Pain (Rezar and Akam) with Paul Ellering.
Tickets for Survivor Series weekend events can be purchased through
www.Ticketmaster.ca or by calling 855-985-5000.
- NXT on WWE Network
WWE NXT is 8 p.m. Wednesdays on WWE Network.
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To see NXT in a city near you, check
- NXT in Fort Pierce
WWE’s NXT is Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Havert L. Fenn Center in (South Florida) Fort Pierce.
See some of the newer faces on the NXT roster as well as progressing talent who are continuing to build a hot NXT brand and working toward joining the ranks of the main roster in WWE.
There will be a pre-show meet-n-greet around ringside included in the price of admission. WWE NXT superstars Aliyah, Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight participated in the November meet-n-greet at the Havert L. Fenn Center.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Bell time is 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: General Admission $10; Gold Circle (Ringside) $20.
- NXT/WrestleMania 33 Orlando
WWE WrestleMania 33 is Sunday, April 2, 2017 at Camping World Stadium, formerly Citrus Bowl Stadium, in Orlando. During WrestleMania Week, WWE NXT has been moved to Saturday, April 1 at the Amway Center, home of the NBA Orlando Magic.
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