Bobby Roode made such a glorious entrance into WWE’s NXT brand, and on Saturday, Nov. 19, he looks to continue that movement when he faces fellow Canadian The Perfect 10 Tye Dillinger in a huge match near their hometowns at NXT TakeOver: Toronto, which is Saturday, Nov. 19 live on WWE Network from the Air Canada Centre.
“This means a lot to me,” Roode said. “Since the time I started here, about six months ago, it’s been a whirlwind and a lot of fun. My debut match at NXT TakeOver Brooklyn [II] was a glorious experience.”
Roode quickly captured the attention and emotion of the NXT audience.
“Being in my hometown on Saturday for NXT TakeOver: [Toronto], it’s going to be very special.”
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And it’s in the Air Canada Centre.
“Thinking back when I was a kid, before the Air Canada Centre, there was Maple Leaf Gardens, and Maple Leaf Gardens was the mecca here in Canada for wrestling. The Air Canada Centre has taken over that energy, and I’m looking forward to it. This week is pretty awesome. Wednesday [I performed] at Madison Square Garden and Saturday [I’m performing] at the Air Canada Centre...It’s kind of like a dream come true...Everything is happening so quickly, but I’m having a lot of fun doing it.”
Roode has three boys, and they will be attending NXT TakeOver: Toronto as will his parents, younger sister, niece and nephew.
“For me -- as special as it’s going to be and as unique as it’s going to be -- it’s another day at the office,” he said. “I have to go out there and work and do what Bobby Roode has been doing for the last 17 years...and that’s going out there and prove who I am and where I’m at.”
Roode, 39, was trained near his hometown -- Peterborough, Ontario -- by fellow Ontarians Sean Morley (former WWE Superstar Val Venis) and Shane Sewell (a former TNA referee and wrestler).
“I’ve always really appreciated that he says that about me,” Sewell said. ““I used to take him down to a ring, and we used to practice. I think it was in Hamilton or St. Catherines, one of those two places, and I used to train him a little bit there, but it wasn’t like I trained him for two years. I think we did five or six practices.”
Roode wrestled his debut match in June 1998.
Sewell said: “The thing with Bobby is that he’s such a natural talent that it just came so easy for him -- bumping, running the ropes, taking a hip toss. You could always tell if someone’s a really good wrestler off the bat. They take a nice big high hip toss and then get up selling their back. He just had the whole thing down.”
Roode worked for various Canadian independent promotions and made appearances for the Puerto Rican promotion World Wrestling Council (WWC), where Sewell starred. He also wrestled some dark matches for World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment (WWF/E) between 1998 and 2004, before signing with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). He is regarded as a TNA original.
“When I first got to TNA -- I was a referee in TNA -- he was there,” Sewell said. “I remember reffing a match with him and James Storm -- Beer Money -- against the Dudleys. I was so blown away with how professional he was. Not only the way he spoke, but the way he performed in the ring; the way he would interact with the boys, the way he would interact with the company.
“He was a polished product, when I got to TNA. He was ready for WWE back then. I was just blown away at how good he was and very proud for another Canadian to be doing so well in the wrestling industry. He reminds me of one of my favorite wrestlers, Val [Vernis], Sean Morley, my old wrestling partner. I used to love watching him work. [Roode and Venis] have such an aggressive style, but they also took their time. Nowadays some kids just punch, punch, punch, punch, and it has no meaning. Each punch and each kick has meaning with Bobby.”
Roode’s NXT TakeOver: Toronto opponent, Dillinger -- a 35-year-old who was born and raised in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada -- also wrestled the Canadian indies and abroad, before landing in WWE as Gavin Spears for WWE’s ECW in 2008.
“Tye’s a great wrestler, too,” Sewell added. “I wrestled with him in Puerto Rico. What a class act he is.”
Dillinger (as Spears) was released but continued the journey, earning a rare second chance with WWE in 2013 and now starring in NXT.
“He’s from Niagara Falls, Canada, and I grew up in Peterborough -- two totally different ends of Ontario,” Roode said. “Toronto is kind of right in the middle.
“I did a lot of my independent wrestling early in my career on the eastern part of Canada, like Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and Tye did all of his within the Toronto area and Ontario. So we never really crossed paths. This will be the first time Tye and I face each other on the big stage.”
During a conference call to promote that mega-event, WWE’s Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative Paul Triple H Levesque said about the matchup: “And then what will certainly be Glorious, Bobby Roode -- I wish I had the music right now playing; one of those Glorious [video] bombs from #DIY -- versus Tye Dillinger. Both guys being from Toronto, I have a feeling that place will come unglued for that match.”
Dillinger with his captivating Perfect 10 persona and Roode with his spectacular Glorious entrance are two of the best going today.
So this will be a Glorious Perfect 10 battle for Toronto bragging rights at NXT TakeOver: Toronto.
“You can say that,” Roode noted. “Tye has been well traveled as well. He’s been in the business for a long time, and he’s a super talented guy. I think this is Tye’s first opportunity to perform on a big stage like NXT TakeOver: Toronto. So I know that he’s going to be ready. I know that he’s going to be fully prepared, and we’re going to go out there and attempt to steal the show.
“There’s a lot of great matches on this card. I think him and I have an opportunity -- of course, being we’re both Canadian, both growing up within hours of the Air Canada Centre -- where it’s going to be one of those moments in front of the crazy Toronto wrestling fans, the Canadian wrestling fans, that it’s going to be a pretty special moment.”
- Glorious theme song
“Before my TV debut on NXT, I had some music that was sent to me,” he told. “I picked out a song, and the song was approved at the time. Then I went to TV, and there was a song that they wanted me to listen to that they felt maybe fit the Glorious character a little more, the character that they had in mind.
“So I listened to it, and at first, of course, the Glorious song that you hear now was way different than what I originally picked. I’m not going to say that I loved it. I’m not going to say that I hated it. I’m just going to say it was different, and I was willing to give it a chance...Honestly, it was probably the best thing that I’ve ever done. The song itself has been a huge factor in my career. It’s such a huge deal.
“At NXT TakeOver Brooklyn and my entrance -- that was my [NXT debut match; nobody had ever seen me [wrestle] before in NXT -- 15,000 people [at the Barclays Center] are singing my song, word for word. It was a pretty incredible experience.
“The character itself now and the song, I worked on it. I collaborated it all together, and it’s kind of become this one big thing. Toronto on Saturday night is going to get an opportunity to listen to the song and see the entrance and do the whole deal, so it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
NXT superstars Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa #DIY collaborated with Roode to do this photo/video bomb series of Roode and his Glorious theme song. There are must see on YouTube/social media. #GLORIOUSBOMB
Does Roode have a favorite?
“I do, and I’m not in it,” he said. “I hate to say it, but Tommy Dreamer is in it. It’s the one with Tommy in the washroom stall. Of course Tommy is in the washroom stall. If you know Tommy Dreamer, you know what I mean. So it’s Tommy Dreamer, and Tommaso and Johnny are in the bathroom doing the GloriousBomb, and then Ron Simmons walks in and does his ‘Damn’ thing. When I saw that, I fell off my chair. It was hilarious. By far, I think that’s the best one that’s been done.”
- 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.
Glorious Bobby Roode vs. The Perfect 10 Tye Dillinger
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.
Preshow is 7:30 p.m.
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