This Saturday’s Double or Nothing pay per view will forever stand as All Elite Wrestling’s first-ever show. But at the current moment, there is a different number far more important to the power brokers at AEW: The number 10.
AEW ended speculation and confirmed that Shawn Spears—known in WWE as “The Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger—is the latest entry in Double or Nothing’s 21-man Casino Battle Royale.
“I’m coming to AEW because I believe in what they are doing,” said Spears. “I believe in providing an alternative for fans, and I really believe that the audience has wanted an alternative for quite some time. This is now the platform to give people exactly what they want, and I am really looking forward to proving myself in AEW.”
The 38-year-old Spears first signed with WWE in 2006, but is best known for his second run that kicked off in 2013 and included a meteoric rise up the NXT hierarchy.
Over the past two years, due to a lack of storylines and a significant amount of time off television, Spears’s time on WWE’s main roster never hit its stride.
Spears was granted his release from WWE on Feb. 22. His mandatory 90-day no-compete clause from WWE expires less than 48 hours before Double or Nothing.
“My career has had its ups and downs, but I took the reins in the past few months,” said Spears. “Now I plan on taking a very specific, driven direction. And what better time than this Saturday at Double or Nothing to prove that to the world?”
In addition to a new opportunity to prove his worth, Spears is a skilled wrestling teacher eager to help develop new stars.
“I’m able to bring a great deal of experience to a company that is looking to build young talent, which is vital to the future of professional wrestling,” said Spears. “I’ve known Cody [Rhodes] for a very long time, and in terms of this endeavor, there are no better four guys than Cody, the Young Bucks and Kenny Omega that I would trust to put this together.
“AEW is history-making. When the chance presented itself to be a part of something so groundbreaking, I wasn’t going to wait around any longer.”
The winner of the Double or Nothing battle royale will receive a shot at the AEW world championship. Considering he was willing to gamble his WWE future by risking the unknown in AEW, this match is perfect for Spears.
“I haven’t had one of these opportunities in a very long time,” said Spears. “Since we’re in Vegas, if you’re a betting man, go all in on 10.”
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.