Ronnie William Arneill (born February 19, 1981) is a Canadian professional wrestler currently signed to All Elite Wrestling (AEW) under the ring name Shawn Spears. He is also well known for his time with WWE under the name Tye Dillinger.
Spears in July 2019
|Birth name||Ronnie William Arneill|
|Born||February 19, 1981|
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Peyton Royce (m. 2019)
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Gavin Spears|
|Billed height||6 ft 3 in (191 cm)|
|Billed weight||223 lb (101 kg)|
|Billed from||Niagara Falls|
|Trained by||Cody Deaner|
Having begun his career on the independent circuit as Shawn Spears, Arneill initially joined WWE in 2006 and worked for the company between 2006 and 2009, performing in the developmental territories Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) and Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) as well as briefly on the main roster brand ECW under the slightly modified ring name Gavin Spears. After being released from WWE in 2009, he returned to the independent scene, before rejoining WWE in 2013 where he was assigned to NXT under the new gimmick of Tye Dillinger. After a rise in popularity, Dillinger was promoted to the main roster in 2017, working on the SmackDown brand until his second release from the company in 2019.
Shortly after leaving WWE, he signed with the newly founded promotion All Elite Wrestling, reverting back to his Shawn Spears name. He debuted at their first show AEW Double or Nothing and shortly after established himself as a heel by attacking Cody Rhodes with an unprotected hit to the head with a steel chair.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Professional wrestling career
- 2.1 Early career (2002–2006)
- 2.2 World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE
- 2.3 Independent circuit (2009–2013)
- 2.4 Return to WWE
- 2.5 Independent circuit (2019–present)
- 2.6 All Elite Wrestling (2019–present)
- 3 Other media
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Championship and accomplishments
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Born and raised in St. Catharines, Ontario, Arneill attended Laura Secord Secondary School. He played hockey for over ten years until he decided to leave the sport and enter professional wrestling. During his childhood, he was a fan of Rick Rude, Rick Martel, and Mr. Perfect.
Professional wrestling careerEdit
Early career (2002–2006)Edit
Arneill trained at the Hart Wrestling School in Cambridge Ontario with Smith Hart, Ike Shaw and Waldo Von Erich and then with Eric Young at the WrestlePlex school before receiving further training from Derek Wylde and Cody Deaner. Upon wrestling his debut match in March 2002 as Shawn Spears, he began wrestling for some of the biggest independent wrestling promotions throughout Ontario and the United States, including Border City Wrestling, World Xtreme Wrestling, and Blood Sweat and Ears. On February 27, 2005, Arneill made an appearance on an edition of WWE Heat, unsuccessfully teaming with Mikael Yamaha to face The Hurricane and Rosey.
After sending a tape to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) officials, Arneill was called for a try-out in Buffalo, New York. He was signed to a developmental contract by WWE following the tryout, on January 21, 2006. He made a cameo appearance at Cyber Sunday as an employee called "Stan", who gets superkicked by Shawn Michaels of D-Generation X when Michaels is told that he doesn't understand the meaning of the word "controversial".
World Wrestling Entertainment/WWEEdit
Developmental territories (2006–2008)Edit
After signing his WWE contract, Arneill was assigned to the company's developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). He made his OVW television debut as "The Canadian Sensation" Shawn Spears, where he defeated then-SmackDown! superstar Simon Dean. After his victory, Dean attacked Spears until Spears was saved by Al Snow, who fended off Dean with a chair. After his debut, Spears quickly made an impact in OVW with a short undefeated streak that was soon ended by Aaron "The Idol" Stevens when Stevens made Spears submit. After this, Spears formed a tag team with Cody Runnels and they feuded with The Throwbacks for the Southern Tag Team Championship. On December 15, 2006, Spears and Runnels won the title from The Throwbacks.
On March 17, 2007, Spears won the Television Championship from Boris Alexiev, his first singles title in OVW. Soon after winning the title, he became more focused on championships and even began trying to steal Runnels' Heavyweight Championship opportunity. During Runnels' Heavyweight Title match, Spears interfered and performed a piledriver to Runnels, preventing him from winning the Heavyweight Championship and thus solidifying his heel turn. Spears then began feuding with Runnels and eventually lost the Television Championship to him on July 6, 2007 before winning it back one week later. He once again lost the title on September 19 to the debuting Ted "Manbeast" McNailer. Spears later regained the Television Title, only to lose it to Colt Cabana. Spears then began feuding with Cabana and the pair would go on to win the vacant Tag Team Title with on November 7 after defeating Paul Burchill and Stu Sanders. On December 19, Cabana and Spears' feud culminated in a ladder match in which the winner would claim the Tag Team titles for themselves and choose a new partner. Spears lost to Cabana, who then chose Charles "The Hammer" Evans as his new tag team partner.
After OVW split with WWE, Spears debuted in WWE's new development territory, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), and teamed up with Nic Nemeth to defeat The Puerto Rican Nightmares for the Florida Tag Team Championship on August 17. Nearly a month later, Nemeth and Spears lost the title to Joe Hennig and Heath Miller on September 11.
On the August 19 episode of ECW, Spears made his WWE television debut as a heel under the name Gavin Spears as part of Theodore Long's "New Superstar Initiative" in a losing effort to Ricky Ortiz. After his ECW debut, Spears began splitting time between ECW and FCW. On the September 2 edition of ECW, Spears was defeated by Super Crazy. After a three-month absence due to competing in FCW, Spears returned to television on the December 16 episode of ECW, where he lost to Finlay in what turned out to be his final match for the company. On January 9, 2009, Arneill was released from his contract.
Independent circuit (2009–2013)Edit
The day before he had been released from WWE, Arneill had broken his hand, and was unable to wrestle for 12 weeks following his release as a result. On May 27, 2009, Spears wrestled and lost to fellow WWE alumnus Elijah Burke in a tryout dark match for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling at their Impact! television tapings. On June 12, Spears made an appearance for Ring of Honor (ROH), where he defeated Alex Payne.
On May 16, 2010, Arneill, under his Gavin Spears ring name, teamed up with El Hijo de L.A. Park in a losing effort to Dr. Wagner III and Gigante Extassis on an Extreme Air Wrestle show in Mexico, marking his first tour of Mexico. On May 28 and 29, Arneill made appearances at the 2010 Anime North convention.
On August 15, he teamed up with Idol Stevens to capture the WWC World Tag Team Championship after defeating Thunder and Lightning. On October 31, Spears and Stevens lost the World Tag Team Title back to Thunder and Lightning.
Return to WWEEdit
On September 15, 2013, it was reported that Spears had re-signed with WWE, and he was assigned to WWE's developmental territory NXT under the ring name Tye Dillinger. He made his televised NXT debut in a losing effort against Mojo Rawley. In early 2014, Dillinger formed a tag team with Jason Jordan, with the two described as a pair of blue chip athletes. The team of Dillinger and Jordan got their first televised win on the April 17 episode of NXT, defeating Baron Corbin and Sawyer Fulton. On the June 5 episode of NXT, Dillinger and Jordan defeated local competitors. On the August 7 episode of NXT, Dillinger and Jordan lost in the first round of a NXT Tag Team Championship tournament to Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady. Dillinger and Jordan then appeared infrequently together, with Dillinger mostly being used as enhancement talent. On the February 25, 2015 episode of NXT, Dillinger's partnership with Jordan officially ended when Jordan unhappy with his partner not initially tagging him in, jumped off the apron and walked out on Dillinger just as he went to make the tag. After the match, an enraged Dillinger called out his old partner but instead was met with a quick loss to Baron Corbin.
On the August 12 episode of NXT, Dillinger debuted a new gimmick as the "Perfect 10" and defeated Solomon Crowe. At NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, Dillinger faced the debuting Apollo Crews in a losing effort. On the April 27, 2016 episode of NXT, he defeated Buddy Murphy. He faced the debuting Andrade "Cien" Almas at NXT TakeOver: The End, where Dillinger was defeated, although he received praise for his performance.
On the September 28 episode of NXT, after defeating Angelo Dawkins, Dillinger was approached by Bobby Roode, who proposed the two team up for the 2016 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, which Dillinger accepted. The following week, Dillinger and Roode took on SAnitY (Alexander Wolfe and Sawyer Fulton). During the match, Roode walked out on Dillinger, resulting in the team losing in the first round. The following week on October 19, Dillinger called out Roode for a match at NXT TakeOver: Toronto, which Roode won. On the December 14 episode of NXT, Dillinger defeated Eric Young by disqualification in a #1 contender Fatal 4-Way qualifying match. At NXT TakeOver: San Antonio, Dillinger was defeated by Young following a distraction from Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain. At NXT TakeOver: Orlando, Dillinger teamed up with Roderick Strong, Kassius Ohno and Ruby Riot to take on SAnitY in an 8-person mixed tag team match in a losing effort. Dillinger made his last NXT appearance on the April 5 tapings, closing out the event by winning a Steel Cage match against Eric Young.
On January 29, 2017, at Royal Rumble, Dillinger was a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble match, entering at number 10 but was eliminated by Braun Strowman. On the April 4 episode of SmackDown Live, Dillinger would make his main roster debut, defeating Curt Hawkins. Dillinger would enter a short feud with Aiden English, defeating him on various episodes of SmackDown Live, leading to a match at Backlash, where Dillinger once again defeated English to end their feud.
On the July 4 episode of SmackDown Live, Dillinger would compete in an Independence Day Battle Royal to determine the number one contender to the United States Championship, lasting until the final three before being eliminated by Sami Zayn. At Battleground, Dillinger briefly reignited his feud with English, with Dillinger facing him in a losing effort. On the August 29 episode of SmackDown Live, Dillinger would confront and brawl with Baron Corbin, who was about to answer an open challenge set by AJ Styles for the United States Championship. After Dillinger would fight off Corbin, he would take on Styles' challenge in a losing effort. On the September 12 episode of SmackDown Live, Dillinger would get another shot at the title against Styles, once again in a losing effort. After trading victories with Corbin on various episodes of SmackDown Live, both Dillinger and Corbin would challenge Styles for the United States Championship at Hell in a Cell in a triple threat match, where Corbin would win the title. On the December 26 episode of SmackDown Live, Dillinger would compete in a United States Championship tournament, after former champion Dolph Ziggler vacated the title the week before, where Dillinger would be defeated by Jinder Mahal in the first round.
At Royal Rumble, Dillinger was to be the number 10 entrant in the Royal Rumble match but was attacked backstage by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, with Zayn taking his spot. At Fastlane, Dillinger would team with Breezango (Fandango and Tyler Breeze), defeating the team of Chad Gable, Shelton Benjamin and Mojo Rawley. At WrestleMania 34, Dillinger would compete in the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, where he was eliminated by Matt Hardy. In his final pay-per-view appearance, Dillinger competed in the Greatest Royal Rumble, where he entered at number 42, but was eliminated by Braun Strowman. On the July 10 episode of SmackDown Live, Dillinger was scheduled to face Samoa Joe, however, Joe attacked him after the match, this led to the next week Dillinger to challenge Joe in a losing effort. At a WWE live event on August 13, Dillinger was injured in a match with Shelton Benjamin. The referee called for the end of the match, giving Benjamin the win via count out. Dillinger was promptly escorted backstage by officials. Dillinger returned on the September 25 episode of SmackDown Live, challenging Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE United States Championship; however, he was attacked during the match by Randy Orton, in what was Dillinger's last televised match with the company.
Dillinger suffered a hand injury in October 2018 which kept him out of action for several months. He returned to in-ring competition at a house show on February 9, 2019; however, he was still not used on television. On February 19, 2019, Dillinger announced in a Twitter statement that he had requested his release from WWE and was granted on February 22, 2019.
Independent circuit (2019–present)Edit
After his release from WWE, Arnell reverted to using the ring name, Shawn Spears once again. On March 1, 2019, he announced on Twitter that he will be accepting bookings on the independent circuit starting May 31. On the June 5 episode of Beyond Wrestling's weekly show, Spears debuted for the promotion defeating Orange Cassidy in the main event.
All Elite Wrestling (2019–present)Edit
Arnell, under his previous name of Shawn Spears, debuted for All Elite Wrestling (AEW) at their inaugural pay-per-view event Double or Nothing, competing in the pre-show Casino Battle Royale. He would fail to win, however, as the match was won by Adam Page. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Spears stated he would be appearing with the promotion going forward. His signing would officially be announced on June 12. At Fyter Fest in June, Spears established himself as a heel after hitting Cody with a steel chair shot to the top of the head. The following month at Fight for the Fallen, Spears teamed with MJF and Sammy Guevara to defeat Darby Allin, Jimmy Havoc and Joey Janela in a six-man tag team match. At All Out on August 31, Spears unsuccessfully faced Cody in a singles match.
Championship and accomplishmentsEdit
- American Combat Wrestling
- ACW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Florida Championship Wrestling
- Florida Underground Wrestling
- FUW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Kenny Kendrick
- Ground Breaking Pro Wrestling
- GBPW Championship (1 time)
- Ohio Valley Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Tri-City Wrestling
- TCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- World Wrestling Council
- Kapur, Bob (November 3, 2010). "Spears not bitter about years in WWE developmental, brief TV time". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved May 8, 2011.
- "Tye Dillinger bio". WWE. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
- "Cagematch profile".
- "Wrestler set to return home for match in Merritton". niagarathisweek.com. September 20, 2012. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
- Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0.
- "WWE Sunday Night Heat 2005 Results". 2xzone.com. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
- on YouTube
- "Champions Roll Call". Florida Championship Wrestling. Archived from the original on February 19, 2011. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
- "Golden Slam". WWE. Retrieved August 29, 2008.
- "Dirty Scrambles". WWE. Archived from the original on May 3, 2009. Retrieved January 5, 2019. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Armageddon aftershock". WWE. Archived from the original on April 29, 2009. Retrieved January 5, 2019. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Martin, Adam (January 10, 2009). "WWE cuts two developmental talents yesterday". WrestleView. Retrieved January 11, 2009.
- "Page not found". Retrieved August 24, 2017.
- "2009 Ring of Honor Official results". September 16, 2007. Archived from the original on November 13, 2017. Retrieved April 17, 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Boutwell, Jason (May 21, 2010). "Viva La Raza! Lucha Weekly". WrestleView. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- "Events - Super Anime Extreme Wrestling". www.gcwe.ca. 2012. Archived from the original on May 13, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
- Meltzer, Dave (September 15, 2013). "SUN UPDATE: Night of Champions preview, Mayweather fallout, surprising challenge, WSOF fight canceled last minute, Riddick Bowe pro wrestling debut and rips Konnan, Watson off UFC in UK, Big Total Divas episode, WWE name birthday". f4wonline.com. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
- Gutteridge, Darren (November 11, 2013). "Gutteridge's WWE NXT Review: Kassius Ohno main events against Luke Harper, Mojo Rawley vs. Tye Dillinger (a/k/a Gavin Spears), Alexander Rusev vs. Sylvester Lefort, and Leo Kruger vs. El Local". prowrestling.net. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
- Melok, Bobby (February 25, 2015). "WWE NXT results - Feb. 25, 2015: Finn Bálor battles The Brian Kendrick, Kevin Owens attacks Alex Riley". wwe.com. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
- Caldwell, James. "6/8 "NXT Takeover" Results – CALDWELL'S Complete Live Report on "The End"". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
- Dave Scherer (January 29, 2017). "AND YOUR ROYAL RUMBLE WINNER IS, GOLDBERG DOES IT TO BROCK AGAIN, AT 26 HERE COMES THE PAIN, BRAUN STROWMAN KICKS BUTT UNTIL THE NUMBERS GAME CATCHES HIM, NXT STAR DEBUTS AT NUMBER 10, NUMBER ONE AND TWO ARE THE RUMBLE ARE, JOHN CENA AND AJ STYLES DELIVER ANOTHER CLASSIC IN THE RING, NEVILLE AND SWANN DELIVER, REIGNS VS. OWENS KILL EACH OTHER, CHARLOTTE VS. BAYLEY WILL START THE NIGHT, SHAWN MICHAELS APPEARS - ONGOING ROYAL RUMBLE PPV BLOG!". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
- Pappolla, Ryan (April 4, 2017). "Tye Dillinger def. Curt Hawkins". WWE. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
- Melok, Bobby. "Tye Dillinger def. Aiden English (Kickoff Match)". WWE. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
- McNeill (July 4, 2017). "McNEILL'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 7/4: John Cena Returns, Rap Battle, Naomi-Lana III & Battle Royal". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
- Powell, Jason. "7/23 Powell's WWE Battleground Kickoff Show: Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
- Keller, Wade (August 29, 2017). "KELLER'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 8/29: Jinder & Rusev vs. Orton & Nakamura headlines, plus A.J. Styles U.S. Title Open Challenge, Shelton & Gable". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
- Keller, Wade. "KELLER'S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 9/12: Vince McMahon appears to address Shane being suspended and Owens threatening to sue". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- "Hell in a Cell 2017 Results". WWE. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
- SmackDown Live December 26, 2017 Results
- Powell, Jason. "WWE Royal Rumble 2018 live review: Men's and Women's Royal Rumble matches, Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kane for the WWE Universal Championship, AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in a handicap match for the WWE Championship". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
- Benigno, Anthony. "Breezango & Tye Dillinger def. Mojo Rawley, Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin". WWE. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
- Powell, Jason. "Powell's WrestleMania 34 Kickoff Show live review: WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal, Cedric Alexander vs. Mustfa Ali for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal". Pro Wreslting Dot Net. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
- Powell, Jason. "Powell's WWE Greatest Royal Rumble live review: 50-man Royal Rumble match, Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns in a cage match for the WWE Universal Championship, AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship, John Cena vs. Triple H, Undertaker vs. Rusev in a casket match". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
- Lee, Joseph (August 13, 2018). "Tye Dillinger Suffers Possible Injury At Live Event". 411mania. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
- Nemer, Roy (September 25, 2018). "WWE Smackdown Results - 9/25/18 (Contract Signing, Nakamura vs. Dillinger)". WrestleView. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
- Tye Dillinger requests release from WWE
- "The Dillinger released". WWE.
- Powell, Jason. "AEW The Buy In pre-show results: Powell's live review of the Casino Battle Royale, Kip Sabian vs. Sammy Guevara". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved May 25, 2019.
- Barrasso, Justin (May 21, 2019). "Shawn Spears Debuting for AEW Saturday at Double or Nothing". Sports Illustrated.
- Shawn Spears Officially Signs with All Elite Wrestling | Fightful
- Powell, Jason. "6/29 AEW Fyter Fest results: Powell's live review of Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks vs. Pentagon Jr., Fenix, and Laredo Kid, Jon Moxley vs. Joey Janela in an unsanctioned match, Cody vs. Darby Allin, Cima vs. Christopher Daniels". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
- Powell, Jason (July 13, 2019). "7/13 AEW Fight For The Fallen results: Powell's live review of Cody and Dustin Rhodes vs. The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega vs. Cima, Chris Jericho promo, Hangman Page vs. Kip Sabian, Pentagon Jr. and Fenix vs. Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved July 13, 2019.
- Powell, Jason (August 31, 2019). "AEW All Out results: Powell's live review of Chris Jericho vs. Hangman Page to become the first AEW Champion, Pentagon Jr. and Fenix vs. The Young Bucks in a ladder match for the AAA Tag Titles, Cody vs. Shawn Spears, Kenny Omega vs. Pac". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
- "WWE 2K17: All the DLC Revealed". GameSpot. September 22, 2016. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
- "WWE 2K18: all 187 confirmed wrestlers profiled, including DLC (Hardy Boyz, Elias and more)". GamesRadar+. September 28, 2017. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
- "WWE 2K19 Roster Confirmed: All 200+ Superstars & Wrestlers, including DLC". GameSpot. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
- DeAnge, Dominic (June 12, 2019). "Shawn Spears Details His WWE Release & Support From Peyton Royce". Wrestlezone. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
- "Peyton Royce gets married". WWE. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
- Johnson, Mike (August 26, 2019). "WWE, AEW STARS GET MARRIED | PWInsider.com". www.pwinsider.com. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
- "American Combat Wrestling news". Archived from the original on August 18, 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Kreikenbohm, Philip. "FUW « Events Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
- "Ground Breaking Pro Wrestling history page". Archived from the original on September 12, 2010. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "OVW championship histories". Archived from the original on April 5, 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2017". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
- "WWC World Tag Team Championship history".