Tye Dillinger On His ‘Royal Rumble’ Appearance: ‘It Was Just Step One’

Longtime NXT star Tye Dillinger made his WWE main roster debut at last month’s Royal Rumble show as the 10th entrant in the annual 30-man match. Sadly though, WWE isn’t planning on making him a full time main roster star, at least not right now.

Aside from Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode, Tye Dillinger is the most popular superstar in NXT, and he probably could be one of the most popular superstars on WWE’s main roster if he’s ever given an opportunity on the big stage. But, for now, he’ll have to continue doing his thing down in WWE’s developmental territory.

In a recent interview with WWE.com, NXT’s perfect 10 commented on his Royal Rumble appearance, and he said that he wants to be a part of the main roster now more than ever.

Dillinger stands ready. [Image by WWE]

“My motivation level here in NXT has always been high. I believe it’s one of my stronger attributes. Competing in the Royal Rumble capped off a chapter in my career that I feel was 15 years in the making. That one moment, on that night, taught me that if you work hard enough when no one is watching, believe in yourself when others don’t, be good to people even if they don’t deserve it, and have incredible patience, eventually, something will roll your way. I just didn’t think that something would be competing at the 30th annual Royal Rumble event with the likes of The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Goldberg and Roman Reigns. [Laughs] I couldn’t be happier that it was, though. The way I look at it now, that’s just step one. WWE gave me a taste of what it’s like on the big stage and I want more. So now, I’ll work even harder.”

If Dillinger ever makes it up to the main roster, the “10!” chant could end up being the new version of Daniel Bryan’s “YES!!!” chant. Of course, fans are already somewhat hijacking matches with the “10!” chant, but the chants will undoubtedly get louder and more frequent if Dillinger gets brought up to the main roster.

Shortly following the Royal Rumble event, WWE posted a video of Dillinger reacting to his appearance on the show, and he was completely speechless.

According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE has never considered bringing Dillinger to the main roster. So, the question now is, did his appearance at the Royal Rumble change their mind? We’ll see. But, he might have earned himself a yearly gig as the 10th entrant in the Rumble match.

Even though Dillinger isn’t earmarked for the main roster right now, that doesn’t mean that he won’t be brought up someday. When WWE signed Samoa Joe to NXT, there weren’t any plans to bring him the main roster. But, two years later, he ended up on the main roster. So, we could see the perfect 10 on the main roster at some point this year.

Tye 10
[Image by WWE]

WWE typically has two or three surprise entrants in every Royal Rumble match, but this year, there was really only one: Tye Dillinger. Of course, many predicted that WWE would have the NXT star enter the match at number 10, so while his appearance is being labeled as a surprise, it wasn’t really much of a surprise.

Before the Royal Rumble, we heard that Tye Dillinger, Kenny Omega, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, and Kurt Angle all could be surprise entrants, and of all the aforementioned names, Dillinger was the only one who showed up at the Alamodome.

If you follow NXT, you know that Dillinger’s gimmick as of late is that he’s having trouble winning matches, and because of that, he’s questioning whether or not he belongs in NXT. It’ll be interesting to see if his Royal Rumble appearance changes how he’s booked in WWE’s developmental league, because fans of the product would probably love to see him in the NXT Championship picture.

[Featured Image by WWE]