After a solid run in the developmental ranks at NXT and a stint on the SmackDown Live brand that saw him hardly utilized for the better part of two years, Tye Dillinger has requested his release from WWE.
On Tuesday night, Dillinger took to Twitter to issue a statement confirming that he had just asked WWE to release him after over five years in his second stint with the company. While it isn’t clear yet whether WWE has granted Dillinger’s request, the 38-year-old Canadian wrestler has since started using his real name of Ronnie Arneill on Twitter. He did, however, leave a reference in his biography to the “Perfect 10” gimmick that had once gotten over among WWE and NXT fans.
“I feel at this time the decision, as extremely difficult as it was, is what is best for myself and WWE. I wish to continue to grow as a performer and offer those paying hard earned money to watch a show I’m performing on, a little more of myself,” Dillinger wrote.
“To the male and female locker rooms, coaches and producers, to the production/ring crew, all the way up to the very top of the WWE and most of all the fans… I wish you all the very best and thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything.”
— WrestlingINC.com (@WrestlingInc) February 20, 2019
As recalled by Bleacher Report, it was in 2006 when Tye Dillinger first signed a developmental contract with WWE, though he ultimately didn’t get much exposure on the main roster, using the ring name Gavin Spears as a lower-carder on the ECW brand from 2008 to 2009. He did, however, have a memorable cameo appearance prior to his main roster call-up, playing a WWE employee named Stan and getting superkicked by Shawn Michaels in a backstage segment, per Cultured Vultures.
After WWE released him in 2009, Dillinger spent the next few years in the independent scene, then returned to the company in 2013 as part of the company’s developmental promotion, NXT. Two years later, Dillinger debuted his “Perfect 10” gimmick, which didn’t have him moving beyond the NXT mid-card, but nonetheless made him a crowd favorite, as NXT fans began chanting the number “10,” even during matches where Dillinger wasn’t booked.
It was no coincidence when Dillinger was introduced to main roster fans by entering at No. 10 in the 2017 Royal Rumble match. Unfortunately, his run on the SmackDown Live brand was largely marred by injuries, while WWE mostly booked him as a lower-tier performer whenever he’d appear on television.
Tye Dillinger has yet to comment on what his post-WWE plans might be, should the company grant him his release. However, Bleacher Report speculated that he could become a major signing for All Elite Wrestling, given how he is close friends with AEW co-founder and executive vice president Cody Rhodes. Following Dillinger’s announcement on Twitter, Rhodes retweeted his statement, wishing his “old friend” the best and expressing that he “can’t wait to see what [he does] next.”