Shawn Spears Explains Why He Left AEW And Rejoined WWE

WWE star Shawn Spears has discussed leaving AEW, rejoining WWE, and why it was important for him to keep his return a secret.

Spears, who became a free agent in January 2024, returned to WWE and "NXT" in February. In an interview with "Fightful," he detailed why it was important to leave AEW on friendly terms, similar to his exit from WWE in 2019.


"It's very important to me," said Spears about why he wanted to amicably leave AEW. "I am somebody who, for whatever anybody wants to say about me throughout the course of the 20-plus [year] career that I've been doing this, one thing that's going to be hard for them to say is that I have been unprofessional. I'm a very big believer that as a professional wrestler, that word professional is paramount, is key. It's almost more important to me than the second word that comes into play. It was amicable, absolutely."

Spears also explained the reason why he wanted to leave AEW and end his four-year association with the company. 

"It was just a time that I felt was best for me, best for my family, and as difficult as some decisions are, sometimes it's nice to know that mutual respect can allow things to go smoothly, much smoothly than they may," said the new "NXT" star. 


He added that his schedule in AEW changed quite a bit and that he seemed to not have a spot in AEW, which made him venture into the indies and wrestle certain stars that he had wanted to wrestle.

Spears on why he wanted to return to WWE

Shawn Spears also discussed why he felt the need to return to WWE, mentioning how he reached out to see if there was interest in the promotion when his AEW contract was coming to an end.

"It was important to me to be able to come back to this company [WWE]. That was the first big question, of whether or not that was a possibility and once the possibility was a definite possibility, then it became about what is the best course of action to take going forward," stated Spears.


Spears touted how WWE is currently doing superbly well on all fronts, and he is eager to contribute in whatever way he can.

"Let's be honest, let's be clear as day, I'm not going to tell you guys anything you don't already know: WWE is on fire across the board. The numbers have never been better — and I don't know all the numbers so don't get me wrong, but what I do know of them is that we are smashing record after record, the attendance is going through the roof, the merchandise is off the charts. That wheel that we talk about is spinning faster and stronger than ever. So to be able to come back into that and be a spoke on that wheel again and be able to contribute in any way that I can is massive."


The former Tye Dillinger is excited to be a part of "NXT," emphasizing how there are several stars on the brand who have blown him away with their talent. He added that being able to be around his family, and also learn from the likes of Shawn Michaels and Matt Bloom contributed a great deal to his WWE return.

Spears on keeping his return a secret

Shawn Spears and WWE achieved something tough in the modern world of pro wrestling: they kept his WWE return a secret. Spears, in the interview, stated that he kept his return a closely guarded secret, with him revealing that very few people knew about it.


"This was pretty much kept close to the chest. I didn't tell a lot of friends, I didn't tell a lot of close friends. I told my wife and I told her, 'Do not tell your friends, don't tell your best friends, don't tell anybody.' I didn't tell my family, I didn't tell anybody. The main people that knew was Hunter [Triple H] Shawn [Michaels], his team here and that was pretty much it. A lot of the coaching staff had no idea, the talent had zero idea. I was kept in a room for the majority of the day," said Spears. "It was just a matter of keeping things as tight-lipped as possible."

He expressed how he's excited when he is surprised in pro wrestling which is why everyone needed to keep his return a secret, revealing that they had held the information for four weeks. Spears also added that he hopes that his current run in WWE is his final stop in pro wrestling. 


Since his return on the February 27 edition of "NXT," Spears has only featured on the developmental brand, but it remains to be seen if he returns to the main roster, perhaps to fulfill a long-standing wish of his to win a particular WWE title.