Shawn Spears recently spoke with Muscle & Fitness to talk AEW, WWE, training, his goals for the future, and more. The interview was recorded before Spears' loss to Cody Rhodes at AEW All Out last Saturday night.
Spears is a regular member of the AEW roster and seems very excited about his future with the company. He made it clear that he believes the company has raised the bar. Spears was asked how excited he is about being a part of AEW, and about the buzz surrounding the promotion. Spears said AEW is changing the game.
"You said exactly what it is, an alternative product. We are beyond excited to bring something new," he said. "The tide raises all ships, you know? AEW is that tide, whether anyone wants to admit it or not. I'll say it loud and proud: AEW has raised the bar. Everyone is doing better, because they have come along. They are so excited to showcase their product, and their talent, to the loyal fan base that it has built to this point. We've already started, but we hit the ground running on August 31st, (with All Out) and then one month later we go worldwide (with regular television) on a worldwide basis. AEW is changing the game."
Regarding his time with WWE, the former Tye Dillinger said he was pigeonholed for a long time. Spears said he was unable to break through the glass ceiling, but that has changed as he has taken his career into his own hands. He was asked about now being his time to shine after making other wrestlers look good for so long.
"I take great pride in being able to work with anybody," Spears said. "Whether it be a brand-new talent, whether it be someone who has been in wrestling for four or five years, or even 15 to 20, I take pride in being able to cover the spectrum when it comes down to match preparation and execution. But that can also pigeonhole you, and I was pigeonholed for quite a long time. On one hand, I was very reliable when they (WWE) needed something done. I was there and I got it done, but at the same time I couldn't break through the glass ceiling that seemed to be placed over my head. Now, that has changed.
"I have taken my career into my own hands, been given an opportunity to be on a worldwide platform (in AEW) with no restrictions. Now, this is all on me. Now there's no more "Oh, well, maybe you are being held back or it's not him it's creative." I want all that out of the way, I want everything to fall on my shoulders now. Regardless of what happens, when I'm seventy years old, I can look back and say that I did this the way I wanted to, on my terms, and I gave it everything I got."
Spears was also asked about WWE NXT and AEW going head-to-head on Wednesday nights, beginning on October 2. Spears agreed with what a lot of wrestlers and higher-ups have said publicly as of late - he's not going into this with the idea of head-to-head competition, and that the whole thing will motivate everyone.
"I think no matter who is on, on whatever timeslot, everyone is going to be motivated regardless," Spears said. "We are gonna do our thing on Wednesday nights, we're gonna tear it up and if you watch, fantastic, we think you are in for one hell of a treat and if you don't watch, you are missing one hell of a show, it is really that simple. But that is the beautiful thing about providing an alternative, it benefits the audience. Not just the audience of AEW, or WWE, or Impact, or Ring of Honor, it benefits the everyday casual wrestling fan. You now have another option.
"I can't speak for everybody, but we are not looking at it as a head-to-head competition, where we need to knock these guys out of the water, we are going to go out there and do our thing."