One thing that WWE superstar Tye Dillinger has in abundance is confidence. So much so that the 36-year-old Canadian has earned himself the nickname “The Perfect 10” among fans.
Dillinger is the latest in a long line of ‘NXT’ success stories. The NXT wrestling group, which was originally set up as a training ground for the main WWE roster, has gathered such momentum in recent years that many of its students are now former world champions on primetime WWE television.
“The Perfect 10,” who’s originally from Canada, was recently signed to SmackDown where he hopes to follow in the footsteps of fellow students like Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, and Finn Balor—to win a WWE title. I caught up with the up and comer to find out more about his impressive athletic background, and his training regimen.
M&F: You played a lot of hockey growing up. How does the training differ between hockey and WWE?
TD: There are not a lot of days off. For both, there’s a wide variety of workouts—from heavy all the way to recovery-style workouts. There’s also a focus on body health and your overall health with both types of training. WWE and hockey have very intensive schedules. There’s not a lot of days off in either because you are playing every other day, just like in wrestling where you are in the ring most nights.
Which is more physically demanding?
My own personal comparison between WWE and hockey…wrestling is by far the more difficult on my body overall—although that may be due to the fact that I didn’t play at an elite level in hockey like I do here in WWE. You would have to pretty much come skating out of the womb to stand a chance of playing hockey at an elite level in Canada (laughs). I played for a very long time. From my perspective WWE is harder at this point.
What have you learned since joining WWE?
This is my second time signing with WWE and I have been around for six and half years in total. The second time around is much different. We have strength and conditioning coaches and on-site medical staff. WWE has gone to great expense to bring the best fitness experts in, all to ensure the talent’s safety, progress, and growth.
Right now we have a great strength and conditioning coach in Sean Hayes. He’s accessible any time. I have messaged him questions about health and nutrition at 2 a.m. and he has responded three minutes later.
From Sean, I have learned from a wide range of disciplines. He knows how to go about packing on muscle if you want to, or even ease off if you are going too hard. I owe the WWE Performance Center a lot for getting me ready for shows like WrestleMania.
Now that you are on the main WWE roster, how are you feeling? Your schedule is even busier these days.
I feel awesome at the moment. In terms of the schedule, that’s what you sign up for and I welcome it with open arms. I have dedicated over 15 years of my life to this industry and the right to wrestle for the No.1 wrestling company in the world. I feel good, I’m excited, and I’m ready.
NXT is currently touring all over the United States and will be heading to the United Kingdom in June 2017. Tye Dillinger can be seen on WWE SmackDown Live.