Interview: Tye Dillinger talks NXT, WWE Royal Rumble and more
The Perfect 10 speaks out.
NXT superstar Tye Dillinger recently took part in a WWE Conference Call, during which he talked about a number of topics to journalists from around the world. The Perfect 10 is currently preparing for NXT Takeover: Orlando with a clash against Sanity appearing to be on the cards, following on from a successful main roster debut at the 2017 Royal Rumble.
Q: Would you like to be involved in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal this year?
A: It would be an honour to be in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, if only for the fact that it's named after such a legend. Coming off of the Royal Rumble and an appearance at number 10, I think it gives me a bit of experience. So if a spot opens up for the ATGMBR at WrestleMania, you'd better believe that I'll jump all over it.
Q: How would you explain your popularity in NXT?
A: The Perfect 10 took off very quickly and very unexpectedly, which is all down to the WWE Universe. They have taken it to heights that even I didn't think was possible, so I have them to thank for all the success I've had and that NXT has had as a whole.
Q: What is your main goal - going to Raw or going to SmackDown Live?
A: It's very tough, as both rosters have an extremely high amount of talent. There are guys I've faced in NXT that I'd love to face again - you've got Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins on Raw, you have Randy Orton, John Cena and other guys on SmackDown. Right now, though, first and foremost, I'm geared up for NXT Takeover.
I have an issue with Sanity that I need to take care of and once I'm done with that, I've always had my sights set on the NXT Championship. If I get the win at Takeover, I think that puts me in title contention.
Q: Which main roster superstar would you like to face?
A: I think at the moment, right now it's a toss up between the two men that main evented SmackDown Live recently - Randy Orton and AJ Styles. In my opinion, those two guys are the best we've got in the business today, and I've been a long-term fan of Randy Orton's so to be able to get in the ring and mix things up with him would be great. He'd be at the top of my list.
Q: What inspired your Perfect 10 gimmick?
A: It kinda came out of nowhere. It was a conversation I was having with a friend at the time, and the Perfect 10 character was born out of a lack of confidence believe it or not. It took a very good friend to sit me down and say look, you've put in the time and thousands of hours and years so you need to go out there and show the world what you can do.
You have guys that call themselves the great ones and the greatest of all time, and now you can add one more to the list - and that's the Perfect 10.
Q: Do you hope to see the 'ten' chant really big in the future, like the 'yes' and 'what' chants?
A: It's still pretty surreal to me because I was a part of those 'yes' and 'what' chants at one point in my career. To see the 'ten' chants that have taken on a similar form still kind of blows my mind a little bit. If they're chanting ten, that is just fine.
Q: When did you find out you were going to go into the Royal Rumble?
A: A few months prior I saw rumblings on social media about me coming in at number 10. I thought it was pretty funny, but I never thought it'd grow as it did with all of the fans getting behind it. I think they're a big reason of why it actually happened. That just shows the power of the WWE Universe.
Q: What's your favourite WrestleMania moment?
A: The great thing is that every year there's at least one huge WrestleMania moment or a couple. Stone Cold Steve Austin winning the WWE Title at WrestleMania 14 was a great turning point. I thought the rivalry between Rock and Austin, culminating at three different Manias was huge, but if we're talking recently then the WrestleMania 25 match between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker is something that I still watch to this day.
Q: If you could rate your career in WWE so far out of 10, what rating would you give?
A: I still feel I have a lot to accomplish and give to this company. I feel great, I feel young, I feel vibrant and I feel ready to take on the WWE. If I had to lay my career on a Perfect 10 scale at where we are right now, I'd say we're doing okay - we're at a solid 8. I'm very happy with where I'm at right now, but I've still got a few things I'd like to accomplish.
Q: Who's the first person you go to behind the curtain after a moment like your Royal Rumble appearance?
A: After the Rumble, I just sort of took a moment to myself. We were escorted to the back because we couldn't go back up the ramp - it was huge. We went off to the side where you left the arena, and there were a few empty rooms. I walked into one of them, took a deep breath and told myself 'you were in one of the biggest pay per views in this company's history'.
I kinda had a little conversation with myself, collected my thoughts and made my way back up to Gorilla and saw a few of the guys who were so happy for me. It's a moment that I'll always remember for sure.
Q: How strong do you think the NXT roster is right now?
A: We have a very solid NXT roster, and as you can tell a lot of stars on WWE television today came from NXT. It has been our breeding ground for top-tier talent, and a lot of talent have been very successful. At the same time, NXT has maintained a very high standard in terms of performance and production value. We want to put on the best possible show and product that we can for our fan base.
So we've had guys like Seth Rollins, Adrian Neville, Kevin Owens, Finn Balor and others that have cemented their legacy and then left some pretty big shoes to fill for others guys. But now, we've got Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, Tye Dillinger, Roderick Strong - guys like that who will continue the NXT legacy. This roster is stronger than ever.
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