Spears liked his time in OVW. He learned a lot there and even became Champion at one point. One time OVW held a battle royal to see who’d get the chance to face John Cena in a one off match. Spears won the battle royal and went on to face Cena. He says that Cena couldn’t have been nicer, and came up with a great layout for the match that really showcased Spears. He knows Cena didn’t need to do that.
After that Spears thought things were really looking up for him in the company. However, soon after this OVW folded and Spears was sent to FCW. He was soon released from the company altogether and the next few years were very dark for him. He worked in Puerto Rico and Mexico, and picked up odds jobs on the side. He knew that he absolutely had to find a way back to WWE.
Spears was good friends with Joey Mercury, who was working with WWE developmental at the time and managed to get him another tryout. His first WWE tryout was hard, but this one was even harder. His body was beat up and tired but he was 32 at the time and knew that this was his last chance to make it in the wrestling business. He also didn’t want to let Mercury down.
He spent some time training in WWE developmental. The coaches there grade each talent occasionally on certain metrics on a scale from 1-10. Spears accidentally saw his scoresheet one day and he had received all 9s and 9.5s, but the head coach overruled all of this was a bunch of 5 and 6s. Spears knew then that he was being held down there by one individual.
He told this to a friend of his, who responded by saying that Dillinger should have all 10s. This stuck with him and he decided to pitch the Perfect 10 character to Dusty Rhodes and other NXT officials. The day he made the pitch Rhodes told him straight up that there were no plans for him to move to the main roster, but this only made Spears more determined to change their mind.
The pitch went well and a few months later the character debuted. The fans quickly got behind him and he can never thank them enough for the support they showed him. He knows that it was because of the fans that he got called up to the main roster. Unfortunately, after getting there he thinks WWE left a lot of money on the table with his character.
He says it was a 6-month process for him deciding whether or not to leave WWE. He got hurt at one point and was out of action for 3 months, which allowed him to really consider his options. He decided to change his look and his ring gear upon his return, and even went to speak to Vince McMahon one-on-one in the hope that things would change, but they did not.
He began to lose his love of the business and his in-ring work started to suffer because of this. He knows that wasn’t fair to the fans, so he had to leave. It was the hardest decision he’s ever made, but he went to Talent Relations and asked for his release.