Shawn Spears

Photo credit to All Elite Wrestling

“Having the time of my life” Shawn Spears on AEW, Ontario Indies, and More

Shawn Spears is a twenty-plus-year pro wrestling veteran who is currently featured on AEW television within The Pinnacle.

I spoke with The Chairman recently and excerpts from our chat are below.

Shawn Spears

Being trained by Eric Young and the subsequent matches they had from Oshawa, Ontario to NXT

“Yeah, he’s been an integral part of my career. Very good friend of mine, to this day. Very fortunate to meet him early on because the first place I tried to go to for training really didn’t have a set structure. I kind of got conned, so to speak. I gave up a lot of money. Young, ambitious, didn’t exactly do the homework that I should have done. I made the mistake of paying before knowing for sure. But what it did was it allowed me to move to Cambridge, Ontario, and that’s where I ended up meeting Eric Young. So he knew my tale.”

“He knew the situation I was in and he offered to help. With the school that he had at the time, he offered basically hands-on training. So he was in the ring with me, which to this day, the school that I run with Tyler Breeze, Flatbacks, we’re in the ring with you.  I believe in that kind of training, hands-on. Just fundamentally it helps the student kind of grasp onto things a little quicker, a little sooner. It’s easier to adapt.”

“His kind of training, his style of training is the style that I continue with and believe in to this day. He really set a good representation of this industry. Always be professional, always treat people well. Contacts are everything. The same people you meet on the way up are the same people you meet on the way back down, that kind of thing. So his training was massively valuable to any success that I’ve had.”

Shawn Spears vs Eric Young at GCW in Oshawa

I remember the GCW and the Legion shows up in that area too. Always have a good time. I always had a good time. Here’s a funny story. Well, not a funny story. But since you brought him up earlier, the only time Eric Young and I had ever wrestled on an independent match, I believe was in Oshawa. It was at one of the Legion shows and it was in a very bad ring. The ring was very dodgy not very well structured at all. Early on in the match, Eric Young stepped in kind of like a pothole almost in the ring and ended up snapping his ankle. He broke his ankle in the match.”

Shawn Spears continued, “I remember being really excited and we were both amped up for it because we’ve never worked each other. It was teacher versus student kind of thing. We were really excited about and that happens. He was out for a little while. But it was weird. I always had this odd feeling that at some point or another we’re gonna wrestle each other again, but it’s going to be in a bigger atmosphere. Just always had that feeling. I just had no idea when or where that would be. Luckily, we ended up getting to cap that off.”

All Elite Wrestling

Multi-layered character dynamics in pro wrestling and if the idea of gimmicks is antiquated

“I feel that the days of a gimmick, a one and only sole gimmick is in my opinion gone or it’s fading very quickly. I believe that there are layers to a character, just like in a movie. There are different sides to everybody’s personality. So in real life, Ronnie’s (Spear’s real name) quite quiet. He likes to kind of keep to himself, likes to play video games, he spends time with his dogs. If you said Hey, tell me something exciting about your real life, it would take me a minute. Because I’ve worked so hard that I’ve earned the right to relax in my real life.”

“But in the world of professional wrestling or entertainment, I get to be whatever I want. I get to show you different sides of my personality. Whether it be comedic or over the top. What I feel is angry or what I feel is embarrassed or shy. There’s nothing I will not do in the world of entertainment. I am very comfortable being in front of 1000s and being the butt of the joke. That to me is entertainment.”

Shawn Spears continued, “But that’s just me digging through different layers of my personality. So I can one week have a glove and I can next week be swinging a chair. Then the next week I can be wearing a full-on suit with no T-shirt and a beanie. I can be somebody’s cheerleader then at the same time I could take someone’s head off with a chair. I can cut a scathing promo where you go oh okay, wow. Alright, I gotta see that match. Or I can be a goof and I can stumble over my words and everybody can laugh at me. It’s just that’s the beautiful thing of entertainment.”

Chris Jericho’s versatility

“I feel that a lot of the wrestlers that have had longevity or long-term success have been able to reinvent themselves. Jericho is a wonderful example. They had been able to tap into a multitude of their different personalities to where they go, I’m just gonna bring this to light. If anybody’s been following them over the course of X amount of years, they go, Wow, that’s cool. That’s different. That’s unique.”

“A lot of the times it’s as simple as changing a hairstyle. It’s as simple as changing a look. Wearing gloves, having a Painmaker catchphrase, or the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla. It’s just layers to a personality. So I think the days of that’s a gimmick, he needs a new gimmick. I think those days are kind of done. If anything, it’s about reinventing yourself. I believe the people who have done that best have done that by exploring different sides of their personalities.”

AEW

The unfurling AEW story between MJF, Spears, and Wardlow and The Chairman‘s feelings on that

“I’m having a blast. So if I step back and look at the totality of things, I’m having the time of my life. We do a lot of long-term storytelling and that for me is what’s exciting to sink my teeth into. I feel I perform the very best within a story. Whether I’m in a starring role or in a supporting cast role. With The Pinnacle and everything that we’ve done with The Inner Circle. Then what we’ve done with CM Punk and now what we’re doing with Wardlow. I’ve been in the supporting role, but that has been so unique and so exciting. Because I know where we’re going.”

Shawn Spears continued, “Literally week to week we’re getting more ideas and we’re actually throwing this in too. We’re changing a couple of things up but for the most part, everybody’s on the same page. The beautiful thing about long-term storytelling is that the audience has been letting us know that we are on the right track. That’s one thing. It’s one thing to have ideas but once we actually execute these ideas to see the live feedback, the live reaction, which is the ultimate confirmation on whether or not you’re doing something right or wrong.”

MJF, Spears, and Wardlow

“That’s the beautiful thing of what we do. If you go back and watch Dynamite this past week when Wardlow came through that curtain and you hear the reaction, like yeah, wow. We’re on the right track here. So long-term storytelling is a staple in AEW. You see it with various talents. A lot built around the title pictures and stuff like that, but a lot of personal rivalries. Which you’re seeing with Max and myself and Wardlow.”

“That story is just as vital and it’s just as important. It’s up there with any other story we have going on. And pretty much anywhere going on in the wrestling world. So I’m a big fan of storytelling. I’m a big fan of long-term storytelling. To be in one, especially one with things you can consistently sink your teeth into, there’s nothing more exciting than that for me.”

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