One is in NXT and the other is on Smackdown Live. And while both men are not currently crossing paths on WWE programming that doesn’t mean that they won’t be forever intertwined with one another. Before we can tackle how these two came together, we really should focus on each man’s career: where they have been and where they are today. Tye Dillinger is currently building a name for himself on the Smackdown Live roster.
However, before Dillinger could be used as part of that brand he was busy developing in NXT. It wasn’t easy for him, competing at Full Sail University and trying to find himself. He was originally teamed with Jason Jordan, who is now one-half of American Alpha, on Smackdown Live as well. The team was very generic in nature, and there wasn’t anything about them that stood out. In fact, many would say that their lack of personality as a team was essentially their downfall. However, they had talent and that talent that wasn’t going to be ignored.
Dillinger was in need of a character that got a reaction from the fans. Initially, he was aligned with a variety of different NXT stars, in hopes of forming a new, more interesting tag team. However, what he was eventually able to develop was a character that fans didn’t just like, but absolutely adored. He became the ‘Perfect Ten,’ someone who believed he was the best in all aspects. Week in and week out, Dillinger continued to come to the ring calling each and every performance, win or lose, a perfect ten. It wasn’t until he ran a program with the leader of the sAniTy faction, Eric Young, that fans were able to see a completely driven side of him.
Eric Young, as many are aware, appeared on NXT television out of the blue in July 2015, and confronted then NXT champion Samoa Joe. His career appeared complete; the easily adaptable Young was joining NXT to offer the promotion a great deal in the way of matches, communication, and storytelling. When Young was next seen on NXT sometime later, it was as the leader of the faction sAniTy. He put forward a persona similar to someone seeking to bring anarchy to NXT. Young and Dillinger’s characters couldn’t be more different. However, when it came to a point that the two were on a collision course with one another, they had to be smiling the whole time through.
In front of the camera, Dillinger and Young were the most heated of rivals; Young would interfere in Dillinger’s matches, and sAnity would beat him down mercilessly, putting one roadblock after another in front of him. So why would they be smiling behind the scenes? You see, before there was a Tye Dillinger and Eric Young in WWE, there was Ronald Arneill and Jeremy Fritz, two men who were born and raised in Ontario, Canada. Before Young (Fritz) established himself as an elite competitor, he trained young up and coming talent in Ontario. He saw a number of questionable athletes, but there was one wrestler that made an impression. I had the opportunity to speak with Young shortly after his first surprise appearance on NXT television and asked about whom stood out to him during his training of talent.
I didn’t have a pile of students, but a lot of really good students, a really good group of guys that were really dedicated and their several nights a week. It was an amazing experience. I’m happy to say I trained Tye Dillinger of NXT, I was the first school he went to. He was good right away; I could tell him one thing or show him one thing and he could already do it, and do it probably better than I could. When he signed his first deal it was kind of like your kid going to Harvard, and he’s still there and is very, very respected for several reasons, but his in-ring ability speaks for itself…
Young also shared that he didn’t guarantee anyone that he trained the success. He simply provided them with the tools to succeed. As the two feuded, prior to Dillinger’s call up to the main roster, it appeared it was a culmination of all of Young’s support, training and guidance, which allowed Dillinger to be where he is today. Their feud ended when Dillinger defeated Young inside a steel cage. Whether or not the cage was to represent escape, after years of tireless effort, we may never know. What we do know is that, while we saw Dillinger victorious and an infuriated Eric Young watching as Dillinger was carried upon the shoulders of his peers, Young had to quietly be smiling that the pupil was now equivalent to the teacher. Will they cross paths on the main roster and renew their hostilities with one another? They would have to be excited about the prospect.