Tye Dillinger Explains Why He Left WWE, Says He Was Offered Raise Beforehand

Posted By Caroline Walsh on 05/13/19

Former WWE star Tye Dillinger discussed his reason for asking for his WWE release on E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness. Dillinger announced in February that he had asked for his release, and WWE agreed to terms with Dillinger a few days later. Speaking with Edge & Christian, Dillinger said that he made the decision after he had issues pitching new ideas to the company when he was injured. Highlights are below:

On talking with Triple H before deciding to leave WWE: “I had a talk with Hunter probably about seven weeks before I made my announcement to leave. And I asked him some personal questions, some questions that I needed answers to. And to his credit, he answered them, and whether or not they were answers I wanted to hear or not, I heard them. And like you said, sometimes it just doesn’t happen the way you hope it would happen, or the way it may seem it might happen. So it’s just one of those things in this industry that’s ever-changing, that’s always evolving, that has so much talent, and only a limited time on television and space. Sometimes even good things can fall through the cracks, and that’s just something you have to be aware of when you sign up for this.”

On whether he made the decision right after that: “No, so what happened … I got injured. The decision had been in my mind, it was probably a six-month process. I got injured in October, and I believe I got injured on a Monday night, but the next day on TV I was going to ask for a couple of weeks off. Just to kinda clear my head, clear my thoughts, step back for a second and figure out what I really, truly wanted to do. Well, that night at a live event I ended up smashing my thumb to the point where I had to have pins put in my hands. So that gave me three months to think about everything I wanted to do. [laughs] So be careful what you wish for, kiddies. But I was granted the extra time to really sit back. And I go, ‘Okay, this is the moment to, not just make impulse decisions, I can take a lot of time to think about what I want.'”

On coming up with different ideas during his time off: “So, I changed my look, I changed my gear, I pitched half a dozen ideas. And Adam, you and I have had conversations at television as well. And one of your biggest things was, ‘You got to get in there and you got to talk to the boss,” and I did that. I might have put my foot in my mouth while doing so. But at the same time, I feel like I said what I needed to say and I still stand by what I said to this day. But I checked the boxes while I was out, my own personal boxes. And that was the stepping stone along the way to make sure that I was going to make the right call. And I did feel that, when I came back, things were going to be different. They were not.

On what pushed him to ask for his release: “I had a conversation, I was told to wait, just give it a few weeks for things to simmer a little bit. Seven weeks passed … it put me in a bad place because it was making – my performance was suffering. I wasn’t excited anymore. I would be behind a curtain instead of being anxious and excited and nervous, that feeling you get when your legs are really heavy and your heart is pounding, and you’re like, ‘Oh man, oh man, oh man.’ It wasn’t like that anymore, I was dreading it. I was back there going, ‘Oh man please, just respond, make noise, please cheer, please -‘ Like, I was – I was praying, essentially, that they would acknowledge that I still existed. I Just felt like they didn’t at the time, I was spiraling. And you know, when the performance is suffering and you’re not giving it your all, they see it, they feel it, and that’s not fair to them. So I couldn’t place myself in that position anymore. I would take it home with me. I would just, instead of enjoying the two days I had off, I was dreading the third day when I had to leave already, the second I get home. It was time to go. I was probably late in leaving actually.”

On when he decided to leave: “It was the day of my birthday, February 19th. Probably about a month before I had made the decision that I was going to go into television that day, and do it on that day. But that bounced back and forth leading up. And it was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I didn’t really ask too many people’s opinions about it. I didn’t want to be influenced, I didn’t want to be tilted either way. I wanted this to be all on me. My family had no idea, my mother had no idea, my wife knew. She knew what I was going to do. She just didn’t know that I was going to do it for sure on that day as well.”

On being offered a raise: “But I went in, and as you guys know, right now is a very good time for wrestling overall. The tide raises all ships. This was at a time where I walked into talent relations at the time and said that I needed to go. They said, ‘Well, we’re about to offer you a pretty substantial raise.’ And I just kind of put my hands up. Now, I am by no means a millionaire, I’m not even close. I have been very lucky. I have everything I could possibly need, and I wouldn’t have that without WWE. But, for me personally, it wasn’t about the money. So I didn’t even let him get the offer out of his mouth. Later I found out what it was, you know, a couple of weeks later. But I said, it wouldn’t change anything tomorrow morning when I wake up. I’ll still feel this same way I do right now and that I have for the last six months. They said ‘Okay, we’re gonna run it up the ladder.’ And I gave them the whole day to do so. I messaged Hunter, and just said, ‘Please reach out to talent relations when you can.’ And to Hunter’s credit, every time I reached out to him, every time I’ve asked if he has a minute to talk, he has always given me the time of day. Every time. He’s always responded to every call, every text, and any moment I pull him aside at TV. He has been more than gracious with his time. I knew he did reach out, but I didn’t hear anything by the end of the day. And, one thing that kept going through my mind – I couldn’t let them fire me twice, so that’s why I put out that statement. I believe it was midnight later that evening.”