Shawn Spears On Talent Needing Credibility And Freedom To Create, New Challenges In 2020 (Exclusive)

Photo Credit: James Musselwhite

Shawn Spears accomplished quite a bit in 2019 and he looks ahead to the new year for new challenges, and perhaps a new tag team partner in All Elite Wrestling.

Spears took time yesterday for an exclusive interview with WrestleZone’s Dominic DeAngelo and “The Chairman of AEW” talks about his very busy and successful 2019, but had to have a friend charge up how much he accomplished both personally and professionally.

“I was in mid-conversation with a friend just a few days and he brought up how big of a 2019 I had. I kinda brushed it off, as in like, ‘Oh, yeah it was pretty good year.’ He was like, ‘No, no!’ And he started rattling off, you know I got married, I got this house, I moved, I got a new job, I probably had a whole life worth of changes in one 2019 but they were definitely for the better. In order of terms of debuting for AEW, the timing couldn’t have worked out any better to be a part of something fresh, new, ground-breaking, especially nowadays in the world of professional wrestling where you know, where first times are very, very rare with matches and I’m glad can be able to put that on the resume.”

As for 2020, personally and professionally, Shawn and his legendary adviser Tully Blanchard have some plans in store, but there are two main goals for Spears that he wants to keep in mind.

“The goals for 2020 are to be more challenged. You know, obviously I have Tully Blanchard with me, there’s a lot of things that we talk about that has yet to come to light, that I think an audience would enjoy or be interested in, but essentially just for me personally as a performer, just being challenged, being put in situations to see whether or not I can rise to the occasion, that’s the beautiful thing now about being in the position that I’m in with AEW is that now everything now falls on my shoulders, there’s no one to blame but me if something works or doesn’t work and I love that. I thrive on that environment, that’s when I feel most alive, especially in this industry so that part I’m looking forward to the most. In terms of personally, I just hit 18 years in January at wrestling. I’ve always said that if I can make 20 years in-ring, anything beyond that is just a cherry on top, so 2020 I’m looking to challenging and healthy so hopefully if I can do two of those things, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a good year for me.”

Creativity is key to Spears and one of the most rewarding aspects about working in AEW for him is being to flex that creative muscle. Too many fans get too wrapped up with some of the “stature” spots of wrestling, when that doesn’t have to be the main focus for talent.

“Yeah, it’s just not micromanaged. Obviously we have people to have final say on whatever ideas or things that we have planned, but other than that, the talent has freedom, basically in the palm of their hands in terms of what they want to create and display for an audience and that’s a very, very, very rare and beautiful thing and that’s the thing I talk about a lot too in past interviews: not everybody needs a push, not everybody needs to be in a title picture, not everybody needs to be on top and I get that a lot, ‘Oh you’re not doing anything, you’re not wrestling very much, you’re not in any title pictures, you’re not in any angles.’ No. No, no, no, they’re missing the point. All talent needs is credibility and the freedom to create. That is all. That’s what will make the talent happy, that’s what makes me happy to this day. I maybe wrestle once or twice a week, I have all the freedom in the world, I have all the time in the world, and that is something that any kind of artist, whether you paint on canvas, whether you write in a novel, or whether you perform in sports, that’s all we can ask for is that creative freedom to hopefully show an audience something a small piece of ourselves so whether they like it or not it’s a different story, but at the end of the day, that’s all we ask for.”

A focus for this year is Spears’ search for a tag partner to coincide with, and that will continue tonight on AEW Dark.

“Yeah, we’re still looking for our partner. We’re still giving two people some looks. We gave somebody that will be shown on AEW Dark tomorrow, we gave someone last week a nice little look, but no, we’re still looking, we’re still looking. That was Tully’s bread and butter so he knows a thing or two about tag team wrestling.”

According to the AEW Dark preview tonight, Shawn will have Tully in his corner as he tags with former ECW competitor Colin Delaney against Trent and Chuck Taylor of the Best Friends.

(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)

Plenty more from this interview including Shawn talking the details about his wrestling school with Tyler Breeze, Flatbacks Wrestling Academy, married life and his love for hockey. Listen to the entire conversation below: