Shawn Spears

Shawn Spears Turns Everything Into Chicken Salad, Wants Fans Invested In Characters

Shawn Spears is proud of his track record in the professional wrestling business and wants to make the most of what time he has left in the ring.

WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard spoke with Shawn Spears, who recently made his return to All Elite Wrestling. Spears became a first-time father and took an extended absence in 2022, save for a lone appearance in his hometown of Toronto in October.

Now, Spears returns as a fan favorite and has re-embraced his “Perfect10n” side. Prior to his television return, Spears made a cameo appearance at FTR with Dax Live in Los Angeles. There, he spoke about being inspired by character work. Expanding on that, Spears believes the character is what hooks people and he’s done a great job of making his work resonate.

“I’m a very big character-driven person. If you watched the FTR with Dax thing, I noted Mr. Perfect and guys like Rick Rude, Rick Martel. I grew up on characters. I believe in people getting invested in characters. I think nowadays, it’s a lost concept to a degree. There’s still a lot of characters in wrestling, but there seems to be more emphasis on the moves. Much like I equated to an actor with a script — Denzel Washington, in my opinion, one of the greatest actors of all time — how words on paper, to him, are his tools,” Spears said. “Wrestling moves to us are just tools. It’s the character that people get invested in, not necessarily the words on the page or the moves in the ring. So I will always be driven towards a character-driven-type person.”

Spears explained that his work as ‘The Chairman’ and with The Pinnacle, among other runs, are all layers to who Shawn Spears is.

“Whether it’s ‘The Chairman’ or the ‘10’ stuff, I like to be able to be as wide-ranged as possible. I remember Dusty [Rhodes] telling me back in the FCW days, ‘Many times in this business, you’re going to be handed chickenshit. It’s just a matter of whether or not you can turn it into chicken salad. That’s what makes a pro.’ And I like to think that anything I’ve been handed, whether it’s for me specifically or to highlight everyone else around me,” he noted, “I have turned everything that I’ve been given into chicken salad every single time.

“So whether or not I’m going to be highlighted coming back, I don’t think that’s going to be a thing. I think my role is pretty set in AEW. For lack of a better — I don’t care anymore. I wanna go out and have banger matches. I wanna wrestle Jay Whites, I wanna wrestle FTR, I wanna wrestle Wardlow, I wanna wrestle Max and all these guys because I’m winding down. My time is coming to an end,” Spears explained. “I want to have banger matches before I’m done, get it out of my system and ride off into the sunset.”

Shawn Spears was asked if his priorities have shifted since becoming a parent. Spears said that his priority has always been his family, and his son is just part of that now. However, Spears said his outlook definitely has changed, but his drive and passion have not.

“I’m a pretty goal-oriented person, but I’m also level-headed and logical. I control what I can control. You’ve heard that a million times. You can only control so much in pro wrestling. The rest, if left up to the higher-ups, blah, blah, blah. And, that is true. The problem that I feel talent runs into is when they try to change that or they consistently fight back against something that, in the end, could very well be a losing battle. For that individual, that can cause a lot of mental anguish, it can cause a lot of stress, and you can really lose your enjoyment of what all this is,” he said.

Shawn Spears pointed out that pro wrestling is a fun business, but it’s still a business and he’s going to be a little more selfish when he can help it. Spears teased some ideas that might end up on television in the near future and said he’s going to make the most of his time in the business.

“If you’re not prepared for or you want to constantly fight against, it’s gonna kind of make things unenjoyable for you as an individual. So coming back, I am going to be a little more selfish in regards to what I can control. A few things you will see on TV, whether it be Dynamite, Rampage, going forward have come from me. Whether win, lose, or draw, it was probably my idea,” he explained. “Because believe it or not, or whatever anyone else wants to think, I’ve been doing this for 21 years and I’ve getting paid at a very high level for over 14, so I know what I’m doing.

“I’m not afraid to put that foot forward anymore. I’m not afraid to put my voice out there, and I’m not afraid to send a bunch of text messages. Whether they’re answered or not is a different story, but I don’t care,” Spears stated. “I just want to enjoy the remaining time that I have and control what I can control.”

Shawn Spears also talks about wanting to be part of AEW’s upcoming tour of Canada, fooling people with his “new hair” on social media, Rick Martel’s Model character and more. Watch our full interview with Shawn Spears below: