wrestling / News

Tye Dillinger Recalls John Cena Working With Him When He Was in OVW: ‘It Meant a Lot to Me’

May 14, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Tye Dillinger

– During his appearance on E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness, Tye Dillinger discussed working a match with John Cena when he was in OVW and the latter was WWE Champion. The match happened in 2007 as part of the “Summer Sizzler Series” when Dillinger was OVW Television Champion and Cena was WWE Champion. Highlights are below:

On facing Cena when he was in OVW and Cena was in WWE: “I think that I had the most confidence in being or dancing in my career when I wrestled Cena. I wrestled Cena on a Six Flags show, which is one of their big outdoor summer shows. And what they did was, I think it was every week during the Six Flags season they had a WWE Superstar come down. So they had like Finley, Benoit came down, they had Randy [Orton] come down, and I think Cena was the last one to come down. And I really tried to wrestle Benoit. I pushed for that. It was the only time I was ever really, you know, ‘Hey, you know maybe I can wrestle, you know…?’ And they were like, ‘Eh, we have someone else in mind for him.’ So I was like, ‘S**t, I’m not gonna get anybody. Dammit.’ And then they were taping a battle royal for the right to wrestle Cena and that’s when I got pulled aside and [they] said ‘Hey, you’re gonna win this. And you’re gonna wrestle Cena.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, s**t. So that was probably the time I thought like, ‘Okay, I gotta be getting close if they’re gonna put me in with the champion.'”

On being worried Cena would get injured in the match: “Hoo, that could have gone bad. ’cause it started pouring the day of. It was a torrential downpour. There were eight matches on the card, they cut it to three. I think Lawler was there and somebody else. I can’t remember, I apologize if you’re listening and I don’t remember. And me and John were going third. I didn’t see him most of the day. There were probably two to four thousand people there that were waiting all day, just soaked. And yeah, he comes in and he’s got an army Hummer, and he’s got marines with him, and it’s just — it was a very cool thing to see, but I just remember going, ‘God, if something — you guys know if the ring gets wet, even if it’s sweat or someone spills water, it’s so dangerous. And I just remember thinking like, ‘Even if this guy rolls his own ankle, I’m done. That’s it.’ But it was challenging, but it worked out.”

On being nervous going into the match: “Oh, I was. Not because of the injury thing. I was aware of it, very cautious of it. But because he’s the guy. He’s the top guy. And I didn’t see him most of the day at all. When we finally did run into each other I think the second match had just started. And they were not gonna go twenty minutes because it was pouring. So he kinda said, ‘All right, what do you do?’ And I was like, ‘Uh…’ I think I had a title, I might have had the OVW Television Title at the time, so I’m like, ‘Hey man, maybe if I like catch you with a quick roll-up somewhere, maybe.’ Like I’m trying to be like, ‘Whatever you want to do.’ And he just looked at me a minute and I was like, ‘Oh s**t, I said the wrong thing, dammit.’ And he looked off to the side, and he rattled off a finish for it that had me. We knocked down a referee, I brought in the WWE Title, I hit him with that, he rattled off this finish which I’m sure you guys know. And it was just like, ‘Wow.’ He didn’t have to do any of that for me. And he did. You know, here’s a guy on top, making the company millions and millions of dollars. Has a big match a month later, a day later, who knew? But going out of his way to take some kid who he doesn’t know, maybe has barely heard of, and he made that a night I’ll never forget. So hats off to John Cena. You guys have worked with him tons of times, but that day meant a lot to me.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit E&C’s Pod of Awesomeness with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.