It’s time for the second of my posts this week, this time looking at someone I believe could be a future star in the WWE. A couple of days ago I wrote about the so-called “Divas Revolution”, and for this column I’ve gone back to the place where the divas were first given the chance to shine: NXT. I’m writing about somebody who has never really been at the very top of the yellow brand, but has been thereabouts for a long time. I’m writing about Prince Pretty, The Gorgeous One, Tyler Breeze.
Breeze has possibly been the one constant from the male side of NXT. As Mike Dalton, he faced the old Ascension featuring Kenneth Cameron, as well as Hunico and Camacho. After rebranding as Tyler Breeze, he went on to face several superstars who have gone on to become mainstays on the main roster – the likes of Neville, Xavier Woods, Rusev, Tyson Kidd and of course Sami Zayn. When those guys started getting called up, Breeze was left without too much to do towards the end of last year. But he moved on to facing the next era of NXT faces in 2015, taking on Hideo Itami and Finn Balor. Recently, he has been saying he doesn’t have enough competition, so NXT GM William Regal booked him against Jushin “Thunder” Liger in the Japanese legend’s first WWE match last Saturday in Brooklyn.
Breeze may not have been an indy star like Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan or Dean Ambrose before coming to the WWE, but he is surprisingly experienced. He has been wrestling for eight years, and he has been signed to a WWE contract for the last five. Often you hear about independent workers needing time when they first arrive at the performance centre – if not to improve then to get used to the WWE style of working. Breeze is someone who has long since passed that transition period, and can make an immediate impact because of it. I said surprisingly experienced before because he is still just 28 years old. He still has a lot of time to develop and improve, and he can be a player for the next 10-15 years.
What is extremely encouraging considering his potential longevity is that he absolutely has his character down to a tee. As a modern take on the traditional self-centred narcissist, Breeze is a selfie taking, mirror gazing fashion mogul in his own mind. He has already evolved from using a mirror when practising the character, to using an iPhone and projecting his own face on to the big screens behind him, to including a selfie stick in his entrances. There are possibilities with this, as he could use the stick as a weapon. Or, as we saw against Liger, it’s very easy for his opponent to mock him.
Something that works in his favour is that his character is believable. Not in that you are going to see lots of people acting and dressing like him walking down your street, but in that the common viewer will easily believe that people like Breeze exist in “larger than life” worlds – I’m thinking Hollywood, the music industry or, well, the WWE Universe. And Breeze’s character is very… hateable. He just has that kind of face that you want to punch. When he’s smirking and posing taking a selfie, I think that’s very powerful, and would be uniformly booed. This is something that WWE has been lacking in, a lot of their top heels are “cool” heels that end up becoming loved and cheered when they’re in front of the right crowds. Breeze could be a different animal. He could naturally become hated.
He can be made to look like a star too. Take Finn Balor as a similar example. When Balor puts on the demon paint, with that headwear under those lights, he just oozes star quality. Breeze also tends to pull something out of the bag for Takeover events. On Saturday, models lined the ramp dressed in New York attire. Imagine what could be done at a Wrestlemania? It’s a sign that WWE believes in him that they are willing to invest in the overall presentation of Tyler Breeze, which can only be a good sign.
The only drawback I can see for Breeze is that he is very unremarkable in the ring. It’s not that he’s bad, he is a very solid wrestler. It’s just that aside from possibly his finisher – The Beauty Shot – he has an extremely orthodox moveset. One of his signature moves is the Super(model) kick. It works well for him because he can use it to further his character, but there are so many other superstars using it that it has become just another move. He doesn’t stand out in the ring through, because all he has shown is a basic arsenal. At his age, and at his stage, he still has a great chance to develop that side of it all.
But what really sets Tyler Breeze out from just about everything else is that I think he could benefit from leaving NXT and making the step up to the main roster. He has worked with the best NXT has to offer, but doesn’t seem to be breaking through to championship level. On the main roster he could stand out by being a true, even old-fashioned I suppose, heel. The act would stand out from everyone else, and there are some gaps on the heel side of things that mean Breeze could break through. He has apparently been close to a call up on several occasions before, and I think now is the right time. He can be a breath of fresh air, and make a big impact. With his potential and longevity, he can be a star for WWE for years to come.
I’ll be back before the end of the week looking at the return from Raw that everyone is talking about, the Dudley Boyz!