Tyler Breeze is refocused, ready to EVOLVE and done playing nice
It’s been said time and time again: Tyler Breeze is in the midst of an exciting new chapter in his career. But don’t call it a comeback. As showcased in his outstanding NXT North American Championship battle against Velveteen Dream at NXT TakeOver: XXV, Prince Pretty hasn’t missed a beat. This reinvention should come as an excitement for sports-entertainment fans this weekend at EVOLVE 129 and 130, where the NXT OG is set to make his EVOLVE Wrestling debut. As he prepares to take on former EVOLVE Champion AR Fox and the up-and-coming Anthony Greene, Breeze talks to WWE.com about this new chapter of his career, reinventing the wheel, and why, this time around, he’s “done playing nice.”
WWE.COM: With the buzz surrounding your NXT return, it feels like we’re in the middle of what may as well be dubbed the “Summer of Breeze.” How excited are you for this current chapter, and what’s been the motivation behind it?
TYLER BREEZE: I really think the inspiration, if you read online and see what everybody talks about, is that a lot of people watch our product and say that a lot of people on the roster are complacent.
I was in the tag team with Fandango, and we were everywhere. “Fashion Files” was hot, everything was running really good. Then, as soon as he got injured, we stalled out a little bit. I was on my own, trying to find my footing and wasn’t really used much. That almost turned into some sort of backlash, with critics claiming I’m complacent. I did that for about a year, just seeing what was happening. Then this opportunity popped up where it was like, “Hey, you know what, let’s revisit NXT.” NXT has always been good to me, and I’ve always had a home there.
I go back there, and it reignited a spark that was almost going out a little bit. My whole motivation and inspiration was to change that perspective of me. This guy isn’t complacent. He has something to offer. I’m not by any means on the backend of my career; I’m still very much able to go, as you could see in those NXT TV and TakeOver matches.
I know exactly what I could do and what I’m capable of. If you put me in front of an audience, you’re going to see a different side.
WWE.COM: That “different side” came alive threefold at TakeOver: XXV in your match with Velveteen Dream.
BREEZE: I know I was getting hit up a lot online, and I’m sure he was, as well. To me, that was the match that people were looking forward to the most, and it was almost like it moved into the category of a dream match for a lot of people. So, when I went in there, it was one of those things where people couldn’t believe it was finally happening. To actually give that moment to the NXT Universe was really cool, and the whole arena made it known that they liked what they were seeing.
WWE.COM: Speaking of which, this weekend you are set to make you EVOLVE debut. What are your thoughts going into the events?
It’s not a matter of if I could fit in or keep up.
It’s just basically showing that I’m done playing nice
- Tyler Breeze
BREEZE: It’s an interesting time right now, not just for sports-entertainment, but wrestling as well. When I was in NXT before, something like this wasn’t even possible. Now, we have these new opportunities. Something like EVOLVE is now an option. I can go and participate like I’m doing this weekend. They have their own roster of talented people, and now you’re getting two different matchups. Since we made the announcement, I’ve been hit up a lot on social media about AR Fox and Anthony Green, with people saying, “This is going to be awesome!”
Not only will fans get to see matches they may never see again, but also, they get meet-and-greets, which are few and far between. I’m doing meet-and-greets for both nights, so it’ll be really cool to meet a new fanbase, a new roster to wrestle, and just the fact that I can go into somewhere like EVOLVE and get my feet wet there. I wrestled for WWE, NXT and now I get to for EVOLVE. I’m looking forward to the opportunity, it’s going to be really fun.
WWE.COM: How do you prepare for battles like these, where you’re facing two competitors who you haven’t taken on before?
BREEZE: I don’t really go opponent to opponent, I usually just focus on myself. Those guys are already talented, so I focus less on them and more on myself and getting into the best shape possible — which is great, because I just started my own wrestling school, Flatbacks. I’m also just honing my craft, refocusing and just getting ready for the weekend.
WWE.COM: Now some people aren’t fond of being called “OG,” but you seem to proudly embrace the “NXT OG!” chants that are often hollered by the NXT Universe. What does that title mean to you?
BREEZE: I love it and wear it as a badge of honor because there’s not a lot of people that can say that they’ve done what I’ve done. I came in around 2010, and NXT wasn’t even alive yet. So, I was in FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling). I was also part of when it turned to NXT. I was a part of the first tapings at Full Sail Live. I was involved in the first four to five years that it was a thing, so there’s a core group of us that really are the OGs. We were the ones working every single show, either the Full Sail tapings or on WWE Network. It was the same core group of people every time. I do consider myself, and other people as well, as the original pillar for what NXT is today and why that standard is there. The chants from the NXT Universe is one of those genuine things from a group of people who are just saying, “Hey, we appreciate everything you’ve done and look forward to everything you do.” That makes me motivated to work harder.
WWE.COM: What should fans expect at EVOLVE this weekend?
BREEZE: If you’re coming to see Tyler Breeze, you’re going to get your money’s worth and more. I’m definitely going to make sure people leave that show saying, “Man, I can’t wait to see that again.” It’ll be a fun time. You guys won’t regret it.