Exclusive interview: Tyler Breeze on his decision to return to NXT and what’s different this time around

Tyler Breeze

When NXT formed a partnership with Full Sail University in 2012, the move marked the beginning of a pivotal chapter in sports-entertainment. But to put the brand on the map, it took the effort and determination of the Superstars who dedicated themselves to the craft. Enter Tyler Breeze. Prince Pretty can lay claim to being one of the proverbial founding fathers of the black-and-gold brand. So much so that after several years of competing on Monday Night Raw and Smackdown LIVE, Breeze felt a calling to return to the brand where it all began. After a highly praised matchup with North American Champion Velveteen Dream at NXT TakeOver: XXV, Tyler Breeze is indeed back, and he speaks with WWE.com this week about the reasoning behind his return.

WWE.COM: What has it been like for you to return to NXT?

TYLER BREEZE: Ha! The hot question everyone is asking me. How do you think it’s been? My music hits and I’m treated like a star. The loyal NXT crowd remembers who exactly Tyler Breeze is, and in one night we created interest for a dream match people had been wanting to see. I guess to sum it up, it’s been amazing.

WWE.COM: Why did you decide to return to NXT full time after so many years away?

BREEZE: So many years? It’s been four, OK? I decided to come back because I’m appreciated here. My work is appreciated here, and the crowd appreciates me here. There comes a time in everyone’s careers when you need to re-evaluate where you’ve been, where you’re heading and decide for yourself if you’re satisfied with life or if it needs to change. I said I was “inspired,” but we all know what I mean. I’m tired of being pushed to the side for other people with half, and that’s being generous, the talent I have. It’s time for Prince Pretty to take what he wants.

Tyler Breeze

WWE.COM: How difficult of a decision was it for you to leave the WWE roster to return to NXT?

BREEZE: One of the easiest choices of my life. I was built here. I was born here. Anytime I’ve ever questioned where I’m going, I head back home to NXT to get clarity. I head back home to recharge and reassess. And every single time it’s paid off. I trust myself. I trust my skill. I trust my passion. I trust NXT. 

I trust myself. I trust my skill. I trust my passion. I trust NXT.

- Tyler Breeze

WWE.COM: How much of a life adjustment has it been?

BREEZE: Let me just say this: In one night, at NXT TakeOver: XXV, I refreshed everyone’s memory and that right there lies the problem, or at least one of them. More than anything else, people said, “Wow, I forgot Tyler Breeze was capable of that.” You know who didn’t forget? Me. Imagine trying to tell everyone what you know is true and everyone calling you a liar. Now imagine everyone suddenly believes you. How would you feel? Do you side with the fair-weather masses and smile for the short time before people “forget” again? Or do you stand on your feet like you have the entire time and continue to show what you’ve known all along. That is the only adjustment for me.  

WWE.COM: You mentioned your match at NXT TakeOver. What did it mean for you to compete at the 25th TakeOver after having competed at the first one in 2014?

BREEZE: To me, it’s very fitting. There’s only a handful of special exceptions that have passed through NXT, and I believe I’m at the top of that list. So add another first to my résumé. See you at NXT TakeOver: 50. 

WWE.COM: What is the primary difference between the NXT experience of your first time around compared to now?

BREEZE: The difference is maturity and priorities. When I was here before, I was a pillar helping to build NXT, and I was involved in every first imaginable. I built this brand into an empire ... my empire, until I was plucked from my empire and unable to reap the benefits of my hard work. This time I’m not building anything. I’m not helping anything. I’m here for myself, plain and simple. 

WWE.COM: Who are some of the NXT Superstars that you look forward to facing the most?

BREEZE: Honestly, I don’t care who is in NXT. I’ve been here before, and it’s always been the same story.  We glorify everyone else in NXT, except for Tyler Breeze. The new flavors of the month come and go, and we’re told they are the next best thing. Why ignore the staple? Put me in there with anyone you want. I don’t care, because you’re only going to be focusing on me. 

Dream vs. Breeze

WWE.COM: How would you describe your current level of competitive fire?

BREEZE: My competitive fire?! [Laughs] Do you want a scale from one to 10, or would you prefer a thumb’s up or stars approach? At TakeOver, I showed just a preview of the new Tyler Breeze. The better, smarter, more focused Tyler Breeze. And as much as I’ve changed, one thing remains the same: I’m still a dangerous Tyler Breeze. 

WWE.COM: What does your future hold?

BREEZE: Look I’m not a fortuneteller here. I don’t know what the future holds for myself or anyone. I just know I have unfinished business in NXT, and I don’t plan on going anywhere until I take care of that. Any other “hard-hitting” questions? 

WWE.COM: Yes. Do you feel …

BREEZE: [Interrupts] Didn’t think so. Prince Pretty … out!

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