When Bron Breakker made his NXT 2.0 debut last year, it all looked so familiar. From his face to his ring gear to how he talked. Everyone knew that Breakker came from the legendary Steiner wrestling family.
The son of Rick Steiner and nephew of Scott “Big Poppa Pump” Steiner has taken the new iteration of NXT by storm and appears primed to carry the company on his broad shoulders in 2022. It appeared that way in late 2021, but he fell short in his NXT Championship opportunity against Tommaso Ciampa at Halloween Havoc. But, after an exceptional showing at WarGames that led Team 2.0 to victory, Breakker will get another opportunity to prove that he’s the future of the promotion when he faces Ciampa at New Year’s Evil.
Ahead of his rematch, Breakker spoke with Sporting News about his sudden ascent, whether we’ll see his uncle and father by his side in a wrestling ring and what it was like making his television debut as a zombie.
SN: What were you doing at this time last year?
Bron Breakker: I had just tried out for WWE, and I want to say right around this time is when I got the phone call that I was one of the guys. One of those people that were selected and that they were going to sign. I was preparing and just getting ready to go.
SN: When you look at the past year, this had to have moved a lot faster than you expected, right?
BB: You can never predict what’s going to happen here. It’s a crazy time, and it’s a great time to be part of NXT. It’s been unbelievable.
SN: In mid-2020 you were released by the Baltimore Ravens. Would you say that it was a blessing in disguise, considering how things have turned out?
BB: I think so. I mean, this is WWE; it’s always where I wanted to be. More so than I even wanted to play in the NFL and continue playing football. I mean, I always wanted to be in WWE my entire life. So, in the back of my mind, I knew this is what I wanted to do. This is where I wanted to be. It was just a matter of time before it was going to happen.
SN: Was the transition from playing football to pro wrestling tough, or did you find it natural considering your family lineage and athletic background?
BB: Wrestling is hard and it’s tough. Some things came natural to me, though. There’s a lot of movements in the sport that both can transition over, like footwork, speed, and explosiveness. There’s a lot of similarities there that transition over to pro wrestling. I’ve definitely hit some bumps along the way; I had to earn my stripes, man. I had to hit the ropes and just get to work.
SN: How much fun are you having right now?
BB: It’s the greatest time of my life! This is a dream come true.
SN: Is it real to you yet, or are you still living a dream?
BB: I’m becoming more and more comfortable as a sports entertainer. I think I’m kind of getting in the groove and kind of figuring it out. I’m just kind of getting a grasp on things. Every time I step out there, I want to be more comfortable. I want to show that I belong. It’s been so much fun, it’s been surreal. It’s such an honor to work for WWE and be a part of NXT and all the great things that we have going on. You know, it’s unbelievable.
SN: Can you take me back to the day you found out NXT was becoming NXT 2.0 and that you would have a major role in the next era?
BB: I just showed up to work every day and wanted to be a good soldier. I treated it like football and other sports that I was in prior to wrestling. When you show up to the building, you have to be coachable and do what you’re told. You have to be a good person and be a good representation of your team. So that’s just all I was doing when I got the call. All I’m doing now is wanting to be a great ambassador and representative of WWE.
SN: You were thrown into the fire pretty quick and have already worked with Tommaso Ciampa, as well as competed in War Games, which ended up being Johnny Gargano’s final NXT match. Was it intimidating at all, or did you find yourself fitting right in?
BB: I can’t say enough good things about Ciampa, Gargano, LA Knight, Pete Dunne, and everybody in our locker room. Everybody is a great performer and professional. They are great representations of the company, and it’s been a privilege for me to go to battle with those guys. It’s been super fun, but also a heck of a learning experience for me.
SN: Your trajectory has been strapped to the back of a rocket, and you could say it has been in a similar vein as someone like Brock Lesnar, who was a natural athlete that made a smooth transition to pro wrestling.
BB: I just take it one day at a time, to be honest with you. Brock is the man. He’s been the man for a long time. He’s done tons of great things in the WWE and obviously went to the UFC to become the champion. If people say that I’m on the same directory as him then that’s pretty cool. He’s awesome. But I take it a day at a time and focus on the task at hand. I’m just trying to get better each and every day.
SN: Your first real taste of TV was as a zombie with Miz and Damian Priest match at WrestleMania Backlash in May. Did you have any inkling that you would eventually be a regular on television?
BB: It was a fun experience. That was like my first taste of getting to go down to the main roster and seeing how they do things over there. I got to meet some of the guys. It’s something I look back on, and I had fun with a lot of the younger guys that I came in with.
SN: When the change to 2.0 happened, did you know you would be placed immediately in a feud with Ciampa?
BB: I didn’t know anything. I had no idea what the plans for me were or anything like that.
SN: What should we expect to see from you in this rematch that we didn’t see the first time around?
BB: I think we are going to see a more polished Bron Breakker this time around. I’m not going to make the same mistakes that I made before. Kudos to him because he exposed me as being inexperienced, as he said he would. I know what he’s about and how tough he is. I know that I’m up against the best in the business, and I’m up for the challenge. It’s going to be a hard-hitting battle. I’m not going to make the same mistakes I made the first time, and it’s going to be a war.
SN: What would winning the NXT Championship mean to you?
BB: It means everything. It would be the greatest moment of my life to win that title, ascend to a leadership role to represent the company, and a great honor for my career.
SN: Would you say that you are more ready now to be champion than you were the first time you faced Ciampa?
BB: Absolutely. It starts with practice; it starts with practice on the field, as we say in football. I have the greatest coaches in the world. We have the greatest group of people at the Performance Centers to help us be successful and perfect our craft. I’m just going to rely on my training.
SN: Have you talked to your father and uncle about this opportunity?
BB: I have briefly here and there. They have high expectations for me, and I’ve always had high expectations for just being Rick Steiner’s son in all sports. I’ve always had that, so it’s really nothing new. I got to just go live up to the expectations and perform.
SN: I know you said that Bron Breakker is the name you chose to establish your own legacy, but is there a possibility that we could see you, your father, and your uncle share a ring with you? Is that something you think about because this is the family legacy?
BB: I have. It would be great for both of them to be a part of my career at some point. Who knows? I have no idea. But it would be a cool moment for me because neither of them have seen me wrestle in person. They’ve watched it on TV. Maybe down the line, they can be part of something with me. I don’t know.
SN: What does 2022 have in store for you?
BB: It’s difficult to say. It’s very unpredictable. But hopefully, become NXT champion and start the year off with a bang.
SN: We saw AJ Styles come from Raw and he is now working with Grayson Waller. If you had the opportunity to work with anybody on the roster, who would it be?
BB: It’s Tommaso Ciampa. That’s who I want because I have a score to settle at New Year’s Evil, and we’re going to war. It’s going to be physical, we’re going to beat the hell out of each other, and I’m looking forward to it.