Fighting

WWE NXT debuts in Miami, West Palm Beach with captivating, innovative Tyler Breeze

The elaborate ring attire and iPhone are part of Tyler Breeze’s model-esque entrance during WWE NXT shows. NXT will be in Fort Pierce, Miami and West Palm Beach in July, and tickets are on sale.
The elaborate ring attire and iPhone are part of Tyler Breeze’s model-esque entrance during WWE NXT shows. NXT will be in Fort Pierce, Miami and West Palm Beach in July, and tickets are on sale. Courtesy WWE

Ne LeBron. No worries.

Tyler Breeze is bringing his talents to South Beach as WWE’s white hot brand NXT debuts in Miami on Friday, July 24 at the Fieldhouse at the BankUnited Center at the University of Miami, 1245 Dauer Dr.

Breeze noted: “South Beach is a gathering of many beautiful people; so it just makes sense to add one more gorgeous person to it.”

Furs, an array of colors, an iPhone and a model-esque image, Breeze fits nicely with the Ocean Drive crowd.

He confirmed: “Tyler Breeze is the most super, good-looking piece of gorgeousness that you’re ever going to meet.”

Apropos for the South Beach manifesto.

“Tyler Breeze is actually a mix of a few of things,” he said. “It started out as an idea from what I’d seen from a couple of people who came for tryouts from different walks of life -- acting, modeling -- who didn’t really know what wrestling was or what it was all about.

“I used to help [WWE NXT Coach] Norman Smiley, and we would train them for about a week. We would teach them the basics, see who was getting used to it, who was taken to it. As we were in there, it wasn’t their fault, but they would say things that were kind of funny.

“I thought that would be a funny character, somebody from the outside looking in saying, ‘Wrestling looks easy. I can do it.’ I figured let’s go off that and see what happens. [Tyler Breeze] formed from that and bits and piece from other things. Obviously some ‘Zoolander’ mixed in there; some Ben Stiller from ‘Dodgeball’ mixed in there as well; and it turned into what it is.”

What it is...is a persona capturing the attention of NXT audiences.

Hansel (Owen Wilson) from the movie “Zoolander”

White Goodman (Ben Stiller) from the movie “Dodgeball”

NXT’s Tyler Breeze said Tyler Breeze is more White Goodman than Hansel.

“Just the way that he interviewed, the way he goes into conversations. It’s almost like every question you ask him is the worst question he’s ever heard, and he’s not impressed by it and has some sort of comment to put you down and [Breeze chuckles] also has a quick temper that will just fire off at any moment.”

To become a successful sports entertainer -- the WWE way -- a superstar must communicate well not only verbally but aesthetically, different from the rest, draw a reaction.

“I like to switch it up [the wardrobe] every time that you see me,” he said. “If you see me once, you’ll see me in something. You’ll see me in colors; you’ll see me in furs; you’ll see in something that as soon as you see it, you’ll go, ‘Wow. I like that,’ or ‘Wow. That guy looks ridiculous. Either way, you have a certain feeling about it. Then the next time you see me, you might be expecting me to be in the same thing, buy you won’t see that. You’ll see a completely different color scheme, or you’ll see some little tweak.

“Now, some of my newer stuff has fur going down the side as well as the fur tassels that I wear. My vest is starting to be switched up a little bit. It’s always about keeping it fresh and something for people to look forward to seeing what I’m going to wear on the next [NXT] special.”

Breeze’s ring attire is custom-made.

“You couldn’t find those outfits, if you wanted to,” he said. “It’s strictly between my gear lady and me. It’s a combo, putting our collaborative minds together. If I have an idea or see something, I’ll say, ‘Is this possible? Can we do this?’ and she’s extremely good and extremely creative. It’s almost to the point now where I just say to her surprise me. She knows who Tyler Breeze is, what he’s all about. Usually whatever she surprises me with I’m always impressed by, and she hasn’t let me down. Whatever she does is awesome.”

Whether they love him and his look or hate him and his fashion statement, chuckle or shake their head in disgust, the Tyler Breeze character connects with fans.

“Right off the bat with Tyler Breeze, I was a lot more comfortable with the attitude,” he said. “I wasn’t quite comfortable with everything, because I didn’t know exactly what Tyler Breeze was at the beginning. I started doing it at live events in January 2012, and I didn’t actually debut it on NXT [TV] until July.

“During those six months, I worked the kinks out; so by the time I debuted it on NXT [TV], I was as comfortable with it as I am now. I was all set with my gear. I was all set with what I was wearing. I was all set with my entrance. I was all set with how I wrestled. I was lucky I had those six months to work the kinks out, because there were a couple of things I had to work on, but it all came together.”

Breeze’s appearance, banter and brash style stand out as does his iPhone.

“Right now I use an iPhone 5s,” he said, “and I have a different fur [iPhone] cover to match every gear that I have.”

Tyler Breeze loves his iPhone almost as much as he loves himself. It’s quite innovative how he incorporates it into his ring entrance.

“It was actually Triple H’s idea [to use the iPhone],” Breeze said. “The initial idea when I first started doing it was with a pocket mirror. I found a nicer one that you could go out and get. It was working, but when Triple H saw it, he said, ‘We’ve done that. We’re past that. There’s a lot more we can do.’ He suggested the selfie. ‘The selfie movement is really big right now, so what if you had a cell phone, taking selfies all the way to the ring and during matches.’ I immediately said, ‘Yea.’

“You can’t go wrong with technology type stuff. It’s always advancing, and especially now more than ever, there’s so much stuff you can do. Everyone is glued to their phone. It’s 2015. Everyone always has their phone on them. They’re constantly checking stuff, checking Twitter, checking Instagram. Everybody wants to know what’s going on. There’s nothing wrong that can come from doing this.

“So I had the phone, tried that out, and it went from there. We figured out how to stream it up onto our big screen that we have for the entrance, and at the last [NXT] TakeOver [special] we did the Periscope app where everybody was watching as I was making my entrance. Any new app that comes out, any new technology that comes out, I can be the first one to tap into.”

It’s innovative.

“Especially in WWE, there’s a lof of stuff that has already been done,” Breeze said. “Wrestling has been around for so long, stuff gets repeated, but I’m actually in that small category where I’m doing stuff that has never been done before. Nobody’s ever come out with a cell phone, taking pictures and streaming it and able to stream it on Persiscope where there’s thousands of people watching you as you’re on there. That’s never been done before, and I’m looking forward to the next thing I can do that’s never beend done before. It’s really cool. The limits on this are endless.”

The name Tyler Breeze evolved from a conversation with [WWE superstar] Xavier Woods.

“We were talking about characters, getting something going,” Breeze said. “I had to come up with something people were going to like or going to hate. It had to be something people were going to sink their teeth into.”

People did, and Tyler Breeze saved his WWE NXT career.

He received a second chance from a company where a first chance is difficult to land.

The fresh start came with an ultimatum by his bosses to swim or its sink, do or die.

When in those terms and the timing of it, the pressure can be overwhelming.

With WWE developmental changing from FCW in Tampa to NXT in Orlando, he accepted the challenge -- cool, calm, collected -- and birthed NXT superstar Tyler Breeze.

“[Woods] said come up with 10 characters, and what we’ll do is film some [movie] trailer type videos for them to get a teaser of what each character is,” Breeze recalled. “So I made up 10 characters, and I tried to have them all different with different names and a paragraph about what they were about. It ranged from a crickedy French painter to a Chris Nowinski type -- Harvard graduate -- a snowboarder, and the name Tyler Breeze just happened to be the male model.”

Mike Dalton debuted on local Central Florida television for FCW in 2011. He joined WWE developmental in 2010 in its then home, Tampa.

“Mike Dalton was extremely different from Tyler Breeze,” he said, “on completely different ends of the spectrum. Mike Dalton was very much nameless and faceless, no real identity to him. Being a fan, you could sit there and watch a Mike Dalton match, and you might enjoy the athletic moves, but there really was no substance to it. Put a microphone in front of my face, and there was nothing to it. There was no depth at all.”

Breeze is a narcissistic model obsessed with selfies as his struts to the ring... as he wrestles... and afterward.

He continued: “Tyler Breeze is very in-depth. He is very comfortable on the microphone with so much more personality that people either love or hate, but one way or another it moves the needle and makes you choose whether you like him or not.”

According to the barometer, Breeze type conditions will be in effect when NXT debuts in Miami and West Palm Beach.

NXT arrives at the Fieldhouse at the BankUnited Center at the University of Miami, 1245 Dauer Dr. on Friday, July 24 in Coral Gables.

NXT continues its South Florida swing on Saturday, July 25 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd. in West Palm Beach.

“There’s not a specific regimen that I do [before going to the ring],” he said, “but most of the times what I like to do is find someone who really annoys me and talk to them for a little bit. Throughout the conversation, which usually lasts under five minutes, I get agitated. Then I say, ‘Thank you,’ and I walk away, and Tyler Breeze is ready to walk out the curtain.”

Born in British Columbia, Canada, Breeze debuted in 2007 for Power Zone Wrestling in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

Breeze, 27, signed with WWE in 2010. He joined FCW, WWE’s developmental group based in Tampa. As Mike Dalton, he won the FCW title, beating Leo Kruger (Adam Rose). Dalton also teamed with Leakee (Roman Reigns) to win FCW tag team gold.

“Mike Dalton just wasn’t catching on,” he said. “There were a couple of times along the way that I got lucky, and there was a glimmer of hope, but in the end, Mike Dalton was not going to sell tickets. Mike Dalton is not someone who’s marketable. It was very obvious it needed to change, after a couple of years of doing it.”

“If Tyler Breeze didn’t come around...Mike Dalton definitely wasn’t sticking around, and I’m thankful Tyler Breeze happened and became a success.”

Change is good. Mike Dalton became Tyler Breeze as FCW in Tampa ended and NXT in Orlando emerged.

“FCW was a much smaller production. We had FCW TV, but it definitely wasn’t even close to what NXT is now. There was no WWE Network back then. It was just broadcast locally [Brighthouse Network across Central Florida]. Nobody really knew about it. I don’t know if it was advertised, but we didn’t have people coming out to watch it.

“The people on there, I started out with a lot of the guys you now see on WWE TV like Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Everybody was on those FCW shows. The show itself was good, but the production value wasn’t anything close to NXT. There was no [WWE] Network for it to be on, so as good as it was, nobody was watching it. People had no clue that it even existed or was happening.

“On the other hand, NXT is on the [WWE] Network. Everybody in the U.S. knows about it as well as the entire world. Everybody has access to it now and can watch anything from NXT that they want. With such a big production and such a bigger distribution, NXT is head and shoulders above FCW.”

ESPN E:60 special “Behind the Curtain” in May covered NXT talent, featuring Breeze, his gimmick, the process of inventing a character.

“That was a huge opportunity for all of us,” Breeze said. “I remember being called into the room for the conference call, saying ESPN was going to do a thing on us, and we all looked at each other. It had an important feel to it. It felt like something that could make your career, a launching pad. The fact that there were only a couple of us that got to do it; it was a huge opportunity.

“When stuff like that comes along, you really take advantage of it. They gave us our own cameras that we were filming on our own. I happened to live with Xavier Woods at the time; so we were filming everything. We were filming our drives to shows, hanging out at home. There was so much footage that they couldn’t even pile into that E:60 feature. They must have hours and hours of stuff, even just of us, and we all had cameras.”

When so much footage exists, the task is condensing it into one shorter package for airing and making it work. Sometimes less is more.

“The way they produced and edited it, it really turned out to be something special,” Breeze said, “and the fact that I got to be a part of that, it was just an honor to be considered for it. I was really happy with how it turned out, and I know everybody else was, too.”

WWE superstar Adam Rose and Woods text Breeze the trailer for the ESPN special. Surprise. Surprise.

“They said, ‘You get to check this out,’” Breeze recalled. “It was really cool how [ESPN] did it, and it made us even more excited for when it was coming out.

“I immediately sent it to my mom and dad, my sister, a couple of friends. Everybody said, ‘That was so cool.’ It’s not everyday you see somebody you know on ESPN.”

Breeze continued: “For myself, being with WWE, where I’ve always wanted to be my entire life, and ESPN did something on it, and I’ve been here a couple of years, and I have an action figure coming out. There’s all this stuff happening, and it’s almost overwhelming, but it’s something that puts a smile on your face. My family is super supportive. My girlfriend is really supportive about it. Everybody around me is supportive, and they love everything that is happening for me and WWE as well.”

That includes the Storm Wrestling Academy, where Breeze began honing his craft in 2007. Nestled in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the Storm Wrestling Academy is run by former ECW, WCW, WWE wrestler Lance Storm.

www.StormWrestlingAcademy.com

Twitter @LanceStorm

“Without Lance Storm, there wouldn’t be Tyler Breeze,” he said. “There wouldn’t have been Mike Dalton. There wouldn’t be anything, because he is where I started and he is how everything kicked-off for me. Without him, without his help, without his training, I wouldn’t be where I am today. That’s for sure.”

A proud Storm responded via email: “He was a real young kid when he came to me for training, but right out of the gate he was one of the hardest working guys and had great athletic ability. I knew he had an aptitude for the job pretty quick. He was definitely a standout in the class.”

Storm added: “He picked up the job very quickly, and when he graduated and started wrestling locally, he was again a standout. He quickly became one of the best performers on the local scene.”

What does Storm think of the Tyler Breeze character?

Storm said: “I don’t even like the term ‘character.’ He’s just found himself as a performer and embraced it. That’s what you have to do in my opinion. It’s not about finding a character and playing it; it’s discovering this other side of you and embracing it. He’s found himself, and he’s doing great.”

A model student, Breeze learned well and continues to progress with charisma, selfies, talk and moves. Of those in-ring moves, he either delivers a jumping spinning heel kick or a superkick to end matches, but those are Mike Dalton type wordings. When you translate them into Breeze verbiage, they become the Beauty Shot and the Supermodel Kick. Nice.

Breeze collaborated with someone quite important on the communication side of his finishers.

“I had like five or six options, and I was mulling them over, but nothing really felt like it was it, and I didn’t want to force it,” Breeze said. “I repeated them a couple of times. ‘Beauty Shot, Beauty Shot.’ That sounds all right. I think that one will work. That was just one. I had all these ideas, but everything felt forced on trying to name it. I was working with [NXT commentator] Tom Phillips. He said, ‘What do you want me to call this and this and this?’ He was tossing out some ideas, too. I don’t know if that rolls off the tongue. I don’t know if that fits. Finally, I said, ‘A superkick. What about a Supermodel Kick?’ He said, ‘I love it. I love it . I’ll say it tonight.’ He’s good because he always comes to me and asks, ‘Hey, you got anything new that your going to do or you have a name for anything that you want me to call.’

“If it catches on, it catches on, and luckily those two have caught on, so far, and I’m working on some more.”

How ‘bout the En-Vogue-iri?

Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine ranked Tyler Breeze No.95 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2014.

Entrance theme

“#MMMGORGEOUS” by CFO$ featuring Tyler Breeze.

Twitter @MmmGorgeous

NXT Week in South Florida

WWE’s NXT will make its debut in Miami and West Palm Beach in July, after visiting Fort Pierce.

NXT has become a Florida institution from the opening of the WWE Performance Center in Orlando to the action-packed WWE Network shows and live specials filmed at Full Sail University in Winter Park, to the exciting live events throughout north and central Florida.

Now, South Florida will get its chance to see the next generation of WWE up-close and personal.

Appearing are new NXT champ Finn Balor, NXT women’s champ Sasha Banks, NXT tag champs Blake & Murphy with Alexa Bliss, Tyler Breeze, Samoa Joe, Becky Lynch, The Vaudevillians (Simon Gotch & Aiden English), Bull Dempsey, Enzo Amore & Big Cass with Carmella, Baron Corbin, Dana Brooke, Uhaa Nation, Tye Dillinger, Bayley, Solomon Crow, Charlotte and more.

Breeze said: “If you’re an NXT fan, if you’re someone who subscribes to the [WWE] Network and watches NXT every week, I know you expect Tyler Breeze to be on the show, and you’re a little disappointed if he’s not on the show. So the fact that we’re branching into somewhere we haven’t gone before, Miami and West Palm Peach, I don’t think it would be an NXT show without Tyler Breeze. Don’t you agree?”

Of course.

If NXT draws well in Miami and West Palm Beach, it will look to return, so get your tickets and your popcorn.

Full WWE NXT coverage

Watch NXT on WWE Network

NXT in Miami

WWE’s NXT makes its Miami debut on Friday, July 24 in the Fieldhouse at the BankUnited Center at the University of Miami, 1245 Dauer Dr., Coral Gables, 33146. Call 305-284-8686.

NXT in West Palm Beach

WWE’s NXT arrives in West Palm Beach on Saturday, July 25 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, 650 Okeechobee Blvd., 33401. Call 561-366-3000.

Both live events begin at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets

Tickets for the Miami and West Palm Beach shows are on sale.

Ticket prices start at $20.

Go to NXTTickets.com or

Click here to visit NXTTickets.com

NXT in South Florida

starts in Fort Pierce

Drawing well on past shows there, WWE’s NXT returns to the Havert L. Fenn Center at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 23 at 2000 Virginia Ave., Fort Pierce, 34982. Call 772-462-1521.

NXTFtPierceTickets

http://www.stlucieco.gov/parks/fenn_center_events.htm

NXT on WWE Network

Catch NXT on WWE Network 8 p.m. ET Wednesdays and on-demand.

NXT on tour

Visit NXTTouring

NXT on NXT

Visit http://www.wwe.com/shows/wwenxt for everything NXT and tour dates.

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