Perhaps the defining moment of Tyler Breeze’s WWE career was when he took on wrestling legend Jushin Thunder Liger at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn in 2016. In an appearance on Insight With Chris Van Vliet, Breeze talked about how much of an honor it was to wrestle Liger.
“So it was one of those things that I have that nobody gets to have,” Breeze said. “He wrestled one match in WWE, it was with me and it was so cool. I started laughing at this the other day because I saw this headline ‘Tyler Breeze puts match together with Jushin Liger.’ It sounds ridiculous, but I said exactly what we said and they go ‘oh that’s not true.’ I guess man. I was the one wrestling him, I’m not trying to pat myself on the back here. He was very cool and he was like ‘please. Whatever you would like to do.’ I had a couple of ideas and we put it together.
“The crazy part to me was when I said ‘maybe I tackle you and I go and lay on top. Then you get me with something and you go and lay on top.’ He goes ‘me lay up top?’ I said ‘yeah.’ He goes ‘oh thank you thank you.’ I go ‘what do you mean thank you?! This is awesome.’ He said ‘you’re letting me do your stuff.’ Well of course, why wouldn’t I? Thne we did something else and I said ‘maybe you grab the selfie stick?’ Again he says ‘me grab the selfie stick? Thank you thank you.’ What is happening?! This is insane, he is a legend in his own category. He is sitting here thanking me for letting him do whatever he wants to do, no ego whatsoever. He was the coolest guy and it was a pleasure. So easy.”
Breeze then delved into some of the unhappier times during his WWE run and how he coped with them. He remembered one match that felt should’ve gone to him and Fandango, and a piece of advice from a WWE veteran that helped him get over the frustration.
“There was one time where I thought we should have won something,” Breeze recalled. “I think it was a battle royal on SmackDown. The winners would get a tag team title shot, and it was when me and Fandango were really hitting with the Fashion Files. I think they put over The Hype Bros. I remember feeling that tonight should have been our night. That’s really the only time that I have thought that. In the end I think that people followed me and got behind me because I never really won that. In reality if you look at my career, I never really got that push. I was always there.
“Dolph Ziggler gave me the perfect thing when I started working with him. He says ‘look man. It’s very clear who the guy is. If it’s not you, chances are it will never be you. They won’t hand you the ball, but you will work with those guys. Even when you steal the ball from those guys, they still won’t give it to you. But you will always be used, because they know they can rely on you.’ That’s why you get this underground following which Dolph did, which I did. The people know that they want something to happen and it just won’t happen. It builds this cult following for you that translates into everything you do. I love being in that category. I think it’s really cool that people get behind you because the machine never did.”
Breeze also detailed how he was preparing to get fired from WWE the moment he signed, and how he approached each time his contract needed to be renewed. Ultimately he offered a piece of advice for talents out there struggling with the decision to stay in an unhappy environment.
“I was preparing to get fired the day I got hired,” Breeze said. “There is a lot of life to live after wrestling. I immediately started to make a plan, got ready. I remember looking at contracts. When I got my first contract, you have a 3 or 5 year developmental contract. But then I signed my main roster contract. I went ‘okay I’ve got 3 years. Realistically in a perfect world I will last 3 years. I don’t want to have to sign it. I would like to, but if I don’t want to I want the freedom to say no.’ By the time 3 years came up I went ‘I don’t have to, but it’s good, things are going okay.’ So I just signed it and went ‘okay cool.’
“By the time the next one came around, very different scenario. It was a ‘you don’t need me, I’m going to leave.’ kind of thing. At that moment in time, I was not happy. All they said was ‘I’m sorry, we can give you more money.’ I said ‘I’ve been really smart with my money. I don’t need more money. I go to the airport and turn around because I’m not happy at work.’ That was when I had the conversation to go back to NXT. But I was ready to leave right then. I had accomplished everything I had wanted to achieve of having that goal of the freedom to not sign that contract. When you sign that contract you know what you sign up for. If you are not happy then please don’t sign.”
You can watch the full interview below.