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Before he was ever signed to WWE, Bronson Rechsteiner (Bron Breakker) had my attention. I first heard about him in a tiny blurb in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, where Dave Meltzer mentioned that the son of Rick Steiner had run for 221 yards in a game against Missouri State in 2019 while playing football at Kennesaw State University. As the son of a famous wrestler who clearly had great athleticism, he was an intriguing prospect to one day lace up a pair of boots and wrestle.
As a fullback at a smaller college, Rechsteiner did not receive an invite from the NFL Combine when he was preparing for the NFL Draft. Instead he simply had his pro day at Kennesaw State, a chance to do drills in front of NFL scouts. Meltzer would later report his numbers and they were truly staggering; his time of 4.48 seconds in the 40 yard dash was virtually equal to the times posted by elite NFL running backs like Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliot and Christian McCaffrey.
Even more striking was his performance in the bench press, where he did 35 reps of 225 lbs, which would have been the third highest total at the combine. That includes players from all positions, an incredible feat for a 230lb running back, who outlifted nearly all of the offensive and defensive lineman, many of whom would outweigh him by 100lbs or more. On paper, Rechsteiner was as fast as the fastest NFL running backs and as strong as the strongest linemen. As a pro wrestler, he might be the best raw athlete in the industry today.
An article from the Baltimore Sun that was published after Rechsteiner was invited to training camp with the Ravens after going undrafted makes him sound like a folk hero.
“There was a time when Bronson Rechsteiner loved the weight room too much, when he quested after 700-pound squats more than 70-yard touchdowns. He’d grown up around men whose sculpted physiques stood out even in the body-obsessed world of professional wrestling. So his devotion to becoming a walking “meat stick” came honestly. Hoisting slabs of iron felt as natural to him as brushing his teeth in the morning.”
When Rechsteiner was cut by the Ravens, he made his way into pro wrestling. This was an exciting time for people who had heard about his athletic exploits in football; his transition to wrestling would be fascinating but not unexpected, his father and uncle had been big stars in the industry and Bronson himself was a Georgia state champion in amateur wrestling in high school.
Unsurprisingly, he found his way into WWE after training briefly in Georgia. He had the athletic background, look and youth that WWE was looking for and he fit the new initiative that NXT was pushing. Given that he signed earlier this year and already seems to be the most-pushed person in the new NXT, Breakker is being positioned to be the next standard bearer for WWE.
While we have only seen Breakker in limited spurts since he debuted as part of NXT 2.0, it’s clear that he is a quick study, already progressing to TV and while he is green, he doesn’t look out of place working with some of the more established names in NXT, such as LA Knight and Pete Dunne. For someone of his experience level, he is actually pretty fantastic, and you can see the agility, strength and athleticism that were evident on his pro day at Kennesaw State.
A cavalcade of wrestlers have been introduced during the first few weeks of NXT 2.0, but Breakker has clearly been the one who has been given the best chance to shine, so it’s fair to rate him as the top person in the new class of talent in NXT 2.0. This is really an incredible development; WWE has been signing ace college football players and other athletes for years, and many of them struggle to ever even make it to NXT TV despite years of training. However, in the new NXT the opportunity for less-experienced talent has emerged and Breakker appears to be the cream of the crop and with good reason, he checks all the boxes and seems to have grasped the industry fairly quickly.
Where does Breakker go from here? While he has looked strong in his brief work on NXT, that is a limited sample size. Putting someone with such little experience on TV requires a delicate balance. Wrestlers can benefit from the time in front of the camera, but they also can have their inexperience exposed and create a negative impression in the minds of fans. Breakker getting thrown into the fire quickly is ultimately a positive, but in a company where the key decision maker can sour on talent quickly, his first year or so on TV will need to be handled with kid gloves.
The biggest question surrounding Breakker at this point in his career comes from his name. The Steiner Brothers were a legendary tag team that most casual fans will recognize. Bronson Rechsteiner both looks and sounds exactly like his father and uncle. He wears the same style singlet and the announcers make subtle references to his father. But for some reason, he had his name changed (the original ring name was supposed to be Rex Steiner) and his family relationship cannot be acknowledged.
This is puzzling because WWE tends to love second-generation wrestlers. The Rock, Roman Reigns, Charlotte, Randy Orton and more are all second or third generation wrestlers whose heritage was readily acknowledged and promoted. Fans in general like seeing second generation wrestlers, because they have found memories of their parents and like to see them succeed, especially for someone like Bronson, who so closely resembles his father and uncle. These would seem to be something that would greatly help Rechsteiner in getting over with the crowd, yet it’s ignored.
The only explanation I can really think of is that Vince McMahon doesn’t value the Steiner Brothers that highly. The Steiner Brothers were a WCW tag team that spent about 18 months in the WWF before going back to WCW. Rick never wrestled again in the WWF, and Scott would go for an ill-fated run after WCW closed in the 2000s. They have yet to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame despite being likely candidates. I don’t think Vince particularly likes the Steiner Brothers and would prefer to avoid mentioning them on his television, for whatever reason.
Steiner name or not, Breakker looks like he is on the path to stardom in WWE. As far as what should be done going forward, I think the company should look at the blueprint they used for Reigns, the last person they really pushed to the moon.
Many aspects of Reigns’ career in WWE have been mishandled, but the company got the original concept right. They put him in a major stable that allowed him to gain experience without ever being too exposed. He got the majority of the glory spots in The Shield and rarely had to sell or even talk. Eventually he did get thrown into the deep end of the pool and that has provided mixed results, but the concept of having him in The Shield and protecting him was a big winner.
WWE needs to find a way to put Breakker in a similar situation. If I’m WWE, I don’t have him spend more than a year in NXT; there isn’t a lot he can learn there that he can’t learn on the main roster and he has already shown to be a fast learner. If the goal is to introduce him as a new top star, the sooner he gains some familiarity with the main roster fanbase, the better. He will need to be protected, and he might need to work in a tag team or stable to hide his weaknesses, but eventually if they really believe in him, he should be pushed to the moon and given a chance to succeed.
Becoming a true top star in wrestling is something that everyone aspires to be but incredibly few actually succeed. The wrestler needs the right combination of athleticism, in-ring ability and charisma, as well as faith from the creative leaders in order to get the correct push. Breakker clearly has the athleticism; the in-ring ability will almost certainly come in time. So far, the company is clearly behind him. Charisma is the great unknown and ultimately something you can’t teach. If Breakker does have that, I don’t see why he couldn’t become the biggest star in wrestling one day.
In the latest episode of the Gentlemen’s Wrestling Podcast, Jesse Collings (@Jesse Collings) and Jason Ounpraseuth (@JasonOun95) discuss WWE and AEW both giving away major matches on television, the business sense behind giving away those matches on cable, WWE hotshotting major matches to stay ahead of AEW and more.