A changing of the guard will be broadcast live Tuesday night on USA Network.
Bronson Rechsteiner, the 24-year-old wrestling phenom, has an opportunity to become the face of the NXT 2.0 reboot when he challenges Tommaso Ciampa for the title at New Year’s Evil.
The son of Rick Steiner and nephew of Scott Steiner, Rechsteiner is an heir to wrestling royalty. The Steiner Brothers are bona fide legends, redefining tag team wrestling and leaving a lasting imprint on the industry. While the easy choice for Rechsteiner would have been adopting the Steiner name, allowing him to connect instantly with fans through his family’s brilliance, he opted to run a different route.
“I am honored to be part of this family,” Rechsteiner says. “That will always be part of me. But just like my father and my uncle did, I’m here to stand on my own. I am here to make my own name.”
Wearing his famed Steiner singlet, Rechsteiner will look to add some authenticity to an evolving NXT product through his physical approach. Competition and contact have always been a sixth sense for Rechsteiner. A former college football player at Kennesaw State, his time as a fullback led to the creation of his name in NXT—Bron Breakker.
“I loved that contact in football,” Rechsteiner says. “When I would block people, I tried to break people in half. So when I thought about what I could do in NXT, I realized, that’s me. I want to make this as real as possible, so I became Bron Breakker.”
The youngest of three, Rechsteiner constantly competed with older brothers Hudson and Maverick. The Rechsteiner boys had a “wrestling room” in their Woodstock, Ga., home, where they could escape the watchful eye of their mother and father. When asked whether he took his fair share of Frankensteiners on that matted basement floor, Rechsteiner laughs.
“It was a physical household,” he says. “That basement was our wrestling room, and we’d fight it out down there. It’s nothing but great memories. My brothers watch [NXT] every week, and I wouldn’t be here without them.”
Rechsteiner’s rise to prominence has been quick. He made his NXT debut in September. Shockingly, by the turn of the new year, he already looks like a seasoned veteran in the ring. In an interview with Sports Illustrated in October, Shawn Michaels gushed about Rechsteiner’s respect for the craft and his willingness to learn, traits that were embedded into his soul by his parents.
“My dad was tough on us growing up, but he believed we were destined for great things,” Rechsteiner says. “My mom’s incredible, too. She was everywhere for us. Whether it was the baseball field or amateur wrestling matches or football practices, she was there, even when my dad was on the road. As a family, we had so much fun.
“And I’ve been fortunate to learn from great minds at the Performance Center. Shawn Michaels, he’s Mr. WrestleMania, man, and I’m learning from him. The whole staff at the Performance Center is everything you can possibly imagine. The amount of resources we have, it’s unbelievable. Every coach has 10, 20, sometimes 30 years of experience. It’s been unbelievable learning here.”
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The opportunity to share the ring with Ciampa is one that Rechsteiner is not taking lightly. Their program started in September, including a match in October at NXT’s Halloween Havoc that Ciampa won. They clashed again at WarGames, with Breakker exacting some revenge by winning the match. A proud product of the Triple H–led “black and gold” era of NXT, Ciampa is part of NXT’s heartbeat, and Rechsteiner holds him in extremely high regard.
“My goal since I arrived here is to be the best, and that’s what I am working toward,” Rechsteiner says. “In NXT, that’s Tommaso Ciampa. This match at New Year’s Evil is going to be a war, and I can’t wait to go out there and perform. I’ll be ready.”
Not yet even a quarter of a century old, Rechsteiner still has a great deal to learn about the industry. If he defeats Ciampa, it will be his first time as champion of a major company. But Rechsteiner believes he is ready for the opportunity.
“It’s an honor to be in this position, and I’m up for the task,” Rechsteiner says. “I know I can be a great leader, ambassador, and representative for this company.
“This is my chance. We’re going to beat the hell out of each other. It’s the biggest match of my life, and I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity.”
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Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.
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