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Bron Breakker Carries On Steiner Legacy by Becoming the New NXT Champion

The son of Rick Steiner beat Tommaso Ciampa at New Year’s Evil to continue building on the path paved by the Steiner Brothers tag team years ago.

There is a new face of NXT.

Less than a year into his professional wrestling career, Bronson Rechsteiner carried on the Steiner family legacy. The son of Rick Steiner and nephew of Scott Steiner, Rechsteiner is known in NXT as Bron Breakker. And wearing a trademark wrestling singlet, he defeated Tommaso Ciampa on Tuesday night to win the NXT title at New Year’s Evil.

“My father and uncle paved this road for me, and I’m here to carry on the legacy they built,” says Rechsteiner, who spoke with Sports Illustrated moments after winning the title. “I’m also here to carve my own path and make my own legacy, and that started tonight.”

Taking place in front of an audience of approximately 450 people at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, the 24-year-old Rechsteiner showcased why is he is the future of the industry. And he did it all while wearing his father’s 25-year-old “Bite Me” boots, which are 12 months older than Rechsteiner.

Wrestling a style that is a blend of power and aerial brilliance, Rechsteiner shared the ring with Ciampa and delivered a hard-hitting, compelling match. It featured its share of highlights, primarily when he hit Ciampa with an Alabama slam onto the broadcast table. Ciampa also went out of his way to showcase the depth of Rechsteiner’s skill, as well as the ability to overcome obstacles–most evident when he kicked out of Ciampa’s signature Fairytale Ending finisher.

Paying tribute to his father, Rechsteiner hit a flying bulldog off the second rope late in the match, then locked in his Recliner submission hold. Ciampa tapped, which was the finish–but it was also symbolic for the future of NXT, which no longer features the same black-and-gold era stars it did just six months ago.

Bron Breakker_Courtesy WWE

“I have so much respect for Tommaso Ciampa and what he’s accomplished,” says Rechsteiner. “He’s so skilled and talented, and in my opinion, one of the best in the world. It was an honor to share the ring with him.

“For me, looking to accomplish my dream here in NXT, a big part of my success is taking pride in my consistency. From a young age, my dad instilled in me that there is a standard to abide by. That applied to school and athletics, and that still impacts my daily work ethic.”

Rechsteiner’s father Rick Steiner was present for his son’s match. The elder Steiner was one-half of the legendary Steiner Brothers tag team, creating an enduring standard of excellence in pro wrestling that will never be recreated. Yet even after a career full of accolades and accomplishments in WWE, WCW and New Japan-Pro Wrestling, Steiner shared that none of it equaled the joy of seeing his youngest son excel in the ring.

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“I hope he’s even more successful than myself and his uncle,” says Steiner. “We had such a special time traveling the road as brothers, but this tops all of that. This is his time and his chance to carry the torch.

“Watching that match was one of the best moments of my life. As his father, I couldn’t be prouder, and so is our whole family.”

Last night’s NXT show also featured an outstanding performance from Carmelo Hayes, who defeated Roderick Strong. Hayes—who is rising star Christian Brigham—is one of Rechsteiner’s closest friends in wrestling. Rechsteiner made a point to watch some of Hayes’s match, then put all his focus into preparing for Ciampa.

“I saw bits and pieces, and it looked incredible,” says Rechsteiner. “But I needed to sit down in a quiet room to meditate and prepare. That’s the same approach I had before big football games. That’s where I’d clear my mind and lock in, and that’s what I did tonight.”

The list of NXT champions is distinguished. Seth Rollins, Big E, Kevin Owens, Adam Cole and Sami Zayn all brought meaning to the belt, as well as Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura. The great Finn Balor also had two masterful reigns with the belt, redefining the impact a champion could have through a command of the craft in the ring.

Dripping with determination and just the right amount of swagger, Rechsteiner vowed to keep the legacy of the NXT title alive with his title reign, as well as put his stamp on the championship.

“So many people have built this, and it’s my job now to carry the weight of NXT,” says Rechsteiner. “Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a WWE champion. Now I’m here as NXT champ.

“It’s time to put in even more work. I can’t wait to get started.”

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.

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