Tyler Breeze on whether he wants to continue wrestling after being cut by WWE, explains WWE not wanting talent to have their own Twitch channels, shares advice that Dolph Ziggler gave him, looks back on working with Jushin Liger

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Insight With Chris Van Vliet with guest Tyler Breeze
Host: Chris Van Vliet
Podcast available via Podcasts.Apple.com
Video available at Chris Van Vliet’s YouTube Page

Does he want to continue wrestling? “It depends. I mean there is a lot happening in wrestling right now. It’s cool and it’s something we tell our students at Flatbacks Wrestling School. We say to the students ‘Guys it’s not as far away as you think.’ The students we are training now have been on AEW Dark and NXT. It’s right there. Right now is a good time in wrestling. But right now, let’s say on AEW, there are a lot of people debuting and there are a lot of people moving around all over the place. If I go there, I don’t know if it would make a massive impact. Now it’s kind of the norm, people are going over there and there might be some big names going over there. Nobody knows what is happening, but I don’t think now is the right time for me to go towards there. At the same time, I have wrestled for 14 years straight. I’m OK with taking a little bit of a break. My body likes it and I am getting enough wrestling at the school to keep my body good. I’m not currently taking any bookings. Going out there and getting injured, it doesn’t really appeal to me. If there was a match that was fun, I think I might do it. But I have scratched the wrestling itch, but if it comes back, then maybe.”

He says he’d be ok with retiring: “I’m very, very happy with everything that I’ve accomplished. Now at 33 years old, if I really wanted to, I could say I’m retired. I could go, ‘yeah this is about as retired as I’m going to be. I’m going to run the school, I’m going to teach people.’ I have no surgeries, I’m very, very healthy. Like that is a good accomplishment for me and in the end, overall more than anything wrestling is always wrestling. It is off to the side. You have to be happy in life and I’m very happy in my life. I love my life, I think it’s great. No matter what people want to say, I’m very happy.”

On building his brand outside of the ring: “Building our value outside of the ring was always the goal for us. Luckily, UpUpDownDown has done wonders for us. [Austin] Creed (a/k/a Xavier Woods) is awesome like that. He will take guys that you just know from their matches. Maybe they don’t get to talk a lot and you get to know what kind of a person they are and they have really good personalities. So he will put them in a spot where you will get to see that personality. All of a sudden you go ‘Wow I want to see more of that guy, he is really cool.’ Maybe the only place that you get to see that is UpUpDownDown. Now, not only is he building his own stock, but he is helping everybody around him. Rising tides lift all boats, he lives by that. It’s not just for him, it’s as many people as he can help, and he will. If I didn’t do this, I would just be another random guy trying to get my foot in the door.”

On WWE protesting Twitch streams: “So it was a little different. So obviously everybody kind of threw their hands up in the air when they kind of stopped everything. There’s a saying that’s been around and will last; ‘The boys will mess it up for the boys.’ I was streaming on Twitch for two years and no one was really paying attention to anything, because I was doing it properly. In the end, when you are under a certain banner, it’s like media training. If something happens, let’s say I’m live, and I represent myself horribly. When you sign onto a big company, the headline doesn’t read ‘Matt Clement does this…’ It now says ‘WWE Superstar…’ or ‘AEW Superstar…’ did this. Now you have to be mature enough to realize you represent a bigger entity and conduct yourself accordingly.”

On why WWE protested: “People then realized they could do this [Twitch streams] and they don’t present themselves accordingly. Whether it’s using their intellectual property, or giving away things they shouldn’t be giving away. They just violate certain things, and eventually the guy who is charge of everything will say ‘You know what? everything stops, you ruined it.’ They can’t go case by case of you’re OK but you are not OK. They just go ‘You guys stop.’ And honestly from a business standpoint, if you ran a business and you had all this stuff, would you let it go? You would blanket it and say ‘Guys, this has to stop.'”

On nearly getting fired before he created the Tyler Breeze character: “I was like the cockroach that wouldn’t go away man. There were several times where it was like ‘Hey you’re gonna get fired…’ Then something happened, then it would repeat. I always just barely clung on, whether it was from taking a random bump in the ring or someone seeing me in the ring that hadn’t seen me. There was always something that would give me a little bit more life. Even when I found the Tyler Breeze stuff, it went from ‘you’re probably not going to get fired…’ to ‘You’re gonna get fired…’ That’s just how it goes, the lifespan of what we do isn’t long. Look at Stone Cold Steve Austin, he wrestled for a long time but his run in WWE was five years. I wrestled for eleven years in WWE, not many people can say that.”

Did almost being released in the past prepare him for this? “No, it was but it was also like… Well firstly I have been in WWE for eleven years. I was also very smart with my money where now the income part wasn’t such a big worry to me. Now I understand where they are coming from to let me go, it’s just business. You can’t take it personally and go ‘What did I do wrong?’ Sometimes you just make too much money or they go ‘Hey. We don’t need you right now.’ It doesn’t mean that you’re gone forever. How many times do we see people get released and then they come back? Once you are in the system you are in the system, it’s just how it goes.”

On getting ready for the future: “I was preparing to get fired the day I got hired. 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 three or five year developmental contract. But then I signed my main roster contract. I went, okay I’ve got three years. Realistically in a perfect world I will last three 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 three years came up I went I don’t have to, but it’s good, things are going OK. So I just signed it and went OK 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.”

The advice he received from Dolph Ziggler: “There was one time where I thought we should have won something. 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.”

On his match with Jushin “Thunder” Liger: “So it was one of those things that I have that nobody gets to have. 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 [shakes my hand.’ 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? Then 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 [shakes hand again].’ 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.”


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