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Less than four months after making his in-ring debut, Bronson Rechsteiner is tearing his way through WWE. Rechsteiner, the son of Rick Steiner and nephew of Scott Steiner — two legendary professional wrestlers — is arguably the brightest talent in WWE’s NXT brand, which has become known over the past decade as a breeding ground for stars in Vince McMahon’s wrestling company.
Amid the clamor and near-instant success, the 24-year-old remains grounded despite being set to headline his third major show in the past four months.
“I don’t really pay attention to the noise,” Rechsteiner told Yahoo Sports. “I don’t get a big head or read too much into the hype. I have had high expectations my whole life in athletics, being Rick Steiner’s son, I have had to live up to that my whole life so it’s really nothing new. Sure, the stakes are higher now because this is the profession my family was in and they laid the groundwork for me years ago, but I just want to make my family proud, make this company proud.”
Rechsteiner came to WWE earlier this year, signing with the company in February 2021, shortly after his pursuit of an NFL career came to an end. After a four-year football career at Kennesaw State University, Rechsteiner was signed as an undrafted free agent fullback in April 2020, but was eventually released by the Baltimore Ravens that August.
Rechsteiner’s career path isn’t unique in the professional wrestling business. Major stars such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Bill Goldberg, Roman Reigns, and Ron Simmons are just some of the former collegiate and pro football players to make their way to the squared circle. Rather than chase the dream of a prolonged NFL career and beginning wrestling later in life, Rechsteiner opted to jump almost immediately into the business, debuting on the independent circuit in October 2020, two months after being waived by Baltimore.
“I wanted to be in WWE for my entire life, more so than football,” Rechsteiner admitted. “This is where I wanted to end up. I took football as far as I could take it but when the door closed, it was time to join WWE. I was chomping at the bit.”
Also worth noting that Triple H implied Bronson Rechsteiner, the son of Rick Steiner, is joining WWE soon as well. He had a tryout last year. pic.twitter.com/id0ag9jgXu
— Ryan Satin (@ryansatin) February 11, 2021
Considering his comfort level with expectations and admitted desire to join the family business, it would have been very easy to have Rechsteiner inherit his father and uncle’s name as he carved out his place in WWE, but Rechsteiner and the company took a different approach, opting for a unique name and allowing his natural talent to shine through.
“The idea of Bron Breakker, the character, it’s a lot of who I am, there’s a lot of reality in it,” Rechsteiner said. “The idea came from when I was playing football in college and a little bit in the pros, when I blocked people I just wanted to break them in half. That was my mentality. I was a hard-hitting guy who loved doing the dirty work. I thought that if I used to do it in football, I could build the character around it.”
Of course, it’s impossible to ignore Rechsteiner’s lineage, considering he’s the spitting image of his dad and, once you give him a microphone, sounds just like his uncle, Scott. Rechsteiner's character does have callbacks built into his persona as well, including his gear — a singlet — and the signature Rick Steiner dog bark.
“As far as me standing on my own, everybody knows who my dad and uncle are and what they did in their careers,” Rechsteiner said. “It’s no secret. I feel like I am making a name for myself separate from all of that and building something here that stands on its own.”
Rechsteiner’s emergence coincides with a major rebrand, called NXT 2.0. While NXT, and Florida Championship Wrestling before it, was initially used as a developmental brand for WWE, its popularity and quality of wrestling became undeniable over the past several years.
Stars like Rechsteiner’s upcoming opponent at New Year’s Evil, NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa, have been with NXT for essentially their entire time with WWE. But, as the roster churns, now more than ever it has felt like a changing of the guard moment for the brand — a notion that has been built into Ciampa and Rechsteiner’s storyline.
Still, there's a common ground among the entire locker room in NXT.
“Obviously things have changed a little bit in NXT 2.0 and a new crop of talent coming along, but the locker room is great,” Rechsteiner said. “The quality of people that we have is fantastic. I can’t say enough good things about the people we have. They are professionals, they are great sports entertainers. It’s an honor to be a part of it.”
And Rechsteiner has proven he is deserving of the near-immediate spotlight he has been given. Rechsteiner wrestled Ciampa in a championship match at Halloween Havoc last October, performed with WWE’s “Raw” and “SmackDown” stars during a U.K. tour, and picked up the pin for his team in the main event of WarGames earlier this month.
Although his character boldly stands out with an unmistakable voice, bright wardrobe and powerful move set, Rechsteiner’s work ethic and the Bron Breakker character seemingly could not be more different.
“I am always trying to find ways that I can be better, or more entertaining,” Rechsteiner said. “I have an old school mentality and I think that’s what it comes down to. I am a humble human being, very focused on my work and my craft and trying to be better. It’s what I’m about, the work. I have a goal in sight, to be one of the best, if not the best performers in the world one day. It starts with every time I step foot in the building, how I present myself, how I want to be perceived.”
While it’s certainly not a make-or-break moment for the 24-year-old, if Rechsteiner wins on January 4, he’d be the second-youngest person to hold the NXT championship, it would solidify his standing as one of the pillars of the next generation and almost certainly put him in line to make an appearance at the Royal Rumble in St. Louis later in the month.
When asked where he sees himself in the future with WWE, Rechsteiner remained committed to more intangible goals opposed to just necessarily being a champion.
“Obviously the goal is to make it to the main roster, go up and perform,” Rechsteiner said. “Time will tell, but my long-term goal is to be on a WrestleMania card and be a reliable talent for this company, be a good soldier, someone they can count on, an ambassador to set an example for young people and be a great representation of what WWE is about.”
WWE NXT 2.0's New Year's Evil special airs Tuesday, January 4 on USA Network