Tyler Breeze signed with WWE in 2010 after multiple tryouts with the company. In his second tryout, Breeze was able to outlast the competition, thanks in part to the connections he made at his first tryout.
Speaking to Matt Rehwoldt on Straight Shooting, Breeze recalled his journey to being signed by WWE.
"At the time, FCW was doing paid tryouts. They weren't seeking anybody out, you had to go and go, 'Hey, I'm paying money to come down there, you guys look at me and tell me what to do.' My trainer, Lance Storm, worked for WWE and had connections. I said, 'Should I go to this?' 'Let me reach out and ask.' He asked Norman (Smiley), (Billy) Kidman, and a couple of others and they said yes. I went down, paid my way, first time ever leaving Canada. I had never traveled and had no clue what I needed to do to go to the States. I paid the fee for the tryout, it was like a three-day tryout. I made sure to talk to people. It was intimidating. I walked in and there was like 60 people. Guys who are bigger and in better shape than me. I'm going, 'Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into?' Within five minutes, I ruled out probably three quarters of them because I was like, 'I can work better than him, he's not very good, he's just big.' I went to that, saw how it was and wrestled some matches, got my first taste of WWE. They hired Jinder (Mahal) out of that," recalled Breeze.
Despite not getting hired after the first tryout, Breeze returned for a second tryout and used his experience from the first one to help him.
"Six months went by and they were doing another," said Breeze. "I thought, 'Is six months really enough time to improve?' I asked Lance, 'Should I go back down?' He asked Norman and Norman said yes, 'make sure he comes back down.' I paid again and I remember maxing out my credit card. I believe they were $1500, just for the tryout. That's not including the flight from Canada or the hotel for the week. I went, 'If I don't make it here, I have to buckle down at work because it's a lot of money.' I went down and this time, there was 80 people. Again, within the first five minutes, I was like, 'I can hang with these guys.' One of the key factors for me, was the people connection. Steve Keirn remembered me. Dr. Tom (Prichard), Billy Kidman, they remembered me from the first one because I went out of my way to (introduce myself) and I did good at the tryout. After the first day, I saw Steve (Keirn) and was like, 'Just checking in, how am I doing so far?' He went, 'I don't want to tell you anything, but right now you're in my top three.' I said, 'Cool, that's all I need to know.' I did the tryout and there was one moment that went through my head and I didn't want to believe it, but I was like, 'I'm getting hired.' We did a drill, I know I did it well, and my hair tie came out. John (Laurinaitis) had it and he goes, 'Here.' He hands it to me and he asked my number. He pulls out a booklet and it flashed through my head, I went, 'I'm getting hired.' At the end of (the tryout) -- the gimmick was they give one contract away at the end -- I remember them going, 'Alright, the winner of the contract is Matt Clement.' I remember looking around and went, 'Oh my God, it's me.' I went up to the front and it's Dusty (Rhodes), Norman Dr. Tom, and I went, 'Oh my God, I got hired.'"
Finishing up the story, Breeze revealed who he was signed over and who helped him get signed during the tryout.
"I remember getting called into the office with Steve Keirn and I was like, 'I'm not complaining, but why the hell did you guys hire me?' He went, 'Honestly, it came down to two people, you and Tony Nese.' I went, 'And you chose me?' Nese is like he is now, shredded and super athletic. 'How did I beat him?' He said, 'We didn't know who he was. He didn't talk to anybody or make those human connections. We need that personality and those people. He blended in.' A massive reason I got hired was, we had to do matches on the fly and at the time, I was three or four years deep and I wasn't good at matches on the fly. They paired me up with Pepper Parks (The Blade in AEW), I will always be in debt to him because he's the reason I got hired. He led me through the match like a baby. He let me look like a guy who got hired, and I got hired and he didn't," he said.
Unfortunately, just like Breeze, Nese was released by WWE this year. Meanwhile, The Blade is regularly featured on AEW television.
Elsewhere during the interview, Breeze discussed his match with Jushin 'Thunder' Liger. You can find his full comments by clicking here.
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