When WWE NXT made its historic foray outside of Full Sail University, it left no stone unturned in creating a spectacular card for its inaugural NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn event on August 22, 2015. The event was already shaping up to be a monumental success, featuring electrifying matches with fan favorites like Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Samoa Joe.
However, there was an additional surprise in store for the WWE Universe that night as international sensation Jushin Thunder Liger stepped foot into a WWE ring for the very first time to face Tyler Breeze. Years later, Breeze still fondly reminisces about this unforgettable experience.
The news of the match with Jushin Thunder Liger initially seemed too good to be true for "Prince Pretty." None other than then-NXT Champion Finn Balor delivered the unbelievable news to him. Breeze recalled, "I still want to be on Takeovers, and I remember it was Finn who told me, 'You're working Liger.'
Who's Liger? Like not, surely not Jushin Thunder Liger. He doesn't even work here. And he goes, 'He trained me, and they asked me to reach out and see if he'd be interested in working with you.' It didn't feel real until it was real."
Unexpected Encounter with a Legend
The anticipation and excitement only grew stronger as the day of the event approached.
When Breeze finally met the legendary Japanese wrestler, he couldn't have asked for a better scenario. Breeze admitted that he had never met Liger before and had no idea what he looked like. Their first encounter occurred in catering, where an older Asian man sat across from him.
Unsure that this was the iconic NJPW star, Breeze took a chance and said, "Hey man! I think we're working tonight." To his relief, it was indeed Jushin Thunder Liger. The two wrestlers quickly started discussing their match, and Liger's humble and respectful demeanor overtook Breeze.
Throughout his career, Jushin Thunder Liger had solidified his legacy as a pioneer and innovator in the cruiserweight/light heavyweight/junior heavyweight/X-Division style. Despite his storied reputation, Liger demonstrated a complete lack of ego and treated everyone respectfully, leaving a lasting impression on Breeze.
The WWE Hall of Famer's attitude was a valuable lesson for the young superstar, teaching him the importance of humility and treating others with kindness and respect. Now, years later, Tyler Breeze is using his lessons from Jushin Thunder Liger to shape the next generation of wrestlers at the Flatbacks Wrestling School in Apopka, Florida.
As he prepares for a return to the ring after a brief hiatus following his 2021 release, Breeze continues to carry the torch of professionalism and respect, inspired by his encounter with the legendary Japanese wrestler. In the annals of WWE history, NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn will always be remembered for its epic matches and groundbreaking moments.
For Tyler Breeze, it holds an even more special place in his heart as the night he shared the ring with a wrestling icon and learned invaluable life lessons that will stay with him forever.