NXT prospects have already had Tyler Breeze's ridiculous, fuzzy boots smack them in the mouth. It will soon be the WWE Superstars' turn.
The Zoolander-inspired male model is one of the most intriguing characters on the developmental roster. His skill at playing his character, as well as his athletic adeptness, will launch him from NXT to WWE's midcard. Don't expect him to headline, though.
WWE only lets its clowns climb so high.
As Mike Dalton, he was a solid in-ring performer with little direction. As the selfie-taking braggart he plays now, Breeze has thrived. WWE has given him a wacky gimmick complete with outlandish ring wear, and he has rocked it as if it was as cool as being "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
Breeze's gimmick alone is enough to rake in the audience's attention.
Narcissism and flashiness are nothing new in pro wrestling, but the way that Breeze has merged those two traits is extremely eye-catching. His ridiculous outfits, puckered lips and selfie obsession are hard to ignore.
It's a marketable character that will catch on quickly once he's on the main roster. It's so silly and fun that one can count on fans embracing it.
The degree to which Dalton has transformed into Breeze is impressive. He infuses the character into everything from his gait to his voice and has let it guide his in-ring work. He'll interrupt his bouts to check his phone and is as nervous about getting hit in the face as Rick "The Model" Martel was back in the early '90s.
In a backstage segment with Adrian Neville, Breeze's character popped on screen. He was equal parts funny, interesting and strange.
That will push him ahead of prospects with less interesting gimmicks—the peacock strutting past the pigeons.
In the ring, he relies on his athleticism and aggression. He is fast enough to work a match with speedsters like Sami Zayn and Neville, and he's adept enough at brawling to entertain when things slow down.
He displayed both of those skills in a match against Neville. In it, his strikes are convincing, and he moves fluidly in the ring.
His move set is an exciting one that includes Chris Jericho's springboard dropkick to a foe on the apron and a spinning kick that he calls "Beauty Shot."
The latter move shows off his vertical leap, as he rises effortlessly into the air.
There's a question of sustainability with Breeze's character.
In short doses, it's a fantastic thing to watch, but it will be difficult for him to evolve it should it get stale. One of CM Punk's strengths was always sliding his character in a new direction at just the right time, going from wannabe messiah to rebel to whiny champion.
Breeze has excelled in his current role, but it's not one that is multi-layered enough to allow for much growth.
Sean Morley's run as towel-wearing porn star Val Venis was fun, but when he joined Right to Censor and took a serious turn with his character, he sputtered. After a year of that change, he went back to his old gimmick. Breeze's career path may look a lot like Morley's after the novelty of his act wears off.
While he's been charismatic thus far, he doesn't have main event-level stage presence.
He's shining in the minor leagues, but on WWE's bigger stage, he'll have to compete with hugely magnetic stars like John Cena and Bray Wyatt. That will keep him from being a headliner, and he'll fill more of a midcard role instead.
His size may keep him from reaching the company's upper rungs as well.
Breeze, at 6'0" and 195 pounds, per WWE.com, is the same height as Dolph Ziggler but weighs less. Ziggler did win the world title but is now being passed over by larger men like Roman Reigns, Sheamus and Batista—all of whom are larger and getting more spotlight than "The Showoff."
A similar struggle awaits Breeze.
Being world class in the ring has allowed Daniel Bryan to reach the cusp of being the face of the company despite his size. Breeze, while excellent in the ring, is not at that level. He will have to work harder than more beastly prospects like Alexander Rusev, who is already appearing on Raw and SmackDown.
The comparison that first comes to mind for Breeze is Fandango. Both employ a goofy gimmick and are skilled enough in the ring to make it more than a novelty act.
Like the ballroom dancer, Breeze is capable of being a challenger for midcard titles and would make an intriguing option to have a run or two with the WWE Intercontinental Championship. He will certainly be a memorable character, and that will get him some attention from the WWE writers.
Given good feuds and ample opportunity, Breeze can excel.
He's produced some standout matches with Neville at NXT, a preview of the kind of show-stealing efforts he could have at the lower half of the card. The silliness of his character will keep him from getting higher than that, though.
The list of men to hold the world title is not long on comical characters.
That character, though, is a big part of Breeze's success. As Dalton, he attracted little attention. This current gimmick will catapult him to the main roster, but it's a plane that can only achieve a modest height.
One of the better options for him is for WWE to embrace his similarities with Fandango and have them tag team together. The pairing, which could be called "Beauty and Grace," would be an entertaining one and provide just as many good matches as hilarious moments.
Breeze won't challenge Cena as WWE's top dog, but he will make an appealing addition to the main roster.
As he makes the journey from NXT to WWE, expect a string of selfies to be taken, to be mesmerized by his gaudy get-ups and to be highly entertained the whole way.
Be sure to check out previous installments in this ongoing series: