With less than a year of experience in wrestling, the second-generation star signed with WWE in early 2021 and debuted on NXT TV within a matter of months. He was immediately positioned as the face of NXT 2.0 and has so far delivered in every high-stakes situation he's found himself in.
New Year's Evil, NXT's latest television special on January 4, was no exception.
It was on that night when Breakker beat black-and-gold brand stalwart Tommaso Ciampa to become the second-youngest NXT champion ever at just 24 years old. The moment was made more special by his legendary father, Rick Steiner, celebrating with him in the ring afterward.
"It's unbelievable," Breakker told Bleacher Report. "I'm still letting things set in. It's a dream come true. It's been my dream my entire life to win a championship in WWE."
Prior to lacing up the boots and following in his father's footsteps, Breakker played football at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens shortly after graduating with a criminal justice degree.
He was released from the team in August 2020 and subsequently shifted his focus to pursuing his true passion: professional wrestling.
Breakker explained that no accolade he achieved in football compared to winning his first championship in WWE; it was in a league of its own. Now that he's got the gold around his waist, he's already looking ahead to what's next and is welcoming all comers.
Even he didn't expect to reach the apex of NXT so quickly, but that's a testament to his tremendous upside in WWE and the incredibly bright future he has ahead of him.
"I'm not really one to toot my own horn," he said, "I don't really speak for myself, I let other people do that for me. I'm just focused on my coaching, my daily routine, waking up, being a fighting champion and representing this brand. I got to be a leader. I'm focused on daily practice, how I can get in the lab and be better. Take the coaching and the cues and everything I'm getting from the coaches here at the Performance Center and apply all that to be better."
Obviously being a member of the decorated Steiner family hasn't hurt his cause, but he also possesses every tool necessary to be a future main event player in WWE.
The youngster can hold his own both in the ring and on the mic, and above all else, he has that elusive "it factor" about him. The energy in the NXT arena any time he makes an entrance is palpable, and the vibe he brings to the show is unlike anyone else's on the roster.
That's what makes him such a sure-fire pick to appear in the upcoming men's Royal Rumble match. The annual Battle Royal has had an NXT presence for years, and considering Andrade once competed in one as NXT champion, it wouldn't be out of the question for Breakker to do the same.
"If [the opportunity] presents itself, I'm going," he said. "That'd be awesome. I'd love to have that opportunity. It'd be freakin' nuts. I hope it happens."
His debut match in NXT in September saw him make quick work of seasoned veteran LA Knight. From there, he went on to take Ciampa to the limit at Halloween Havoc, beat Johnny Gargano in his last singles match on the brand and outmatch the exceptional Roderick Strong.
He paid respect to the NXT icons of the past while discussing his rapid rise since his WarGames win on December 5: "I think I gained a little bit of confidence at WarGames. I was in the ring with four of the most fantastic people in the business, talking about Team Black and Gold. Those guys are stand-up dudes, fantastic performers. I have the utmost respect for all of them. I gained a chip on my shoulder and it gave me what I needed going into New Year's Evil."
The old NXT has been dismantled gradually since the introduction of NXT 2.0, but Breakker's title win and his much-discussed entrance at New Year's Evil—where he kicked through a block version of the black-and-gold logo—truly marked the end of that era and the beginning of another.
When asked if he knew who came up with the idea for the entrance, he said, "I don't, to be honest with you. I have no idea."
He was also completely unaware that his father would be ringside for his big title win. Breakker defeated Ciampa using Rick's patented Steiner Recliner submission maneuver, which he intends to keep calling The Recliner as of now.
"I didn't really know he was coming," he said. "I invited him down and said, 'Hey, do you want to come to the show?' He drove down and surprised me. He showed up and it was cool. It was the first time he's ever seen me work and getting to be a part of it in person. I got to cherish that with my dad and my brother was there, too. It's one of those things you never forget."
The two embracing in a hug afterward was captured by WWE cameras after the show went off the air. Breakker then made his way to the back, where he was congratulated by his peers.
"It was a cool reception," he said. "I gave Shawn [Michaels] a hug and told him thank you. I had a moment with him. My dad was back there and hugged his neck and it was an unbelievable moment. I'll remember it forever."
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, one of the greatest of all time and biggest box-office attractions in Hollywood today, commented on WWE's Instagram post of Breakker celebrating with his dad by saying, "very f--king cool."
"That's cool, man," Breakker said upon finding out about The Great One's message. "The Rock is obviously awesome. I've always loved The Rock, and he's probably the most famous person ever. That's cool. I appreciate him making a comment and the positive words he has to say. I've never met him, but it would be such an honor to say hello."
There is no shortage of credible challengers he can defend his title against going forward. Not only did Santos Escobar recently tease challenging for the championship, but stars such as Cameron Grimes and Carmelo Hayes are waiting in the wings as well.
At the end of the day, there isn't a more perfect person to be leading the charge and waving the flag for NXT 2.0 than Breakker.
"I think it just comes down to my work ethic and how I handle my business," he said about why he feels he's been placed in such a prominent position so early in his career. "I just want to be a positive representation of this company. I want to make my family proud, I want to make my bosses proud.
"I want to represent this company. I want people to look at WWE and say, 'That guy right there is what this place is all about.' I just want to be a good human being, a good person, and represent myself as a professional. I want to be a pro. That's all I'm trying to do."
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.