NXT’s Bronson Reed on climbing ladder of success at TakeOver XXX

WWE NXT star Bronson Reed first made his name around the world as an independent wrestling star.

The Australian, real name Jermaine Haley, became a multiple time champion in various territories, shooting to fame as a big man that could move like a cruiserweight.

After 12 years of banging heads in Oz, the United Kingdom, Germany and even Japan, the 31-year-old signed on the dotted line with WWE.

On June 22 this year, he secured a shock victory when the 320-pounder bested Johnny Gargano and Roderick Strong in a triple threat qualifying match for a place in the North American Championship ladder match at NXT TakeOver: XXX tonight.

In an exclusive interview with Mirror Sport's Scott Felstead, WWE's latest breakout star opened up on his epic journey to NXT, his thoughts on the possibility of an Australian based faction, who has helped him develop the most since signing with WWE, and his thoughts on climbing the ladder of success.

Coming all the way to NXT from Adelaide, Australia, was wrestling for WWE always the dream?

For me, I've been such a fan of wrestling my whole life. WWE was always something that I wanted to do, but it did feel unattainable as a kid from a small town in Australia. I never thought that I’d be able to get to NXT or WWE, and then even once I started my wrestling career on the independent scene, at that time [signing with WWE] didn’t seem like something that you could do either.

And then, people like Murphy and the IIconics started getting signed with WWE and it seemed more like something that was attainable. So, I just made sure to keep on wrestling all around the world. I got to Japan, I got to wrestle in the UK, and on the independent scene here in the US and it became something that eventually happened so it is a dream come true.

How does the NXT schedule compare with the independent scene?

Well, I feel, like they both can be very hard work. On the indies, you're trying to get yourself out there as much as possible, you're dealing with some promoters that might not be the best characters [laughs], whereas in WWE and NXT I feel like you are treated better as a performer but it is still wrestling a whole lot.

You know, pre-Covid we were going on a lot of loops interstate and here in Florida so you constantly are working. For me, someone who wrestles a lot, it wasn't too much of a transition coming to NXT.

Who came up with your WWE wrestling name, Bronson Reed?

That was me, I feel like 'Bronson' sort of suited my personality. 'Reed' wasn’t something that I had married to me but I just kind of came up with it and threw out there. There's a few famous Bronsons, like Action Bronson the rapper. I saw him and I related to that.

You must get feedback from friends and family in Australia that are watching you on TV?

All the time [laughs]. So, I've a lot of friends and family that watch the product and they are always messaging me about something that's going on, especially my real close friend. We watched wrestling together since high school, his name is Nick, he followed me through my independent career all the way to NXT, so I'm constantly talking to him about my experiences. I also coached pro wrestling in Australia, so I have a bunch of people that I helped train that are always messaging me as well.

Wrestling Travel can take you to the biggest WWE events

Wrestling Travel is the first company of its kind in the UK – set up by WWE fans for WWE fans.

It creates bespoke packages for those dreaming of going to shows including WrestleMania, the Royal Rumble and SummerSlam, major AEW events, and NJPW's epic Wrestle Kingdom.

Wrestling Travel offers flights, transfers, hotels and event tickets – providing hassle-free, unforgettable experiences – and is ABTA and ATOL bonded through its award-winning parent company Invasion Camp Group.

And you can 'Use the code MIRROR50 for a discount' on your bookings.

For more information visit Wrestling Travel, contact [email protected], call 0161 806 1444, or follow Wrestling Travel on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

You mentioned some of the Australians that are now in WWE. Could you ever see that developing into a faction?

Yeah, well, I mean it definitely could happen. We are all very like minded people and because we are from Australia, I feel like it is a close-knit group. We speak to each other about our experiences. It's something that I’d like to see. Guys like myself; Shane Thorne and Brendon Vink were actually in a faction outside of WWE [called TMDK] so it could happen.

As a big guy that moves so well in the ring, who are some of your favourite 'big men'?

For me I'm a big fan of the late Bam Bam Bigelow, I always thought he was a fantastic big man, he was so agile and moved around so well. I was a big fan of Vader as well, agile to a point but he was just so destructive so being able to watch him was something completely different. And then, the person that I think I've most closely emulated almost my entire career is Samoa Joe. He is someone that I'm still a big fan of and when it comes to big guys, you can't look past someone like Samoa Joe.

Is there anyone at WWE that has really helped with your development since heading to NXT?

There are a bunch of coaches at the Performance Center, I think two stand out the most. One is Scotty 2 Hotty, he was my coach for a little while and he helped me out a lot with trying to see the differences between wrestling around the world on the independent scene, compared to on TV and for WWE.

I thank him a lot and now my current coach is actually, Shawn Michaels. It's surreal for me as such a wrestling fan to even speak to someone like Shawn Michaels, so I get to learn something from him almost every week.

NXT Champion Keith Lee is another big man that is very agile. Do you look forward to challenging him?

We've wrestled each other on the independents before, but it's something that we both want to do here in NXT. I think Keith Lee is such an amazing performer and [wrestling him] is something I'd like to do as soon as possible.

Many people might have seen your recent victory over Johnny Gargano and Roderick Strong as a bit of an upset, considering their history with the company. Did you get a kick out of surprising NXT viewers?

I think so, yeah. Those guys are so experienced in NXT. Being able to get in the ring with those sorts of people always elevates you and I feel like even though I was clearly the bigger man in that match, I was still the underdog. So, now that I’ve beaten the likes of Roderick Strong and Johnny Gargano, I think the fans realise that I'm someone that could hopefully win the North American Championship.

What would it mean for you to climb the ladder at TakeOver XXX and lift the North American title?

I mean, it's a dream I think for anyone that gets into the wrestling business to be able to win a big championship like this on a global level, I think all eyes are going to be on TakeOver XXX. For me, if I'm able to get that championship it would be a dream come true.

I guarantee you that you're gonna have a 320lb man climbing up these ladders doing things you wouldn't expect, so it's going to be a spectacle for sure.

See Bronson Reed in action on WWE NXT every Wednesday at 1am on BT Sport 1 HD and in the Ladder Match for the North American Title at NXT TakeOver: XXX on the WWE Network.

Source: Read Full Article