As he started under Storm's tutelage, Lance had a television series about his training on Canadian television called World of Hurt. Emma and Sylvester LeFort were hired by WWE shortly after the series and several other Storm trainees would get the call as well. Mattias would be one of them.
He reported to FCW where he wrestled for a few months as Mike McGrath (who oddly shares his name with a car dealership here in Iowa), before he took the more permanent name Mike Dalton. He quickly started to job in FCW television but mostly as a jobber, taking losses to Rusev and Alexander Koslov (during Koslov's short developmental run as Peter Orlov.) One of the most amusing jobs was as part of a three man team of current NXT stars against the early incarnation of The Ascension (where Konner was teaming with Epico and Bram under the management of Eddie Guerrero's daughter Raqeul Diaz.) Also be amused by the much worse haircuts, he and his partners had at the time.
He would win his first match shortly after, a battle royal that gave him an FCW title shot against Leo Kruger (now Adam Rose), that he lost. But in a rematch he would take the FCW title as his own, but dropped it back to Kruger three weeks later.
His run at the top of FCW came as very strange to most fans I suspect, because Dalton really showed little personality. He was just a young blue chipper character without any depth. When FCW fell away to be replaced by NXT, Dalton was used mostly as a jobber for over a year.
Three years into his WWE run, his career was now in jeopardy. In early 2013, he started to develop a new character, one that debuted in July of that year. Tyler Breeze was a Zoolander-inspired super model obsessed with his looks and the center of attention. He came to NXT to conquer a new field and continue to be the object of affection.
The NXT fans instantly hated the new persona, but Breeze quickly channeled all the great wrestling skill he had into making the new character work and work beautifully. Feuds with CJ Parker and Neville ignited his NXT run, and a year after his debut he started to work as one of the roster's top stars. He battled Sami Zayn at the first ever NXT Takeover and was one of the challengers for Neville's title at Takeover: Fatal 4-Way.
Over the next year, he would go on to wrestle a series of great matches, battling the likes of Chad Gable, Hideo Itami, Finn Balor and at Takeover: Brooklyn, battled the WWE debuting Jushin Thunder Liger in a wonderful match that in many ways capped off his NXT run.
|Image credit: WWE.com.|