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By Mike Johnson on 2022-02-14 11:00:00

Tomorrow evening, WWE NXT 2.0 will present their latest marquee episodes of the Tuesday night series Vengeance Day on Syfy.  In the main event, Mexican star Santos Escobar will have his highest profile NXT bout to date, challenging Bron Breakker for the NXT Championship.  This past Friday, the former WWE NXT Cruiserweight Champion broke down the match with PWInsider, recounted his own experiences in his NXT journey, discussed the passing of lucha libre royalty and more.  Transcription by Billy Krotchsen.

Mike Johnson: WWE NXT is on SyFy, that's right SyFy, this Tuesday it's the 2022 edition of Vengeance Day and the main event is a match that they have been building to for some time. The WWE NXT Championship on the line as Bron Breakker will be defending against our guest at this time, the former NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar, the leader of Legado Del Fantasma. Sir, it's good to talk to you again. How is everything in your world?

Santos Escobar: Thank you so much for having me again Mike and I'm very happy, excited and most importantly I'm ready for this year's Vengeance Day.

 Mike Johnson: So we saw the big face off this past week, we saw a lot of faces pop up - Tommaso Ciampa got involved, Dolph Ziggler got involved, but at the end of the day it's about you and Bron Breakker having the showdown for the NXT Championship and yet another main event for you representing Legado Del Fantasma. Thoughts on know you've been a champion in NXT before, you've been an important person in NXT for a long time, but thoughts on the chance to possibly finally capture the NXT Championship on such a marquee event?

Santos Escobar: You know, I think things always come at the right time. I've been working a lot since I got here on NXT, of course the Cruiserweight division, of course unifying Cruiserweight titles last year at Stand and Deliver and from then on, just ready for this spot and this opportunity and I finally got it, and who better than a young, unexperienced talent Bron Breakker, who is by the way, very impressive, very strong, he's got a lot of potential, but in my eyes, he's not ready. He's not ready to carry on his shoulders the brand - I am. So I'm going to snatch the title from him this Tuesday and there's little to nothing he can do about it. 

Mike Johnson: The intrusion of Dolph Ziggler and then later Tommaso Ciampa added a different element, because you never know what's going to happen on NXT when it airs live on SyFy, especially for a big show like Vengeance Day. With that said, I wanted to get your thoughts on Dolph Ziggler and AJ Styles of late and some of the other Raw stars showing up in NXT and maybe, and not to overlook the championship match, but is there like a Raw talent that you're hoping pops up in NXT cause you'd love to wrestle them on NXT live?

 Santos Escobar: Well first of all I think, to have such amazing superstars like AJ and Dolph show up to NXT speaks volumes of what we're doing in the brand because if they're willing to come on their day off, it means we're doing something right.   To your question, I would love to have maybe Rey Mysterio or Dominic, so we can, you know, throw down. 

 Mike Johnson: Back to the title bout this Tuesday, when it comes to Bron Breakker, you mentioned inexperience but much like yourself, he comes from a big wrestling family. When you think about all the experience that you've received, all the knowledge you've received from your family and you think about Braun being very early in his career, when you look back on when you were younger and trying to figure out your role in pro wrestling, who you were, how does that life experience that you've gone through give you an advantage over someone like Braun, who still, even though he's champion, is still figuring out exactly who he is and what's the best way to present himself in NXT?

 Santos Escobar: That's a great question, Mike. Let me tell you something. Me and Bron have more in common than you might think. I once was a young champion. It's overwhelming, it's too much pressure, you need to prove yourself to everyone and you will have the weight of a legacy and so it's hard for him, it's going to be hard for him, I know it, because I was there some years ago. I think that's the main point of advantage for me as an area of opportunity that I have to exploit because I was there and I know how it feels and I think he shouldn't have engaged with Ziggler and Ciampa because now there's a lot of things in his mind and there's only one thing in my mind - just to take that NXT title from him.

 Mike Johnson: We've seen you grow quite a bit since you came to NXT and Legado Del Fantasma was formed in NXT in 2020. Obviously with NXT 2.0 there's been a lot of shifting and changes in the entire brand. As someone who has the experience, you came from Mexico to the United States and you went through a whole cultural shift just to live here and perform here, what was it like experiencing the sort of refresh NXT has gone through over the last couple of months with NXT 2.0 and what's been the highs and lows of figuring out how you fit into the new version of NXT?

Santos Escobar: The business itself is evolving and I think the main note of NXT 2.0 is the young talent, the young raw talent that's always willing to fight, is hungry and of course in this business you either evolve or you die and in my case, I welcome the challenge. I will come to fight. These talents are willing to give everything every single night, and I think that's the main point of advantage for me, that I'm always ready, because I come from a place - Mexico - where you have to fight 100% every single night. So I'm ready for this, and when I saw the changes happening, of course you always have to stay ready, so I kept doing my program, my process, I transformed my body to fit this new image we're offering to our audience and I'm so happy, you know? I feel better than ever, and of course ready for this challenge in particular, and just hoping that I will come out on top. I know I will. 

 Mike Johnson: In the past when we've spoken, we've discussed the brotherhood that's been built between yourself, Raul Mendoza and Joaquin Wilde, but in the last year Elektra Lopez has become a big part of Legado Del Fantasma. Let's talk a little bit about her and what she's brought to the group and how she syncs up with you and the other two when it comes to that bond that's defined Legado Del Fantasma. 

 Santos Escobar:   You're right. Legado Del Fantasma is an all-inclusive group. The main thing is you got to have is love for Lucha Libre, love for Latinos and she checks all the boxes and the passion that she has for the business, I think it's very important for me and for us as a group because you can tell through the screen that we have a very special bond, that we belong together, the four of us, and we are a true familia and to me that's the most important thing, that we click, so that what we do during our NXT appearances is natural and most importantly, is real. 

 Mike Johnson: Obviously you've got such a big background with lucha libre and Arturo Rivera just passed away, who in many ways, for those who don't know, is like the Jim Ross of lucha libre. He was the voice for so many decades. I did want to ask you, any favorite memories of Arturo Rivera, any personal moments with him, cause I think for anybody who ever watched lucha libre  he was the defining voice of that style of wrestling, of that genre of professional wrestling. Thoughts on his passing and any favorite memories of him. 

 Santos Escobar: Oooh I have plenty of memories with Artuto Rivera. His nickname was 'El Rudo', the Heel. He was one of the main supporters of El Hijo Del Fantasma and then of Santos Escobar. I have a lot of memories with him. We used to travel together, we used to go out to eat, lots of interviews. He got sick two years ago, I was there with him at the hospital. There's a lot of personal memories that I have with him, he was always a good supporter and he's great loss to lucha libre.You know there's a there's a concept that we have that we call La Arena Celestial, the Heavenly Arena, and that's a way for us to cope when we lose the best of what we have. To me now, Arturo Rivera is on commentary right now in the Heavenly Arena. There's a couple of tributes that I've posted on my Twitter and Instagram and it speaks of the relationship that I had with him. It's a great loss to me. It deeply hurts. 

 Mike Johnson: My condolences to you and to everybody else in the lucha world. I don't want to overlook Vengeance Day, but Stand and Deliver is coming Wrestlemania weekend. If you get to pick your dream match for Stand and Deliver, and you might be the NXT Champion by then, what would your dream match be for Stand and Deliver?

Santos Escobar: I think to me, like you said not to overlook Vengeance, the most important thing that I have in my mind right now is to capture the NXT Championship. Now, should that happen, and I know it will, I would like to defend the NXT Title against any opponent, but possibly against one of the three that were there this Tuesday.

Mike Johnson: Like a Fatal Four Way?  That could be really interesting.

Santos Escobar: Could be, if not a Fatal Four Way,  perhaps one on one with whoever comes on top out of the three of them from a previous match, who knows, but whatever happens, with me as the champion.

 Mike Johnson: When you look at a big event like Vengeance Day or Halloween Havoc or these milestone WWE NXT episodes like the one that will air this Tuesday live on Syfy, how different is it for you in terms of your mental or even your physical prep when you're in a major milestone episode versus the weekly grind of training at the WWE performance center and getting yourself mentally  physically and emotionally ready for a regular episode of NXT? I would think this is a little bit more of a higher octane for yourself but like what's your prep like going into this Tuesday versus last Tuesday or the week before the last time you wrestled when you know there's a championship on the line during a main event position, the company's putting trust in you to draw a rating, to have a great match so talk about that preparation versus a normal weekly NXT episode.

 Santos Escobar: Well you know, Mike, having done this for 22 years now, I came to the realization that I have to be at my 100% and best version every single night I go out there, there's always a chance that I might not come back from the curtains. With that said, of course this is Vengeance Day, it's a special show. I got the main event, which is the top spot. And that means that there's a special investment from the company in both the champion and my faction. My responsibility in this kind of show is always - show up, my best version, and to give my best, and that's exactly what I'm going to do this Tuesday. 

 Mike Johnson: Well this Tuesday is going to be WWE NXT Vengeance Day. Santos, I really appreciate you sitting down and chatting with us yet again. I want to let everybody know they can track you down on Twitter @EscobarWWE.  I guess the last question is always the easiest one - why should fans make sure that they're watching SyFy this Tuesday at 8 p.m. for Santos vs Bron Breakker and everything else that's going down on Vengeance Day for WWE NXT 2.0?

 Santos Escobar: Well Mike, this year's is going to be a very, very special show. We have of course the main event, which is Bron Breakker vs. Legado Del Fantasma, I mean, Santos Escobar, and of course we have a cage match, and we have the ladies, Toxic Attraction, Indi and Persia, it's going to be an amazing show. People should tune in, especially and particularly for the main event, because I'm going to give you a surprise, and you know, Santos Escobar always shows up dressed to the nine, and this isn't going to be the exception. You should tune in. 

 Mike Johnson: All right as Santos said, Vengeance Day is this Tuesday. They have the Dusty Rhodes tag classic finals, a steel cage with weapons with Pete Dunne and Tony DeAngelo, who everybody seems to be fascinated with these days  the NXT North American Champion Carmelo Hayes against Cameron Grimes, the NXT Women's Tag Team Champs and of course, the main event Bron Breakker defending against our guest Santos Escobar. We hope the next time we get a chance to talk it's about you winning the championship. We wish you and your family nothing but the best and  we are looking forward to Vengeance Day this Tuesday. Thank you as always for your time and we wish you the best.

Santos Escobar: Thank you so much Mike, God bless you.

WWE NXT Vengeance Day airs tomorrow at 8 PM EST on Syfy due to the USA Network's Winter Olympics coverage.

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