Santos Escobar is ready for that next step in WWE starting with the NXT Championship


Santos Escobar talks his upcoming opportunity at NXT Vengeance Day, feeling ready for the main stage of WWE, Dolph Ziggler and more.

As much excitement as there is surrounding the new crop of talent in NXT 2.0, the old guard is still very much prevalent on the former black-and-gold. Santos Escobar will look to prove that this Tuesday at NXT Vengeance Day when he challenges Bron Breakker for the NXT Championship.

Escobar has been riding a wave of momentum since entering the NXT title mix following his feud with Xyon Quinn. He had an excellent 10-month reign as NXT Cruiserweight champion from 2020 to 2021 and has shined against every opponent he’s been put in the ring with.

Now it’s time for him and the rest of Legado del Fantasma to steal the spotlight, starting with Escobar becoming NXT champion at Vengeance Day and cutting the Bron Breakker era short.

“This is my second year in NXT and it’s been a hell of a run,” Escobar told Daily DDT. “Legado del Fantasma has been doing very well and we did the Cruiserweight division a very solid favor by remaking it and now we’re on to bigger and better things and what better than the NXT Championship itself? Which better time than this Tuesday? What better opponent than this young champion Bron Breakker? The championship is there for me to grab it.”

Escobar noted that he and Breakker have a lot in common, including being second-generation wrestlers and wanting to carry their legacies on their shoulders. He can relate to being a “young, inexperienced champion” and believes that Breakker isn’t ready to be the face of a brand quite yet, whereas he’s been ready for a while.

It was after his loss of the Cruiserweight title at last April’s TakeOver: Stand & Deliver event that he felt it was time for him to ascend to NXT’s next level.

“It was last year right after Stand & Deliver,” Escobar said. “That was, in my eyes, the best match I had up until then. Shout-out to Jordan Devlin, amazing talent. Never met him before that day, but as they say, you’ll know someone when you fight them and I have nothing but the best opinion of him.

“Right after that match was when I knew: ‘Okay, now I’m ready, not just for the top spot but for WrestleMania and Madison Square Garden. Whatever comes, I’m ready,'” he added. “Of course, it doesn’t happen overnight. I knew right then and there that I was ready for it, but it was up the ante and work even harder and give something and not ask.”

He leader of Legado del Fantasma did just that by transforming his body and getting into the best shape of his career. To him, it was only academic that he’d take that top spot and that the NXT Championship would be next on his list of things to conquer.

It’s been an incredible journey for Escobar, who had been wrestling for many years before finally signing with WWE in August 2019. He was ready for a reset at that point in his career, and although it wasn’t long after that the pandemic hit and ruined any potential plans for him to debut in front of fans, he made the most of being limited to the Performance Center by growing his knowledge of the WWE product.

The PC was instrumental in his growth as a Superstar and gave him the tools he needed to be the well-rounded performer fans see every week on NXT TV.

Escobar is one of the few talent on the NXT roster ready for the primetime of WWE right now. In a perfect world, he could be called up tomorrow and do well (if he were to be booked correctly, of course), which is why his exclusion from the 2021 WWE Draft was so surprising.

However, there was still more for Escobar to accomplish at the time and even today. In retrospect, he’s happy he stayed put in NXT so he can continue developing his skills and achieve more goals. When the call comes for him to make the jump to either Raw or SmackDown, he’ll be fully prepared for anything and everything thrown his way.

“WWE needs its Superstars and performers to be at their peak and at the best of their ability,” he said. “You mentioned the Draft, and even though I was wishing to be part of it, I was not ready. I’ve always been honest with myself in that regard. When the show needs you, you have to deliver. That’s it. There’s no excuse. You have to show up and you have to deliver.

“I just think my preparation was in motion but not there yet,” he continued. “Now I feel I’m ready. Now I feel you can put me tomorrow, or at Vengeance Day, in a top spot and I will deliver. Back then, who knows? I might have been ready, I might not have been. But that’s in the past. Now I know I’m ready. If the Draft was today or tomorrow, I’d be demanding a spot. I wouldn’t be passive and waiting and hoping. I’d be more active. ‘I’m here, I’m ready, let’s do this.’ We are a beautiful, beautiful part of what NXT is right now, and wherever you take us, we will shine. We’ve been getting ready for this point. Now the spot is here, all right, let’s do it.”

In the meantime, he has his sights set on holding more NXT gold and defending against all comers, including Dolph Ziggler. The two-time world champion made his presence felt on the program last week and essentially staked his claim at the NXT Championship.

He understands why Tommaso Ciampa would want the belt back after recently losing it, but Escobar believes that neither he nor Ziggler will ever win it so long as Legado del Fantasma is around.

“It speaks volumes to what we’re doing as a brand and as talent because they’re willing to come here and test us and get in the ring in a non-physical segment, which is what happened last Tuesday,” he said about Ziggler’s NXT debut. “We were just supposed to discuss certain points of our feud and here comes Ziggler, which to me is fine because it brings star power to a place that already has stars. It only makes it bigger.”

Catch WWE NXT Vengeance Day this Tuesday on SyFy at 8/7c.