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Byrons Articles

Great expectations: Why Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli’s ceiling keeps getting higher

It’s one thing to make a first impression in the world of sports-entertainment, but leaving a lasting impression can be an entirely different ballgame. Enter the NXT tag team of Tino Sabbatelli & Riddick Moss. At first glance, both men look to be incredible physical specimens. As for that lasting impression? Both men also firmly believe they have what it takes to become the most memorable tag team in NXT history.

“Individually, we are the two greatest athletes this company has ever seen,” Moss told WWE.com. “We also both happen to look the part and talk the talk better than anyone else. So together? Damn. That’s scary.”

Although only in their infancy as an NXT tag team, Moss and Sabbatelli have no problem telling the world just how good they are.

“There’s a lot of talented people in NXT and WWE, but there’s a big difference between being talented like everyone else and being god-gifted like myself and Riddick Moss,” Sabbatelli said. “Things just come to us a lot easier than they do for most.”

Undoubtedly brash and cocky, the attitude of Sabbatelli & Moss may not be completely unwarranted. Prior to joining the ranks of NXT, Sabbatelli spent six years in the NFL as a safety after being drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second round of the 2007 draft. Moss, on the other hand, was a standout All-American linebacker at the University of Minnesota who recorded 226 tackles from 2008-12.

Great expectations: Why Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli’s ceiling keeps getting higher
While both initially saw each other as competitive rivals during training sessions inside the WWE Performance Center, Moss & Sabbatelli have since decided to conjoin their efforts to pursue tag team greatness.

“We come from similar backgrounds, and one thing that we have in common is our love to compete,” Moss said. “I thoroughly enjoy competing, one-upping and proving people wrong — in anything. In the ring, weight room, basketball court, golf course.

“I love to argue,” he continued. “Sometimes I take the other side of an argument just to challenge myself. And I still win. I always do. I’ve never lost an argument. Sabbatelli and I love to compete with everyone at the Performance Center, but the only real competition for us is each other. So, we bonded over that.”

While their athletic prowess has been one bonding point, Sabbatelli was quick to point out that their appreciation for the finer things in life has only solidified their friendship.

“We wear the $5,000 custom suits, and we drive the $180,000 droptop Maserati because it’s who we are,” Sabbatelli confidently stated. “I own three homes, and Riddick also has a few homes. We work hard, and we play hard. When we speak it, we mean it, and people are starting to see that when we say something, it’s the truth.”

Despite their braggadocios nature, the self-proclaimed “god-gifted athletes” have had some difficulties with fellow NXT tag team The Street Profits. When asked about their struggles, Sabbatelli quickly shrugged off any doubt that his team’s athleticism and skillset are a perfect combination for tag team excellence.

“Whether it’s The Street Profits or anyone else, they can train as hard as they want, eat their chicken and rice, and weigh their food, but they will never look like us or be as athletic as us,” he said. “We are going to show the world that we are the most elite competitors to ever step foot in WWE.”

And it is that expectation of greatness that Moss calls the driving force behind his team’s motivation.

“It’s incredible how hard we work,” he said. “Every single person talks about how bad they want their dreams to come true, but what are they willing to sacrifice to make them happen? Money? Time? Relationships? We look better, talk better, are faster, stronger, smarter, more focused and more prepared. Sabbatelli and I are just better than everyone else. And we are absolutely consumed and obsessed with proving that to everyone. It’s literally all we care about in life.”