by Frank Lucci
It’s a road trip episode as our favorite developmental talents tour through Texas in one of their first trips outside of Florida. How will they do outside of their home turf?
Continuing the segment from the end of episode two, everyone’s favorite Cylon human Dana Brooke struggles to take a power move from Nia Jax. She eventually gets it because blah, blah, blah, perseverance and such. She also talks about not giving up after a year and a half in NXT (I wonder how Sami Zayn and Tyler Breeze would feel about that statement).
Tough Enough winner Josh Bredl is getting used to being at the Performance Center and coach Bloom reminds us that as the dude with the quarter of a million dollar contract he (Bredl) has to prove he belongs there every day (Damn right he does!). Bredl also reveals that his motivation to succeed is his daughter and how as a parent he has no choice but to succeed for his girl. A nice humanizing moment for a guy we don’t see much of.
Full Sail finally shows up and we get a montage of NXT favorites performing at the venue as well as fans freaking the hell out. Josh is seen helping set up the ring before having a chat with Apollo Crews. Crews makes a point of comparing how Josh’s contract status and Crew’s indie rep have lead some people to dismiss or dislike them. It’s cool to see Crews helping out a rookie and overall being a nice dude.
With all the newbie stuff out the way it’s finally time for the road trip.
The NXT stars board their plane and Baron Corbin is peeved about not having an aisle seat (as someone who is half a foot shorter than Corbin and still barely has any legroom on a plane, I 100% understand. Also, Breeze has a neck pillow because of course he does). Banjo music plays in the background to remind you they’re down south and the NXT superstars sign autographs for fans in the Houston, Tx. airport. Even though Corbin is down for photos, he will not bend to help a fan clearly struggling to get him in frame. There’s a random blink and you miss it gag with Crews and Breeze on the bus as Crews takes a selfie and Breeze says “how dare you?.” Classic.
Bredl FaceTimes his lady and daughter while grocery shopping. Some standard “missing the family” stuff here as they have yet to move down to Florida from Colorado as Bredl gets settled and finds a place to live. This transitions to Breeze being interviewed about his struggles to be successful in NXT and how he is blown away that he went from being on the chopping block to having people cosplay as him (Fun fact: Breeze is the first wrestler ever to have his Titantron footage be a live-stream from his phone). Breeze wrestles Finn Balor in the main event to a losing effort.
Bredl struggles in promo class as he tries to get over his Yeti character. His promo goes off the rails quick as he refers to himself as a piece of meat that’s been marinating in a special type of infectious sauce. Therefore, Bredl’s new nickname is Ebola Steak. Ebola Steak knows he fucked up but Regal tells him to slow down and drop the Yeti shtick. Regal has a classic Regalism here with “most of the audience have figured out if they will take to you or not about one third of the way down that ramp.” Regal is the man. Bredl however, is hesitant to reinvented himself.
Day two of the NXT road trip and Austin’s stop is even bigger than Houston’s. Jason Jordan acts like he has never seen Breeze’s furry boots before and Breeze (in character) makes fun of him. Referee Drake Wuertz deadpan sings Breeze’s entrance theme (awesome). When Breeze’s opponent Samoa Joe catches the selfie stick when he smacks it into the air, (more awesome) then finishes off the trifecta of goodness by taking a selfie (the real MVP of the show, folks!). Also Corbin, in true lone wolf fashion has a pink spray bottle to constantly wet down his hair. Breeze is ecstatic over his match, but Corbin works the main event with Balor this time.
After the show, the NXT stars get a chance to explore the town. Crews, Jordan, and Brooke decide to hang out on the bus like the cool kids they are. Corbin decides the best way to be a lone wolf is to hit up a punk rock bar, because lord knows if you want to be alone, a bar is the best place to go. He gets annoyed by a clingy fan and leaves (probably to go find a better lone wolf spot like the library). Meanwhile, Breeze and Tye Dillinger go looking for bats under a bridge which is the highlight of the episode.
San Antonio is the final stop of the tour and several of the wrestlers stop by The Alamo. Corbin explains the historical significance of the building, but Breeze does not believe him (you are from Canada mate, just give up). Big Cass and Carmella go cowboy boot shopping because, why not?. As contrived as the segment is, (they are literally the only people in the place) the two are pretty adorable together. Big Cass finds a tiny cowboy hat like Kurt Angle did in his WWE days and does a southern accent, which is funny but probably annoyed the crap out of the owners.
Crews gets a chance to hang out with his sister, who lives in San Antonio. With him touring and her in the Army, they never get to see each other so it’s pretty touching to see them hang out. Corbin also gets a chance to hang out with his cousin and nephew, which is also adorable. We also find out that Carmella has a thing for dudes in cowboy hats (if I were Cass i’d start buying them in bulk). Crews and Corbin have fun performing in front of family and everyone passes out on the plane.
Back to Ebola Steak trying to cut a promo and he does a much better job this time around, which ends the episode. While still a little hesitant on the mic he looks a lot more comfortable as a heel (wrestling term for “bad guy”).
Overall, the road trip highlights were more entertaining than the Performance Center footage. Having Bredl dominate the episode while the established stars gradually divide up the rest of the episode somewhat brings down the show. That being said, there is a lot to like about the episode and each person gets a chance to show off their personality with whatever screen time they get.