Tag Archives: chad gable

WWE Breaking Ground: Episode 6 – Road Trip

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by Frank Lucci

Another “road trip” style episode of Breaking Ground sees NXT go to Louisville, KT, Nashville, Tenn. and the official debut of Baymella! Let’s get right into it.

We see “Stone Cold” Canyon Ceman giving out raises and firing Cal Bishop again right off the bat. Ceman repeatedly puts over how competitive NXT is and given Bishop’s injury history (and the flood of new talent they were acquiring) that he was expendable. Bishop looks wrecked and he leaves without shaking Ceman’s hand (which is kinda shitty but hey dude just got fired). Everyone is sad about Bishop and Nia Jax even cries during her talking head segment (DAMN YOU CEMAN, YOU MADE NXT’S MONSTER HEEL CRY!).

After that frankly depressing business it’s time for another road trip.

We find out Carmella and Big Cass live together, hopefully with Enzo Amore living in the basement like a petulant teenager (Now that is a sitcom idea if I ever heard one). Carmella claims what you see on TV mirrors their real life, so I assume every time they enter a room Amore informs people that Big Cass is seven foot tall (and you can’t teach that). They make omelettes and steaks before five A.M. due to the upcoming trip and Bayley shows up with a tiny dog for some reason. Carmella cries over Bayley potentially being called up and leaving her without her best friend (Dawwwww). The gang arrives at the airport for the beginning of a 18 hour day.

After the travel segment we meet a new NXT rookie, Lovepreet, a Pehlwani (ancient form of grappling dating back to 5,000 BC and was studied by Karl fucking Gotch) wrestler from India. He was discovered by Ceman and William Regal during one of their many international trips to find potential talent for the WWE. Lovepreet seems like a humble dude, but this segment pretty much exists to show how WWE looks all over the world for their talent.

Back to Louisville where the music festival NXT is performing at is dealing with flash storms subsequently turning the place into one giant mud pit. This apparently calls for the tour bus to hit up the nearest shoe store, as everyone scrambles for new footwear to avoid dragging mud into the ring. Jason Jordan finds Jordan knockoffs (I see what you did there) called Catapults (A quick Google search reveals the highest priced Catapults are $30). Needless to say, everyone makes fun of Jordan for his selection.

Apparently it took 12 hours for the NXT crew to get there, and the Superstars have to rush to get ready. Hilariously, when we get a wide shot of the bus it seems like maybe 8 people are in it, which does not seem very cost efficient.

An autograph signing before the show reveals a fan who made a Baymella Army shirt, which has each girl super stoked. Carmella loves Bayley because she is a good friend and role model while Bayley loves Carmella because she does the string connected to your lips trick and I love them both because they are adorable human beings (#SpacemanBaymella Triumvirate). Also, one fan gets a picture with Carmella but uses hover hands instead of actually touching her (FOR SHAME, SIR JUST TOUCH HER SHOULDER). Bayley helps produce a match between Eva Marie and Alexa Bliss, which Bayley takes a huge opportunity to learn how matches come together from a television standpoint.

Baron Corbin is here again to remind us of his “lone wolf-ness” and how he wants to move up to the main roster. Coach Bloom acknowledges he works hard in the ring, but does not have enough character and mic development to move past NXT (Pretty spot on there, though I would love to see him paired with Paul Heyman). Corbin to his credit knows he has to improve outside the ring and discusses how football taught him not to show emotions while he knows he has to emote constantly for his current career.

For whatever reason we get a segment where the NXT talent and coaches go to a haunted sanitarium. An obvious spot inserted simply to kill time (in an episode that is already 36 minutes long) sees Corbin loving it, Jordan being scared and a bunch of post production horror film cliches thrown in. Pretty lame.

NXT hits Nashville and everyone is pumped to go the country music capitol of the world for the first time. Bayley messes with Jordan when he asks for an autographed poster, which shows why she is the best yet again. Jordan and Gable get hyped (pun intended) to face Enzo and Big Cass. Corbin being the oddball, goes to a weird goth shop with a friend to look at bones and shrunken heads. Corbin buys human brain samples from the insane asylum, which I’m sure his girlfriend will love.

Lovepreet is back, and he struggles in promo class due to english being his second language. He says his english is not good, but he seems fairly well spoken in his talking head segments. He cuts a bare bones promo in class that goes over well and MY BOY Sami Zayn gives him advice about speaking confidently and with a clear goal.

On the road Bayley puts over the Nashville crowd. Curiously, she says she’s surprised the place was sold out with 1,300 people, but when I went to see NXT in Albany we sold out the place that seats nearly 5,000, so that seems like a scripted line for her talking head segment. Jordan and Gable impress the coaches. Carmella has a match with Eva Marie where a stiff kick to the head gives Carmella a concussion to end the match. The episode ends with Carmella receiving medical attention.

Why is Marie on the main roster again?

A great episode of Breaking Ground shows several favorites (Bayley, Carmella, Jordan, etc.) in their element and keeps the reality show forced segments (besides the asylum bit) to a minimum. A strong episode that is a breeze to watch.

WWE Breaking Ground: Episode 5 – Call it a Comeback

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by Frank Lucci

The halfway point of Breaking Ground sees Cal Bishop attempt to get back in the ring, the return of Tino Sabatelli, and Nia Jax making her debut.

Episode five starts with ZZ struggling with cardio to the point where he quits during a drill. It’s pretty much the same stuff we saw before, only with Coach Bloom finding ZZ with the trainer recovering from the drill (makes me curious how much working out ZZ and other trainees are doing per day and if trainers make exceptions for people like ZZ with a less than athletic background).

To the shock of nobody who saw NXT Takeover: Respect in October, Jordan and Gable beat The Hype Bros to get a match at the live special. While the recap type segments such as this and the ZZ spot are good if you waited several weeks between watching episodes, watching this and the previous episode feels pretty boring. After losing, Zack Ryder expresses frustration with being unable to get cohesiveness with tag team partner Mojo Rawley in the ring.

We are reintroduced to Bishop in yet another rehash of the previous episode. We see the second time his shoulder dislocates (ow) off a simple slam. After several months he again dislocated his shoulder taking a hip toss. Things are not sounding good for Bishop who seems like a hell of a nice guy. He does get cleared to return to the ring even though his scar tissue makes moving his shoulder difficult.

Ten minutes in and we finally get something new with Jax making her official debut on the program. Jax both claims that her character is who she is on the inside (turned up to 11) and also someone completely different than herself (what???). Of course she has to mention the fact that her cousin is The Rock 30 seconds into her first talking head interview. Annoying, but if if Rocky was my cousin I would announce that everywhere I went and make T-shirts with photos of us hanging out on them. After watching The Rock’s match at Wrestlemania 28 she was inspired to start wrestling and after a year at NXT she is gearing up for her NXT TV debut. A casual way to insert a basic intro segment.

Nhooph returns to the program to complain how she has not been booked to wrestle at shows. I would feel bad for her if she wasn’t so young and way down the totem pole compared to vets like Bayley and Alexa Bliss. Tyler Breeze is also in the house to give the newbies tips both for in the ring and getting their characters together. Breeze gives amazing pointers for how to present yourself in the ring and asks the girls to imagine how a child watching the show would imitate their characters.

A weekly coaches meeting reveals that pretty much everyone loves Bishop but worry his shoulder will give out again. Coaches also worry that Sabatelli is a cylon in the ring and is way too robotic despite having a great athletic background. Sabatelli is also trying to help his brother Shaun get his foot in the NXT door. Hilariously, Shaun is the one who initially wanted the wrestling career and Tino only got signed because he was there with his brother (who didn’t make the cut. Way to Sideshow Bob your brother dude!) Tino feels bad that he is so successful while Shaun is still chasing his dream. Humblebragging Tino everybody!

Back to Nhooph, who finds out her ring name will be Aliyah. She decides to call William Regal to figure out a character for herself (smart). Apollo Crews and a few other wrestlers get together to play video games and chill. Unsurprisingly, the game they choose is WWE 2K16 (product placement much?). Solomon Crowe makes a brief appearance, which makes me wish NXT did something with the talented wrestler. Tino finds out his brother sprained his MCL and can’t make his NXT tryout (D’oh!). Nhooph meets with Regal and says she wants to be a Kardashian/Brat Doll character. Regal shoots that shit down because by the time she would be able to show that character on the main roster they will be no longer popular. Regal clearly does not know the cockroach-like powers of the Kardashians. Nhooph is hesitant to play up her Middle Eastern background, claiming she wants to be something different than anyone else, which Regal approves of.

Bishop finally gets back into the ring, but has to limit what he can do because of his shoulder. Coach Bloom is worried about the safety of Bishop’s opponents in case he injures himself in the ring and calls Bishop out on trying to avoid using his injured right arm on basic moves. All the NXT women gather to watch a Nikki Bella interview to help them dial in their character performance. Lots of segments are devoted to showing how much work NXT wrestlers put into their characters, which is a nice change of pace from showing in-ring drills.

Side note: Never noticed this before but lots of wrestlers drink from gallon jugs. Is this a weird athlete thing? A gallon seems like too much fluid during working out. Does the WWE provide them jugs to use, because if not they are missing out on a prime marketing opportunity. BUY YOUR OFFICIAL NXT WORKOUT JUGS NOW!!!

RUN FOR YOUR LIVES COLD-BLOODED CANYON CEMAN IS IN THE PERFORMANCE CENTER! His goons round up a bunch of people including Crews, Jax, and Bishop. Everyone is nervous, but Ceman’s  actually here to give everyone raises (except for Bishop, who is blindsided to find out he is being released). Episode five closes with him getting let go in a super downer ending.

Bishop’s release is really sad, especially considering the WWE spent the last two episodes getting to know how much he wanted this chance and how hard he took his injuries. Even more egregious, he was let go on the same day as Devin Taylor – meaning the WWE manipulated the show’s timeline to make it seem like he was there longer. Combine that with lots of recycling/rehashing footage and this episode is a low point for the series.

 

WWE Breaking Ground – Episode 4: Tag Team Turmoil

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by Frank Lucci

Timed to get hyped because episode four of Breaking Ground is all about the tag teams. Prepare to bathe in their charisma as the episode showcases some of the biggest personalities in NXT.

Narrator William Shatner has a rare misstep in the opening montage by introducing the episode with “This time on Breaking Ground.” “This time” sounds really awkward when Shatner could have just said “today” instead.

The first proper segment introduces us to Jason Jordan. He reveals that he’s gone through a lot of struggles in his life. Jordan is one of four brothers, two are incarcerated (with one in jail for life). After seeing his family members hit rock bottom he works hard to fulfill his dream of making it to the WWE (I already like Jordan 1000% more after watching this show for two and a half minutes). After this heartwarming backstory, Jordan and his coaches talk about how lack of character held him back until he started teaming with Chad Gable.

Switching to Gable, he quickly puts over his wrestling background (including his trip to the 2012 London Olympics) and instant chemistry with Jordan. They continue to talk about how their similar backgrounds helped bring out Jordan’s confidence in the ring while the two shoot hoops in a suspiciously empty park. Despite dedicating several minutes to how well they’ve bonded as a team the two have a very wooden conversation after their game. It’s almost as if they set the whole game up for the show.

ZZ lives in a bus that he hopes to one day bring groupies to. (just throwing that out there). The Tough Enough gator wrangler also apparently had to learn how to wash his clothes and dishes for the first time (I fear for ZZ living alone). He admitted he can’t even tie shoelaces together and only wears leather boots and “flippy flops.”

Someone please help this poor boy.

Mojo Rawley blasts into the episode by showing off his newly bought house. After throwing the “for sale” sign around and yelling a bunch (good way to make an impression on the neighbors) we get a much more low key Rawley talking about loving the WWE as a child and his attempts at a NFL career. He shows off his love of partying by flipping onto a beanbag chair as who we assume to be his mother looks concerned. Matt Bloom and the other coaches sandbag the party by talking about his lack of in-ring ability to the point that Bloom says if he continues to not listen to their advice, he just won’t be booked on shows (ouch).

Zack Ryder gets introduced as a way to set up the formation of the Hype Bros. While both had reservations about teaming up, they both recognized the potential benefits (Ryder getting a career resurgence, Rawley a better shot of getting called up).  The Hype Bros and Jordan and Gable will compete in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, with the two teams facing off for a chance to be in the semifinals match at the NXT Takeover: Respect special. With both members of the Hype Bros acting like their union is a business strategy it’s hard to get attached to the team in the same way as the more organic Jordan and Gable. Gable wants to be bff’s with Jordan, who refuses because he’s apparently too cool for that.

Shame on you Jordan, the man just wants to be loved.

After all the tag team focus we see Cal Bishop for the first time. A rookie with lots of potential despite being born with a clubbed foot. Nonetheless, he’s struggled with injuries during his NXT career. Bishop seems universally beloved by both the coaches and wrestlers and undoubtedly shows charisma and mic skills during his introduction. In comparison to the hard working underdog Bishop, ZZ continues to struggle with cardio work and work ethic in general. Keeping with the downward spiral of depressing news, Gable hurts his ankle at a live event. Lots of fun times during this portion of the episode.

Despite coming off like a giant hyperactive toddler at times, Rawley gets huge points for going all out to try and be a role model for kids like John Cena. He hangs out with fans after every show and goes out of his way to connect with fans knowing that they’re the ones who make it possible for him to follow his dream. He even grabs a young fan and announces to the crowd that he got straight A’s so they cheer the kid. Every women I know who saw this developed crushes on Rawley after thinking he was a doofus before. Hell, now I’ve got a small crush on this magnificent bastard.

After Rawley melts some hearts we get updates on different NXT superstars. Gable’s ankle gets better, but ZZ has coaches worried due to his inability to basically do anything. Insult to injury comes from Ebola Steak Josh who laps ZZ during a drill. While the coaches doubt ZZ’s work ethic, he does get choked up a bit when talking about his desire to make it. Given time and a good workout plan I have a feeling ZZ will be able to become a halfway decent wrestler, and the dude just needs time to adjust (and learn to tie a shoelace).

Bishop is back trying to get back on track career wise. After spending much of his two years at the Performance Center hurt he hangs his hat on being a model student and hard worker. He tears up while talking about his depression after hurting his shoulder for the first time after just making it to TV. All the feels for Bishop.

On the way to a live show Rawley drives with Dana Brooke, who proceed to bounce around like crazy people (FOCUS ON THE ROAD!). Ryder again sandbags the Hype Bros, literally saying he reaction to being paired up with Rawley was “Holy shit” (not really selling me on this team here, guys). Meanwhile, Brooke sees a women with “a nice rack” as she puts it and convinces Rawley to try and get her number while they’re on the highway (between this and helmetless Baron Corbin I am NOT ok with NXT’s traffic safety standards). Brooke also texts while driving, though I’m giving that a pass due to the fact that her super cylon vision probably helps her. Believe it or not, Rawley gets the girl’s number on the back of a Brooke picture and celebrates like he won the Super Bowl. Rawley is super positive about his relationship with Ryder, but realizes that always being apart hurts their chemistry.

This episode is full of bromance problems.

Back to ZZ who quits during a drill. However, nothing much is made of this as we switch to the big tag team match at the live show. Episode four ends before we find out who wins (dramatic tension!).

Lots of new elements are at play during this episode as ZZ is the only person focused on that we’ve seen before. Comparing the Hype Bros and Jordan and Gable ultimately hurts the Hype Bros, and we can plainly see there is some big problems with the Bros relationship. That being said, Rawley wins the episode with his dedication to the fans, and Bishop deserves an honorable mention for his struggles trying to get back into the ring.