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WWE Breaking Ground: Episode 7 – Proving Ground

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by Frank Lucci

After a delay due to a WrestleMania weekend induced wrestling coma, Spaceman Frank is here to once again recap Breaking Ground. With several NXT wrestlers from the show now on the main roster, it will be especially poignant to see them trying to make their mark down in Florida.

We immediately start where episode six left off with Carmella getting a concussion due to Eva Marie being the worst and just straight-up kicking her head off. Carmella is escorted back and head NXT trainer Matt Bloom makes sure she’s OK and reminds her that it is imperative that she protects herself in the ring and lets people know if she’s hurt mid-match. Bloom sympathizes with Carmella but sees this as a chance for her to show how tough she can be.

To help Carmella feel better after her match her boyfriend Big Cass, her BFF Bayley, and ENZO FREAKING AMORE go out to a suspiciously deserted restaurant. Suddenly this has turned into Table for 3…errr 4. Bayley gets a side of beans which leads to Amore making fart jokes (100% approval rating from Spaceman Frank). The group then makes fun of Cass for snoring and being so tall that his piss goes everywhere when using the bathroom and sounds like a waterfall (I love this show. Follow Enzo for season two please). Eventually they reveal that Carmella isn’t concussed, which is good.

Once the gang gets back to Florida, we see Bloom arriving before dawn where he works out in the Performance Center along with coach Amato. He manages to pinch his nipple ring (dude you are in your forties get that shit removed). Baron Corbin rides his motorcycle to the PC (again without his helmet!) and does a shitty parking job because that’s what a good heel would do. Bloom farts around keeping the NXT wrestlers focused, which pretty much boils down to keeping Mojo Rawley and ZZ on point. For whatever reason a giant cardboard cutout of Tyler Breeze adorns the trainer’s area of the building.

Lovepreet returns, training with Robbie Brookside for an upcoming battle royal. Lovepreet gives a dick punch to a dude he’s trying to hoof out of the ring, which Brookside obviously isn’t thrilled about. Nhooph is practicing her entrance with William Regal, who gives great tidbits concerning how to work both the crowd and camera during the entrance. Her entrance is pretty bland and feels like a generic “create-an-entrance” from WWE video games.

Next we see the NXT women going to a makeup/skincare class. Seems pretty sexist that the women have to do this, yet the men – who also have to worry about the same problems of looking presentable on TV are not shown doing makeup tutorials. Bayley admits she needed these classes when she first arrived, which is why we love her so much.

In a cool behind the scenes bit we see that NXT rookies put on mini shows at the Performance Center in front of more established wrestlers and coaches to get more in-ring experience. This also includes rookie announcers and proper entrances. Lovepreet works a tag match, but we don’t see much of what happened. Nhooph does her entrance, which does not go well with the crowd. She tries to cut a promo, which she also bombs as the wrestlers boo her mercilessly (hilariously booing even when she announces she is from “Toronto…that’s in Canada!”). Tino Sabatelli “main events” the show against Tucker Knight, which goes decently.

It’s Halloween and Carmella and Cass are carving pumpkins. Carmella is worried about getting cleared to compete again the next day and Cass plays the supportive boyfriend role. Next we see Bayley at home with her boyfriend (aka the most hated man in the world for dating the internet’s favorite girl). Bayley talks about her match with Sasha Banks at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn as her boyfriend has a man-bun and is the worst. They bring up how Bayley is the last of the Four Horsewomen in NXT, which drives her to get to the main roster soon.

ZZ drives a car he can’t possibly afford to go volunteer at an alligator park (yes, those exist). He wrangles a giant snapping turtle and helps move a gator to a bigger pen. It’s amazing that ZZ is more comfortable doing this rather than eating right and exercising. That being said, it’s great to see ZZ in his element and looking confident for once.

Carmella passes her in-ring physical with flying colors, which is no surprise at this point. Bayley has a meeting with coach Amato, who puts over how Bayley’s fan base has diversified the NXT audience. Amato wants Bayley to focus on grooming the next generation of NXT women wrestlers, which explains why she has worked programs with Nia Jax and Carmella.

Lovepreet hosts Robbie Brookside to an Indian meal, which is petty adorable. Meanwhile, Bayley drives Carmella and Tough Enough winner Sara Lee to a show (shouldn’t Lee, the rookie be driving the vets?). Lovepreet and a few other Indian wrestlers are driving to the show as well and Lovepreet is nervous about his upcoming match. He’s in a Battle Royal and Braun Strowman makes a cameo as one of the other competitors and stands out with his Wyatt Family ring gear. Lovepreet actually eliminates someone before getting tossed out. Carmella makes her in-ring return as well.

THE BOSS IS HERE! Not Sasha Banks but Triple H, who requests a meeting with Banks and Bayley. The two divas reunite and immediately go into bestie mode until Hunter shows up for their meeting. Strangely, this meeting takes place in the bleachers of Full Sail (which makes me think this meeting was shot specifically for the show). The ladies are nervous about the meeting and the episode ends on a cliffhanger.

Long story short, Breaking Ground’s seventh installment is a decent episode featuring a lot of feel-good segments with the highlight being Amore making his first big appearance on the show.

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.