WWE Breaking Ground Recap 11/9: Focus on Tough Enough Josh and Tyler Breeze
Recap by @RyanNPike
Key Takeaway: NXT heads down to Texas for a sold-out three city tour, while Josh tries to parlay his Tough Enough win into a WWE career.
Show Recap: The NXT tour of Texas provided the framework for an unusually focused edition of Breaking Ground this week. The entirety of the episode was split between getting to know Josh, who won Tough Enough this summer, and following the NXT veterans on their three-city Texas trip.
We meet Josh in the gym, where Jason Albert tells him he needs to take yoga because he’s in the rookie class. His big-money contract is briefly mentioned, and Albert tells him to get his banking and living situation set up and then it’s time to get to work. Later, Josh helps set up the ring at Full Sail for the NXT tapings and talks about having a huge desire to get in the ring. He says he has to trust in the coaches and their plan for him.
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Later on, we join Josh at the grocery store. His wife and daughter call (via Facetime) and he talks about uprooting his family from Colorado so he can follow his dreams and how much it motivates him. He’s in the process of finding a place for them all to live so he can move them down to Florida. Later, we join Josh in promo class. He kind-of sucks, and delivers an awkward, meandering promo, trying to use his Tough Enough persona “the Yeti.” William Regal’s obviously disappointed (after 10 weeks on the mic in Tough Enough), advising him to be flexible and to ditch the Yeti thing. The coaches discuss Josh’s lack of progress in a meeting. At the end of the episode, Josh delivers a slightly better version of the same bad promo. Regal looks displeased. Josh doesn’t come across well, despite having a cute daughter.
The other two-thirds of the episode, focusing on the NXT shows in Houston, Austin and San Antonio, was really good. In Houston, they spent some time with Tyler Breeze and his history – he grew up on WWE and wanted to be a wrestler, but nearly got cut after years in developmental before falling into the Tyler Breeze character. He’s been in NXT for five years, and we get a montage of the 50+ wrestlers who have been called up from developmental since he’s been there. He’s hoping his call-up is coming soon and he seems really into his character, even staying in his persona backstage in Austin when Jason Jordan ribs him about wearing amateur wrestling boots. We hang out backstage as Sara Amato and Adam Pearce produce a show, paying a lot of attention to the Tyler Breeze/Samoa Joe match. Everyone praises Breeze’s match afterwards. There’s some downtime afterwards in Austin for the talent, so Baron Corbin goes to a bar to unwind and watch a band (but he has to deal with fans taking photos with him). Breeze and Tye Dillinger go looking for bats and find some under a bridge.
The segment in San Antonio spends a lot more time out of the ring. Breeze and Corbin argue about specific details of Texas history at the Alamo. Carmella and Colin Cassady, who seem to be a couple though it’s never stated, go to buy cowboy boots and cowboy hats. Apollo Crews’ sister visits him backstage and marvels at how far he’s come in his career – she says the last time she saw him, he was in Japan. Corbin’s cousin and nephew also visit. At the show, Carmella’s a little blown away that people cheer for her. Corbin loses to Joe (as Breeze did the previous night), and tells a story about his cousin texting him after the show to say his nephew wanted to beat up Samoa Joe because he was mad that he lost. After the show, everyone flies home – including Carmella with a spectacular (and complete in-character) leopard-print neck pillow.
Final Thoughts: If the goal of the first few episodes of Breaking Ground was to convince you that the NXT wrestlers that make it on TV are hard-working and that the Tough Enough guys are lazy and terrible, mission accomplished. The more time they spend on the up-and-coming NXT television performers – particularly Dana Brooke, Tyler Breeze and Apollo Crews – the more they come across as really likeable, enjoyable personas. Heck, Baron Corbin even seems like a relatable human even though he seems pretty obnoxious at times. But the time spent with ZZ (last week) and Josh (this week) seems wasted by comparison, and it waters the show down quite a bit.
If only the whole 30-ish minutes were solely devoted to the main NXT crew.