‘WWE Breaking Ground’ Season 1, Episode 2 Recap: New energy
Whether a wide-eyed recruit or an established NXT talent, the WWE Performance Center has a way of pushing all of its roster members to their absolute limits, as made clear in the newest episode of WWE Network’s Breaking Ground.
Picking up from last week, the fates of Tino “Sabby” Sabbatelli and Devin Taylor come into focus. After being kept out of training due to a concussion, Sabby bounces back with a vengeance during an exertion test, earning a clean bill of health from Head Athletic Trainer Brian Duncan. Less fortunate is Devin, whose transition from backstage interviewer to in-ring talent comes to an abrupt end when Vice President of Talent Development Canyon Ceman informs her that her contract is going to be terminated. Ceman commends Devin’s professionalism and she expresses gratitude for the opportunity, though the disappointment on her face is plain to see.
Elsewhere in the Performance Center, the coaching staff homes in on a three-day tryout of prospective Superstars and Divas. Right off the bat, one potential recruit is benched due to a pre-existing back condition. The exhausting exercises come one after another — “You will roll until you’re sick of rolling,” Talent Scout William Regal warns the group — and Regal’s frustration over the class’ inability to master even the most basic footwork eventually reaches a boil.
The first two days of drills lead to a pivotal Day 3, when the camp members have their chance to showcase their personalities in front of the camera. Through a sea of nervous voices, trembling hands and inauthentic boasts emerge a few strong contenders, the coaches and NXT executives agree. Burly Niko Bogojevic, for example, receives praise and laughs for, of all things, busting out a Worm ala Scotty 2 Hotty. Ceman notes the top prospects from this tryout will then be presented to WWE’s ultimate talent evaluator, Triple H. For a lucky few, contracts could be on the horizon.
Those attending the tryout are not the only ones struggling to get their footing at the Performance Center. Joining a rookie class in Orlando, Fla., is charismatic Tough Enough runner-up Zamariah “ZZ” Loupe, whose captivating presence on the reality show earned him a developmental deal. Head Coach Matt Bloom welcomes the fun-loving, 19-year-old alligator wrestler from small-town Louisiana, but is quick to remind him that he is now joining an elite squad of professional athletes. Can ZZ keep up?
Josh Bredl, the winner of Tough Enough, expresses doubt, and after watching ZZ goof off during practice, so does Coach Robbie Brookside. The acclaimed British grappler-turned-coach offers an honest assessment of ZZ’s subpar conditioning and agility, but tells the former reality TV star that he wants to help him progress. Still, Brookside is firm with the youngster, letting ZZ know that his immaturity will not get him far.
Immaturity is not a problem for Dana Brooke, NXT’s self-proclaimed “Total Diva” and one of the women’s division’s top competitors. A mean girl through and through, the former gymnast spends all hours of the day improving her standing in the Performance Center, whether that means paying extra attention to her ring appearance or working extra hard inside the gym.
Despite having all the attributes necessary to become a breakthrough Diva, Dana has plateaued in her training, NXT Assistant Head Coach Sara Amato cautions. As Amato and fellow Divas Coach Sarah Stock lead a class of women through a particularly challenging maneuver, the laser-focused Dana stumbles where several of her peers excel. A subsequent attempt to learn the maneuver goes even worse, leaving Dana crumpled on the mat and a concerned classmate asking, “Are you OK?”
Has Dana Brooke finally pushed herself too far? Will ZZ learn to adapt to the Performance Center? Follow their journeys on this season of WWE Breaking Ground, only on the award-winning WWE Network.