‘WWE Breaking Ground’ Season 1, Episode 7 recap: Proving ground

WWE Network: Nhooph bombs when she introduces "Aaliyah" to the NXT family: WWE Breaking Ground, December 14, 2015

In spite of William Regal's advice, Nhooph still has a long way to go to make it inside the squared circle.

“Adapt or perish” is more than just a slogan on an Evolution T-shirt; it is also an apt mantra of the WWE Performance Center, where dozens of stud athletes are challenged daily — and often in ways they never expect. On this week’s episode of WWE Breaking Ground, one newcomer must adjust to life in not only a new profession, but also an entirely new culture, while another rookie recruit stumbles during a key exercise. Then, anticipation builds as WWE’s Executive Vice President of Talent, Triple H, arrives in Orlando to deliver huge news to two of the center’s brightest prospects.

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When we last left off, Carmella had suffered a head injury at an NXT Live Event. Though The Princess of Staten Island avoided suffering a concussion, WWE policy mandates she stay out of the ring, a predicament that drives Carmella stir-crazy. Thankfully, NXT’s most “fabulous” Diva is medically cleared to compete before long, and upon taking her first steps back in the ring, she excitedly proclaims her love for the ring.

Things are looking less bright, at the moment, for recent signee Nhooph — aka, the newly anointed Aaliyah. After William Regal blessed her concept for the Aaliyah character (Bratz doll meets belly dancer), the youngster practices her entrance for the sports-entertainment sage. Regal emphasizes the importance of making a good first impression before a live crowd, but his advice seems to fall on deaf ears when Nhooph showcases her entrance in front of her Performance Center peers. Their reaction is tepid, at best. An underwhelmed Regal maintains that she needs more time and commitment, but Nhooph summarizes the experience in just two words: “So bad.”

WWE Network: Lovepreet Singh invites Coach Robbie Brookside and his NXT family for a delicious Indian dinner: WWE Breaking Ground, December 14, 2015

A long way from where he grew up, Lovepreet has found a second home at the WWE Performance Center.

Another new recruit, Lovepreet Singh, of India, basks in his new environment. A standout in the ancient contact sport of kabaddi, Lovepreet is picking up the mat game quickly, with help from coach Robbie Brookside. Still, old kabaddi habits die hard, and after striking another recruit below the belt in practice, Lovepreet is warned by his sports-entertainment mentor to stick to what he’s being instructed at the Performance Center.

Nevertheless, Lovepreet’s progress receives praise. A strong showing in a tag team match at the Performance Center earns Lovepreet not only praise from Colin Cassady, who confides in Carmella that the rookie is destined for big things, but also an opportunity to wrestle at a Live Event. Lovepreet chalks up his smooth transition to Brookside’s teachings and friendship, and to thank him, he invites Brookside over to his home to feast on a traditional (and spicy) Indian dinner. Though he has the support of his family back home in India, Lovepreet can’t help but view Brookside as a brother figure.

Lovepreet isn’t the only former pro athlete taking a seat under the learning tree of a more experienced Superstar. Former NFL player Tino Sabbatelli similarly turns heads in a match at the WWE Performance Center. Knowing he still has much to learn, Tino welcomes feedback on his match from NXT Superstar Tye Dillinger. Dillinger suggests the chiseled Tino play up his good looks, and Tino agrees his appearance will help set him apart.

WWE Network: Bayley sits down with Coach Sara Amato for her performance review: WWE Breaking Ground, December 14, 2015

The NXT Woman's Champion discusses becoming a leader in the NXT locker room.

Speaking of mentorship and positive role models … it’s Bayley! After she and her boyfriend Aaron rewatch her acclaimed TakeOver: Brooklyn match against Sasha Banks, Bayley meets with Assistant Head Coach Sara Amato for a one-on-one review.

The NXT Women’s Champion is lauded as a locker-room leader, but is also given a new goal: Amato encourages Bayley to take a less experienced Diva under her wing. Recognizing it as an opportunity to help strengthen the women’s division, she jumps at the chance. Charlotte and Paige did the same for Bayley when she first arrived at the Performance Center; for NXT’s most huggable Diva, it’s all about paying good deeds forward.

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With her new goal in mind, Bayley lets Sara Lee, the female winner of the 2015 Tough Enough competition, ride along as she and Carmella drive to an NXT Live Event. Bayley and Carmella quiz the reality TV star on her experience in Florida so far and try to help her get her footing, advising her to ask questions early and often.

However, it’s Bayley who’s left asking the questions as this week’s WWE Breaking Ground comes to a close. Along with Sasha, Bayley is unsure what to expect when, at an NXT taping at Full Sail University, Triple H calls both Divas over for an impromptu meeting, the nature of which “change the course of WWE forever,” The Game says.

What’s Triple H’s huge news for Bayley and Sasha? Get the answer — along with a look at Scott Hall’s visit to the Performance Center and an update Sami Zayn’s return from injury — when a new episode of WWE Breaking Ground airs next week, only on WWE Network.

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