Moore’s WWE Breaking Ground Episode 8 Review: Crossing Roads

By John Moore

WWE Breaking Ground
Available for streaming on the WWE Network

This week’s intro video showed Triple H handing Sasha Banks and Bayley the main event of the takeover show. Scott Hall was shown at the performance center giving the trainees pointers. He heard an Apollo Crews promo and asked him “is that how you really talk though?”. Sami Zayn injuring himself during the Cena open challenge was featured. It also showed Mojo Rawley doing a senton on his couch because he couldn’t contain the hype of his house party. Cue the intro video…

William Shatner opened the show introducing a meeting between Triple H with Sasha Banks and Bayley. Hunter said they rose the bar not just for the women, but for everyone. Hunter then asked them to main event a PPV for the first time in NXT and WWE PPV history, in a 60 minute Ironman match. Sasha couldn’t contain the tears and emotion. Hunter said this was their moment and they can change the business. Bayley told the interviewer that history was being made in the first Iron[wo]man match. Bayley told Sasha that maybe they can main event WrestleMania someday. Sasha said she was nervous and that they can do this!!!

Shatner said Bayley and Sasha were “breaking ground”. Shatner transitioned to a full board room where Matt Bloom (Albert) and the rest of the coaches were putting together an NXT house show. Shatner said Tino Sabbatelli impressed the coaches at the last “internal match” and that prompted Albert to peg Tino in a match against Apollo Crews at the live event. Adam Pearce said that Tino has impressed him and Billy Gunn for being a good student. Albert said that it took Tino a while, and he should learn not to be a slow starter…

Razor Ramon Scott Hall was shown passing along words of wisdom to the NXT students as he was met by Albert and Norman Smiley. Hall had his signature toothpick. The show showed a Scott Hall video package…

Moore Asides: As most of you know, Scott Hall has been in the wrestling industry for several decades. WWE fans know him best as the Razor Ramon character, which is a take off of Tony Montana from Scarface. What made him unique in his WWE run was how he had a great character and had great matches in the Intercontinental scene. He had memorable feuds with Sean “1-2-3 Kid” Waltman and Shawn Michaels. In WCW, Hall was a founding father of the NWO alongside fellow Kliq member Kevin Nash. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014.

Albert handed Hall over to the trainees. Hall said that once he started acting like a top guy, it started to work. He said he was going to offer more knowledge once he saw how a few of these guys worked. Hall watched some sparring matches and went over the little body moments it takes to make them more believable. Hall told Regal that it was awesome hanging around these young guys. Regal told the interviewer that Hall really knows what he is talking about and even Regal is learning things.

Albert said that Scott can teach Baron Corbin how to protect his character. Hall commended Corbin for getting in better shape. Hall also liked Corbin’s heel turn now that people found out how much of a “dick you are”, as he told Corbin. Corbin told the interviewer how he really loved the matches that Hall has had like with Michaels. Corbin also liked Hall’s character and machismo. Hall told the crew how important it is to cheat as a heel…

John’s Thoughts: I know a lot of it is elementary/commonsense, but what Hall is saying to these rookies is golden and should be taken up to the main roster. Regal said he was learning from Hall, so maybe Vince McMahon could pay attention and re-learn some of the things that he’s not doing anymore. I’ve always felt that Roman Reigns could benefit from having Hall as a behind-the-scenes mentor to teach him some of the basics to get him over.

Sami Zayn was focused on next focusing on rehabbing his shoulder. Sami said he’s been in NXT for about under three years. Regal said you can’t take your eyes off Zayn when you see him perform. The show showed a clip of Bret Hart introducing Sami Zayn taking up the open challenge in Canada. Shatner called this the opportunity of Sami’s dreams in Zayn’s hometown of Montreal.

Moore Asides: Sami Zayn previously worked as El Generico. While a comedy gimmick at first glance, his ring work is spectacular and smart. Generico had great matches against all the indy greats including Kevin Steen (a/k/a Kevin Owens) where he won a Luchas De Apuestas Career vs. Mask match in ROH one time.

Zayn said with all his experience in the industry, he would have never thought he would have gotten an injury this way. Zayn said he tore his labrum and rotator cuff while throwing his arms up to hype the crowd, prompting a surgery. Sami talked about Zayn fighting through a match against John Cena with one arm. Shatner said Zayn put in a good performance but now his future was uncertain…

Regal said that Sami has a way to go body wise because this is a physical job. Zayn and Regal were chatting and Sami said he was getting that itch to get back in the ring. Sami quickly went back to the shoulder rehab…

Shatner moved on to Tino Sabbatelli’s home where he was getting ready for a match against Apollo Crews. Tino was shown getting new custom made suits to help him develop the character of “Tino” (his real name is Sabatino “Sabby” Piscitelli). He talked about his NFL swag helping him develop a character and trying to work the crowd. Tino told his tailor that the suit was gangsta!

Next was promo class time where Scott Hall watched Asuka, Hugo Knox, Bayley, and Apollo Crews. Shatner said that Crews was a great ring worker, but his weak point might be at promos. Crews cut a “rising above” promo. Hall talked to Apollo and critiqued how the promo didn’t sound very natural and how he should be “you” and not be cutting an “interview”. Hall told Crews not to cut a promo but just to talk like he usually does…

Tough Enough Josh was focused on next. Josh said that the last few months have been a whirlwind. Robbie Brookside advised Josh to move his family over from Colorado.

Bayley and Carmella, BayMella, were at a local coffee shop getting psyched for Bayley’s main event. Carmella couldn’t believe it either. Bayley mentioned how such a big thing couldn’t escape her mind. She also was psyched to hear Triple H give her props…

Dana Brooke was working out around the lake. She was doing standing lunges with Billie Kay. Brooke said that working hard, dedication, training 24/7 was what you had to do. Brooke said Sports has been her life for 18 years as a gymnast. Brooke mentioned how she was taking some of the newer women under her wing to teach them better fitness…

The show moved back to Sami’s rehab where he was working the resistance bands. Shatner said that Sami’s hope to return is what keeps him going. Sami mentioned how this was one of the most uncomfortable recoveries, more than a knee injury. Sami mentioned how a few friends told him he couldn’t come back. Sami said he was optimistic, but it was out of his hands as to where he is placed once he got back to wrestling…

Tino was driving around in his Maserati to his match against Apollo Crews. Tino said it was going to be a great learning experience to perform away from the PC (Performance Center). He was talking to his friend about how he was facing the number 1 contender to the championship, Apollo Crews, and how awesome it was. Tino said this was going to bring up his game to another level.

Shatner contrasted Tino’s travel in the Maserati with Apollo Crews’s more modest way of traveling, which was as a carpool passenger in Peyton Royce’s sedan. Apollo said this match tonight was going to be a challenge for both Tino and Apollo. At the live event, Albert was watching closely with Scott Dawson and taking notes on Tino’s performance.

Albert didn’t like a few things. He really didn’t like Tino bailing on an Apollo dropkick and told Dawson that something like that wasn’t going to make the main roster. Albert took Tino aside and started to critique. He told Tino to work on his strikes because Vince McMahon always says “men throw punches”, and Tino’s punches were lame. He also pointed out that failed dropkick spot. Tino told the interviewer that he was caught off guard and thought his match was good. Albert said that Tino should keep it simple and not think he knows more than the coaches, because he doesn’t.

Baron Corbin mentioned how he really clings to Tino to talk. Baron talked about a similar NFL experience and how it’s taken him three years. Tino said he looked up to Corbin as to what Corbin has done. Corbin said he wanted to see Tino do great things and be successful. Albert pulled Tino aside again away from the event. Apollo said he wanted to put Tino back in Robbie Brookside’s “Beginner Class”. Albert mentioned how Tino’s ring work has to catch up to his character…

Sami Zayn was training Eva Marie Eva Marie next. Sami said this was a great learning experience to make him better. Shatner talked about Eva Marie requesting herself to move to NXT to get some experience. Tyler Breeze was training with Eva Marie and Sami. Sami brought up both being Canadian kids with a dream with Tyler Breeze. Sami mentioned how Tyler Breeze has been on the chopping block several times and has just thrived…

Moore Asides: By the way, I was a huge viewer of NXT’s precursor, Florida Championship Wrestling and I do remember the Mike Dalton character. He was essentially what Dolph Ziggler is right now in that he was there to sell for bigger dudes while also having zero character. Dolph should figure out how this character doesn’t work and how it almost got Tyler fired. How ironic that they are paired together on the main roster.

Nia Jax was getting ready for her NXT debut. They showed her going over that awful suit that she debuted in (her current ring attire is much better and pretty cool). Shatner brought up how some people are dead on arrival due to their first impression like Glacier, Max Moon (Konnan), Gobbedy Gooker, or the Shockmaster while Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt, and Undertaker are some of the good ones.

NXT rookies Hugo Knox and Sunny Dhinsa were offering their tips on Nia Jax. She said she liked their opinion because they were honest with her. Nia told them she was nervous about not knowing who she was wrestling in her first match on TV…

Tough Enough Josh was shown getting his home ready for his wife and daughter as they were setting up the living room. Josh talked about how his daughter was a genus! He said that if she’s happy, he’s happy. Josh said it was now time to go now that the seeds are planted in Florida…

Mojo Rawley was at his house and getting ready for a party. He looked like he was having a one man party before the party started. He then let the girls in as they were drinking Svedka Vodka mixed drinks in orange cups not red cups, he told everyone to “stay hype”. Rawley said it was no longer going to be PG at this party…

The show moved on to Asuka entering NXT and how excited Dana Brooke was to start working with Asuka. Shatner said that some of the other women were intimidated. Dana Brooke said that hearing someone better than her coming in was motivation. She talked about liking her stiff kicks and dynamic moves like the cross arm breaker. Asuka hit a hip attack and Dana said she knew something was wrong. Asoka’s mouth was a gasp as Dana Brooke was writhing in pain on the ground…

On the next episode of Breaking Ground, Nia Jax makes her NXT TV debut. Sami Zayn continues his in ring recovery with some actual in ring work. Tara Halaby was shown working with Dana Brooke on her latest injury as Dana also shared some words and tears with Jason Jordan…

John’s Thoughts: Breaking Ground is starting to make things work in an entertaining way with some real compelling reality television. Over the last two weeks, the show has packed a lot of material and a lot of faces on the show and it doesn’t seem like they are telling too many stories all over the place.

They did pick a few stories to tell. Scott Hall is a treat to see on WWE television again and he’s really in good TV shape right now. The Tino Sabbatelli story was told at a steady pace and a good one to hear as well. The only story that could have used more focus was the Iron Woman match, but you can’t blame them since there was limited time and Bayley got a good focus on past episodes. Sami Zayn is usually great with his natural stories, so it was only natural to make a story out of his road to recovery. The Dana Brooke story was also set up well with two segments.

Breaking Ground probably could have gotten a few more episodes if they spread out the focus, but the approach they are taking now is good given what they have to work with. I’m looking forward to next weeks and hope they continue their string of good shows.



The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features the WWE Survivor Series audio review co-hosted by Jake Barnett. Normally exclusive to ProWrestling.net Members, Jason and Jake discuss the full show including Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Bayley in a non-title match, Brock Lesnar vs. Rey Mysterio in a No Holds Barred match for the WWE Championship, "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Universal Title, and more...


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