There was some cautious optimism prior to the premiere of WWE Network’s latest show, Breaking Ground. Judging by the released trailers and teasers, it seemed WWE had finally decided to created a true behind the scenes reality show, where we could follow aspiring and confirmed NXT wrestlers struggling to reach the top.
After watching the first episode, I can now say that optimism was warranted. The first episode offered us an unique look on the inner workings of the Performance Center and, by extension, NXT. From seeing familiar and less familiar faces in their daily training to watching some of them prepare for a NXT live event, Breaking Ground is showing it all.
The first episode focused on three wrestlers and trainees, first one was our good friend Baron Corbin. Amusingly, Baron was portrayed in exactly the same way as his on-screen character. A lone wolf, with something of an ego, that can go violent if pushed. Whether Corbin’s real life persona is indeed that close to his on-screen character is actually irrelevant. Even if WWE is tuning it up a bit, I see nothing wrong to use the show to aid struggling wrestlers. That being said, unless Corbin finds a way to translate all that into the ring, he will remain the bland wrestler we all love to criticize.
Tino Sabatelli is a former NFL player who has been looking to successfully change career-paths. A concussion has stopped his progress and much is made of WWE taking such injury’s seriously. We followed Tino in his efforts to prove he has completely recovered.
We also followed Nhooph Al-Areebi, who already achieved some notoriety a couple of weeks ago due to some questionable tweets, in her efforts to improve and become a WWE/NXT Diva. She explains how difficult it is to be the youngest one out there and expresses disappointment at not being booked at the aforementioned event.
Also, we meet Matt Bloom and Sara Amato (Jason Albert and Sara del Rey) who provide insights on the progress those individuals are making and we also see Sara helping NXT backstage interviewer Devon train in the hope of one day becoming a full pledged diva. Bloom seems very comfortable in his role and I, for one, am very glad to see Sara Del Rey finally get the recognition she so richly would have deserved during her in-ring career.
All thos segments are glued together by the voice of William Shatner who effortlessly keeps our attention.
To be honest, I was fully prepared to use the sarcastic tone I employed when reviewing Tough Enough, for example, but I quickly abandoned that idea while watching, for the simple reason that this show is actually quite good. While some might complain at who receives the spotlight on this show and who doesn’t, the simple fact is that most wrestling fans have been hoping for such a behind the scene look for some time now. For once, WWE has given us exactly what we wanted. Let’s hope they don’t fall into the temptation of creating drama for the sake of drama in upcoming episodes, because if they can resist that, this show easily has the potential to become one of the best things on the WWE Network.
Tags: Breaking Ground, Matt Bloom, Nhooph Al-Areebi, Sara Amato, Tino Sabatelli, William Shatner