In a nice change of pace from last week, this episode focuses on tag team. It was clearly shot just before and during the Dysty Rhodes Classic tournament as the two teams we will follow are set to meet in the quarter finals of said tournament.
We start with Jason Jordan, briefly meet his family and then start of what quickly becomes one of the most interesting interviews to date on this show. He talks about how his years of wrestling at the Indiana University gave him some stability in his life, he also indicates his motivation comes from something very negative as two of his brothers are in jail. The trainers chime in and praise his work-ethic and athletic ability but also point out there was something missing in the personality department.
Enter Chad Gable.
Jordan very candidly admit that his team with Gable probably saved his WWE/NXT career, as he was going nowhere fast as a singles wrestler. The trainers are quick to put over gable as and someone who can tie people up quicker than anyone on the roster. Both Jordan and Gable than start talking about how their similar athletic backgrounds made it easy for them to find chemistry as a team. We see them discussing what makes a good tag team and engage in a little Basket-Ball game that gable end up winning. “I guess you never thought you were gonna get beaten by a short white guy” is undoubtedly the phrase of this episode.
The fact that the spotlight is on tag teams this week is no coincidence as all of ties gets tied into the Dusty Classic. Jordan and Gable discuss the importance of being possibly being booked for the NXT Takeover: Brooklyn event, but then Gable suffers an ankle injury. The trainers are quick to react and give him some extra days of rest so he can be fit for the all-important quarter final match.
The second team that gets the spotlight are the Hype bros and we start with Mojo Rawley who apparently really is hyped all the time. Must be an exhausting way to live. Mojo lets us have a peek at his new house, and, because he’s hyped immediately starts wrecking things, doing salto’s on couches and playfully pushing people into walls. Interestingly, while Mojo himself wants to be features on the main roster as quickly as possible, his trainers are less enthusiastic. We see Bloom discussing Mojo not listening and failing to grasp the concept of an opening match. Bloom ominously states that if Mojo keeps this up he will stop booking him.
Enter Zack Ryder.
The episode gets really interesting as soon as they start switching between the two teams and we can see how different the dynamics are. The chemistry between Rawley and Ryder is much less evident, as Rawley sees himself as a singles wrestler and thinks of the team as just a stepping stone. Ryder, on the other hand, is fully aware that this might very well be his last chance to get back on the WWE main roster and is determined to somehow make this work. The differences are further highlighted as Rawley describes himself as someone who is partying all the time, while Ryder is much more focused on his goal and knows how difficult it is to get there. While Jordan and Gable rode together to the venue where the quarter finals will take place, Rawley chose to tag along with Dana Brooke and exchange phone numbers with an hot girl while driving there. Ryder was already where he was supposed to be. But we also see a different side of Rawley as he speaks about the importance of connecting with his fans. We then see him giving his T-shirt to a young fan and congratulate the boy on his grades.
The episode stops here for those two teams, o doubt we will have the match and the aftermath on the next episode.
Another focus of this episode is Cal Bishop. Cal tells us how he was born with a club foot but also managed to excel as an amateur wrestler. He apparently caught the eye of the trainers because his character is so different. Unfortunately, a serious shoulder injury has been holding him back but he has earned the admiration of his trainers for his dedication during his rehab. Bishop gets emotional when he talks about his parents begging him to come home, but says he’s determined to succeed whatever happens. His storyline ends in a promo class where he cuts a rather solid promo, earning the approval of the trainers.
Finally, we’re back to ZZ and his ongoing quest to become… Something. ZZ introduce us to his new home which turns out to be a bus which he calls his “groupie bus”. And I don’t even know how to comment that. Well at least ZZ hopes the groupies will come at some point. ZZ then proceeds to explain he doesn’t know how to tie his shoes and that’s why he wears flip-flops, boots and things like that. And, again, I have no idea how to comment that.
We switch to training and are once more treated to the sight of ZZ unable to keep up with anything. Bloom spells it out once more to him and says ZZ had no idea it was going to be so hard. ZZ admits as much and then spend the rest of the episode saying he won’t quit, he’s not a quitter, his parents didn’t raise a quitter, quitting isn’t in his DNA… And then ends up quitting during a training session. You gotta love it when that happens
Excellent episode this week which featured one of the most exiting teams WWE has right now. And no, I’m not talking about the Hype bros. While there are still some obvious attempts to push some of the characters (I simply can’t believe Rawley is like that ALL THE TIME, I mean I was already exhausted after watching him for five minutes), there is nothing inherently wrong with that. On the contrary it adds a nice dynamic to the candid interviews and the backstage segments. I liked the Cal Bishop story also, emotional and you really had the impression of watching someone who really wants this.
As for ZZ, what more can I tell? I hereby dare anyone who read this to come up with a logical reason for WWE to hire this guy. My take is that WWE hired him to give us reviewers someone to mock while we’re writing. Awww, thanks so much WWE, You shouldn’t have.
Tags: Breaking Ground, Call Bishop, Chad Gable, Dana Brooke, Hype Bros, Jason Jordan, Matt Bloom, Mojo Rawley, Zach Ryder, zz