Shrunken human skulls and an abandoned, possibly haunted, mental hospital are just a few of the sights and sounds of NXT's three-day tour of Louisville, Ky., and Nashville, Tenn., as featured on this week's episode of WWE Breaking Ground. The road trip provides not only moments of levity and spine-tingling scares, but also the opportunity for several Superstars to develop new skills and gain a competitive edge. Unfortunately, it also includes a nasty in-ring accident that threatens to halt one Diva's recent momentum.
The feeling of injuries and stalled progress is all too familiar for Cal Bishop, the beloved but injury-prone recruit whose contract was terminated at the close of last week's episode. Picking up where we left off, inside the conference room of the Performance Center, WWE Vice President of Talent Development Canyon Ceman tells Bishop to be proud of what he accomplished and doesn't rule out the chance for him to return. Bishop's departure ripples through the roster, with Nia Jax and Jason Jordan expressing sadness over their friend's situation. For his part, the big man promises to overcome and “be something great someday.”
As the door closes on Bishop, a new Superstar-in-training enters the fiercely competitive Performance Center. Incoming recruit Lovepreet Singh joins the roster from Punjab, India, where he was renowned in the ancient combat sport of kabaddi. Ceman and WWE scout William Regal flew to Lovepreet's small village to sign the stud athlete, and now that he has reported to Florida, Lovepreet is ready to represent his home country the best he can.
Lovepreet is still learning English, and he admits the language barrier presents a slight challenge during a promo class. Nonetheless, speaks confidently and receives favorable feedback from NXT veteran Sami Zayn.
The NXT team's road trip gets off to a similarly promising start. Day one starts at the break of dawn for Colin Cassady, his valet-turned-girlfriend Carmella and NXT Women's Champion Bayley. En route to the airport, Bayley arrives at Cassady and Carmella's house in the dark hours of the morning, as Big Cass polishes off a plate of stovetop steak and day-old rice. The tandem known as “Baymella” — best friends Bayley and Carmella — look ahead to the journey.
The long day ahead culminates with an event held at the “Louder Than Life” music festival in Louisville. With a flash thunderstorm promising to turn the fairgrounds muddy fast, and the action slated to take place under a tent, the crew first stops by a sneaker store to purchase disposable kicks to handle the sludge. Enzo Amore rides Jordan for his unapologetic selection: Jordan knockoffs.
The Live Event is a smash success, and it gives Baron Corbin a much-needed platform to interact with the NXT Universe. The former NFL player insists he performs best when he is under pressure, but Performance Center Head Coach Matt Bloom explains that the towering athlete still needs to work on his overall presentation and interview skills, as well as evoking a reaction from fans. The Live Event environment helps nourish those instincts, though Corbin notes it is in stark contrast to the mentality in football, where players are discouraged from showing any emotion.
With the event over, the Superstars and Divas find relaxation in one of the most terrifying ways possible: A guided tour of the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, an abandoned mental hospital that is believed to be haunted. Coach Robbie Brookside is skeptical about seeing a supernatural being, but from Corbin to Jordan, some of NXT's toughest grapplers are visibly spooked as they stalk through the creepy tunnels of the now-shuttered institution. Corbin acknowledges a “negative energy,” and Jordan feels a cold breeze on his neck, which he concludes is a ghost.
Fortunately, the NXT talent emerge safely from the halls of Waverley Hills and are ready for the next leg of their tour, in Nashville. With mystical matters still on his mind, Corbin and a friend visit an antique shop in the city that specializes in “dark aesthetics.” After gushing over the prospect of finding tooth extractors or lobotomy tools, The Lone Wolf settles on a piece of skull that he buys for his collection.
All eyes then turn to that night's Live Event. Especially excited for the card are Baymella. After learning a new skill in Louisville — Head Coach Bloom asked Bayley to coach her fellow Performance Center colleagues, a huge honor reserved for the most advanced members — NXT's ever-huggable Diva looks ahead to watching her best friend battle Eva Marie in a critical match-up.
In Carmella's mind, the gap between Bayley and the rest of NXT's women's division is large, and a good showing against Eva Marie could help her narrow the divide and bring her into the same league as Bayley, whom she admires. From the opening bell, The Princess of Staten Island has the full support of the vocal NXT Universe in Nashville. Things don't stay rosy for long, however, as the dangers of wrestling become a reality when Eva Marie boots Carmella in the head. The impact rattles Carmella, alarms the coaches and Big Cass, who are watching on monitors backstage, and prompts immediate assistance from the medical team on-site.
What is the extent of Carmella's injury, and how will it affect her momentum at the Performance Center? Watch the fallout when WWE Breaking Ground returns next week on the award-winning WWE Network.
|List of WWE Breaking Ground episodes|
|Onward and Upward • New Energy • Hittin The Road • Tag Team Turmoil • Call It A Comeback • Road Trip • Proving Ground • Crossing Roads • Countdown • Respect|
|WWE Breaking Ground: Reloaded|