Scott Hall paid NXT a visit and William Regal tried to include the man in the daily training routine. We also got to see a bit more background about Sami Zayn’s injury on his WWE debut while Tino Sabbatelli thinks he’s already a big star in the wrestling business.

This episode of Breaking Ground came straight to the point about the previous cliffhanger: Triple H told Bayley and Sasha Banks that he was impressed with their match at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, so he decided that at NXT TakeOver: Respect they would be the main event in a 30-minute Iron (Wo)Man match – both for the first time. Of course, both of them were a little nervous and shaky but also excited. And I was a little shocked about how are human beings are able to walk in such high heels without breaking both your ankles at every single step to walk.

One main focus in this episode Crossroads was Tino Sabbatelli again. He’s undoubtedly a great athlete with a great body. But that’s far from enough if you really want to make it in NXT / WWE. In American Football, where Tino Sabbatelli comes from, you can hide behind a helmet and if you are strong and you can run, you’ll probably be a big star. But wrestling is some kind of art and magic. You have to be a good actor; you have to read the audience and you have to adept to their reactions to create the reaction you want to create. It’s not just about booking. How often have I read, “it’s not his fault – it’s just the bad booking”. But it’s not that easy. If you are really good, the crowds will still cheer or hate on him, despite how low you are booked. But if you are pushed constantly through different storylines, with various opponents and the crowds still don’t care about you, maybe you just aren’t good enough or you’re not showing wrestling the respect you should.

Because that’s the main problem with guys that come to wrestling from a different sport: like Tino Sabbatelli they think they already know everything because they were in a professional sport. The problem is that they come from their first love in sports terms and they probably see wrestling as a lower sport that they can easily take by storm. They don’t have much respect first and probably won’t have the understanding, commitment and respect like people that watch and do wrestling from a very young age and see this sport as their first favourite. You only have to watch an interview with Roman Reigns and compare it with an interview done by Dean Ambrose. Ambrose loves wrestling with every inch of his body; for Reigns wrestling is just business and he doesn’t respect the fans (only those who kiss his ass, i.e. the females and the little kids).

So, in Tino Sabbatelli’s case, he certainly impressed the coaches with his body and his willingness to come back from a concussion. He obviously works hard. But he somehow already thinks that he’s one of the greatest and can teach the wrestlers how to wrestle. That attitude wasn’t that obvious first. But when Tino Sabbatelli had the opportunity to step in the ring with Apollo Crews at a NXT live event, he didn’t do what he was told to do but tried to make himself look better without treating his opponent with respect. Actually, Tino Sabbatelli was surprised about taken aside by Matt Bloom who criticized him for his ego-trip in the ring. Sabbatelli thought he did great when right the opposite was true and very obvious. At least, Sabbatelli was kind of willing to take some advice from former-NFL player Baron Corbin. And still, coach Matt Bloom told Sabbatelli that he had to switch classes to the beginners, lead by coach Robbie Brookside. That’s the kind of demotion that will make Sabbatelli really think that maybe he isn’t that great already that he thought he would be.

And there is also Dana Brooke who was a gymnast for eighteen years before she came to NXT. Yes, she is dedicated to sports and her body indeed looks great. But being in NXT doesn’t only mean you have to be in shape. Her promos still sound unnatural and she has to work on her wrestling skills, not just cardio and squats. It’s good for her that she’d taken two NXT rookies under her wings but if she stays to be some kind of a fitness guru, she won’t ever be one of the best wrestlers in NXT.

A prominent guest at the Performance Center for this episode of Breaking Ground had been Scott Hall a.k.a Razor Ramon. He certainly was a unique entertainer and wrestler in his prime but I’m always ambivalent when I see some older former wrestlers. Because on some of them you can clearly see what they did to their bodies and brains – not just the wrestling itself but also alcohol, pills, steroids, etc. When you are young, you think you are able to take anything without negative effects. But as you grow older, your body will suffer even faster if you don’t care of it because you thought you know better or you thought that your body and brain are superior over any other human bodies and brains on Earth. So, for me watching those old guys, clearly not on top physically and mentally, makes me sad. But it can also set an example for the young guys not to overuse alcohol or pills or other things. Because at some point in the future, you will have to suffer. There is no exception.

Now Scott Hall watched with William Regal on the sidelines and finally told him that he somehow enjoys it being around the young guys. He probably thinks he feels a lot younger this way – and needed. Later in the episode, Scott Hall told Apollo Crews, who isn’t really gifted when it comes to mic skills, one or two things. But I doubt that Scott Hall will ever be a good teacher. There wasn’t any advice that I wouldn’t come up with myself. What probably makes it special to the NXT wrestlers, is his pure presence and that a legend actually cares about them.

We also got some insight of the nature of Sami Zayn’s cause of recent shoulder injury. Personally, I didn’t know that it actually happen before his match against John Cena on 04 May 2015. Mentally, it’s always harder to accept an injury when it didn’t really happen at a “worthy” spot. You always want for your scars to “mean” something but if you can’t tell a great story or even add the scar to your story, it’s harder to overcome. Sami Zayn certainly did great because even with suffering his injury before the match, he still put on a great show that day. He didn’t say, “I’m hurt, so I can’t wrestle”. No, he was in his home town of Montreal, Canada, he already had his debut in WWE, so of course, he wanted to prove that he was worth the call-up. But the injury probably went worse because of that. He had surgery and still works hard on his come-back – not in WWE but in NXT. That seems to be a set-back that adds to the injury but Sami Zayn wants to prove himself in NXT again, so he can make it to the WWE on top again.

But as long as he’s on the sidelines, he’s not just working on his comeback, he’s also helping others with his experience in coaching. So, we saw Sami Zayn along with Tyler Breeze helping Eva Marie getting better in the ring. She obviously doesn’t have the natural in-ring talent at all. But at least she’s able to listen and she wants to learn. And Sami Zayn already appears to have some good coaching skills that he can use when he isn’t able to wrestle anymore. William Regal also was of full praise to Tyler Breeze for making basically his last chance in NXT work and now being one of the most established guys there.

Two main points that were told as cliffhangers to the next episode of Breaking Ground were:

  1. Nia Jax and her television debut in NXT – this episode she got her in-ring gear but she didn’t knew already about the actual date of her debut;
  2. Dana Brooke being injured at the hands of Asuka – Asuka definitely has got a vicious wrestling style with lot of kicks and holds. But at a training match against Asuka, Dana Brooke landed on her back and something felt entirely wrong. What actually happened we will get to know in the next episode of Breaking Ground.

S01E07 | Back to the Breaking Ground main page | S01E09

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