Season Finale: At NXT Takeover: Respect. Triple H announced Tyler Breeze earns a promotion to the main roster after the event.
As the first season of WWE Network’s WWE Breaking Ground winds to a close, the Superstars of Tomorrow look to steal the spotlight at NXT TakeOver: Respect. The special, NXT’s eighth live event on WWE Network, is more than just an opportunity to turn heads: For Bayley and many tag teams, it’s a chance to make history, whereas TakeOver marks Tyler Breeze’s swansong as a member of the WWE Performance Center.
The pressure to perform is felt throughout the NXT roster on the night of the card. Dana Brooke, set to face Asuka, refuses to sit out the card, despite suffering a pectoral injury in training. With her mother in attendance, Brooke fights through the pain, and though she doesn’t walk away with the win, the experience puts her over the moon. “I felt amazing,” Brooke tells the WWE Breaking Ground cameras.
Baron Corbin pulls double-duty, meanwhile, competing in the semi-finals and finals of the inaugural Dusty Rhodes Memorial Tag Team Classic (with the trophy presented by Dustin Rhodes and Cody Rhodes), alongside partner Rhyno. The powerful pair first overcomes Jason Jordan & Chad Gable before losing to the tournament winners, NXT Champion Finn Bálor & Samoa Joe. As the tournament’s giant trophy is wheeled past him post-match, Corbin reflects on the evening’s emotional and physical toll. The Lone Wolf is disappointed he couldn’t win the trophy honoring the late WWE Hall of Famer, one of Corbin’s earliest mentors at the Performance Center. “Back to the drawing board,” Corbin concludes.
TakeOver: Respect may not be Apollo Crews’ debut in NXT, but the eventisseen as the newcomer’s breakout opportunity, even by Triple H, who is on-site for the big show. Mere hours before Crews’ match against Tyler Breeze, The Game encourages Crews to break out a new, attention-grabbing finishing maneuver during the bout. Crews heeds The Game’s advice, unleashing a perfect and powerful powerbomb variation to snare the win.
As impressive as Crews’ display is, all eyes turn to Bayley when she enters the ring for her historic WWE Iron Man Match against longtime rival Sasha Banks, the first main event fought between women on a WWE Network live special or pay-per-view (or for that matter: In ANY other wrestling promotions around the world). Looking to prove that she belongs not just in the main event but on the WWE main roster, Bayley upends Sasha in a supremely physical 30-minute contest. After the bout, Performance Center sage William Regal can’t help but gush over Bayley’s ability to connect with NXT fans the moment she enters an arena.
The afterglow of another hugely successful TakeOver holds steady long after the closing bell. In an emotional scene, Triple H tells the NXT producers and coaching staff that Dusty Rhodes would have been proud of the event. The Executive Vice President of Talent also praises the fact that, win or lose, Asuka, Dana Brooke, Jason Jordan, Chad Gable and Apollo Crews all had career-making performances at TakeOver: Respect.
Later on, in a larger meeting in front of all the Performance Center athletes — from established Superstars like Sami Zayn and Corbin to up-and-comers like Tough Enough winner Josh Bredl and former NFL standout Tino Sabbatelli — Triple H again extols the effort put forth by all. He then calls Tyler Breeze to the center of the room to inform Prince Pretty that he is being called up to the WWE main roster.
Upon hearing the long-anticipated news, Breeze’s friends and peers rise to their feet to give him a standing ovation.
For Breeze — one of NXT’s most accomplished Superstars — the experience of training at the WWE Performance Center and competing in NXT may be ending. Yet, for the dozens of elite athletes still grinding it out every day in the hopes of becoming WWE Superstars, the search to break new ground continues.
The series finishes with Sami Zayn's return and Nia Jax's NXT Women's title shot at NXT Takeover: London against Bayley, which she lost, while Dana Brooke is recovering from surgery, and Breeze making his main roster debut.
|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|