As Breaking Ground cameras rolled between the Performance Center and Full Sail University during the Autumn of 2015, it really was all to play for. Things were far from perfect, but the notion was hiding in plain sight.
Earlier that year, Tough Enough had been yet another putrid-but-profitable proof of concept for the "reality show doesn't equal talent development" principle, whilst WWE's main roster had been rather slapdash in its pillaging of the supremely talented NXT women's division. WrestleMania had dropped Daniel Bryan into the midcard before injuries benched him entirely and CM Punk definitely definitely wasn't coming back.
But it didn't matter anymore - NXT had filled the hole. 2014's Arrival was the first live Network broadcast, and served as a jumping on point for many fans that had heard but not seen Triple H's vanity/passion project coming to life in Orlando. The product was magnificent and getting better, so much so that by 2015 it was able to sell out Barclays Center and comfortably outperform SummerSlam the next night.
What a time to be on the rise in WWE. What a time to be Breaking Ground...
(These are all those not currently working on the main roster when the programmed aired - hence the lack of by-then main roster regular Sasha Banks and a few special guest drop-ins along the way. The various faces were spotted upon careful rewatch by WhatCulture's chief NXT correspondent Adam Nicholas. Did we miss any? As usual, let us know in the comments below)
We Need To Talk About Kevin (Nash).
Michael can be found in articles or on podcasts extolling the virtues of New Generation WWF, New Japan Pro Wrestling or the new WWE angle they definitely definitely won’t ruin this time.