Welcome to WNW's weekly Tough Enough blog, Tough Stuff! Last week, we saw yet another not surprising elimination in Alex, the guy that thought he didn't need to know the history of professional wrestling to be a Superstar. This week, with the current WWE Champion gracing the competitors with his presence, will we see someone step out of the crowd and truly shine?
Opening Video and Judge Intro:
Yet again, the cut person, Alex, was taken out of the intro. And I know I haven't really said a lot about Jericho and Renee on the show, but I love that they are co-hosts. It really fits Jericho's personality. I just wish WW would give Renee a show either on the Network or YouTube like she used to do on The Score in Canada, where she ran down the highs and lows of the week. Paige is getting really comfortable in the limelight of this show. It feels like she is showing more and more of her own persona each week, and not the one that WWE has manufactured for her to display. But that being said... I have a feeling this week's episode will be somewhat controversial, if the last two weeks are any indication. I just hope the videos don't skew things yet again.
Barracks Segment 1:
Before I go into this entire segment at length, I want to actually salute someone I never thought I would: Dianna. Despite what was shown on the live show, she has a conviction of character that is probably unparalleled in that locker room. If you didn't see our news story on it, her departure was not because she missed her fiance, but due to the fact that a close friend, Jason Hogan, a former Navy SEAL, that was bouncing at her bar while she was doing Tough Enough was very critically injured by a person putting him into a guillotine choke, which broke his C3, C4, and C5 vertebrae. He's currently paralyzed on his left side thanks to this, and this could very well cost Dianna her way of life. She wanted to go home as soon as soon as she heard the news the Saturday before the live show last week, but couldn't due to the commitment she had with WWE. I praise her for wanting to stand by and be there for her friend, and I hope that she does well in the future. Out of all of the prospects, I will now hold her in the highest regard. If you guys want to support Jason on his recovery, they have set up a GoFundMe page for him, which you can find HERE. Please, go and help him out. He more than deserves it.
With that being said, however, WWE should be ASHAMED that they basically decided to just use the previous drama for this and not be completely open about why she left. They could have given the wider audience a chance to help this veteran instead of just relying on Dot Com traffic. BAKA!
But on to more fun subjects!!! Billy Gunn used a crank siren to wake everyone for the daily torture session! I really hope they make this a recurring thing and have him wake them up every week with different objects. After Sara mentioned Billy pulling her to the side to tell her he hopes she stands out this week and her being the one to notice Dianna's absence, it looks like they are focusing in on her. I hope that actually becomes a good thing, but if Kevin Dunn's edits have taught me anything, it is that she will surely be on the chopping block this week. I know Billy was just doing what he was instructed to on mentioning Dianna quitting, but it is really feeling disrespectful. The drama on this show is being laid on WAY too thick. It's no wonder they are tanking in the ratings. Honestly, at this point, it makes me want to turn the show off, or at the very least place it on mute.
Character Challenge Part 1:
Right off the bat, Rollins is more invested and better spoken in his appearance than Reigns was the entirety of last week. And who would be better to talk about character and developing a persona for the WWE Universe than one of the most over heels in the business today? But did Billy Gunn suddenly morph into Drew Carrey? We are playing "Scenes from a hat"! And right off the bat, we are getting current WWE stereotypes pulled. Josh got Wade Barrett, Giorgia got either Sasha Banks or Steph, Amanda got the Bella Twins, Mada was KotR, Daria was actually unique with the Fallen Angel, Tanner was Dolph, ZZ got Hogan/Angle, Sara Lee was heel AJ Lee, Patrick got Sandow's original gimmick, and Gabi was a farmer's daughter? Boy... That one was bad! It was really sexist, but when has the Divas division not been? But I have to say, they had one of the best costume and prop companies to create their character at! The fact Josh couldn't find anything to fit him shows just how big he is too. I think ZZ is right that the "American Hero" is a pretty broad stroke, but playing it safe could cost him. I have to agree with Rollins; I don't see Amanda as tough. She looks exactly like the card she pulled, a Barbie Doll, and I really hope the fans don't keep her around longer than they have to. And bonus points to Patrick for the Disco Inferno reference! He wins this week's show in my book! But SHAME on Seth Rollins staring at a girl's butt! ;) I do have to agree with Tanner, and I said it on week one. He looks a lot like Rollins, and that really is not a good thing. Honestly, if he ever got on the main roster, I would see him ending up as Rollins' lacky, similar to how Ryder and Hawkins were to Edge.
I'm sorry, I know the drama is incredibly fabricated, but this was a bit much. They could have taken this moment to do right, and they decided to take another pot shot at Dianna. WWE clearly has no class, and now I really question their commitment to veterans and their stars, because they wouldn't treat someone like Tyson Kidd like this, who has a similar injury. No, it may not have happened to Dianna directly, but slapping her around is basically slapping the veteran in the face because she left the show for him. F*** you Vince McMahon and Kevin Dunn.
Character Challenge Part 2:
I like that the coaches wanted to put the spotlight on Sara Lee and Amanda after last week. They needed to put themselves out there a bit more to wow the judges for the main show. Personally, I beg to differ with the coaches. I thought Sara sold her idea for the gimmick well, but I would have had her lose the crown. Josh looked more like trailer trash than he did a British Brawler. And the flicked cigarette was just poor taste. But WHAT THE BLUE HECK was Daria thinking!?! She looked awful out there, and it seemed like she took the theme so literally that it hurts to watch it. Tanner had the look down well, but that jump into the ring completely broke the immersion of his character for me. Sometimes, less is more in this business. Gabi completely lost all class with her gimmick, and made me wonder if we crossed back into TV-14 territory! Wait... is that Lita's dog? Bonus points for Patrick for thinking outside of the box there! But I do agree with Billy. He should have had a mic and said something, because you are not going to get intellectual from that by being silent. Amanda did exactly what I expected, and it clearly worked. But I have to give Mada some props! If he ever made it to the main roster and won KotR, this would actually make me zero in on whatever he is doing based on looks alone. Giorgia was honestly the best out of all of the Diva's. She truly believed in and immersed herself in the gimmick. That is something a lot of the main roster can't seem to grasp! However... Nothing could prepare me for the horror that was ZZ this week! He looked like a Vegas showgirl put on 200 pounds and decided to wear a man's tight shorts. *shudders* I need some mind bleach!!! Booker hit it on the head with him though. At the end of the day, do you compare with the top stars in your gimmick? If not, you aren't a good fit for the modern WWE environment. Giorgia and Patrick winning weren't surprises, but the fact that they are going to go ahead with an elimination after Dianna leaving is! It looks like this heard is going to be thinned a little quicker than we expected! Considering how the videos up until now have gone, I fully expect that Sara, ZZ, and Daria will be in the bottom three. I just hope I'm a bit wrong there.
Barracks Segment 2:
ZZ had a bit of a point that it didn't matter if we were laughing with him or at him, the bottom line is that we were entertained. However, that entertainment has to fit the mold WWE is making. Yes, you can be outlandish and goofy and make it work. Just look at Santino and R-Truth. They fit a comedy mold the right way, and they improve the product for it. However, something like what ZZ was doing is the equivalent to Sandow as Magneto. Utterly pointless. I'm not sure what to make of the alliance of Gabi and Sara. It feels like a way for Gabi to keep a possible threat under her thumb. And ouch!!! Amanda is doing this with a displaced implant? Is she stupid? That could cause her some serious health issues. but you have to love the manufactured drama Vince and Dunn keep shoving down our throats. You knew they were building to a fight here, and it sickens me that they are pushing out what should be important, the focus on the these men and women trying to become WWE Superstars.
I love that Bryan called Tanner out for the fight! It looked awful seeing it, and you could tell they were pushed into it by the producers. But whoa! Paige is getting a bit of a Mean Girl attitude about her tonight! Hooker T? Talking about ZZ's junk? She's flying off the cuff a bit, and I'm not sure I like it. It's just not an attractive quality for such a typically sweet woman. But why, oh why, did we have to keep talking about ZZ's package? Was it really that pertinent to the show? I want the judges thought and questions to these young men and women, not for them to make a running gag. That's Billy Gunn's job! I'm not at all surprised by the bottom three, as I called them based on how the show's formula went this week, but what irked me was Paige's reasoning. I felt like Sara did step forward and do exactly what the judges want. And if she is going to continuously single her out, then it is only a matter of time until the fans stop saving her. I do like that the competitors will have a second chance to do their entrances for the judges, because it will give the fans at home a full experience for how they would be in their gimmick on TV. And I like that they are doing them instead of going straight into a half-baked speech to save themselves. Sara on this go around looked a lot more lackluster than before. I would have thrown my jacket at Paige if I were her to send a bit of a message home. I have to agree, she needs to find her edge. ZZ and those shorts again!!! The running gag continues, and it's just getting sad. I mean really? Isn't there ANYTHING else they can focus on instead of an 18 year old kid's nuts? ZZ won that crowd over by just being himself, and that was an absolutely amazing thing. Say what you will about him otherwise, he's got heart. Daria though... That was a bit weak even though it was better than last time. I just didn't feel her gimmick in that entrance. Daria's speech was impassioned, and I kind of hope she gets saved for that, despite the disrespect she showed last week. ZZ poured his heart out for his, and Sara explained why she wanted to save herself. But with both her and ZZ being repeat offenders in the bottom 3, I have to expect one of them are the most likely to be sent home. And it looks like the rest of the competitors feel the same way, voting Sara Lee unanimously for her. And with yet another week passing with no saves, Daria ended up being the one sent packing. Honestly, I think the title issue last week was still burning in fans hearts and that is probably why she went home. But I am surprised that WWE didn't make a bigger deal about Daria coming out on the Tough Enough Network Special than they did! When Renee mentioned it, that was the first time I had heard anything on it. I have a feeling that if more fans had known about that, the vote might have been a bit different.
Normally, I like to go over the show and look forward to next week's broadcast here, since I don't get to watch Tough Talk on the Network due to issues my computer seems to have with streaming it. But Josh Tucker pointed out a bit of it that I thought needed to be addressed. WWE put out a special event last weekend, The Beast in the East, and the only person that watched it was Patrick. Out of the 10 people that were in that barracks, you are telling me the only man with dedication and drive in this business is Patrick? I have to agree with the judges, we may as well close up the shop and declare him the winner now.
Next week, we will get Dianna's replacement and I am sure another special guest. See you next week for more Tough Stuff!