Welcome to WNW's weekly Tough Enough blog, Tough Stuff! Last week, we saw Gabi make an utter fool of herself and be eliminated because of it, Patrick ruffle Mada the wrong way, and Sara Lee redeem herself by standing up to Paige! This week, the competitors will be tackling an obstacle course, meeting Natalya and Big Show, and we will have our first injury of the season. Plus, another elimination! Let's get to it!
Opening Video and Judge Intro:
As has been the standard, Gabi was cut from the intro, but we also got to see Chelsea added to it! But one thing I didn't like about how they added her into it is that they placed her behind Josh, when everyone else is in alphabetical order. It felt lazy. Plus, they used a stock shot from Dot Com for it! I couldn't help but laugh at the Mick Foley esque shameless plug by Bryan for his new book. And you can tell he enjoyed it too. He had the biggest smile on his face, and it beamed true love for this business. I loved that Jericho introduced Big Show, and his smile always makes my day a little brighter. I wish WWE would just hurry up and turn him face permanently again, because I always hate how his heel persona comes across.
Barracks Segment 1:
Well, it's not taking very long for the Divas to show an immediate divide. Chelsea and Sara Lee vs. Amanda and Giorgia will get interesting as the weeks go on. But Patrick may have cursed himself with the question about being in the bottom 3. It always seems like in these sorts of reality shows that the person that asks about being on the cusp of elimination is the next one to either be eliminated or be close to it. I like that ZZ was the one to pull Patrick to the side and bring up Patrick's attitude of late. Patrick has gotten a big head like Tanner did when he first started winning challenges, and it is clearly alienating him in the barracks.
Whew! That obstacle course looks like it isn't a joke. That's pretty similar to what our local National Guard's Armory has. Though... I kind of wish WWE had went the obvious route and forced these rookies to take on SCSA's Skullbuster! That'd be a kick in the slats for everyone!I'm glad they used local LEOs to monitor the course. Local law enforcement officers really catch a lot of crap and don't get very much positive recognition. And Nattie!!! I miss seeing her on TV. I really hope Tyson Kidd is doing well in his recovery. I have to say, Tanner SMOKED that course! He beat everyone, including the LEOs running the course with them. Tanner is a beast on these physical challenges, and that alone will probably secure him a contract even if he loses this competition. And I'll tell you right now that I don't blame the majority of the rookies getting hung up on the rope climbs, because that is easily the toughest thing to do, because it is all upper body work, and that was what I was weakest in. Giorgia being the first woman across was a bit of a surprise, especially since Sara Lee was so far ahead until the ropes. But I have to agree with Patrick. Even at my worst point of physical conditioning, I could have done the first rope challenge that ZZ was on. He has shown time and again that he isn't cut out for this. I won't be surprised if he is eliminated tonight. OUCH! You could see Chelsea's ankle twist in the most nasty way when she hit the ground after climbing the rope. I like that they called over the medics immediately and stopped the rest of the competition to tend to her. And Natalya's speech about humility was something the rookies desperately needed. But it is also something that is echoing in my head considering ZZ and Patrick's talk earlier. I didn't realize Nattie had to wait 5 years for a tryout. You'd think she'd have been a hot priority for them, considering her lineage.
Chelsea's Injury/Barracks Segment 2:
Thank goodness her X-Rays came back alright! No breaks, just soft tissue swelling. And that's going to be painful for a few days, but at least it isn't something that will eliminate her from the competition. But even with just a sprain, she shouldn't be working on it for a month. She's going to have a very tough road in this competition. I do have to give props to Tanner for going with her to provide her with some support. Maybe that kiss last week sparked something between them? Of course, Giorgia and Amanda would be griping about Sara Lee shying away from them and cheering on Chelsea. And why shouldn't she? Gigi and Amanda have been stuck up, fake wenches this entire competition. I can't blame Sara for trying to align herself with the only other decent person in the barracks. AWWW!!! Josh calling his little girl melted my heart. It's segments like this and the one Mada had a couple of weeks ago that make me realize just how much this men and women sacrificed just for a shot at the WWE. It's pretty surreal. Chelsea is already getting the WWE mindset when it comes to injuries: Work until it is too broken to do anything with. And that's sad, but if she doesn't, she's going to be eliminated. Patrick confronting ZZ over his seeming lack of motivation kind of brings a full circle back to earlier on in the show, and I don't like where Dunn and VKM seem to be heading here. I have called WWE out these past few weeks on the fact that they seem to produce these shows to slant the vote in a way they want it. And it looks like they are trying to eliminate Patrick this week. After the break, we had the ladies talking about the injuries, with Amanda showing some NASTY rope burns, and Sara Lee lets it slip that Chelsea's injury is worse than she has been letting on, which is sure to cause some huge drama later on down the line.
Performance Center Workout/Humility Challenge:
Of course, the first thing that is brought up is Chelsea's injury, and Gigi just throws Sara straight under a bus. More wonderful drama!!! Shouldn't the other women let Chelsea handle it the way she needs to? Just more "gamesmanship" plays, and colorful directing. I have to wonder if WWE really thinks this is what the fans want to see? Wah wah!!! Gigi is an awful actress! She couldn't even cry on demand! Seriously, this REEKS of Kevin Dunn. At least we got to see the rookies learn how to put what they have learned so far together. I like that Booker called Tanner out to add more showmanship to his moves. He may be a beast physically, but he is lost in the shuffle once he has to step between the ropes.
The idea behind the challenge, I thought, was a good one. You have to make not only look good yourself in the ring, but you also have to make your opponent look good. And part of that is selling and showboating for the crowd. You can be the most gifted athlete in the business, but if you can't captivate the crowd and make your opponent look good, then you may as well be the proverbial broomstick out there. I do agree with Mr Ass! Mada more than sold it, and made it completely enjoyable. And the fact that he made Patrick say "I'm bowing down to my king." as he did the squats was priceless! I hope that this was a bit of a lesson to Patrick, ZZ, and Sara. They need to step up and show the Universe they belong, but keep grounded in doing so. Mada finally wins a challenge! And Gigi won her third challenge in a row, which arguably puts her to the front of the pack for the women.
Barracks Segment 3:
Of course, as soon as we get back to the barracks, we got the catfight drama fallout from the training session. And it erupted with Sara Lee FINALLY showing some emotion and passion on these women! She even dropped an F-Bomb! Why hasn't this Sara been the one we've been shown this whole time?
Well... It's the Big Show! And I feel sorry for those boys in the ring... As Jericho says, it's a frying pan to the chest to be slapped by that 7 foot monster! And I love that they aren't getting any padding from it either! Let's see these guys' pain tolerance! And Show didn't hold back either! But I think Patrick got the worst one out of all of them. That chop echoed through the building, and you could tell Show put some extra sizzle on it because of how arrogant Patrick has become. And Show was enjoying every second of this! I think once he is ready to hang up the boots for good, he'd make an excellent trainer down in NXT, because you can tell his love of the WWE in everything he does. And I loved the hug he gave ZZ after he went to his knees from Show's chop! It had me all gooey inside!
Once we got to the judge's segment, it was relieving to hear Chelsea was cleared to resume workouts. Though... I do have to wonder if it was only because she pushed the doctors hands so she wouldn't get cut. Only WWE and the doctor knows, however. ZZ getting called out on his conditioning was expected, and it was nice to see Patrick defend him when asked about it by Bryan. Hulk clearly has a thing for Mada, and it is really starting to feel like WWE is trying to push him to the forefront to win this. And while I think Mada has a huge upside, I see him getting placed in a stereotypical gimmick once he's on the roster. And I like that Paige complemented Sara for finally stepping up! I guess that means no bottom three for her for the 4th week in a row. Amanda apparently failed to complete the course, which in my opinion should place her down there. As the judges were deciding who was going into the bottom, I knew Bryan was going to call out ZZ and that someone was going to call out Patrick, but Josh being in the bottom was a surprise. He did pretty well this week. But this also marks the first time the bottom 3 have all been the same gender. This is also ZZ's third bottom 3, which ties him with Sara for most appearances there. Hulk, with his rambling, utterly confused everyone on his pick, which was ultimately Josh. And thanks to that, we got 15 second speeches instead of 30. I'm starting to wonder if the judges will save anyone before the show is over, because at this rate, it seems like a wasted gimmick. WHOA!!! Patrick was eliminated?!?! I don't have any words for this. It pretty much proves what I have been harping on. WWE has an agenda with how they want the vote to go, and they tailor the video packages to fit that mold. And so far... 4 out of 5 times, it's worked. It just sickens me that Patrick was on the receiving end, and the look on Bryan's face shows that he regretted not saving Patrick when he had the chance. The only relief in this was that the voting was fairly close, not a blowout like the last few weeks. I think Patrick clearly has a HUGE WWE future, and VKM would be stupid to not sign him to a developmental deal.
I was going to go over some figures and analysis of the winner's contract here this week, but with this shocking elimination... I think I will wait. Next week, we are getting zip lines... And a Swiss Superman flying on them as Cesaro brings his A game to the final 8! See you next week for more Tough Stuff!