The first three weeks of Tough Enough felt relatively bland, as the judges were able to very easily cut otherwise forgettable competitors such as Hank, Alex, and Daria. With the sudden loss of Dianna, I got a bit worried that the judges’ votes would suddenly be swayed towards the men of the barracks in an effort to keep balance.
Instead, we were introduced to a replacement competitor in the form of Chelsea Green. For those that follow social media, Chelsea’s entry into the house wasn’t much of a surprise as it was heavily talked about on the Tough Enough Twitter. For those that don’t and seem to feel as if she looks familiar, it’s because she once played Daniel Bryan’s physical therapist/estranged lover about a year ago. Little explanation was made on-air about her entry to the house; though one could speculate that producers wanted to make sure the competition would be able to last through their allotted episode count.
As we kicked off the July 14th episode of Tough Enough, there really wasn’t much said by the competitors about Chelsea, either. Instead, we were treated with another dose of the Gabi and Amanda rivalry. Once again, Gabi continued her path to self-destruction, calling out Amanda on having fake breasts. The irony of the entire argument – Gabi has fake breasts, too (as pointed out by Sara Lee).
I’m sure Gabi had a point to make. But unfortunately for her, she’s the only one who ever seems to know what that point is.
I’m Afraid I’ve Got Some Bad News
King Barrett joined the cast at the Performance Center this week to talk to the group about cutting promos. After giving an entertaining example about his recent crowned royalty, he invited each of the competitors into the ring to show their stuff. The first part of this week’s challenge is for each competitor to cut a promo about why he/she will be the winner of next year’s King of the Ring tournament.
If you blinked – you would have missed the entire segment. We were treated mostly to a few words from a handful of the competitors, which wasn’t nearly enough to make any sort of determination on their skill level. It’s worth noting, however, that Mada seemed incredibly intense and believable in his brief snippet.
Tough Enough Takes it to the Improv
The promo challenge actually continued later that evening when Chris Jericho took the cast to a local Orlando Improv. Here, the competitors would be pitted against one another in an 8-mile-esque promo battle where the audience would determine the winners. The match-ups were as follows:
- Mada vs. Josh
- Chelsea vs. GG
- Tanner vs. Patrick
- Amanda vs. Gabi
- Sara Lee vs. ZZ
While most of the promo battles were entertaining, the battle between Sara Lee and ZZ was borderline unwatchable. Neither Sara nor ZZ seemed to grasp the concept of the exercise and instead of trying to lean on their strengths, they tried to pretend being mean. In was an utter failure, making even Gabi’s self-praising segment seem bearable.
Mada, GG, Patrick, Amanda, and ZZ were dubbed the winners of their respective battles and were brought on stage so the crowd can pick an overall winner. For the third week in a row, Patrick and GG were named the male and female winners.
Mada had what I considered to be the best in-character promo, but there’s clearly a ton of fan support behind Patrick. Noticing this himself, Mada got a bit frustrated that he wasn’t the winner and called out Patrick for talking directly to the crowd instead of cutting an in-character promo. Patrick’s new found arrogance flared up, leading him to take a few personal shots at both Mada and Josh, with him specifically saying that “the era of the big man is over.” The argument was very close to coming to blows and actually resulted in some of the show producers stepping in to help ZZ break the three up.
For what seems like the first time of the entire series, we’re finally treated with a bit of actual wrestling training. In the Performance Center, Coaches Billy Gunn, Booker T, and Lita show the competitors how to execute (and receive) a standing shoulder tackle and a scoop slam – though they stop short of actually slamming each other on the mat.
For the most part, everyone seems to pick up the moves well, only needing a little bit of polish. But when it comes time for Sara Lee to take the scoop slam, she struggles dearly. After several botched attempts at just being picked up, Billy Gunn gets in her face and reams the poor girl out. Sara looks visibly defeated, but manages to shake off the criticism and finish on a high note.
After the training session wraps up, the trainers award top performance honors to Chelsea and Josh. Having a bit of indy experience under her belt, it wasn’t a big surprise to see Chelsea excel in the ring. Josh defeating Patrick, on the other hand, was unexpected and prompted Patrick to call Josh’s accommodation a “most improved award” and “not a real win.”
Before heading out to the live voting, we cut back to the barracks where Sara Lee finally breaks down. Earlier in the day, Jericho told her she didn’t belong in this competition if she wasn’t going to show more passion and stop smiling. Coupled with the constant berating from Paige and now Billy, Sara Lee questions why she’s constantly the one getting the brunt of all the yelling when Gabi barely gives any effort. She fears she’s going home, despite actually trying her hardest, and receives quite a bit of comfort from the other girls in the house.
Meanwhile, in another room, we get a bit of flirting between Tanner and Chelsea which ultimately results in a small kiss. It felt a bit out of place and could’ve just been a staged camera-move set up by the producers.
Another One Bites the Dust
The judges all seemed to have their minds made up about their bottom three from the start of the show. As usual, Paige starts by selecting Sara Lee. Before allowing the other judges to name their nominees, Paige expresses her profound disappointment in Sara Lee, saying how she saw something in Sara from the very beginning and wants to see her bring that out. Sara actually gets a bit mouthy with Paige, which she seems to like.
Hulk Hogan’s nomination surprisingly goes to Tanner, who Hogan says lacks charisma. He’s very critical of Tanner’s personality behind the microphone, regardless of how much he thinks of Tanner’s athletic ability. He also makes it a point to call out Patrick on his comments from earlier about big men. He says that Patrick is slowly becoming more arrogant when he should be focusing on showing the judges a new side of him, other than being “a smart mark.”
Daniel Bryan wrapped up the nominations by finally selecting Gabi, which literally brought a sigh of relief to the other competitors in the bottom three.
Instead of a final plea, Jericho announces that each of the competitors would get an opportunity to cut one final promo on the judge that put them up. With Sara Lee bombing virtually everything leading up to this point, Paige made it a point to shout out that Sara was being given a lifeline to stay in the competition.
Watching the second promo attempt by Gabi was actually physically painful. She had to be reminded several times by the judges to stop reading her resume and telling them “why she’s best for business.” She seemed lost and completely confused as to what she was even competing for.
Tanner followed Gabi and, as the favorite heading into the impromptu challenge, also flopped. Despite being a physical beast, Tanner is very dry. He spoke in a very monotone voice and was praising Hogan the whole way through. The Hulkster even made it a point to tell Tanner to talk about how he’s going to take Hogan’s spot; advice that seemed lost on the former favorite.
When the mic was handed to Sara Lee, Paige stood right up out of her chair, which made Sara laugh. After she got over a her nervous bout of laughter, you could see Sara really starting to let out all of her frustrations. She got loud, she got angry, and she marched up to Paige, who met her in the middle of the stage. Sara ended with a line saying that the reason Paige has been picking on her was because she’s “afraid of what will happen to [Paige] when she’s not sitting behind a desk.” The very passionate promo got a huge pop from the live audience and a personal applause from the former Divas Champion.
The voting was turned over to the fans, who unsurprisingly sent Gabi packing. In her final moment of stupidity, Gabi said during her closing thoughts that she was “glad to be leaving the show so she could start the next chapter in her WWE journey.” Renee Young, who was interviewing Gabi, looked floored at the response…as were we all!
Good riddance, Gabi. And goodbye!
- I’ve said since Week 1 that the minute Gabi hit the bottom 3, she’d be going home. She’s undeniably a bitch, has no interest in the business of professional wrestling, and is either incredibly stupid or is incredibly good at pretending to be a ditz. She’s been lucky enough to hold on this long, having outlasted someone like Daria, who truly deserved another chance.
- If this episode accomplished anything, it was turning my tastes on Patrick. I used to really be behind the kid, but he just came off as incredibly arrogant to me. Every time he’s won, he’s rubbed it in everyone else’s faces and every time he’s lost, he’s come up with an excuse as to why. One of the judges actually went so far as to point out on Tough Talk that Patrick has become the person that made him hate Tanner in the beginning. Their roles have completely reversed. I hope he shakes the attitude.
- Mada’s promo skills were on point. He was passionate, fierce, and authoritative. He did a great job playing up the Pharaoh character from the last challenge and even went so far as to shout in Egyptian. He did a stellar job and I truly do feel he should’ve won the promo contest. Unfortunately, he was a bit overshadowed by Patrick in their “duel” during Tough Talk — but I won’t hold that against him.
- My fear about ZZ winning this competition because of fan support was highlighted again during the Improv segment. When selecting the final winners, the crowd was very vocal for ZZ, who absolutely bombed his promo. He had arguably the second loudest pop, behind Patrick and tied with Mada. He is genuinely a funny guy and I enjoy watching him on TV, but I’d hate to see him beat out other competitors who are clearly leagues ahead of him in terms of character building and in-ring ability.
- Tough Talk continues to be the highlight of the week, every week. The Miz is just such a natural on the microphone. But this week’s quote of the week doesn’t go to him nor does it go to the often outspoken Paige. This week’s quote of the week goes to Daniel Bryan, who accidentally referred to”Battleground” as “Battlefield.” The mishap prompted a great reaction from the crowd and the competitors alike, with Mada shouting “he doesn’t watch the product,” in a clear rib at Patrick. Hogan had a bit of fun with it, too, saying he’s finally off the hook for his Superdome / Silverdome slip up.
So how did you like the episode this week? Are you happy that Gabi is finally out of the house or do you think Sara Lee’s been given one too many chances? I’d love to hear your thoughts on Twitter at @suggafnshane, using the hashtag #WrestlingOnline!