Tough Enough: Silent Rage and Pretty Shoes

Andrew’s having an unfortunate bit of luck at the moment. The last time it was his turn to cover Tough Enough he was poorly for the whole week. Now it’s his turn again, his computer’s died and…..waitaminute. I see a theme forming here. It’s lucky I’m a good boss and not in any way suspicious of his current misfortune.

As it’s the Bank Holiday I haven’t got time to do a full recap, but just know that Christina made it back from hospital with just a little ankle sprain, they all did the commentary for an open-top bus tour around Hollywood and were so cringeworthy we had to chew on cushions while we watched it, oh and The Rock swung by to show the contestants how to cut a bitchin’ promo. Their own promos had to be delivered to Bill DeMott and in front of the trainers and The Rock. Some were good, others a massive flop. The elimination went a little something like this:

Tough Enough: The Serious Episode

I sat down to write about Tough Enough this week but struggled to take the mickey like we have in previous weeks. Although, the scene where the Divas took the contestants to dinner was worth a thousand laffs by itself. Our intense hatred of Luke induced such venom I could easily write a whole post on why he’s so awful, and maybe I will at some point. If he wins we’ll…have a good old grumble about it. You know we’re not going to riot. Also, we absolutely think Eve and Jer-Mah should be a couple. They can talk about MMA stuff and look longingly into each others’ eyes.

But things got ever so serious during this week’s episode and, maybe I’m going soft in my old age, but I just didn’t feel like taking the low road this time. Reality TV is a strange thing. Whichever show it is, it’s infinitely easier to poke fun at the contestants at the beginning of a series when you don’t know them from Adam. When you’re heading towards the end and you’re emotionally invested in their progress, it gets trickier to point the Nelson Muntz finger and say “Ha-ha, you suck.” The Apprentice is the exception to this rule. I rarely warm to any of those cold hearted monsters.

I’m not concerned with the fact that Tough Enough hasn’t done exceptionally well in the American ratings. I can’t stand the American obsession with TV ratings at the best of times.  But I am slightly disappointed it’s not been that well received by fans of wrestling. Why not? If nothing else this progamme gives an insight into what it’s like to train as a wrestler and has been a check-point in reminding myself how easy wrestlers make a very difficult job look. Admittedly, the set-up has been heavily manipulated and condensed for TV and the schedule they’re working to, but learning how to execute the moves, keeping going when you’re worn out and having the determination not to get into a negative mindset are all highlighted. Never more so than this week.

In this week’s episode the pressure of professional wrestling was beginning to show. When Christina had a private yoga session with Trish, she became upset discussing the pressure of having to display strength at all times and never taking a break to ‘just be’. She described that feeling as being like a physical strong-suit that she wasn’t allowed to take off. I completely understand that feeling. When you’re trying to achieve something or overcame an obstacle, particularly if it’s physical, there’s always a worry that having a vulnerable day or a rest day is seen as weakness and will put you behind the rest.

Andy became too violent during a training match, bloodying Luke’s nose and throwing him dangerously out of the ring. He said he’d lost focus because he was missing his family. He re-motivated himself by watching a video of his young daughter and speaking with his wife. Yet this is the lifestyle they’re all chasing. This is what they’ll be facing for the next 20+ years…if they’re lucky. Luckiness and serendipity came to the fore further during this episode.

Events took a more serious turn when Martin became injured while leaving the ring. It looked like nothing but a simple twist of the ankle, but a night in hospital revealed that he’d fractured it and had no option but to leave the competition. It was incredibly sad. I had hardly noticed Martin at the beginning of the series but he had become the number one person to beat, consistently winning skills challenges and impressing the trainers throughout. If I’d had to select one contestant to win the contract before this episode, I’d have picked Martin without even thinking about it. His departure was emotional and a shocking reminder that getting ahead isn’t just about being good. It’s also about having luck on your side. I have Rey Mysterio’s “Injuries can happen at any time.” from the ‘don’t try this at home’ video ringing in my ears. Steve Austin, clearly affected by Martin’s injury, let him pin his own belt up before he left. It was especially touching and a mark of just how far Martin had come during the training sessions.

It didn’t end there. After Martin had hobbled away from his dream on crutches and in tears, Christina injured her ankle and had to be rushed to hospital following an awkward collision with AJ. The show ended without an elimination and with Christina’s participation in the show hanging in the balance. It’s definitely true that the drama in Tough Enough is ramped up for television and the show can be a little cartoony in places, but it’s actually a microcosm of all the wrestling issues we discuss so fervently every day. It’s a shame more people aren’t watching it and using it as a springboard for debate. Sometimes I find all that goes into making a product work behind the scenes far more interesting than the final product itself.

A Song For Whoever: Tough Enough edition

Boss Lady Ray: It was Andrew’s turn to do the Tough Enough write-up this past week, but unfortunately the Sidekick was feeling rather under the weather for most of the week. I’m not a cold-hearted boss, so I let him skip it. Just to be sure we’ve said goodbye to last week’s two eliminated contestants properly, this week’s Songs for Whoever are dedicated to Eric and Ivelisse.

Oh Eric. So much potential. Handsome, a striking look, tall, broad and a spark of something in his eye that suggested he could be amazing.  Yet Eric underperformed on almost every task because his fitness level was appalling. He practically walked the supposed run in the mountains, he collapsed during the obstacle course while trying to dart his way through the tyre run and the greatest humiliation of all came on last week’s episode. During the rope climb assault course thingy, not only did Christina walk all over Eric as he lie stretched out over several rope steps, be he eventually became so physically weak that Stone Cold Steve Austin had to send a rescue team in to lower him to the ground. It was both the funniest and the saddest thing I’d seen all series.

It was at this juncture in the series that the trainers decided that Eric’s time was up. The training sessions were getting harder and he was doing what he could, but Eric was starting from such low point on the fitness scale there was no way he was going to catch up. I don’t feel sorry for him. To rock up at such an incredible opportunity without having done a scrap of physical training is unforgivable. But seeing someone with potential waste their big chance is frustrating. I won’t kick a guy when he’s down. Come on, Eric. Get your chin up  (preferably over a chin-ups bar in the gym) and start all over again. I shall pass you over to Nat King Cole for the rest……

Sidekick Andrew: I’ll be honest, I never knew much about most of the competitors on Tough Enough before the show started (other than Matt Cross and, to a lesser extent, Christina.) Most of the wrestlers have had indie careers that have managed to completely bypass my attention – Ivelisse however is someone I head heard of but never actually seen wrestle.

Ivelisse had a moderately succesful career as Juliet the Huntress, in particular wrestling for the Puerto Rico promotion World Wrestling Council (run by Carlos Colon, father of Carlito & Primo.) As you can see from the video above, it’s hard to deny that of the women in Tough Enough she definitely has the most ability, and that she’s prepared to help the internet solve that pesky memetic conundrum regarding pirates and ninjas. Having said that, I’ve seen that red bandana/tube top look done before somewhere, and I’ll (predictably) always prefer Beth…

Unfortunately for Ivelisse, a simple in-ring mistake by Christina left her injured and, ultimately, unable to continue. In her exit video interview (viewable here) she was pretty blatant in blaming Christina for her elimination, wishing the coaches would see through Christina’s “bullshit” and do the right thing by getting rid of her. Having seen the way Christina has reacted to the injury, it’s hard not to take Ivelisse’s side in this and wonder how Christina has held on so long…

ah yes...

So this one’s for you Ivellise. Hopefully, if nothing else, your time on Tough Enough will have raised your profile enough to get you some more bookings in the future. Oh, and as I shamefully didn’t manage to shoehorn a Simpsons reference into this post, I’ll just point out that you don’t win friends with salad.

Tough Enough: (don’t) Pop ya collar!

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, but our contestants definitely aren’t feeling good. As if having the bedroom door bashed in by Bill DeMott a couple of weeks ago wasn’t bad enough, this time their alarm call came in form of an air horn. Ouch! The remaining contestants hot-footed it down to the front of the palace where they found an obstacle course.

The course involves running up and down small hills with a body bag on their shoulders, crawling like a crab, jumping on Bill’s box, making ropes look like snakes and doing some tyres.

We’re five weeks into the competition now, so our boys and girls should have stepped things up a bit. It seems this obstacle course, however, was a challenge too far for most. Ryan kept being sent back down the hill for not being crab-like enough, Andy took so long about getting around that Jer-Mah overtook him, Ivelisse didn’t have enough strength to carry the bag up the hill (seriously, somebody get this girl a steak!) and Eric…..

Fair play to Martin, though. What a lovely boy to come and help Ivelisse finish the course.

A shower and some breakfast later and it was time to start training. Sat up on the turnbuckle, pensively stroking his tiny beard was Rey Mysterio. Just like every episode of Saved by the Bell that ever was, each installment of Tough Enough has a heartfelt message to impart. This one was delivered by Rey and involved believing in yourself, overcoming the obstacles ahead of you and working with others to reach a common goal. See what they did there? With the obstacle course at the beginning and then Rey Mysterio heart spilling? Although, if you’re a cynic you might have considered the message to be……
On to a challenge, and this week our crew were asked to pick the body bag up on their shoulder and slam it down to the mat ten times in a row. This was a further challenge for Ivelisse, who was still struggling after the obstacle course. Her luck failed even further when she got smacked in the face with Christina’s lady area after a badly timed leapfrog.

As it turned out, it was a hamstring pull that brought her down, not the groin-punch. She’s a tough cookie though, and after some strapping and hugs she was back on her feet.

Bill was getting annoyed. Nobody was firing on all cylinders. BILL! Maybe it’s because you woke them up at stupid o’clock with an air horn and got them to run a killer obstacle course before training! If I’d had to do that I’d be on a sun lounger in front of the pool sipping mocktails and singing showtunes for the rest of the day.

SharpRAY

But fair enough, this is still the most important job interview they’ll ever have, so 100% dedication is expected at all times. Noticing that the two remaining ladies were struggling, Trish went to chit-chat with Ivelisse and Christina to make sure they weren’t about to give up or sabotage each other. Judging by their expressions, I’m not sure she succeeded in cheering them up.

Getting back to the ‘teamwork’ ethic, the mentors decided to make the group compete in a basketball match against a team of world-ranked dwarf basketball players. Booker coached the champs and John Salley (who even I with my general avoidance and loathing of the NBA recognise) coached our contestants. In wrestling, being smaller than your opponents doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to lose the match. In sport, however, height and/or a weight difference would suggest an advantage. Not so in this game. The Statesmen ran rings around Team Tough Enough and embarrassed them throughout. John Salley gave them a four out of ten for teamwork. Back in the gym Booker wasn’t happy and berated the boys and girls for sucking so badly. Note to self: Never roll your eyes when Booker T is telling you off.

As usual at this point in the episode it’s time to have some kind of round-robin exercise. The contestants worked in groups of three and were gradually whittled down to the most impressive trio. The girls did terribly, Luke was boring and Ryan Skidmarks did reasonably well until his inner pantomime dam reared its hammy head again. Despite a spirited challenge from AJ, Martin was the deserved challenge winner yet again. Luke was desperately unhappy and complained by contradicting himself with mathematics. 100% > 98%, fool!

After much discussion it was decided that the bottom three would be……

LET’S DO THIS!

Tough Enough: Rollerskates make me nostalgic so please excuse all the references

Everyone likes to think they know the score when it comes to professional wrestling. Hell, we attempt to predict the results of every WWE PPV here on the site, usually with mixed success. We all know what’s going to happen: who will win, who’ll get pushed and who is in the proverbial doghouse. The same is often said about Reality TV: it’s easy to think that the whole thing is stage-managed (especially in a show with no public vote system) and that the people who will provide the most publicity or the most controversy will always stay in to the end. This is despite both genres constantly pushing the idea that “anything can happen!”, “nobody is safe!” and “expect the unexpected!

After arguably the best wrestler (Matt) was eliminated and the funniest/most quotable contestant (Ariane) went in the first week, I thought we were getting a handle on the way Tough Enough was going to work. I figured that Miss USA would bring so much publicity (and let’s be honest, a touch of “eye-candy”) to the show that she would be in to the end, and pretty much guaranteed a contract by the end of it. So, how do I feel now?

This weeks episode opened with the usual recap, followed by Rima making her way back to the house after last weeks elimination, much to the surprise of Christina. Although she wasn’t as surprised as I was by the fact that Christina can actually talk! It’s only taken her 4 episodes but now she’s got a speaking role!

"ooh... rock me Dr Zaius!"

Strangely, while Rima was telling the other contestants what was happening in the elimination, nobody seemed to have mentioned the fact that Donny Osmond Martin seemed to have won a new foot on the Hook-a-Duck stall at the local fair. If my goldfish owning childhood taught me anything, that new foot will have died before the week is out…

Then Ryan returned, much to everyone’s shock, and did the whole “look at me! I’m stealing somebody’s bed!” schtick that Mickael had done previously. This sadly interrupted Ivelisse, who appears to transforming into a blonde version of Geena Davis in Beetlejuice – maybe she should have something more nutritious than uber-generic brand COLA drunk with a spoon.

It's like a modern day Portrait of Dorian Gray

Now, remember last week Rima asked Bill DeMott for some one on one training? Well, that old saying about being careful what you wish for came to mind when she was confronted by a 12 inch pianist (sorry, wrong joke.) She was summoned to the training ring for a hard midnight session (this time you can add your own joke.) After the initial faux-pas of calling the training session a date, Rima was keen to impress Bill in any way she could, from wearing one of the multitude of Tough Enough t-shirts everyone seems to have been issued, to, well… see for yourself

Bill’s made of sterner stuff, and he didn’t let Rima’s shameless self-promotion put him off his stride. Instead he started with what appeared to be a relatively simple exercise. A training dummy was laid in the middle of the ring and Rima had to roll over it without touching it. As far as I could see (with my self-confessed lack of any training ever) it was a pretty easy thing to achieve: roll onto your shoulder on the far side of the bag and the rest of your body will follow. Now I know it’s easy to make fun of beauty queens as not being the most intelligent people in the world, but you don’t get to be 2nd runner-up in Miss Lebanon Emigrant 2008 without having something about you…

You might think this is funny, but Bill didn’t find it Hugh Morrus. (Look, I’d apologise for that joke but you should think yourself lucky I didn’t go with the Hugh G Rection joke with that earlier image of Rima grabbing her boobs.) After more training with Bill they sat down for a heart to heart where Bill basically explained to Rima that wanting to be a WWE Superstar isn’t enough. After all, if we could all do what we wanted, I’d be Spider-Man. Now, time for a brief Naturewatch interlude…

Thanks Ollie... back to the show

Time for this weeks guest. Who could it be? Someone with the personality of John Cena? Someone with the amazing stature of Big Show! With the vast range of amazing personalities that have graced a WWE ring, both past and present, it has to be someone who can really fire up the contestants.

Or maybe just an old version of that bloke that bought Mr Burns mansion

We all know Bret Hart is a legend, and he had an amazing amount of skill as a wrestler. But for some reason he’s never held any interest for me – sorry, but he’s just someone who passed me by. Still, the contestants all sat rapt, gazing on at him as he said something or other about wrestling so I suppose that’s the main thing. After Bret left, they started the daily training exercise which involved jumping over the top rope a few times. Now was the perfect time for the extra training Rima had recieved to start paying dividends. This was her time.. her opportunity… her one big moment… her…

ah, OK then...

Well, to be fair, that whole “jumping over the rope” thing probably wasn’t something that Bill went over with her the night before. After all, that would have been giving her an unfair warning of the task ahead. Still, there was still the wrestling drills to come – this must be where the payoff comes…

eek

Maybe the life lesson will be more her thing. The contestants were given “negative ten minutes” to meet Trish who was waiting at Frisco’s Bar & Grill with a mysterious woman. Frisco’s has waiting staff on rollerskates so the contestants were being asked to serve food (and dance) while wearing skates, all the while being watched carefully by Trish and the WOMAN OF MYSTERY! Seriously, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out who she was or what her role was.

Only kidding. Of course I looked at her boobs and read that she was one of The Producers. I think holding off on a rousing chorus of Springtime For Hitler was probably for the best though. After dressing up in very fetching pink and black outfits (so that’s why Bret Hart was on this week!) the contestants had a crash course in rollerskating before they had to start their shift. A crash course that of course looked like this…

Regardless, the contestants all did pretty well at serving the food. There were no major incidents, and even the group dance at the end went relatively well. The only major issue was Eric falling and nearly killing a woman and her baby, but this was explained away by Jeremiah. At least I think he was explaining it, I could never understand Boomhauer in King of the Hill either.

In fact they did so well that they were handed a free bar and, in the immortal words of The Clash “enough rope” to hang themselves. With a skills challenge the morning after, maybe a level of restraint would have been advisable (although not advice I’ve ever been known to take myself of course.) Not for these guys though, on this night of booze + contestants = dancing! Not quite the Chris Jericho jive that Boss Lady Ray had been waiting for, but each contestant had their own niche moves to impress.

OK. Here’s the bit where we would normally have the patented Wrestlegasm “Wall O’ Elimination Screenshots”, but this week was slightly different. During the meeting to determine the final three, this happened:

Tough Enough: 2-4-6-8! Who shall we e-lim-in-ate?

What a rollercoaster ride these first three weeks of Tough Enough have been. We’ve selected our favourites, pointed our fingers at our most hated contestants and watched our number one boy unjustifiably sent home. We’ve had the theme tune stuck in our heads and, most excitingly, this blog had its first ever WWE endorsement. These are exciting times:

Before we get too smug though, I think we should run through all the silliness that took place in the third instalment of Tough Enough. This episode began with plinky-plonky music, majestic shots of cacti at dawn and a dreamy Californian sunrise. The peaceful atmosphere is so enjoyable, it’s clearly too good to be true. Cue distorted plinky-plonky music and…….

Yep. Thought so. Big Bill DeMott drags their dead bodies out of bed and down to the front of the palace to go for a run. Scary as Bill is, even his voice bellowing at me to get up and start running in the dry Californian heat at 6:08am couldn’t make me move. At that time of the day I’d be lucky to make it down to the kitchen to put the kettle on without missing a step on the stairs and falling arse over elbow. Then again, I’m not a contestant on a television programme that leads to a dream job at the WWE.

If this sprint through the hills is designed to separate the wheat from the chaff, the chaff are an absolute embarrassment. Those in peak physical fitness race away and make it to the finish line in impressive time. Those who decided to show up at the audition of a lifetime not having stepped foot in the gym at all since being called to action are subjected to Stone Cold’s heckling from the comfort of his golf buggy:

Most concerning is Michelle, who not only admits that her only exercise is chasing her daughter around at playtime, but who actually seems so unwell during the run I was start feeling sorry for her. Before my gym activity was curtailed, running was the thing that killed me the most. Watching Michelle, I knew exactly how that stitch in her side felt. Maybe Stone Cold would sympathise too:

No.

But possibly the most frustrating competitor of all is Eric. Eric: the man with the size and looks they all say could make him an instant star, and yet who moves so slowly along the course I wonder if my media player’s switched to half-speed playback. At this point Stone Cold switches from being a front row heckler at an open mic night to embodying David Attenborough commenting on wild animals, just inches away from their habitat.

Eric really doesn't seem that bothered, does he?

This week’s life lesson revolves around technique. The contestants buddy up and are instructed to work their way through a sequence of holds. Michelle seems to have forgotten how to operate her arms and stands in front of Christina air-punching the ground.

She then goes on to mess up the suplex Cock-Sure Luke applies and starts doing the upset tremble-voice in front of Trish. You know the one. Hey, you know what we haven’t had yet this week? A visit from a WWE Superstar who stands at ringside and intimidates the kids just with their sheer presence.

Back in the training room, Stone Cold is so impressed with Cock-Sure Luke he decides to ignore the medical advice never to wrestle again and wrestles him. Cock-Sure Luke does such a brilliant job he’s even more cock-sure than usual.

....with apologies to the god-like creature that was Paul Newman.

Following an emotional phonecall to home, Michelle becomes increasingly withdrawn from the group, not even noticing that Rima’s questioning of her focus is beautifully Machiavellian.  During training Michelle can’t stands it no more and decides to resign from the competition, handing back her title belt and citing her hellish homesickness as a sign that she should indeed be at home.

All joking aside, this is why WWE Divas retire to have babies. This is not the post to start discussing the roles of women in the WWE workplace, but if you’re interested I have written about it before here.  As much as we’ve taken the mickey out of Michelle and her inability to take a bump, it was an honourable thing to bow out knowing you don’t want to win any more. Nobody can fault her on that. Also, I really want a hug from Stone Cold.

No face contact? Bad hugging technique, SC.

Well that was all very philosophical and serious, wasn’t it? I think we need something to cheer ourselves up.

Much better. The crew were introduced to a troop of professional cheerleaders who would teach them a routine they’d have to perform for tourists in front of Universal Studios. Initially this seems like a ludicrous idea, but if you think about it, wrestling and cheerleading require a similar balance of athletic ability, gymnastic technique and embellished showboating. Some of the contestants revel in the opportunity to perform regardless of the medium, others revert to a high school mentality of ‘Urgh. Cheerleading’s for girls. I’m not doing that shit.’

I’m starting to get the feeling Mickael really wanted to be on Jersey Shore and accidentally submitted the wrong application form. Jer-mah, on the other hand, looks like the boy least likely to ever be a cheerleader, yet approaches it with such enthusiasm he immediately becomes our new favourite. The Wrestlegasm Kiss of Death means he has about a week before he’s eliminated. Sorry, Jer-mah. But at least it made his lifetime when Stacey Keibler turned up to help them with their cheerleading technique.

They uncomfortably flip and yell their way through the routine, with only Rima falling from a great height. Knowing this might have shown her in a bad light, she goes to Bill during the next training session to ask for some extra, one-on-one help. She’s a wily one that Rima.

The next challenge is called Chain of Command. Two people get in the ring and carry out a string of holds and moves until the judging panel tell them to stop. If they’ve done well they return to the queue of competitors and wait for another turn. If they’ve done badly, they’re out. The game moves along smoothly until Luke gets cut for coasting his way through the moves. I have one thing to say on that:

The next memorable moment comes when Ryan decides to add a little acting flair to his performance and ends up looking more like a pantomime dame than a WWE Superstar. Unless he was basing his character on Santino.  Hilarious, but for all the wrong reasons.

Surprisingly, the final two were Eric and Donny ‘Martin’ Osmond, with Eric running out of puff and handing the win to Martin. Bill decided to stop calling him Donny Osmond. He has arrived!

After spending some time in the ode to Texan style that is Stone Cold’s office, the judges decided to bring Rima, Ryan and Mickael back for a little chat about elimination. It went something like this:

Tough Enough: The One With All The Foreshadowing

If I’m honest, I haven’t had chance to watch much WWE programming over the last couple of weeks. Other than my beloved Superstars, the only show I’ve made time for is Tough Enough. Part of this is admittedly the shorter run time, but mostly it’s because the show is just that good. Even when you don’t agree with the eliminations…

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. This second episode opened with a new fancy title sequence and a new theme tune by Chipmunk (who, I am informed by the younger members of The Bunker, is part of the “grubby” scene alongside this years Wrestlemania theme writer Tiny Tantrum.) Also in this beginning segment was a brief shot of Wrestlegasm favourite Matt Cross explaining how this competition couldn’t have come at a better time for him and how it was “now or never.” More foreshadowing?

Having all those logos is just asking for trouble

See?

Yep, after Ray spent last week gushing about Matt Cross in her post, the fabled Wrestlegasm Kiss of Death raised it’s ugly head again. We’ll get to the actual elminations at the end – but the advantage of not actually being a news site is that we don’t have to maintain ignorance for the benefit of dramatic effect. By now you all know who was eliminated…

Oops, my mistake. He was off recording Smackdown apparently.

Stone Cold introduced the theme for this week which was “courage.” After a brief training montage (which, let’s be honest, could have benefitted from some inspirational eighties rock) we got to see the contestants wrestling for Bill DeMott. Bill seems to really have it in for Ryan “Skidmarks” Howe. Every chance he gets to have a dig at him, he takes it. I should point out that I agree entirely with Mr DeMott, and not just because he’s a lot bigger than me and I happen to know he read last week’s article. But it’s OK, because Ryan hit back with a devastating nickname of his own…

Way to go, Captain Redundancy!

Cut to Trish Stratus, who gave Matt Cross a chance to shine by showing her what he could do in the ring. Now, I don’t know how many of you have seen Matt wrestle normally, but the moves he does probably aren’t the best to try against somebody with less experience. One thing that Mysterio mentions a lot in his autobiography is how important it is to have someone who can take your moves safely, not just for them but for your sake as well. Certainly I wouldn’t like to try some of these moves without knowing the opponent could catch you

Having said that, this was Matt’s chance to show his personality a little, and there is an argument to make that he didn’t take that chance when it was handed to him. Luke ended up taking charge of the match, and I have to admit I did like his elbow drop, but as Trish said…

this episode has more foreshadowing than the start of Casualty

Next up was “SPECIAL GUEST SUPERSTAR TIME” with everyone’s favourite John Cena hosting a quick Q&A session. After a career spanning eleven years, and winning sixteen championships, he’s in a pretty good place to pass on his experience. OK, he might not have “paid his dues” wrestling in front of ten rednecks and trying to get a paycheque out of Ian Rotten at the end of the night, but that’s not what this show is about. Anyway, what kind of questions would he be asked? What deep insights into this bizarre sport/artform/entertainment would the contestants try to glean from the one time Extreme Mexican Wrestling Heavyweight Champion (at least according to Wikipedia, and they’re always right)?

Good question Jeremiah. Well done, just a bit sad that the WWE feel you need subtitles

Yay Matt! Also a good question, which led to Cena teasing Stone Cold about a match

Nooooooo... Silly Miss America.

Quick, let’s cut to something else to get rid of the slightly embarassed silence in the room. How about animals? Everyone loves animals. Especially dogs right? Dogs are a man’s best friend…

General rule of thumb: If a dog looks like one of the Terror Dogs from Ghostbusters, it’s probably not that friendly. This section was, well… it was exactly what Austin said it was. Some dogs trying to bite their arses (OK, not exactly what he said, but I can only bring myself to type “ass” so many times before my inherent Britishness kicks in.) Needless to see Austin loved this bit. How much did he love it? Take a look for yourself.



Following the “Run Away From The Dog” challenge, Rima was late for training the next day. Where could she be I wonder? Could she have gone for an early morning run and miscalculated the distance? Maybe she was working out in the gym and lost track of time? We’ve all done it…

oh... maybe not then

Still, she made it in time for the Skills Challenge, entitled “Five For Flinching.” Essentially Bill would charge at a contestant in the corner with a big splash, followed by five bodyslams. Not an envious position to be in, although the faintly homoerotic stare after each round was quite nice

I like to think of this of this image as a homage, rather than plagiarism

So, remember that picture up at the top? The one with all the foreshadowing?









A Song for Whoever – Tough Enough edition

Sidekick Andrew: Bit of a strange week this week, the usual post-Wrestlemania blues combined with Ray having a week off work and a client sending me a virus mean I haven’t watched as much wrestling as I would have liked. Still, we managed to watch the amazing first episode of Tough Enough and, well, you should know by now what we thought.

Among the many, many highlights in this first episode, one contestant stood out to me as the most annoying. Not Ariane, bless her. OK, the fact that she picked Melina vs Alicia Fox was pretty hilarious, but that’s a reference that’s as overdone as Charlie bloody Sheen. At the end of the day she had no experience or knowledge of wrestling, but she made for great reality TV so she earned her paycheque. No, the contestant that really annoyed me was Michelle Deighton.

In case you don’t recognise him, that’s her husband Jonny Fairplay, a Reality TV contestant who was employed briefly by TNA as a wrestler. Not only employed by them, but also famously bragged about how overpaid he was at a time when they were paying their Knockout champion Taylor Wilde such a pittance that she had to work in a Sunglass sales kiosk in a mall to make ends meet.

“I signed a $150,000 contract with TNA Wrestling for a year. I ended up 8 appearances for 40 minutes. Then I signed a second contract and they didn’t use me. So, I’d like to thank them for $300,000 for 40 minutes’ worth of work.” Jonny Fairplay

By the way, the above quote and the Taylor Wilde information come from this great article which is recommended reading for any wrestling fan.

I’m not here to slag off TNA today though, I’ve never been one for shooting fish in a barrel. This is about Michelle and her “11 years experience.” OK, first things first, she’s 25 years old. Avoiding the obvious misogynistic lines about her looking far older, that would mean that she started wrestling at 14 – not impossible, but not overly likely. Next reason to dislike her? Her MySpace page is called Glamazon1. Glamazon-bloody-1! Of all the people to draw comparison to, Wrestlegasm favourite Beth Phoenix is definitely not the one to choose.

Now, I’m no wrestler. I’ve never had a second of training in my life, but I do read a lot about wrestling. There’s not many wrestler autobiographies that I haven’t read, and they all mention that when you start training you focus on learning how to bump and how to run the ropes. After eleven supposed years of wrestling experience, you’d expect someone to be able to run the ropes correctly. From my admittedly third hand knowledge, three large strides at most should get you from one side to the other. What you shouldn’t do is powerwalk gingerly across the ring like Santino Marella minus the trombone impression.

So, Michelle, here’s to you. This song, as well as being one of my favourites, seems to explain how you spent most of the 11 years of your supposed wrestling career. Enjoy…