Up until yesterday we had no plans to cover the all new Tough Enough here at Wrestlegasm.com. We certainly planned on commenting on it in a post here and there, but we weren’t planning on recapping it. Then we watched the first episode. We LOVED the first episode. We saw so much potential for ribbing in the first episode we just couldn’t leave it alone. We tried to talk ourselves out of it, but the second we saw how incredible Stone Cold’s office was, we gave in. I’m starting with week one and the Sidekick will take next week, then I’ll take week three and….you get it.
Where to start? Well, just in case the concept is lost on you and you didn’t catch any of the previous series, this is WWE’s reality show. It’s made to show us fans just how tough it is to be on the WWE roster. Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Guvna, drags inexperienced kids with a dream and indie grafters looking for a step up through the grueling training needed to be a WWE Superstar or Diva. Basically, if NXT were real it would look like Tough Enough. (About as real as reality TV gets, anyway. See here for my recent ponderings on reality TV.) I could profile each contestant, but that would make this a stupidly long post. It’s best if we jump straight into the drama and get to know these fresh young faces as we go along.
So the first life lesson Stone Cold wants the kids to learn is that you can’t just jump to the top of the bill. You’ve got to understand what goes into making a live WWE show happen to appreciate the privilege of being in the ring etc. He decides to do this by having them dress up in overalls, assist in setting the show up, then help take everything down again once its over. The contestants take this on with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Ariane seems appalled that her precious little self is being made to….eww…gather electrical cable.
Former America’s Next Top Model gal, Michelle, gets on with it but exclaims loudly about still looking pretty with her hand in large bins of rubbish. I’m suspicious of Michelle. In fact, I’m suspicious of anyone who auditions for multiple reality shows. It screams ‘I want to be famous and I don’t care what for!’ From what I remember of her stint on America’s Next Top Model, she was often uncoordinated and she cried a lot. In fact, I distinctly remember all kinds of drama when Janice Dickinson…..wait for it……bleached her hair! *SCREEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAM* We’ll come back to her later.
No American reality show is complete without a sickeningly palatial home where the contestants can screech and claw at each other for dramatic effect while wearing pyjamas. Tough Enough is no different. Before they can run around the house yelling about how totally awesome it is, they have to meet Austin’s team of training folk; namely Booker T, Trish Stratus and scary Bill DeMott.
On arriving at their bedrooms, which appear to be an interior designer’s wet dream, they all find their own spinner belt and a note from the Guvna explaining that they have to be given back to him as they’re eliminated. One of the people most taken with this concept is Matt Capiccioni (or Matt Cross as we know him). I’ll point out now that we love Matt Cross. Expect both myself and the Sidekick to gush over him incessantly…..purely in a ‘written word’ manner, of course. Maybe. He’s the indie veteran we’re gripping tightly to in the Wrestle Bunker. We’ve watched Matt during many an indie DVD marathon and, in short, we’d happily have his babies. Both of us. We also think it’s cool that someone slightly older than the rest (with sexy grey hair-flecks) isn’t afraid to throw himself in with the crowd to get ahead.
In less swoonful matters, it all kicks off big style when bulky Mickael decides to start disparaging the ladies in the troop by suggesting that women have it easier in the wrestling world. His reasoning for this stems from the idea that all they’ve got to do is wiggle their arse to get a contract. I’m not going there. We’ve been there before on this blog on several occasions and you know our feelings, but in the house it had the effect of pulling the pin on a grenade. Taking particular offense was Rima Fakih, the current Miss USA, who showers Mickael in a tirade of expletives you just wouldn’t expect from such a highly polished beauty queen. Ah how I love the contrast that is a beautiful girl with inner feist. I hope she’s good.
That’s enough of this sniping, let’s get in the training room and see what they’ve got. On strolling through the door our contestants are met with a trio of toughness in the form of Booker, Stratus and DeMott. They’re immediately told to drop to the floor and do speedy sit-ups and press-ups. The super-fit bods excel, the ones who forgot to train before they rocked up at the mansion doors struggled. They had just moved on to speed squats when…. guess who bursts through the doors on his motorbike?
Stone Cold doesn’t park his bike outside. Oh no. Outside’s for losers. He rides it past the horses’ stables and right up to the ring with his theme music playing in the background. Living the dream, baby! I wonder if that’s how he enters every building. I love the idea that Stone Cold rides through the sliding doors at PetSmart to the sound of broken glass, pulls up at the cash desk and shouts “GIMME TWO BAGS O’ WHISKERS KIBBLE FOR MATURE CATS AND A PACK O’ WORMIN’ TABLETS BEFORE I KICK YOUR SORRY RUMP INTO THA MIDDLE O’ NEXT WEEK, ASSHOLE!” Rides off again, nobody bats an eyelid.
The first task of the day is to roll across the ring. It seems simple enough for people who want to be wrestlers, but it’s trickier than it looks. Martin from Utah is given the name ‘Donny Osmond’ for obvious reasons. He claims not to know who that is.
He turns out to be pretty good at rolling, as are AJ and Luke. Ariane is terrible. Her brain computes rolling as ‘do a hand-stand, then drop’. The Guvna’s not happy. He was even less happy when Rima interpreted the task as ‘touch the mat with your hands and flop into a heap.’
Oh Rima. I hope this is a rouse to make everyone think you’re rubbish, only to come back later with killer moves. I so wanted her to be good. Two-time reality star Michelle, who claims to have 11 years experience (BAH!) can’t even attempt a roll. She’s told to run the ropes and lock up with DeMott instead. She claims to have “lost her basics”. *eyebrow raise*
The majority of the contestants go home, get boozed up and mess about in a jacuzzi. The sensible characters among them (and both myself and the Sidekick) shook their heads at their frat-style excess. The next morning Luke claims that he wants to be the Ric Flair of the competition, partying all night long. Dude, you’ve seen what’s happened to Flair, right? Think on, child. Think on.
A new day has dawned, we’re back in the training room and we know things are getting serious because Stone Cold WALKS through the door. Not motor biking, WALKING. EEK! The challenge is to ‘run the ropes’ for three solid minutes. It seems easy, but anyone who’s ever done a bleep test knows that sometimes the simplest endurance exercises are the ones which kill you the most. But the most important part of this segment of the show was that we caught our first proper glimpse of Austin’s executive office.
We like to think that’s his actual office and that it definitely wasn’t set up for the show. Don’t be a downer and spoil it for us by telling us the truth.
Big Eric struggled the most. The Guvna was frustrated. He appeared to have everything you’d want in a WWE Superstar, yet he seemed to be running the ropes in slower motion than John Morrison’s entrance. Jeremiah (pronounced Jer-Mah) lost his false teeth while running, Michelle made a poor job of impressing the boss and Ariane spent the entire time pulling her yoga trousers up, even though Trish repeatedly barked at her to stop.
Rima committed the worst crime of all by padding her bum out with what appeared to be some knee strapping. Oh Rima. Why are you doing this to me? And look how angry you made Stone Cold?
The Guvna invited the trainers back to his office to have a pow-wow over who the bottom three should be. So who were they?