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:
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.
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.
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.
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: