I have watched a lot of bad reality TV in my time. I’ve seen every season of Survivor – including the terrible ones like One World (“highlights” included a midget who slept in a box and a gay man telling a girl to jump into a fire and kill herself). I watched a show called “Whodunnit?” in which contestants had to solve clues each week and guess who the killer was, and whoever was farthest away died a horrifically bad death. I even watched Glass House, a Big Brother rip off that promised fan interaction and the chance to peek in on the lives of contestants – both of which never really delivered. With all of these shows, I trudged through to the bitter end.
When it comes to Tough Enough, I have decided that the decision to write reviews of this show is one of the worst decisions I have ever made. Worse than that time I ate at Wendy’s and got food poisoning, causing me to vomit 34 times in one 24 hour period. At least that was over in a day. I fully blame JT Rozzero for this, and I apologize to him for whatever I did to deserve this. Please forgive me.
This week’s episode of Tough Enough was more of the same. The entire episode hammered us over the head with, “ZZ is fat! That means you shouldn’t like him! Don’t you like the TALL guy? He has muscles! Tanner has long hair! ZZ is stupid!” The WWE prides itself on being able to manipulate it’s audience to like what it tells them to like, but in 2015, that isn’t really true anymore. Fans on their show openly support characters that we aren’t “supposed” to – the biggest examples in recent years being Zack Ryder and Daniel Bryan. Yes, they are good guys that we should cheer, but not louder than certain other good guys. Still, when it comes to wrestling, they can adjust the booking and try to transfer some of that fan heat to who they want it to go to. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
With Tough Enough, it has yet to work even once. They tried to make Mada the star, and let us know more than a few times HE WORKS OUT MORE THAN ZZ, EVERYBODY. Mada went home. They set it up so ZZ faced Patrick one on one in an elimination setting. Patrick went home. And this week, after repeatedly slamming the poor kid (and at 19 years old, he’s still a kid) on TV, fans overwhelmingly voted for him to stay. Again.
Newsflash to WWE: The only way you can avoid a ZZ/Sara (by the way, when did she stop being Sara Lee?) victory celebration is to rig the results. I suppose you could fool people into thinking fans actually voted for Josh, but there’s no way you will get anyone to believe fans voted for Amanda or Gigi over Sara.
On the plus side, this episode was a little heavier on in-ring action. We saw the contestants running ropes more, doing scoop slams, shoulder tackles and drop downs. Yes, we’ve seen them do this over and over, and it seems to be all they’ve learned so far, but in reality, it’s more compelling to watch them progress in the ring than watch them put out fake fires. We also saw that, and ZZ was really good at it. It’s interesting that there was no real praise given to him over being good at an arbitrary skill, because in every other episode, when he’s BAD at things like climbing ropes, they go out of their way to let us know why this means he is not fit to be a pro wrestler.
The rest of the episode was straight out of the Real World playbook – manufactured drama, chit chatting and a little bit of yelling. Sara and Chelsea are friends and the other girls aren’t, or something to that effect. Also, Sara nearly “crippled” Gigi by dropping her on her neck. I am astounded that they didn’t follow up on this storyline. Not the potential injury part, but the fact that Gigi seems to be confused as to what a neck and a shoulder are. What other parts does get confused? Does she proudly tell people about her large, voluptuous abs while pointing to her boobs? Does she trip and fall and say she hurt her knee while clutching her ankle? I think this is a potential gimmick for her. In fact, rather than discuss the bulk of the episode, I will now give potential gimmick ideas for the cast should they make it to TV:
Gigi – Confusion of body parts. She can cut promos about how she will snap Naomi’s leg in two, then repeatedly use arm breakers.
Sara – Clumsy cute girl. She can smile her way to the ring, winning over fans with her cuteness, then the fans can immediately reject her as she stumbles her way through a “match” on par with the great Jackie Gayda. Note: This is a very likely scenario.
ZZ – FAT GUY. He can repeatedly be called FAT and the announcers can tell us how lazy and worthless he is, and how he isn’t worth liking or supporting because FAT PEOPLE DON’T DESERVE RESPECT. Note: This is also very likely.
Josh – Yeti. I know he does the “yeti” call, which is much more like Wookie talk, but perhaps his hair can keep growing. Eventually, the man bun will not be containable. Hair will start to grow on his neck and arms at an alarming rate, and he will slowly morph from a man who calls himself a yeti into a yeti who calls himself a man. Either that, or we could get this.
Tanner – They say the best gimmicks are the ones that resemble the person in real life, so I say Tanner can continue to be an alien trying to pass himself off as a human. He needs to be in a hot tub every day to recharge, and occasionally female humans will join him, at which point he will be forced to have human conversation, and his ruse will be exposed. This could culminate in a backstage segment at Fastlane 2017 where he lays thousands and thousands of eggs and proclaims the invasion has begun. All of humanity is doomed. Resistance is futile. Soon, we will toil away in the diamond mines of Braknor 7, his home planet. As he cackles over the news that we are all facing our grim march to slavery and/or death, we pan to….
Amanda – I guess Amanda could fall in love with Miz for saving her, which kickstarts her gimmick of making poor life choices. She could get a face tattoo and run on the screen saying things like “ALL LIVES MATTER.” with a condescending smirk. She could also try to start Benoit chants and repeatedly be seen eating uncooked chicken backstage. I like this idea.
So yeah, at the end of the episode, we had three contestants nominated for elimination. ZZ, Chelsea and GiGi squared off in a battle of two syllable names. Before we revealed the results, Paige said to herself, “This episode isn’t bad enough, I need to make it WORSE” and acted really angry and shouted, showing she really cares about these people, something absolutely no viewers can connect with. She saved Gigi because reasons, and surprise surprise, ZZ outlasts another one! Good bye Chelsea, I hope you enjoy seducing married men with your physical therapy!
Only six contestants left, and four of them have zero chance of winning! What a ride this has been! Now, how about some power rankings? Rather than provide his analysis, I have inserted actual quotes from my son after the picks.
Isaac’s Power Rankings:
1 – Josh. “I’m not even interested in that show anymore.”
2 – ZZ “Gigi is last, Amanda is second from last. It’s easier to pick who is last.”
3 – Sara “When is it over?”
4 – Tanner “It’s stupid that Patrick lost.”
5 – Amanda “Why don’t they ever wrestle?”
6 – Gigi “Does Gigi still talk about us on Twitter?” THE KID HOLDS GRUDGES.
JD’s Power Rankings:
1 – Booker T. Has quietly eclipsed Billy Gunn in my book.
2 – Billy Gunn. Still really enjoyable, something I haven’t said about Billy Gunn since 1999.
3 – Daniel Bryan. I really enjoy that he doesn’t even care a little bit.
4 – ZZ. Congrats on the win, TUBBY.
5 – The fire hose.
6 – Josh’s gigantic man bun
7 – Tanner’s hot tub
8 – That shot of milk for Patrick. Was that this episode? No?
9 – Lita, for keeping a straight face when others yell at anyone for wrestling sloppy.
10 – The Miz.
11 – The aura of racist Hulk Hogan hanging over the entire show.
12 – Everyone who keeps voting for ZZ and Sara.
Dead last – Paige. She’s like that person at a party who gets a laugh out of a joke, so repeatedly says it louder and louder.