I remember going on family vacations when I was a kid. We never flew anywhere, we always drove. Living in Michigan, a drive to Florida is not ideal, but it’s what we did. Piling into the station wagon, we would stock up on snacks and games, excited and ready for a long, but fun trip!
It was usually halfway through Ohio when our games batteries had died and all our snacks had been eaten, and we realized we still had something like 16 hours to go. That’s when things changed, and the super fun trip to Florida became a prison sentence, where we counted down the minutes until sweet, glorious freedom. Pee breaks and dinner stops gave us a brief reminder that there was a world outside the car, and one day we would re-enter it.
For those who have journeyed with me, there is life after Tough Enough. It has been a grueling, exhausting and sadly, unentertaining trek through this season, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Only one episode remains after this weeks, the finale, where two winners will be crowned and probably never heard from again. But we’ll get there in our next installment. For now, let’s talk about this week.
With only 5 people left in the competition, the two women’s finalists were set, and we knew that the bottom 3 would be our men. Since there is no drama there, the contestants instead looked back fondly on their journey. Amanda and Sarah discussed how Sarah is by far the fan favorite, and Amanda somehow thinks that means she can win. Let me repeat that statement: IN A SHOW THAT IS BASED ENTIRELY OFF POPULAR VOTE, AMANDA THINKS BEING FAR LESS POPULAR GIVES HER A SHOT AT WINNING.
Meanwhile, Josh and Tanner continued the running them of the season, which has been “Doesn’t ZZ suck really bad?” It seems that they may have finally gained some traction there, but more on that when we get to the results. Again, whether it’s the editors, the competitors or both, the lack of awareness is startling. ZZ is a likable character from the start and when you hammer home how he is the underdog, you’re not going to turn people against him, you’re going to make him MORE popular.
We quickly move to NXT, where the contenders are tasked with putting together a ring. I really enjoyed this and feel challenges like this should have filled the season rather than swimming, obstacle courses and fire safety. This is pro wrestling-most longtime fans know that part of paying your dues on the independent scene involves putting up and tearing down the arenas, and so this was a nice way to show them that, and also maybe help them be grateful that they received a golden ticket of sorts that allowed them to skip that part of the wrestling path.
Once the ring was ready, the coaches decided it’s time to teach finishing moves, which is really interesting given that none of these 5 people will ever win a match on WWE television. Sara does herself no favors by chuckling, grinning and having zero idea what her move should be, so it becomes a russian leg sweep into a cross arm breaker. Given Sarah’s struggles to do body slams and shoulder tackles, asking her to do TWO moves as one finisher seemed bold, but she managed to get the hang of it, somewhat.
In the best part of the show, Tanner’s move was secondary to a clinic on how to have charisma. It was at this point I realized that Tanner is a robot and not human. When asked to convey emotions of any kind, his face went blank and his eyes glossed over. I was half expecting paper to come shooting out of his mouth reading, “THE FILE IS CORRUPTED. FATAL ERROR.” but instead he decided personality is YELLING, and boy did he PERSONALITY LOUD. Tanner sucks, you guys.
Josh wanted to do a power bomb, but he’s not at that level yet, according to coaches who are all about safety. I feel like this entire season has been a rib on Lita in that regard. Instead, he got the YETI SLAM, or a running powerslam where he does that stupid yeti call that nobody will ever like. He was fine I guess.
ZZ’s finishing move fit his character, as it was a Gator Grip. A unique looking finisher, even if it was a bit weak. Again, the judges took the time to criticize ZZ and let him know he’s not good and not ready, which is a great way of building up a potential winner. Oh yeah, while typing this paragraph, I realized I forgot to mention Amanda’s finisher, which I think sums up my thoughts on Amanda as a whole.
Skipping past the house stuff and right to the live results, we had our men as the bottom 3. I’ve gotta give credit to Chris Jericho, who actually kept a straight face trying to make us think it wasn’t a lock that Tanner was going home. I actually thought about finding a way to bet money on this, and had I won, I would have taken my favorite Place To Be staff member Brad out to a nice dinner. Then I would have skipped out on the bill, which would be my payment for having to review an entire season of Tough Enough.
After some classic “HEY LOOK AT ME” tactics from Paige, Daniel Bryan mulled over using his save, and he didn’t, and Tanner went home. This wasn’t surprising, but here’s what was: Josh got a higher percentage of votes than ZZ. Perhaps they have righted the train, but I feel like they have an ace up their sleeve just in case. Would it shock anyone to see Daniel Bryan allowed to use a save in the finale next week and save Josh? I almost expect it at this point.
So with our finale coming, we are down to JOSH VS. ZZ and SARA VS. AMANDA. Sara has no shot at losing, but ZZ and Josh is actually a tough call at this point. I have been saying all season that ZZ was going to win, except for a brief moment when Patrick built up some steam. But now, after repeatedly pointing out how he’s lazy (a smarter tactic than saying he’s in over his head) and really making Josh look like Superman, he seems to have caught up to ZZ. It’s all in the hands of probably 250 people who actually watch live AND vote. See you at the finale!
But first, our power rankings:
JD’s Power Rankings:
1-Josh. Sorry ZZ, but the man bun has caught up.
2-Sara. Sorry Paige, but she’s winning. Perhaps try yelling some more.
3-ZZ. Even as runner up, he’s the star of the season.
4-Amanda. Here she is.
Isaac’s Power Rankings:
Isaac abstained from voting this week and he has lost complete interest in the show and will only check in to see who wins. WAY TO GO, WWE.