Are you familiar with the phrase, “Damning with faint praise”? Let me give you a few examples:
– That lasagna didn’t taste half as bad as it smelled.
– Your Hitler mustache doesn’t look too bad….for a Hitler mustache.
– This was the best Tough Enough episode of this season!
Episode 3 of Tough Enough was definitely the best of the season, but that isn’t saying a whole lot. At first I thought I was being too tough on the show, but TV ratings and general opinions of the show seem to put me in the majority here – this thing isn’t working.
Let’s just call this what it is – a failed experiment. The WWE had a pretty solid formula in the Steve Austin version of Tough Enough and they decided to change it around entirely. In their defense, Austin has a lot of other projects going on, so they had to at least remove him, but their changes have weakened the show greatly. I would go over them, but I’ve discussed them at length in my previous episode recaps. Instead, let’s look at the positives and negatives of this weeks episode.
– This week’s challenge was wrestling based! Was it cheesy? Absolutely. Were the results bad? You bet. But hey, I think it makes their actual wrestling product look better as a result. As hokey and corny as we sometimes think gimmicks are, this challenge showed that the characters we see on Monday Night Raw are very polished and equipped for what they do compared to amateurs. And boy were these people amateurs. In case you didn’t watch, the contestants had to select a character type, find a wardrobe that fit the character, and come up with a ring entrance.
To say they were bad is an injustice to bad entrances. Paul Birchall used to swing to the ring on a rope because he was a pirate. People thought that was bad, but it was The Brood’s entrance compared to what we saw here. Daria played the role of a fallen angel…so she literally fell down, then started frantically spazzing out, to symbolize she was now demonic. I’m not making any of this up.
Fan favorites Sara Lee and ZZ were both pretty bad here, as Sara Lee had to portray a mean heel and she just looked like a girl who was trying not to poop her pants. Meanwhile, ZZ’s pants were already full. FULL OF HIS SCHLONG! His character of an American hero was an interesting choice, as he stomped to the ring in red, white and blue and…didn’t really do anything.
And yes, I still think this part of the show was a positive. Just because the competitors did a bad job, it’s part of learning the wrestling business, which is what the show should be. Show them learning the ins and outs of the business, not just how to use a headlock, but how to create a character, how to cut a promo. It may make some of them look terrible, but it would make the business seem more challenging to succeed in, which makes the moniker of Tough Enough seem more legitimate.
– We’ve got a breakout star of the season! No, it’s not ZZ. And no, it’s not Patrick or Tanner. In fact, it’s nobody that can even win the show. It’s Billy Gunn! Yes, in 2015, Billy Gunn is the best part of a wrestling TV show. He does a great job in his role, showing intensity but not coming off like a total jerk, and he genuinely seems to want this group to do well. Booker and Lita are fine in their roles, but often fade into the background. When Billy is on screen, he commands the attention. He’s no Stone Cold, but he’s far better than expected. More Billy Gunn please!
– We’ve got an actual feud! Despite the challenges not mattering and the eliminations being live fan votes…I really want Patrick to beat Tanner. For all the shortcomings of the show, they’ve done a good job at presenting Tanner as a character you want to see fail and Patrick as the guy to beat him. I would not be surprised to see them both as male finalists. This week their rivalry stepped up to another level as things got physical between the two.
– Paige. This complaint may be met with some resistance, as viewers seem to point to Paige as a bright spot in the show. I get the love for her, and most of the time I agree, but this week I feel like she went overboard with it. I don’t know if producers told her to really ratchet up the hatred for the contestants, if she took it on herself to get over, or if she legitimately doesn’t like any of them, but I feel Paige went from harsh in a good way to being a bit of a try hard this time around. Would like to see her keep the same general tone, only scaled down a little bit. She also likes to really pick on Sara Lee, but we’ll get to her.
– Diana. QUITTER ALERT. Anytime someone quits a reality show, it’s a letdown. But this one seemed even worse than most. I won’t complain that they rushed it with the edit and didn’t give her time, because she quit, so screw her, right? But what frustrates me as a viewer is she was up for elimination last week, and SHOULD have been voted out then. Instead, Alex went home (not that he did much to deserve to stay, but still!) and then Diana left anyway. More than that, we STILL had an elimination this week. Just have Diana be the eliminated contestant and move along with the show.
– Sara Lee and ZZ. OK, here’s why this show really falls on it’s face. With Daria out, Sara Lee is basically a LOCK to win the female side, right? And who’s going to beat ZZ? Patrick is the only one with a shot. So with nine contestants left, we only have three real winner options which doesn’t make for compelling TV, but more than that – if Sara Lee and ZZ are the winners, this format bombed. I really enjoy ZZ…as a reality TV character. I really like Sara Lee…as the cute girl next door. But NEITHER of them seem anywhere CLOSE to being capable to make it in the WWE, yet they seem poised to take home the competition. WWE producers can’t be happy with this, and they only have themselves to blame. They are the most likable on the show, and the show is officially a popularity contest.
Alright, let’s get to our power rankings!
JD’s Power Rankings:
1. Patrick – I still feel he’s got a shot at taking out ZZ, and definitely will beat anyone else.
2. ZZ – He’s definitely not ready for the WWE, but he’s a great personality and probably the favorite to win the show.
3. Tanner – He seems like a lock for the finals, even if he’s sure to lose.
4. Amanda – Note: There is a HUGE drop from three to four on my list. Amanda did fine in the challenge I guess.
5. Mada – Also did good in the challenge, but that doesn’t matter.
6. Giorgia – Because she hasn’t caught Paige’s wrath yet so she probably won’t get nominated.
7. Josh – Tall guys don’t survive the vote.
8. Sara Lee – I know I said she is a lock to win the girls side, but sometimes that hurts you. Everyone assumes you’ll get the votes, so they go for the second person. I don’t see another episode where Sara Lee isn’t in the bottom.
9. Gabi – For someone who hyped up what a diva they’d be, she is totally forgettable.
Isaac’s Power Rankings:
1. Patrick – Hope he kills Tanner.
2. Tanner – He’s still a challenge beast even though I don’t like him.
3. Mada – Seems cool.
4. Amanda – “I don’t know, I guess I should pick a girl.”
5. ZZ – He’s weird but I like him.
7.Sara Lee – She shouldn’t be a heel.
8. Giorgia – She sucks.
9. Gabi – She sucks worse.
There you have it! Tune in next week and follow along with us, as we try our best to figure out if Chris Jericho is drunk while announcing who’s eliminated next on…Tough Enough!