(Before I go into the review tonight, I did end up watching the WWE Network show Tough Talk with the Miz, but I won't be reviewing that. This is just focused on the USA television show. But luckily for you all, much like last week, Josh Gagnon will have that covered along with some reactions from the Twitter world, so make sure you check that out.)
Tough Enough returned tonight and for those hoping this week would focus a bit more on wrestling are going to be disappointed. This week's offering was pretty much the same as last week's. The episode was the same mixture of a lot of drama and very little in ring work.
The episode started with a non-wrestling related challenge with the premise that this week's theme was conquering fear. The contestants had to swim across a swamp containing alligators, snakes, and the such to a boat, grab an NXT title, and then swim back with said title, which sounds like something more out of the Amazing Race than Tough Enough. (Full disclosure: I'm actually a big fan of the Amazing Race but I also don't tune into the Race to watch people learn how to wrestle.)
If anyone tuned in to see Roman Reigns, they were likely left let down. Roman was on screen for maybe 2 minutes when he briefly told everyone that they weren't tough enough to take a superman punch. Then he asked if they were tough enough to take NXT wrestler Bull Dempsey's top rope finisher. And to cap it off, that actually wasn't their in ring challenge at all. That scene with Roman had absolutely no bearing on tonight's show. The only reason Roman was on tonight was to draw some viewers from Raw by advertising him. I hope no one was expecting a Triple H style speech. (It is unclear if the segment was supposed to be longer but Bray Wyatt interrupted again implying he has once against kidnapped Roman's daughter.)
The in ring challenge was taking a bump from the top rope into a more cushioned ring. This was the shows way of trying to bring the fear theme back around by challenging any fear of heights. I don't mind that the ring was extra padded because obvious most of these people are new to the squared circle. If anything, I would enjoy another 10 minutes of Booker, Billy Gunn, and Lita teaching people how to specifically take a bump and more critique on how the contestants can improve.
Because of the lack of in ring challenges, or challenges in general, the contestants are forced to try to insert themselves into drama or risk elimination. That's what happened this week when Sara Lee was chosen as bottom 3 by Paige, who has quickly taken up the mantel of the harshest judge. Because Sara didn't stick out at all in the challenges and wasn't involved in drama, she was picked because she blended in too much. On the other hand, Dianna who actually won overall for the first challenge found herself bottom three because she stuck out too much with her drama.
Fortunately, Alex, who did go home, actually seemed to deserve it since he couldn't finish the swimming challenge plus he made some dumb comments about not needing to know WWE history to be a WWE talent. But even then, his trip home had nothing to do with him in the ring.
Since fans have the final say in the voting, there's another non-wrestling related way to stay alive and that's to build a Twitter base. Josh will probably touch on this more tomorrow, but Sara Lee has the most twitter followers and got 50% of the votes to keep her around. Without a sizable Twitter base, or if Alex had a better one, perhaps Sara would be home right now.
I follow all the active contestants on Twitter and half the time they're spamming my twitter feed with pointless retweets and Periscope videos. However tonight I learned that's what they have to do. Because those retweets may save them from being eliminated if they end up in the bottom three, something that can happen despite your talent. If someone can build a passionate Twitter following, that's a good insurance policy if they find themselves in trouble.
Hopefully this show will get to a point where in ring work, taking bumps, and learning to wrestle will be the main reason someone goes or stays instead of how much they can force themselves to stick out in their house or how many twitter followers they've amassed.
Now some quick hits on some of the contestants and happenings this week:
- DIanna won overall in the swimming challenge. Tanner looked to be first for the guys but ZZ was right behind him. ZZ who wrestled alligators in the bayou had a challenge pretty much tailor made for him.
- Patrick, who has the most experience pro-wrestling, and Giorgia won the bumping challenge.
- Why is Daria billed from Los Angeles but calls herself the Jersey Devil? As someone originally from Jersey, that irks me.
- Not much of Tanner this week, who's look and brash attitude really does remind me of Seth Rollins. He and big Josh (not Josh Gagnon) had some tension this week when their pool game ended early with Tanner saying he could drop Josh. I do hope we see that fight.
- Last week I said Gabi was going to be a trouble maker but this week turned into Everyone Hates Dianna to the point that she and Gabi, who had heat last week, formed a little alliance.
- When they did that, Patrick asked them to kiss and make up. It was stupid.
- Because of her tension with the other girls, Dianna asked ZZ to switch rooms with him, which he was more than happy to oblige. I'm starting to see how his charm is addictive.
Favorite Moment of the Week:
This show feels most like Tough Enough when someone is getting dressed down by a trainer and we got that this week. Daria got chewed out pretty bad by Billy Gunn this week after she lost her NXT title on the bottom of the swamp. It wasn't some incredible moment, but it actually felt like I was watching a tough competition show and not a drama.
What did you all think of Tough Enough tonight? Are you enjoying the format thus far? Did the right person go home? Feel free to discuss below.