clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

'American Grit' recap: Logjammin'

The first episode of John Cena's reality competition show features some bad people and some good challenges.

It's the first episode of American Grit! We open with John Cena talking about how much he loves America, which is pretty much what we expected.

We are then introduced to our grit-kateers, or coaches or whatever, who all come from different branches of the military, including a man nicknamed "The Reaper" due to 33 confirmed kills in 3 and a half months of service. Jesus.

Cena says the competitors are all ordinary people "impacted by the military in some way." So, they're just people, then. He says he and the coaches will run the contestants through challenges inspired by actual military training.

Here's the key to the show: the only way it ends is to give up, ring out and go home. Seems interesting in a competition show that there's no eliminations. It's up to the contestants when they leave. ALLEGEDLY.

John Cena wants the competitors to show the world they have American grit. Dump out those shoes, everyone. Hang your bathing suits on the shower curtain rod to dry. "All we ask for is all you got." He fails to mention hustle, loyalty, OR respect, so this is probably a shoot.

We begin! John Cena welcomes everyone to the wilderness and one of the contestants (unidentified, because we don't get to know any of these people ahead of time) is freaking out about John Cena being there. I'm chuckling because the idea they wouldn't tell people Cena is the host ahead of time is pretty hilarious.

Cena lays out the rules: they'll break into teams of four. each surviving member of the surviving team will win $250,000 each.

The coaches retire inside a cabin and divvy up the team, talking about basing their decisions on "what they've seen today," which we don't really get to see! A reality show starting in media res. What a concept!

We get clips of the trainers making everyone rappel off a bridge and go on some forced marches. I guess this is just as effective, but it's a weird break from the traditional reality competition formula.

Here are the choices we get to see them make, which introduces us to the coaches more and a few of the competitors. We also get to see the different branches of the armed forces snipe at each other because EVERYTHING is a competition, all the time.

Navy SEALs, Blue Team, led by Rorke Denver:

- Tabatha AKA "Goldie," 38, Roller derby queen (We get a video package of her. She's a full-time mom but she's also a roller derby star. Yeah. She's a badass. I like Goldie.)

- Lisa, 41, mother of two and bodybuilder. She was helped on the rappelling exercise by Tony, the ex-NFL player, who seems like a legitimately awesome dude right off the bat.

Marine Corps, Grey Team, led by Tee Hanible:

- Chris, 32, celebrity fitness trainer

- Tony, 40, ex-NFL player

Army Rangers, Red Team, led by Nick "The Reaper" Irving:

- Jim, 53, SWAT officer (We get a video package of this guy. His SWAT team was involved in capturing the Boston Marathon bombers. He is EXTREMELY from Boston.)

- Cam, 21, professional wrestler. This is the guy who was freaking out about Cena, so that finally makes sense. He's also the youngest competitor. We get a video package of him, too. And I do mean "package."

U.S. Army, Green Team, led by Noah Galloway:

- Mark, 25, TIMBERSPORTS ATHLETE. The coaches fight over him a bit because everybody wants the lumberjack. Dude even has a beard and is wearing a red plaid shirt. Living the gimmick.

There are a lot more people who get divided into teams, but those are the only ones we spend any time with right now! Cena reinforces that the only people who can send anyone home are the competitors themselves. Looking forward to a person with a broken leg refusing to leave.

The teams all go inside the cabin, which has a neat common room and separate barracks (bedrooms) for the four teams. Now we get to meet some more people!

- Maria, 33, Red Team. She's a no-excuse mom and she's already getting pissy with her teammates. "Some people said I was a fat-shamer. I'm not going to apologize, because I never said you were fat." Yeah, this lady can go to hell.

- We get to see a bit more of Chris, the celebrity trainer. He's not content to be normal. Whatever.

Whoops, that's it! Well, the hell with everyone else! Let's get to the next day!

Cena introduces the first challenge the next day. Whoops, they're not challenges, they're "evolutions." lol okay john. The first evolution is called the Ruck Up. Each team is going to pick up a 120-pound log and race with it for three miles through the forest. They then have to complete three obstacles. Throughout the whole thing, their log can never hit the ground. If it does, they'll be penalized.

The first team to finish all three obstacles wins, which means the entire team is safe. Safe? I thought they could only go home voluntarily? Whatever, I'm sure they'll explain that at some point. IT'S LOG TIME.

Oh, each team huddles up and comes up with a game plan. Jim, the SWAT guy, says he has team-based log experience, so he feels like he has the edge. It's actually good that these teams get to plan, because if this was Survivor or whatever, everyone would just be grabbing for the log willy-nilly and falling on their asses.

Chris wants to carry his team's log by himself, but Tee stresses that they need to work as a unit. Then all of the coaches talk about how important it is to function as a unit. We then get a shot of one of the teams, where some of the shorter competitors will mostly be removed from assisting, by default.


AND WE'RE OFF. Oh, I guess the obstacles are during the three miles, because they run into one immediately. They have to pass the log through walls, with openings at different levels, while the competitors scramble over the walls.

Almost immediately, the Team Noah's log hits the ground, so they have to take their punishment. They have to run in place with their log for a time. They're in last place after the first obstacle.

Okay, NOW the second obstacle is three miles away. At the second obstacle, Team Noah has taken the lead! The second obstacle is getting the log on a platform and using a rope to use the log to get across to a second platform. Team Noah figures it out like immediately. The other teams opt not to use the rope at all and instead look stupid. The fat shamer takes a tumble and hits her head on a log.

The fourth obstacle is a BRAIN PUZZLE. There's a lock, the combination of which is the sum of all four competitors' birth years. All four teams bunch up at the finish line, because math is clearly not ANYONE'S strong suit. Team Noah finally figures out their combination and wins the first evolution.

Okay, now they explain the "safe" thing. This is pretty dumb/horrible/amazing, so strap in. The three losing teams have to go to "the circus," so the coaches have to pick a member of their team to go. The circus will be a challenge that doesn't end until someone gives up and rings out to go home. So ... okay. So the conceit of "no one gets eliminated" is a technicality, because the coaches get to pick who gets tortured. Cool. Cool.

Everyone heads back to the barracks to wait for the decision and also talk about themselves and each other and their sad personal stories and everything else. The "crybaby" Lisa says she lost 50 pounds and got into bodybuilding because her husband told her he wasn't attracted to her anymore. Now they're happy. Uh. This is all horrible.

The fat-shaming, no-nonsense mom just blurts out that she's a cover model. Chris tells her she's the worst person, which is true. Then she goes in the common room and tells everyone Chris just attacked her. No one cares. At ALL. She then mispronounces "epitome," saying, "He's the eppi-toam of what's wrong with our fitness in America."


The next morning, the coaches have to send someone to the circus. Everyone is wearing TAPOUT shirts, so this is some real nice cross-branding and promotion for WWE. Beyond the John Cena thing, even.

When The Reaper is talking to his team, he talks about some shit that went down in Afghanistan in the most nonchalant way ever. "This reminds me of when we got some air strikes called in on our unit, so we didn't get our heads chopped off or whatever." Really? This reminds you of that? This reality show? American Grit is full-on bonkers.

Over on Team Tee, Chris says the biggest problem his team made was listening to Tee. Chris is the second-worst person on the show so far.

The circus is a SEAL drill, so RORKE DENVER explains it. The circus is a brutal obstacle course of 13 obstacles and ends on a platform, which is where the endurance test BEGINS.

The coaches reveal their picks to go to the circus. Nick picks Jim, the SWAT guy, who volunteered for this. Tee selects Chris, obviously. He gets right in Jeff's face immediately, which doesn't make Jeff very happy. Rorke selects Goldie. Oh no, I don't want Goldie to go home. Hope she's got this one.

Cena privately speaks to the three people selected for the circus. He just sort of interviews them one at a time and wishes them luck. Cena is our generation's Jeff Probst. This is a real good role for him and I hope he does this sort of thing full-time when he finally stops wrestling. He calls Chris a child and hopes this show helps him evolve into a man. Sick burn.

Cena explains that the endurance challenge doesn't start until everyone reaches the platform, so the first person to finish the obstacle course gets to rest. AND THEY'RE OFF.

Through like five obstacles, Goldie falls into a distant third. Chris is pretty much smoking everyone. He gets to the platform first and gets to rest. Jim gets there next. Goldie finally arrives and the endurance contest immediately begins. They have to hold a rope that is attached to a sandbag. The coaches get to stand beside their people and encourage them, which is cool.

Chris spends the first 20 or so minutes just showboating and shit-talking the others. Tee spends the whole time telling Chris NOT to do that, but he of course doesn't listen. They pass the 40-minute mark. Cena sounds a horn and from this point, they have to hold the rope with one hand and not switch. Chris finally appears to start having a tough time. Probably because of all the showboating!

The rope starts slipping away from Chris and finally he drops his sandbag. Everyone celebrates. Rorke seems like the coolest coach, whispering encouragement to Goldie the whole time and embracing her and giving her words of inspiration afterwards. RORKE DENVER: cool guy.

Chris rings out and goes home and Team Tee is down to three people. He apologizes to Tee and says he respects her.

Next time on American Grit, everyone paddles some rafts and breaks a block of ice! Can't wait!

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats