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WWE Tough Enough, Episode 12: Hard Lessons Learnedby Mike DeGeorge -- 01/10/2003
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Before I begin, congratulations to the Ohio State Buckeye football team for their incredible, unlikely, and exhilarating double overtime win over the heavily favored other team who I won’t mention. It’s Ohio State’s first National Championship since 1968, and they earned every bit of it. Unfortunately, the Cleveland Browns couldn’t complete the sweep, but I couldn’t help but be impressed by their performance.
Vic Stevenson gave me a heads-up about a Taylor Matheny (from TE1) appearance in Virginia for NASCAR racer Hermie Sadler’s promotion. Information on tickets and location can be found at http://www.nwatna.com/2002/12/24/01.shtml.
Also, make sure to read Scott Bowden’s column at MoviePoopShoot.com, mainly because he mentions me in it!
Quite a few people emailed me answering my question about why Jamie’s doubts are different than Jonah’s doubts from last week. They all pointed out that Jamie is doubting if she has the qualities to become a wrestler, but Jonah is questioning if he WANTS to be a wrestler. I agree there is a big difference there.
To tonight’s episode, which I considered to be among the best of the entire Tough Enough series.
We start with footage of the five remaining contestants wrestling (hey, someone listened!). Ivory says that their goal is to make them ready to walk into the ring in front of 20,000 people and survive a five-minute match. From the clips we see, it’s apparent that these five (particularly John and Matt, although the others do quite well also) would pass that test handily.
In another great moment of foreshadowing, Bill tells the camera, “who decides who’s tough enough? That individual decides.”
Big announces a “special treat” for the gang, and introduces former Tough Enough trainers Jacqueline, Chavo Guerrero, and Bob Holly, complete with mini-video packages. Matt says that Bob’s tough guy reputation makes him sit up a little straighter in his chair, and Jonah thinks it’s a great honor for them to visit.
But wait! There’s more! Big announces there will be a match… but not with the trainers! He introduces Maven, Nidia, Chris Nowinski, Jackie Gayda, and Linda Miles, all former TE finalists and, except Chris, past seasons’ winners.
Al makes a point of introducing Maven to Jamie. Jamie tells Maven she likes him, and she’s blushing so hard she’s turning purple. I wonder if John is jealous. Maven gives her a hug and she looks like she is about to explode. She says in a confessional that she wanted to tell Maven she loves him, but luckily for everyone involved she kept control.
Chris (wearing a Harvard shirt, natch) tells the group that he was crushed by not winning, and says that three of them are in for the exact same disappointment. Maven makes the excellent point that while he won and Chris didn’t, they’re now colleagues. It’s the ultimate example of never giving up. It’s almost funny, because Chris is on Raw more than Maven is lately.
John says it’s exciting to see the kids who were where they are, and are where they want to be. Personally, I think it’s a fantastic idea to have the past winners show up for that exact reason.
The match is TE1 and TE2 versus TE3. It looks for all the world like a real WWE match! I’m impressed with these guys, for sure. Chris knocks the wind out of Jamie with a clothesline, but she recovers to defeat Maven with a cross body block from the top rope.
Interestingly, we don’t see Linda or Jackie wrestle at all. Hmm.
Bill says it was the most fun he’d ever had watching them because they were relaxed and enjoyed what they were doing.
The next match pits Eric, Jonah, Bob, and Bill vs. Matt, John, Chavo, and Al. The match is going really well, when Jonah tags in Bob Holly. Bob kicks Matt, hard, square in the ribs and begins beating the everloving bejeezus out of him. Forearms to the back of the neck, chops to the chest, boots to the face.
Matt is bleeding, his eye and chest are starting to swell. He tries desperately to drag himself over to the corner, but Bob won’t let him.
Okay, at this point I’m thinking, “What in the name of sweet Mary Malone is going on here?” Usually people don’t get beat on like that unless they screw up (like the times contestants were stretched in the ring as punishment). This came out of the blue and I was upset since Matt could have been injured, given a concussion and ended his run, for no good reason.
The others are confused, as is Matt. None of them are sure what to think about this. Obviously, none of the trainers are running in to stop Bob, so they should probably let it go, right? Bill is heard telling Matt to “relax.” Yeah. Matt tries to make a comeback by whipping Bob in the corner, but gets a face full of boot when he charges.
In an interview later, Bob says he isn’t being rough because he wants to be, but he is teaching them that pro wrestling is not an easy game.
Matt isn’t sure what to do, but he knows in the back of his mind that he has to get through it. He seems to understand that this is some sort of test. Sometime in the future, he might be in a similar situation in front of thousands of people, and he’d have to finish the match no matter what. Of course, if you’re Lex Lugar, you wet yourself and run to the locker room, but that’s neither here nor there.1 2 3 Next-->
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