This week features a special guest appearance by former WWF and WCW Champion and all-around superguy, Kurt Angle. Watch as our intrepid heroes take a special training mission to the Bahamas. Plus, one of our cast deal with injuries while Josh proves once and for all that he is "DA MAN!"
I'm trying to decide if my readers are voting in the poll at wwftoughenough.com, or if my opinions about the show are the same as those of most other people. Of course, I like to think it's the first one. Either way, 23% of the people who vote think Greg will win, which is not really surprising. However, in second place with 22% is my boy, Josh! I really didn't think he was that popular. In fact, he's more my sentimental choice to win than anything. The only others with double-digits are Maven with 17% and Taylor with 14%.
We get right to it, starting the show with actual training. That's a switch. It doesn't last long, as Greg has quite a bit of swelling over his knee. Paulina takes a hard bump, and reveals that she hurt HER knee last week and just didn't tell anyone. I've never noticed Paulina and Jackie standing next to each other before. Jackie looks like a twelve-year-old (holding two cantaloupes in her shirt) next to Paulina. Al is NOT happy, and he's definitely not impressed. He says it's better to sit out a day or two and recover than blow out your knee and be out for good.
Back at home, everyone misses everyone. We find out that Big John will draw two names Monday, and those two people will get to have a visitor over the weekend.
At Trax the next day, the contestants are doing calisthenics when Big announces another special guest - KURT ANGLE! As Nidia goes nuts, they show a number of highlight clips including one of my personal favorites, the moonsault (backflip splash) from the top of the cage. Kurt tells a little of his story to our friends.
Kurt Angle has been an amateur wrestler for 20 years. He's lived his life by the principles of the "Three I's: Intensity, Integrity, and Intelligence." He was a six-time National Amateur Wrestling Champion, he won the 1995 World Championships, and, his crowning achievement, he won the Gold Medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Olympic fans may remember him for his over-the-top celebration after defeating the Iranian favorite for the Gold, or for his unapologetic crying on the medal stand. The WWF offered him a multi-million dollar contract after the Olympics, but he tore it up because he figured, as a lot of people do, that professional wrestling is a joke.
Then, one day he flipped on WWF RAW and was hooked by the athleticism. I'm not sure how true this last part is. The story I heard was that the endorsement deals and speaking engagements dried up after a year or so, and he decided to try out pro wrestling. Of course, his version sounds better, so we'll let him have it his way. After a prolonged period honing his skills in the "minor leagues" (smaller local wrestling outlets such as Ohio Valley Wrestling, where the WWF sends its greener athletes to get some experience), he debuted his "cocky attitude" on national TV around this time in 1999. He was an almost instant success, winning the European and Intercontinental Titles within six months and going on to win the 2000 "King of the Ring" tournament and then the WWF World Title, all within his first year in the WWF. Very few have achieved so much in so little time in the WWF, but then very few have the natural athleticism and charisma of Kurt Angle. Considering that my favorite wrestler of all-time, Chris Benoit, is out with a neck injury, Kurt Angle is my favorite wrestler currently competing.
If you have never seen Kurt Angle and want to know why he's my favorite, check out No Mercy 2000, where you'll find Angle winning the WWF title from The Rock as well as a kick-butt HHH-Benoit match. You can also get the Rock-Kurt rematch at No Way Out 2001, a better overall show that loses something in the end since Rock wins. OR, watch Wrestlemania 2001 for the ultimate: Angle-Benoit in a match that redefines "awesome wrestling." Look in the sports section of your video store (or, better yet, follow any one of the Amazon links on the right side of this page and search for 'em there). End of shill.
Back to the show, Kurt watches them train for a bit (and sees Josh get a bloody nose. Man, you know Josh was embarrassed as hell by that) and gives them a few tips. In a neat segment, Kurt's tips are cut in with actual examples from his wrestling matches. Nice touch. After the workout, Kurt tells the contestants that there is actually a fourth "I" - Island. They're all (well, not Kurt) going to the Bahamas. Taylor sums it up nicely with "Oh, God - THANK YOU!"
As they pack for the Bahamas, Josh gets a dye job. There's no way around it - you just CANNOT look manly with a plastic shower cap on your head. He notes that Harvard Chris has been keeping to himself. Harvard Chris says that the others "talk about stupid stuff that's not important" as he reads Ayn Rand. Well, if there was any doubt before that he was a pretentious jerk, it's gone now. Meanwhile, Paulina has an MRI on her injured knee. She's afraid that if she IS injured, it means she's gone. What, no extended medical leave for a hangnail like on Boot Camp?
Have I mentioned that I REALLY like that Old Navy miniskirts commercial?
Back from commercial, everyone gushes about how beautiful the Bahamas are, as we see shots of the gang acting all touristy. Hey, there's not much training going on here, what's the deal with that? At a craft fair/flea market type place, Josh buys a handmade flute.
Greg loves Josh because he's not serious all the time. Paulina asks, "Who DOESN'T love Josh?" Of course, Harvard Chris thinks that Josh hurts himself out of the ring by acting childish. My girlfriend often refers to me as a "grump," yet I don't understand taking a trip to the Bahamas and acting like an uptight ass. Greg points out that Harvard Chris gets annoyed by all the playing around because he tries to act professional. I think Greg is confusing "professional" and "uptight" here. Al Snow is a professional in both senses of the word, yet he still is able to have fun. The two are not mutually exclusive, and if anything, CHRIS is hurting himself by acting too seriously.
Paulina is just trying to keep up. She's afraid to go back into the ring after being hurt. Big tells her that she has a look that could make her a star, and if she chooses to become a superstar, she will be. Just as I predicted in the Casting Special, they are pushing hard for Paulina due to her height. As I've mentioned, wrestling ability is secondary to looks for women in the WWF. Any argument against this can be struck down in one word - "Chyna." Thank you very much.
Back at the hotel, Big decides to do the "visitor" drawing right then. Harvard Chris is excited, because he really wants to see his girlfriend. As Josh plays his flute, Big picks two names out of his hat: Josh and Greg. Harvard Chris is pleased by this. Huh? Since Greg's girlfriend is having surgery that weekend, she won't be able to come. Harvard Chris attacks, offering Greg $150 (I think. It's hard to understand them all sometimes) to take the spot, and Greg agrees.
Later, Josh comments that the flute is the best dollar he ever spent. You know, Josh is my boy and all, but I'm about ready to shove that flute down his throat by this point.
They all go out that night. Harvard Chris gets absolutely blitzed and is the last to come home. I think he tries to go into the wrong room. The other Chris points out that people are starting to dislike Harvard Chris, and Greg thinks his true personality is finally emerging. Well, with Darryl in the house, I think people just didn't notice it. As HC enters the right room, Josh mentions that Harvard Chris "made an ass of himself." Chris gets mightily ticked, grabs Josh by the shirt and asks Josh to repeat himself, which he does. In the confessional, Josh claims he purposely tried to tick him off because HC got drunk. Josh knows how much HC loves his "professional image" so he wanted to tease him about it. It's easy to get under his skin, Josh says, and he's sure he'll do it again, maybe the next time he gets bored. A mischievous grin flashes across Josh's face.
OH YEAH, there you go! Josh, next time you're in St. Louis (if you're 21 by then) the beers are ON ME, just email me. I'm serious. Josh is DA MAN! I told you people, from the beginning! Nobody believed me but I didn't care, I knew Josh would prove himself.
Everyone gets ready to leave the Bahamas. Greg sums it up quite nicely, "I don't wanna go home, Mom!" Big points out that it only gets more intense from here.
You know, after all this time I FINALLY figured out that the guy in that M&M's commercial talked his girlfriend into dressing like that so she'd look like a green M&M. I never understood why she was dressed like that in the first place. I guess I never made the connection, Mr. Obvious.
Back home, Harvard Chris tells his girlfriend that she will be coming to see him this weekend. Greg finds out that his girlfriend's surgery was cancelled, that she could make it after all. Whoops. His girlfriend and Maven both tell him to tell Chris the deal's off, since Chris hasn't paid Greg the money yet. Chris doesn't agree. It's not HIS problem that Greg didn't check with his girlfriend before selling the spot, and it's not Greg's to take back anymore. Legally, I don't think Harvard Chris would win, but I could be wrong here. I know who I agree with, but let's just say I'm biased and leave it at that.
Paulina gets the results of her MRI back. She knows something's wrong because her knee still doesn't feel right. Let's see, there's five minutes left in the episode and they haven't announced a cut yet. Yep, she's gone.
At Trax, Al points out a huge pimple on the end of Josh's nose. Josh claims it's sunburn, Al thinks it's from brown-nosing. Nice. Tori helpfully suggests putting a piece of tape across his nose like a giant breathe-right strip. Of course, that's what Al does. Yeah, Chris, those professionals really hate people goofing around, don't they? Al draws whiskers on the tape "like a kitty cat". If Josh makes it to the WWF, you just KNOW they'll use this as his gimmick. Anyway, Al tells Josh to tell the 'chicks' it's because he's like a panther in bed. Harvard Chris looks on and snickers. Laugh it up, funny boy.
During the day's workout, they use the moves and tips that Angle taught them, which I thought was another really cool moment. They're not showing a lot of training overall, but these guys are all starting to get really good in the ring. It's VERY interesting to see their abilities grow from next to nothing to where they can start to actually wrestle a match before too long.
Big asks who Josh and Greg will be bringing up for the weekend. Greg throws it to Harvard Chris, who pounces on it. Josh and Maven both think that Harvard Chris should have been big enough to give it back to Greg. Harvard Chris says it's an ugly and unfortunate incident, but that's the way it is. Man, what a jerk. I don't know what I would have done in that situation, but I know that I would have at least considered giving the spot back to Greg, and felt really badly about it had I kept it myself. HC shows about as much emotion as Kim Basinger from the '89 Batman movie. Which is to say, none at all.
Paulina has a partially torn lateral ligament, a partially broken bone on the top of her femur, and a knee sprain on top of all of that. My girlfriend had lateral knee surgery a few months back, and if Paulina's is anywhere as bad as hers, I'm impressed that she's walking, let alone wrestling.
The doctors have told her to stay off the knee. Good thing she walks on her feet then, eh? (rim shot) I apologize, folks, it's late and I'm tired. Anyway, Big told her to sleep on it (no, I'm not making that joke too, the other one was bad enough) and talk to her family. Paulina, for her part, wishes she had a crystal ball. There are so many things she needs to know. Won't you tell her please before you go? She's just got to know! What the heck, let's play "spot the reference" again. Email me if you know that one.
The next day, Paulina decides to withdraw. Tears and hugs all around again, made almost comical by the way Paulina towers over the others. As Paulina leaves, she tells us that she'd like to give it another shot when she's 100% again. She can see herself as a WWF Superstar.
Ah, the unkindest cut of all. Not cut because of lack of effort or talent, but a simple injury. Eerily reminiscent of Mike's exit from Survivor 2, although not nearly as shocking. I still feel Mike would have won if not for that, and from the trainers' attitudes, I imagine that they would have had Paulina win Tough Enough as well.
NEXT WEEK! We're down to two girls! Which is Tough Enough? If you said Taylor, you'd probably be right! And speaking of girly, the Hardy Boyz make an appearance (ooh, I can hear the angry emails now!) Until next time, I'm going to bed, and I am NOT looking forward to work Friday.