As we pass the halfway mark, the contestants are hit with more and more injuries. But on the bright side, as these injuries pile up, the gang are visited by Team Extreme: The Hardy Boys and Lita!
Strike up another victory for the spread of ignorance.
Today, in a London courtroom, a judge ruled to force the WWF to change their website address as well as their trademarks since the “unsavory” nature of pro wrestling is damaging the pure, wholesome, angelic World Wildlife Fund. While I am aware that the World Wildlife Fund holds the trademark to the letters “WWF,”, would anyone with a higher intelligence than a flea confuse the two in any way, shape, or form?
I can understand if damage has been done. It’s the law. But can they prove that someone is actually going to stop making donations to the Fund because they disapprove of them branching off into wrestling? I somehow don’t think so. From the tone of the news report, it’s pretty clear to me that this judge ruled the way he did out of bias against wrestling.
It’s stupidity like this that drives me crazy. Just absolutely nuts. The Fund’s spokesman is relieved that their “name and reputation will be upheld.” Give me a freaking break.
If there are any lawyer-types out there reading this, I’d be interested to know the legalities of the situation. From my understanding, it’s only a breach of trademark if harm is being done, but I could be wrong in this. On the other hand, I have no problem with the wrestling federation having to change it’s policies. The Fund DID trademark the letters. My problem is the inference that damage was somehow done to the Fund.
I feel better now. Now to this week’s WWF (oops…) Tough Enough!
With Paulina gone, it’s down to two girls for the contract: Nidia and Taylor. Jackie notes that it will come down to which of them wants it more. Nidia immediately started to freak, and I hope to God she doesn’t take over the whiny slot that Paulina vacated.
Al says it will only get tougher from here, mainly because he’ll be tougher on them so that no one hurts themselves. Today’s training is a big milestone for them, since they will now start picking people up into the air. It’s important because when you pick someone up in wrestling, you’re responsible for putting them back down again. Tazz has been injured in the past from being dropped. Droz, who HHH mentioned in Episode 2, was paralyzed for life when D’Lo Brown slipped and dropped him on his head. I for one am glad they’re stressing the importance of this.
As you may remember, one of my goals in writing this column for RealityNewsOnline was to illustrate that wrestling is not the joke that a lot of people take it as. It’s moments like this that show that the WWF is taking this training VERY seriously, and that’s a very good thing.
We find out that Greg has a herniated disk in his back. Oh hell. Usually when they show an injury this early in the show, it means very bad things for the contestant. In a funny moment, we see Greg and Tori comparing back injuries like two veterans comparing war wounds.
Al gives Josh a bodyslam, and Josh moans in pain. Hey, great selling, Josh! Oh, wait…he’s not selling. He’s hurting. He had a deep bone bruise, apparently on his tailbone, and Al told him he would just have to accept it. Jackie asks Maven if he’d like to rub it for Josh. Al lets the contestants bodyslam him. He’s got some guts.
Addressing the whole group, Al reiterated that injuries are part of the business, and they couldn’t allow themselves to get gun-shy just because they were hurt. In wrestling, most of them spend more time hurt than they do healthy.
Nidia also hurt herself on the back bumps, so the trainers had her sit as well. Nidia became concerned that Taylor was now the only woman allowed to show her stuff in the ring, and that she’d get left in the dust. But Taylor confesses that she doesn’t want to back into the contract by being the last woman standing, she wants to earn it.
They then have a few 10-minute mini-matches between various contestants, like Greg vs. Taylor and Maven vs. Harvard Chris. They tape the matches and watch them, the trainers commenting on the various moves. Al kids Taylor about the way she walks – because she’s hurt, she looks like John Wayne strutting around the ring. Nidia just glares at Taylor, who is on cloud nine from all the attention.
After training, Josh and Nidia went to the house while the others went on to the gym to work out. Nidia started crying at the house, saying that between people leaving and her getting hurt, she just might have a breakdown. “Might”?
The next day, walking into Trax, the trainees felt pretty low. That lasted only a few minutes, because today they would be visited by “Team Extreme,” Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, and Lita (shown above).
Matt and Jeff Hardy started wrestling in their own backyards in North Carolina, forming their own federation called OMEGA which included Shane (now “Hurricane” in the WWF) Helms, Shannon Moore (of “Three Count” in WCW), and Cham Pain, who himself tried out for Tough Enough and was shown briefly in the Casting Special. The Hardys performed from time to time as jobbers in the WWF until 1998. The WWF was marketing a Playstation video game called WWF Attitude, and they needed people who knew a lot of moves to help the game designers program the moves into the game. Matt and Jeff performed this duty, and caught the notice of the higher-ups in the WWF.
Since then, this incredibly popular team have been a staple in WWF programming. Their high-risk style and good looks make them popular with male and female fans. The Hardys are capable of moves that most people could never (and some say should never) attempt. Without a doubt, they are masters of the “highspot,” or extremely high-risk maneuver.
Lita started out as Miss Congeniality, valet for ECW wrestler Danny Doring. She quickly signed with the WWF where she ‘managed’ high-flyer Esse Rios, a light-heavyweight who specialized in a similar type of highspot offense as the Hardys. Lita quickly became more popular than her charge, mainly due to her propensity to imitate his moonsault and ‘rana (the only move she does in the first highlight reel). She eventually split with Esse and joined up with the Hardys, and now serves as their manager/supporter and, in storylines, girlfriend of Matt Hardy. By the way, that’s not mold on Lita’s shoulder, that’s a tattoo.
A great way to see what the Hardys have to offer is to check out Wrestlemania 2001(click here to check it out on Amazon.com), which I also recommended last week for the nifty Benoit-Angle match. At this event, the Hardys were teamed against Edge & Christian and the Dudley Boys in a “Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (Oh MY)” match, in which the object is to retrieve the tag team belts which are suspended above the ring. Lita (as well as others) gets involved in this match, and watching it you can clearly see what I mean by “high-risk.” You could also check out Royal Rumble 2000 (click here to check it out at Amazon.com), with a killer “tables match” between the Hardys and Dudleys. The main event of that show is perhaps the best match of that year, a “street fight” between HHH and Mick Foley (who we’ll meet later, I understand) that redefines ‘brutal.’
It’s obvious to me that Josh idolizes the Hardy Boys. In fact, whenever I see him in the ring I think he could be the next Matt or Jeff Hardy, just due to his all-out enthusiasm and attitude. It’s also why I never understood his “size issues” in the series, since as a wrestling fan he knows that size doesn’t matter nearly as much as it used to in the WWF.
Anyway, Josh practically BEGS Al to let him train with the Hardys, and Al refuses. Josh needs some more time off so that he won’t get seriously injured. Oh, man, the look on Josh’s face is just one of sheer heartbreak. The one day above all other that he would have wanted to shine, and he can’t even get in the ring. Poor guy. He says he had to go into the bathroom and cry for a while, he couldn’t take it.
Lita, we learn, helped to inspire both Taylor and Nidia to get into wrestling. Taylor works out with the Hardys and Lita while Nidia watches. It’s amazing to see how good Taylor is. She could, right now, work a perfectly acceptable match with Lita and no one would know she’s not a pro. She’s that good.
Before the Hardys leave, they talk a little more about injuries. Matt confirms what Al said earlier, that none of the wrestlers are ever completely healthy. They’ll find out that it’s amazing what they can do while they’re hurting. Anyone who’s ever seen a Hardy Boys match can vouch for that. It’ll be a miracle if these guys aren’t in wheelchairs by the time they’re forty.
Later, Greg (left, with Al) does a simple armdrag on Maven and comes up in a lot of pain. Oh, no. He walks out of the ring and starts to talk to Al. I don’t think Al was too happy to hear that Greg came into the competition with a bad back, since Al never had back problems before wrestling, and now he has quite a few.
Greg broke into tears as well, afraid that the best opportunity of his life was about to pass him by. Al doesn’t want him to “jump off the cliff,” but also doesn’t want him to get seriously hurt, either. Greg decides to go to the doctor the next day and see what the doctor has to say about it.
Big chimes in, saying that Greg has the look and personality to be a WWF Superstar, if he can overcome this. Harvard Chris says that he respects Greg, and thinks it’s horrible that this has to happen (with a huge grin on his face, I might add). Maven likes Greg as well. He’s got a good heart and obviously cares a lot about others, not just himself **cough-HarvardChris-cough**.
The next day at Trax, Nidia is still not well enough to get into the ring, but decides to do some calisthenics on her own, trying to compensate for anything that she can’t do. The trainers note that what she did takes heart. But we knew already that Nidia had heart. Taylor’s getting the all-important ring experience.
Later, Nidia and Taylor (both at right) have a mini-match in the ring. Since Nidia missed the last couple days, there’s still some things Taylor can do that she can’t. Even so, the two have a kick-ass little match, which impresses the heck out of me. These two are already better than two-thirds of the women wrestlers I’ve ever seen, and they’re about twice as good as Chyna ever hoped to be. The WWF could do worse than picking up either one of these women.
Greg comes back to the doctor and says that he may not be able to get back into the ring by Monday, and Al ends the episode by saying that we’ll just have to see what happens Monday. Just as with Paulina, it’s clear that the trainers aren’t willing to let Greg walk out the door without a fight.
To end the episode, Greg tells us that trying out for the WWF was one of the few things in his life that he’s done for HIMSELF as opposed to for others. He feels like he’s a part of the WWF family, and he’s not about to let that feeling go.
Nobody leaves this week. Strange. With fewer and fewer contestants, we’re seeing a LOT more of their training than we have in the past, as I predicted in my First Quarter Report. Plus, they’re going to choose the winners in a live final episode, which might mean that we’ll have four people still alive by then (two men, Nidia, and Taylor). That means three more people to eliminate, and four more show before the final.
Next week: Al teaches the gang “The Circle Game.” No, I don’t know what it is either. Plus, Greg says it’ll take more than this to get rid of him! See you next week. And after next week’s episode, expect another recap column, so e-mail me and let me know what you’re thinking!