WWF Tough Enough, Episode 8: This Is Getting Really Depressing
by Mike 'Big Fred Machine' DeGeorge
More crying than the finale of Temptation Island. And for some of the same reasons.
Welcome again everyone to WWF Tough Enough. Extra-long intro this time, but there is a LOT going on in the world of wrestling and reality shows. A special welcome to those who came to these columns from reading about Cannonball Run 2001.
First off, everyone’s probably heard the news about UPN’s Manhunt. Basically, an Executive Co-Producer is suing the show. He was fired because he refused to re-shoot scenes with fake dialogue, since the network felt there wasn’t enough natural conflict in the real version of the show. You can read more about this story here. The funniest part of the story lies in who pitched the show to UPN in the first place, and who was originally Executive Producer of the show: WWF owner Vince McMahon. He left the show before production started for undisclosed reasons. That’s right: Manhunt was too fake even for wrestling. Next time you hear someone complain about how fake wrestling is, kindly remember that people in glass houses should really reconsider when they design the bathroom.
For all you Cannonball Run 2001 fans (or at least those who read the articles), keep your eye on the site. I’m hoping to have at least one article about the series posted this weekend, and if things go well, I may have a few surprises! I can’t really talk about them in any detail yet, but I can guarantee anyone who watched the show will want to check these out.
I also hope to have the Second Quarter (of three) Report on Tough Enough posted this weekend. I’ve got more neato-keen stuff in mind for this, along with some thoughts from our friend Dale Sherman (who helped me out last time).
I’ve heard some rumors about Tom, the contestant who was originally picked for the final thirteen in the Casting Special, and “backed out” at the last minute. The rumor says that he was under 18, and his parents refused to sign the consent form. I have a problem with this theory. The WWF required that all applicants be over 18, besides the fact that he was listed as 21 in the Casting Special. I DO think, however, that he may have claimed to be 21 when he was really under 18. I would assume that the WWF did thorough background checks on them before they went to the house, and a simple DMV check (among other checks) would show his true age. Lying on the application would be enough to be thrown out, I would think. But even if they tried to keep him on after discovering the truth, they would have to get the parents consent. As usual, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
Finally, I don’t usually do this, but I want to point out the WWF’s Pay-Per-View show this Sunday, Summerslam. It looks like a rockin’ little show, on paper anyway. Anyone who follows Tough Enough would do well to check it out, especially those who normally don’t follow wrestling. It’s headlined by a WWF Title Match between Stone Cold Steve Austin (the champ…I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of him) and Kurt Angle, our guest star from Episode 6. Past matches between these two on free TV have been nothing short of outstanding, and usually, PPV matches are given quite a bit of extra time, especially main events, so you can expect to see at least a 30-minute classic. Besides, a little bird has told me that my boy Kurt just might be coming out on top Sunday, which would be an added bonus. Check out www.summerslam.com for more details. Note: this is not an advertisement. This is a reporter urging you to check out what might be some killer wrestling this weekend.
Now, on to the show! (About time!) Quiet, you. When last we left our intrepid band of merry makers (no, I don’t know what that means either), Greg was on the cusp of having to quit due to his back injury, while Nidia and Josh were also hurt. But while Nidia and Josh were getting better, would Greg be able to continue?
The show starts with all our contestants “running the ropes,” going back and forth through the center of the ring, bouncing off the ropes on each side. Everyone shows off the rope burns under their arms. And you all thought wrestling would be easy, huh?
Greg goes to see the doctor. He thinks he feels better, but that might be because he’s learned to deal with the pain. Doctor McGinniss says his back looks good on the X-Ray. All he sees is a lower back strain, but the true test will be on the MRI. He’ll be able to continue as long as the MRI doesn’t show anything major. Nidia says that everyone else is trying to be supportive. You know, all this huggy-kissy crap is getting boring. Why can’t they backstab constantly like on Big Brother 2…oh, wait. That’s even more boring. Never mind, forget I said anything!
They show a few highlights of the contestants wrestling. You know, last episode showed more wrestling than any so far, and it got the worst rating. That’s saying something, and I don’t really like what it’s saying. Maybe we can just blame the Hardys.
At the WWF Fitness Center (which beats the fitness center at my work all to hell, let me tell you), Al says everyone’s beat up, and they need something to take their mind off all the abuse. What, two months in the French Riviera, maybe? Geez, I understand these guys are getting beat up pretty badly, but come on! I don’t think Eeyore needed as much cheering up as these guys do.
Anyway, to pick their spirits up, Al teaches them The Circle Game. I’ve read enough news articles to know to be wary whenever a wrestler offers to teach a kid a new game, but let’s see how it works. Oh, I’ve played this before. Basically, the point of the game is to make a circle out of your thumb and forefinger (an “okay” sign) and try to get someone to look at the circle, as long as it’s below your waist. If they look, you get to punch them in the arm. I didn’t like this game. I’m far too nosy to not look when someone tries to get my attention.
Josh gets Harvard Chris by telling him his knee hurts “right here.” Maven gets Harvard Chris by showing him where to put his feet during an exercise. Harvard Chris isn’t very good at this game.
Maven makes the mistake of saying that Al could never get him. Oh, Maven. If you make it, the wrestlers are just going to LOVE you. So they make a bet. Whoever loses has to sit on a statue of a horse near a busy interstate (okay…) wearing nothing but women’s lingerie. What is it with Maven and women’s clothing? He just doesn’t seem like the type, you know? Harvard Chris tries to stir it up, naturally, since he can’t play the game worth a flip he wants to see the heat off of him. Al simple tells Harvard Chris he’s in on the bet. Now THIS could be amusing.
Greg jumps on Josh’s bed to wake him up. Josh is like the little brother he never had. Oh, hell, he’s SO gone. Greg might as well be wearing a sign that says “this is my last episode.” Harvard Chris is on the phone with his girlfriend, and he’s all excited that she’s coming to see him. No, really. Can’t you tell by his flat monotone that he just can’t wait?
The next day, Josh is getting antsy that his girlfriend isn’t there yet when, all of a sudden, she arrives. Her name is Jamie and she looks about 30. Chris’ girlfriend, Christine (oh, how cute. Almost as good as our former neighbors, Shannon and Shannon) looks about 15. More kissy-kiss.
Greg is on the phone with HIS girlfriend and he’s depressed. It sounds like she expects him to say he misses her, but he tells her it’s because of his back. He keeps trying to tell himself he’s OK, because once he walks out that door he’s out for good.
Harvard Chris, meanwhile, looks absolutely THRILLED to see his girlfriend. He says it’s like she came to see him at work. Um, I love it when my girlfriend visits me at work. But then, I’m not an ass, or at least not one on HC’s level. It seems that Boyfriend Chris has been gone so long it’s kind of hard to bring him back right now. I guess since Jackass Chris has been around for so long…
Josh, being human and all, is worried. He knows this would put a strain on ANY relationship. We then get to see an argument between Josh and Jamie in the parking lot. Josh gets in “but” and “okay” and “well” while Jamie does the rest of the talking. She would not be willing to deal with him being away for so long. She wouldn’t want to sit home and raise HER…oops…their kids while he’s off wrestling. He tries to tell her he just might have a shot at winning this thing, and it’s something they’ll have to deal with. She claims that it’s NOT gonna happen.
At Trax, it’s official. Harvard Chris has joined Al and Maven in the Circle Bet. If Chris loses, he will have to walk around Yale, in his Harvard boxers, carrying signs and telling everyone how Harvard sucks. Maven complains that dressing up like a woman would be worse than that, but Harvard Chris disagrees, apparently not having a problem with wearing women’s undergarments.
The first to get three circles loses. Maven and Chris agree not to get each other and concentrate on getting Al. Maven tries, but realizes there’s just no getting Al. Al, meanwhile, took a picture of himself with both hands in circles, and shows the picture to both of them. It’s legal, and it counts as two. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from reading about wrestling, it’s that you don’t try to out-play a wrestler. Maven gets smart, however, and swerves Harvard Chris, giving Chris his third himself. Harvard Chris loses. They make signs that say “Harvard Sucks” and “I am Yale’s Bitch!” Oh, Al Snow is just evil.
Meanwhile, Greg is soaking in the hot tub. The doctor calls and tells Greg he sees a herniated disc in his lower back, but wants to compare this MRI to his previous MRI, in order to see if it’s a new one. Greg hangs up the phone and covers his face with his hat.
The rest of the gang arrive at Yale. Chris strips to his Harvard boxers and Al tapes a big red “H” to his chest and back. They walk down the streets, carrying the signs as Chris yells “Harvard sucks!” and “Yale’s Number One!” They stop to talk to various Yale students, as Al makes Chris say the phrases to everyone. As Al explains “If he’d have gone to Yale instead, he’d have been smart enough not to take the bet.” The Other Chris, meanwhile, announces he’ll never make a bet with Al Snow. Probably a good move there.
The girlfriends have to leave now. I wonder if Christine was around for that Yale stunt, since she is an admissions counselor for Harvard. Anyway, Josh tells us it’s up to Jamie as to what happens next. He’s so in love with her he can’t believe it, and it’s scary. So obviously, he plans to try to make it work. Harvard Chris again mentions how weird it is to see Christine at “work.” You know, he paid $150 to Greg just so he could see her. You’d think he’d be a little more excited than that.
Back at Trax, Josh and Harvard Chris have a “match” and it’s a perfect opportunity to explore their different takes on the girlfriend situation, as their comments run on top of the match footage. Josh understands how she wouldn’t want to stay at home. He just doesn’t know. They’ll have to work it out if he wins. Harvard Chris, meanwhile, focuses on how passionate he is…toward wrestling. Woof. “I love Christine, BUT…if I have to sacrifice, that’s how it is.
Now, I won’t pretend to know the details surrounding Josh’s situation. I don’t know if he will win, or if this will cause him to quit like it did Jason (remember him?). But I will say this: if he DOES leave, I hope he loves her. If he doesn’t truly love her and gives up this shot for her, he will hold it against her forever. I can’t judge, I KNOW I couldn’t do it. I get upset when Maria or I am out of town for a couple days, let alone spending 200 days of the year apart. I’ve got a bad feeling about this, though…I just hope Josh makes the right decision here.
Greg is at the doctor’s office again. He now has three herniated discs in his back. The doctor strongly advises to stop now. Greg agrees, although it’s obviously killing him.
Greg goes back to Trax and tells everyone. They’re all upset, and “little brother” Josh is taking it the hardest. Poor guy has had a ROUGH week. First he gets hurt and can’t wrestle with the Hardys, then he has troubles with his girlfriend after not seeing her for five weeks, now to top it all off, his best friend in the house is leaving. Greg’s parting words to Josh are “You’ve gotta do it.” Yeah.
Greg tells Al that he’s not finished. But for the time being, there’s no possible way he can keep going. Al is heartbroken. He admits that he’s becoming emotionally attached to these kids. It’s also obvious that he had his eye on Greg to win, or at least thought he would be one of the final two.
Man, this show is really getting depressing.
John “Big” Gabriuk thought he had a great chance to win. Oh, MAN. Greg, for his part, is satisfied that he’s won their respect – that’s no small accomplishment. He can live with that. To end the episode, Al tells the survivors that Greg was a winner, because he put his heart into this. It’s not over for Greg. If you put your heart into anything, you’ll always get something out of it.
NEXT WEEK: Mick FREAKIN Foley! What will Mrs. Foley’s baby boy have to say to our recruits? Plus, Chris is hurting people and Al is getting pissed at him! Maven’s Mom is getting sicker. Josh just wants to go home. And finally, someone else proves not to be Tough Enough.
I am Mike. E-mail me with your thoughts. Personally, I think they need to bring Darryl back so that we can abuse him and everyone can get into a good mood again.