Our friends take a road trip to see what life as a WWF Superstar is all about. We also see what Chris' home life is like, and Taylor gets sauced. Al Snow gets a Mini-Me, and there's even some high-flying training too!
First of all, a very important announcement: There is no Tough Enough episode next week. The programming geniuses at MTV (you know, the same ones who thought giving Andy Dick his own show even resembled a good idea) scheduled the MTV Video Music Awards for this Thursday.
Who does an awards show in September? Besides the fact that it will pre-empt their highest-rated show, but they would have been going head-to-head with Smackdown had that show not been moved to Tuesday this week only.
The next-to-last episode will therefore air September 13, with the final episode on September 20. Somewhere in between will be my Third (of three) Quarterly Reports, where I make my bold final predictions.
I’ve also failed to mention for several weeks now that immediately after my Episode 4 review where I mention Beanie, the official mascot of Al Snow’s hometown of Lima, Ohio, Al had brought Beanie to WWF New York for Sunday Night Heat. If Al doesn’t point him out, he’s the green stuffed animal with the red baseball hat. Shout out to Al! It’s nice to know that he enjoys these columns.
I should also point out that I made a mistake when talking about Mick Foley’s Hard Knocks and Cheap Pops DVD. The Hell in a Cell match with Undertaker is NOT on the disc. However, all Al Snow fans simply must watch it for Mick’s hilarious commentary over the Snow/Big Bossman “Kennel From Hell” match.
Taylor begins the episode by telling us that her parents think that the WWF is about uneducated hicks. On that note, we cut to Little Chris leaving us. I have to wonder if that was intentional. Al’s comments on Heat last week confirmed that he wasn’t exactly sad to see Chris go.
They show a few mistakes. The highlight has to be Harvard Chris going over the tope rope and getting…er, himself…caught on the rope (see photo at left – ouch). I guess now we see why they all wear tights. And just how do you explain that rope burn to your girlfriend?
Al tells them all that they’ve been learning about bring a wrestler IN the ring, now they’re going to learn about being a wrestler on the road. They will all be going to the Backlash 2001 Pay-Per-View on Sunday in Chicago, RAW on Monday in Milwaukee, and the Smackdown tapings on Tuesday in Indy. Chris is particularly excited because his parents live in Chicago.
Taylor tells us again how unhappy she was before she came to the house. She was upset because she “wasn’t who she wanted to be.” She’s talking to her mom, who is glad that she’ll be home soon. Taylor says she’s excited because she might win, and her mom responds with “I don’t want you to win.” Oh, man, what a bitch.
I’m not exactly a model parent, but I know enough to realize that even if your kids are doing something that you don’t approve of, YOU SUPPORT THEM ANYWAY. It’s such a simple concept, but it seems to evade most parents. You can make it perfectly clear that you don’t like it, that you’d rather that they didn’t do it, but you wish them the best. Of course, it doesn’t always apply, but for something like this it does. The other concept that people don’t seem to get is that attitudes like those of Taylor’s mom just makes them want to prove their parents wrong.
Taylor tells us that someone messing with your emotions hurts much much worse than any physical injury. It’s pretty obvious that all she wants is her parents’ approval, and I get the feeling that it would be pretty difficult to obtain under any circumstances.
Anyway, the gang fly into Chicago and take a limo to the arena. Just like all the other WWF Superstars, right?
They help the crew set the ring up. Al says it’s important to see how much work goes into making the WWF shows. It’s not just the wrestlers, it’s a huge group of people working together. They need to respect everyone in the crew from top to bottom, and the best way to do that is to do their work. The gang is impressed with the closeness of the WWF family, and they (particularly Taylor) are happy to feel like they belong.
Al joins the gang in a skybox, where they watch the pay-per-view together. Al explains the different moves and strategies to them. They get to see how what they’ve learned relates to an actual match.
Afterward, they go to a local bar and hit the VIP room. Taylor takes advantage of the free drinks and gets absolutely plastered. On the way back to the hotel, she crawls all over Maven while Chris and Nidia egg her on. Josh, for his part, pretends to be asleep. I figured that he was just hoping that Taylor would leave him alone. My friend Dale suggested something I didn’t think about. He thinks that Josh has some bad experiences with drunks and simply shuts down rather than deal with them. It also explains his reaction to Chris in the Bahamas. Anyway, Maven fights her off, and she ends up biting him, leaving a mark on his arm for a week.
I’m really curious if she likes Maven, or if she was just that drunk. I have to give it to Maven, a lot of men (a LOT, from what I’ve seen) would have taken advantage of the situation. It’s yet another testament to him that he resisted.
The next morning, as they head to Chris’ house, Taylor is incredibly hung-over (yeah, DUH.) The crew get to meet Chris’ Mom and Dad, and have a good, home-cooked breakfast. Maven comments that you can tell class from the “Dogs Playing Poker” art on their wall. Chris’ room looks like a typical 12-year-old’s room, (except for the Harvard Diploma) complete with sports banners and trophies. Nidia thinks it looks like something out of the Brady Bunch.
Taylor crashes on the couch, and ends up throwing up in the bathroom. She was looking forward to breakfast but, obviously, can’t eat anything. She also comments about how cool it was that Chris’ parents wanted to know everything about their training. She wishes her parents would do that. I really hope they’re watching this, but then I doubt it would make any difference.
At RAW, they are impressed to see the how much the other wrestlers respect and like Al. They meet the Brooklyn Brawler (a sometime-wrestler who does a lot of backstage work) who takes them into the pretape room. This is where they tape all the interviews for the show. The Brawler asks them if they want to cut promos (interviews). They all say no, of course Al gives an enthusiastic yes. Man, I’m going to start asking for royalties if they keep stealing all my ideas.
Nidia goes first. She’s OK…she obviously doesn’t know what to say. Taylor is beyond horrible, she’s much too overwhelmed to make any sense.
Josh (as “The Sponge” because he always sucks up) cuts a promo on a wrestler known as Rhyno (see right). Rhyno is a young wrestler who looks like he could snap you in half with little effort. It’s a pretty good promo, but would be a lot better if Josh had any clue what he was talking about. Suddenly, Rhyno himself walks into the room and Al offers to show him Josh’s promo. Josh looks like he wants to crawl into a hole somewhere, but Rhyno puts his arm around Josh’s shoulder and leads him to the monitor. They watch the promo and Rhyno looks amused. Josh, for his part, is pretty glad he didn’t insult Rhyno.
Chris is next, and his promo is pretty unremarkable. He ends it by claiming an advantage, “I was trained by Al Snow!” Al looks like he wants to climb into that hole. Chris tells us that perhaps his biggest weakness is promos. Never would have guessed.
Maven cuts a killer promo on the wrestler known as Raven. I mean, it’s not great, but for coming off the top of his head, it’s pretty damn good. The room erupts in applause after he finishes, but I have to take points off from not rhyming Raven and Maven.
The next day they find a wig store, and Josh picks out a wig that looks exactly like Al’s hair. Al sees Josh, and promises to torture him for this. Josh tortures Al by copying everything he does (see left). I realize that this would get really annoying after a while, but it was hilarious.
They walk into the arena for Smackdown, and Josh points out that they sometimes forget that Al is a big star since they see him every day. Maven loves seeing fans crowd around Al for autographs and pictures. You can just see everybody imagining themselves being asked for autographs, can’t you?
They get to eat with the wrestlers backstage in the catering area. There are wrestlers EVERYWHERE you look. Tazz even gets up from his table and sits with Chris, Maven, and Josh. They’re amazed, as they can remember when Tazz would barely look at them, and now they’re laughing and joking with him.
Taylor is amazed at how nice everyone was. Al introduced them as his children, which Taylor thought was pretty cool. If she starts calling him “Daddy,” I’m out of here. Jeff Hardy comes over to their table, and Nidia melts. She starts to sing a love song after he walks off. Um, Nidia, I’ve got some bad news for you…
This time, they sit front row for Smackdown. They get to see Jackie wrestle, and again they are impressed by seeing her use moves that she taught them, and incorporate them into a match. After the win, Jackie rolls out of the ring and gives the gang a thumbs-up. Al wrestles next, wearing a Tough Enough shirt. They say it’s like he was wrestling for them.
The next day at Trax, the gang show off some high-flying moves (such as Josh, shown to the right). It’s pretty neat to see their training progress this far from learning how to fall a few weeks ago.
Nidia agrees. Everything has fallen into place, just like Al said at the beginning. They see how all the moves they’ve learned fit into a match. It all makes sense.
We end this week with Taylor. Wrestling is something that she’s always dreamed of doing. Actually DOING it is a great feeling, something she’s never felt before.
IN TWO WEEKS: Ivory shows up, and beats the crap out of Josh! That’s gotta hurt! And STONE COLD! STONE COLD!! STONE COLD!!! My e-mail address is email@example.com, and I appreciate your feedback!