WWE Tough Enough Episode #8 Review

Welcome one and all to episode eight of America’s Favorite Dumpster Fire, Tough Enough! We are here once again at with your weekly review and this week, despite all you loyal readers telling me that I deserve a reward or a medal for sticking through this show… they give me John Cena. If you know one thing about me, it’s that I can’t stand John Cena. I’m not a “Cena Hater” cause it’s the cool thing to do. One day I’ll put my reasons into a column, but that day is not today. No, today I just suffer through You Can’t See Knee giving what I’m sure will be a well prepared corporate speech about how you’ve got to love this business and never give up. Can I give up? No? All right, well let’s get through this as best we can. Roll the film!

We start this week’s episode with a video that makes Cena looks like a hero returning as he makes his first appearance since having his face rearranged. What does he have in store for the competitors? We’ll find out tonight. As we arrive live to our hosts, the six remaining competitors are already on stage and we go to Chris Jericho, sans scarf! Besides him is the lovely Renee Young who’s in a unique outfit, but looking great as always as her legs are on full display. We are then introduced to our judges. Daniel speaks up first and says that he likes that Amanda embraced not being liked last week and let herself get motivated by that. Paige says that Josh has really been shining the last two weeks but he better not let up. Miz calls out Gigi for being last last week & getting saved, so hopefully something clicks this week. Daniel says he needs to see more from Tanner. Paige wants Sara Lee to show her how important this is. Miz says he doesn’t think ZZ can physically handle what it takes to be a WWE Superstar.

Renee sends us back to the barracks after last week’s elimination and the finalists find two pizzas and Chris Jericho waiting on them. Jericho toasts them for being the final six. Jericho asks Gigi about being last and being saved by Paige. Gigi says she’s frustrated that what she’s doing isn’t clicking with the WWE Universe. Amanda calls out ZZ and Sara for always being in the bottom three and getting saved because the fans love them. Gigi then showcases why no one cares about her, as she utters the dumb quote, “People keep saying that ZZ and Sara are more relatable, but this isn’t a competition about being relatable.” Uh… it kinda is. But what do I know? I’m just here writing good jokes about a bad show so people will like me.

ZZ jumps in and tells Gigi that you have to be relatable, you have to be really loved or really hated, but you have to connect. Jericho says we don’t know why ZZ or Sara connects so well, but that’s called The It Factor. He says for every good guy, you need a good bad guy. He’s been the World Champion 6 times, but never won it as a babyface. So if you’re a heel, embrace it. Jericho then asks what some of their favorite matches are. Gigi picks Trish Stratus vs. Lita in the infamous match where Lita does the dive to the outside and bends in half the wrong way, but still manages to continue the match. ZZ picks a Steel Cage match between Triple H & Brock Lesnar. Is it bad that I had to look up when that match took place? I absolutely don’t remember them ever having a cage match, but at Extreme Rules 2013, apparently they did. Sara picks Brock beating Undertaker at WrestleMania 30.

Jericho says that they’re all telling really great stories sitting around talking, and that’s what pro wrestling is all about, telling a great story. Jericho then busts out the alcohol and jokes that this week’s challenge is to outdrink him. After everyone except Tanner wakes up, Jericho shows up again and he’s ready to go. He wakes Tanner up, who looks like Hell froze over. Jericho brings them to the Performance Center and it’s time for this week’s challenge. Booker T tells them that today is about building a great story for a match. Lita and Billy set the table for the competitors and tell them that they’re basically going to sequence everything they’ve learned thus far, but then put a little extra on it, do the mannerisms and tell a story with their moves.

Jericho is actually hands on for this training and is bumping for all the competitors. Kudos to him for that. He works with them on headlocks and shoulder blocks. These are definitely bumps he doesn’t have to take. Sara is once again in her head as the coaches tell her to stop smiling and she lets the critique affect her transitions. Now everyone is going to be paired up and have an hour to put together a story in a match. Tanner and Gigi are putting together a story that he broke her heart. Josh and ZZ are doing a story where it’s the underdog vs the big monster. Amanda and Sara are putting on a story where Amanda plays the better than thou storyline, but Sara comes back and shoves it in her face.

The coaches go around to the pairs and give advice on the stories that everyone has put together. Now it’s time to see what they came up with. But before that happens, they’ve got a live crowd for these stories and matches, and that live audience is none other than the entire NXT Roster. The NXT Roster is way bigger than you think, because despite there being probably 50 people ready to watch the matches, the only notable people are Bayley, Jason Jordan, Bull Dempsey, Blake & Murphy, Alexa Bliss, Mojo Rawley, Big Cas & Enzo, Carmella, Tye Dillinger and that’s about it. We go to commercial as they take their seats.

We return to our rules of elimination again. Renee reminds us that Daniel Bryan is the only judge with a save left.

We go back now to see the finalists matches. ZZ and Josh are up first. The NXT roster give a mixed reaction to both guys and then give ZZ a Truffle Shuffle chant. Outstanding. This may be the first time I’ve seen Josh without a shirt on (or the first time I was inclined to notice) and he looks in tremendous shape, considering the size he came in on the show at. Add Solomon Crowe to the list of NXT guys ringside. The match has just the bare minimum that they’ve learned, and Josh wins the match with a bodyslam. Not much I can really comment on, because it’s all what we’ve already seen. Booker compliments Josh for getting the crowd involved. Lita says that ZZ had a good week this week and that he needs to find the confidence he had at the beginning. Overall it was a pretty good match.

Amanda and Sara Lee are up next. Amanda gets booed by everyone. The coaches do not look impressed as they watch what’s going on. They use the same moves as the guys did, and this time it’s Sara Lee who wins with a bodyslam. Booker and Billy give Amanda credit for looking like she belonged in the ring. Her footwork just needs improvement because she’s very “skittery” in the ring according to Billy. Lita says the story was good, but they again tell Sara Lee to stop smiling. Booker is really angry at Sara Lee for the smiling. He says she’s not taking it serious, because there’s never been a diva who once the bell rings, doesn’t put her game face on and continues to just smile and not be ready to go. He was not impressed at all and that was definitely the most forceful he’s been. His response to the match actually drew some laughs from the NXT guys.

Now it’s time for Tanner and Gigi, and both get booed so much that Jericho has to announce that Gigi is the babyface, which gets a good reaction and made me laugh. From what they showed, it looked like it was actually the best match of the three. Tanner showed some nice cowardly heel tactics and Gigi had some fire, despite falling on her butt once after a hiptoss. She played it off well though. Tanner ends up suckering Gigi into the corner and gives her the ROLLUP OF DEATH and gets the win and runs out of the ring quickly to celebrate. Nicely done. The coaches give some small critiques, mainly saying that Tanner needs to work on his facial expressions and play to the cameras.

Jericho and the coaches get together and discuss with everyone what they saw today. Jericho said they all did a great job and he was really impressed with them. All the coaches agree that Josh had the best performance. Billy says there is just something about Josh. Booker says Sara Lee was the worst this week because she needs to find a way to be comfortable in the ring.

We go back live to Jericho and Renee. Jericho says he was worried they wouldn’t be able to do what they did in the ring, but he was very impressed with what they pulled off. Paige said she was impressed with everyone, especially ZZ. Miz concurred and said he loved the character aspects he put in between moves to show that he was really having fun. Daniel Bryan talks to Sara Lee and says smiling is OK, but you need to know when to smile. You have to do it for a reason. Paige says you have to tag in and tag out when it comes to your personality in the ring. Daniel says he was impressed with Tanner’s mannerisms. Seems like all the judges were expecting a train wreck, but were actually impressed with what they saw. No one got yelled at or talked down to. Jericho says John Cena is up next and we go to commercial.

Before we get to Cena, we go back to the barracks where Josh and Tanner are playing pool again. They talk about how much fun they had in the ring, and joke about how Tanner got through the day even though he got “white girl wasted” according to Josh. Now we go to Amanda and Gigi who are reading mean tweets about themselves. Gigi reads one that calls them porn star lookalikes. Now that you mention it….. After they laugh at their tweets, we go back to Chris Jericho who introduces the U.S. Champion, John Cena. Cena shows up with his brand new nose to match his brand new merchandise line which is a Miami Hurricanes color scheme this time. As long as he never touches the Carolina Panthers color scheme, we’ll be OK. He came close with the last line.

John shakes hands with the judges and Jericho gives him a hug. Cena looks like he’s on drugs, and I’m not just saying that. He keeps making quick looks like he’s tweaking. The nose looks straight though, so there’s that. It’s pretty obvious though that he had plenty of make-up put on to conceal his black eyes. Cena says the show is really great, and the story they tell on Tough Enough is great because it’s a story they don’t get to tell anywhere else really, and it’s the story of someone starting from scratch. The tryout videos they sent in, there’s nothing like that on people such as himself, Jericho, Paige, or Daniel. Miz has one, and we can see where his legacy begins, and Cena calls that courageous that everyone including Miz, did that. Cena says he wishes nothing but success for everyone. Jericho brings up that Triple H said on Raw last night that Cena had a 50/50 shot of being at SummerSlam, so he asks Cena about that opinion. Cena says he doesn’t know what type of future Triple H has as an oddsmaker, but in Tough Enough fashion, he will leave his fate up to the judges. Cena asks Daniel Bryan what his one word answer with hand gesture would be if someone were to ask him if Cena would be at SummerSlam? Daniel of course does the YES chant and I guess that’s our answer. Jericho thanks Cena for coming and we go to commercial.

We come back to the judges ready to grill the finalists. Miz goes first and calls out Tanner for being too much like a robot. He can get from point A to point B, but it’s everything in between that he’s not picking up and Miz says he’s worried that Tanner won’t get that. Tanner defends himself on what he did in his match and says that taking what Jericho taught him during their put together period, it shows that he’s coachable and can learn on the fly. Paige complements Tanner and says he showed personality. She then brings up how Amanda says ZZ and Sara Lee don’t mind being in the bottom three because they know the fans will save them. She asks them if that’s true. Sara says no, it lights a fire under her every time she’s put in the bottom three. ZZ says that he appreciates all the fans supporting him, but he doesn’t like being put in the bottom three by people with such high regard as the judges. Daniel jumps in and says he was very impressed with ZZ’s facial expressions during the match and he wasn’t afraid to put himself out there. He says that unlike Gigi who couldn’t do anything to show that she needed to be cheered. We’re coming up on time to announce the bottom three as Jericho sends us to commercial.

We come back to the judges and Miz will go first. Miz compliments everyone and says they were fun to watch and it got him excited. Miz says they can teach moves and mannerisms, but they can’t teach charisma, so for that Tanner is his choice. Paige goes next and she says everyone knows who she’ll put in, because she will always call out Sara Lee for not getting it, so that is her choice again. Daniel goes last, and says that even if Sara Lee is in the bottom three, at least when she was supposed to get people to cheer her, she knew how to make people cheer her. Gigi was supposed to be cheered, and couldn’t do it. So Gigi is his choice.

It’s time now for their 30 second plea to stay. Gigi basically gives her goodbye speech. She starts with, “Whatever happens tonight…” which means she knows she’s getting eliminated. Tanner goes next and really defends himself for what he did this week and how the other two coaches liked his personality this week. He turns the tables on Miz about what Miz said and is really showing some fire. Miz doesn’t let on if he’s impressed with Tanner’s speech or not. Sara goes last and says that end if Paige will keep putting her in the bottom three, but she improves every week despite what Paige thinks. Obviously the fans believe in her, so she’s going to keep doing what she’s doing because it obviously works. She can work on the facial expressions, but she’s going to be her. The voting is officially open and we go to our last commercial.

My Take on Who Goes Home: So Daniel has the only save left, and since he put Gigi in the bottom three, she’s clearly on the chopping block. I could see him saving Tanner, but I think he knows that there’s no way Tanner gets less votes than Gigi. If I remember correctly, Gigi got the lowest vote total of the show last week. She did nothing this week to improve that standing, so I think she’ll be far and away in last place this week. Short and sweet this week.

It’s time for the elimination, but first Jericho goes to some of the safe competitors and asks who should go home. He goes to ZZ first who says it’s a lot better on the other side of the bottom three. ZZ then says Tanner needs to go home because he’s the exact opposite of him. ZZ has a ton of charisma, Tanner has none. Jericho goes to Josh and he smartly says the only person in the bottom three that affects him is Tanner, so he needs to go home. Jericho goes to Amanda and she says Sara Lee because as much as she thinks she’s improving, no one else sees it. Jericho asks Daniel if he wants to use his save this week. Daniel gives it a real long thought but finally says no. He definitely contemplated it, though.

The votes are in now and as predicted, Gigi comes in last with only 22% of the vote. Tanner has 35% and Sara Lee has 43%. Sara Lee has never been below 40% in the vote for those keeping score. Renee goes up to Gigi to ask her what happened to lead to her elimination. Gigi says she just guesses the people didn’t like her yet. She says she will continue her path to the WWE though. Jericho sets the stage for the women saying that it’s now officially down to Amanda and Sara for the women’s contract. We’ll find out who the last male eliminated will be next week and that’s our show.

Final Thoughts

The right person finally goes home. Next week’s show is going to be very interesting in the fact that one of the guys is guaranteed to be eliminated, but Daniel still has his save. Can ZZ improve enough to stay on the show? Will Daniel save Josh just to be safe? The dynamic of next week’s show could be interesting for once. This was actually the best show of the season, which isn’t hard to do considering how bad its been, but I can at least send it a complement when it’s earned one. I’d still like to see everyone do A LOT more in the ring. They still don’t know how to throw a working punch. They’re at least learning the selling part of it though.

Thanks for reading once again, and we’ll be back for the penultimate episode and we’ll find out who the Final Four is. Until then, stay away from flying knees Cena.