WWE Tough Enough Episode #9 Review

Welcome one and all to America’s favorite Dumpster Fire, the penultimate episode of Tough Enough! We’re almost there! Tonight we’re guaranteed to see one of the final three male participants eliminated to bring us to our final four next week. We know that Amanda and Sara Lee will be competing for the female championship already. I have no idea if we have a special guest this week or any idea what’s going to happen this week, so come join me on the ride once again and let’s see what they have in store for us.

We get a recap video of last week and Gigi getting eliminated. We go through our opening video and then go live as the final five are on stage. Chris Jericho is once again sans scarf, I’m so proud of him. The lovely Renee Young looks stunning once again. Our judges are introduced and give a quick sound byte to set the stage for the last two weeks of the show.

We go to the barracks after last week’s elimination. Amanda and Sara Lee are discussing things in one of the bedrooms. Amanda asks if Sara Lee feels guilty for the fans saving her all the time. Sara Lee doesn’t bite, because she realizes that’s a dumb question. Now the guys are discussing the fact they’re the bottom three this week for sure. Tanner talks about how frustrating it is that ZZ gets all the votes despite always losing in everything they do.

The final five now arrive to Full Sail University and the “NXT Arena”. The coaches tell them that they have to learn the business from the bottom up, so to start this week, they’re going to help some of the NXT wrestlers and workers set up the ring and arena for the next set of NXT Tapings. They show a montage of the ring coming together, Tanner says it took them about 2.5-3 hours to complete.

The coaches bring all the competitors into the ring and they’re going to help them find out a finishing move that fits each person. Dana Brooke and Jason Jordan are in the ring with the coaches. Sara Lee gets in the ring first and Billy asks her about last week when she says the coaches are never happy with anything she does. Billy asks her how she’s been doing, and she says a lot better, which leaves the coaches literally speechless. Billy was flabbergasted. Lita takes initiative and says that for Sara’s finisher, since Ronda Rousey is the hottest female athlete going right now, Sara Lee should attempt a cross arm bar, much like Ronda did in Judo. It’s simple and it’s effective. Sara Lee and Dana hit the crash pads first as Sara Lee adds a Russian Leg Sweep to it first before locking in the armbar. It takes her a couple times to land the Russian Leg Sweep effectively, but ultimately the coaches look impressed with how Sara Lee took to the finisher.

Next is Tanner. The coaches talk about the lack of charisma that Tanner has, and Lita says they might be running out of time to get him to where he needs to be in that aspect, but they can hone the physical stuff. They ask him what he wants to do and he says he wants to be a high flyer and attempt a cross body block off the top rope. He lands it perfectly the first time, but the coaches say he has no look or characteristics about him when he goes to the top. They tell him to show some emotion with his eyes when he gets to the top, but he has the same look no matter what. Booker T’s reaction when he tells Tanner to show tears is absolutely priceless. Billy is incredulous. He tells Tanner to just yell when he gets to the top and so he practices that while taking a few jumps off the top rope. He gets one shot to land it with Jason Jordan catching him and he lands it perfectly. The coaches again just harp on the fact that he needs to change his face when he’s about to hit that move. We go to our first break.

We yet again get a recap of the rules of elimination. If you don’t know how that works by now in week 9, why are you still watching the show? It’s back to finisher’s class now and Josh is up next. Billy says that Josh has been in Superstar Mode for awhile now and has been impressive. Josh says he wants to do a powerbomb variation for his finisher. The coaches tell him that it’s probably a little too ambitious right now for him to try that, just with safety and everything. I give him props for coming into the discussion with something already planned though. Billy decides to give him the British Bulldog Running Powerslam instead. He gives it a little flair with a running avalanche in the corner first, and then the Yeti Call before getting set for the Powerslam. He hits Jason Jordan with it once and the coaches are already impressed.

Next now is Amanda. Amanda says she wants something flashy and that stands out. Booker says that flashy comes in what you do before and after the move. Booker reminds her that Sara’s power is the votes from the fans on the show, so this is her time to try and overcome that. The finisher they give Amanda is the Running Bo-Dog in the corner. Poor Bo Dallas. Although, when was the last time he actually got to use his finisher? Amanda and Dana Brooke go over it on the crash pads and then without and she looks very fluid hitting the move and the coaches are happy with what they see.

Lastly is ZZ. Billy asks if ZZ feels he’s done everything he can do for the coaches. ZZ says yes, but he brings up again the fact he wasn’t prepared for the physicality in the ring. Billy tells him that everyone in the ring can be entertaining, but they need to be able to show they can snap when it comes time to do so. They ask ZZ if he’s come up with a finisher, and he said that he wants to do a submission that he calls The Gator Grip. Much like he would when they go to grab a gator to tape their mouth shut, he would come from behind, and grab them by the jaw and pull back. It sounds weird, but when you see it, it’s actually a pretty creative idea. Billy even admits as such, telling ZZ it’s hard to admit that he’s impressed with ZZ’s idea. The coaches work with ZZ to finesse the move, and then have him add a flapjack slam beforehand as the set up. ZZ gets it all together and the coaches are content and send him on his way. He’ll need to work on his facial expressions too, but him and definitely outshine Tanner.

The coaches talk about how this is just one more piece to the overall puzzle and to just keep thinking about their finishers and how to constantly make them better. Billy thanks the NXT stars that helped out and they send the competitors on their way. We go back to the judges and they give high praises to everyone for what they did in their finisher class. Paige says she wishes Sara Lee hadn’t looked like a blank slate and had an idea of what to do, but what she ended up with looked awesome. Miz was legit impressed with ZZ and how he had the whole package planned for his finisher including the catchphrase (“Don’t get bit by The Gator Grip”). Jericho then sends us to commercial.

We go back to the barracks and they talk about the finishers. Josh asks if they’ve named their finishers. Josh says his is the Abominable A-Bomb. Amanda asks if the judges said anything about what they need to work on. ZZ says they just told him to work on his cardio cause everything else is there. Everyone looks at him as if he’s crazy. That was a good lie though. Made me laugh. Amanda now meets up ZZ in one of the bedrooms and talk about what their plans are to win the competition. ZZ says that Amanda may play a mean girl, but she’s been nice to him. Aww, that’s sweet. Josh and Tanner are now cooking chicken and talking about how it’s going for them. They again discuss how discouraging it is that ZZ gets all the votes despite how lazy he is. Tanner says it’s more important what they’re doing when no one is looking.

Back to Jericho, who says one of the major traits to be a WWE Superstar, you have to move quick, act quick, and think quick. So next, they’ll find out who the quickest thinker is. He sends us to commercial. That commercial is for Total Divas with the direct quote, “She’s always been loved by the fans, but tonight you’ll see why that’s all about to change.” They’re talking about Eva Marie. She’s always been loved by the fans? Is that breaking news to anyone else besides me? I just needed to get that out there.

We’re live again with Jericho and the judges and it’s time to see who’s the quickest thinkers. Miz goes first and asks ZZ if it’s true that he graduated from Nichols St with a degree in psychology? ZZ says yes. Miz asks if he’s been playing the WWE Universe then? ZZ says no. Paige asks what’s the first thing he’s going to do with his quarter of million dollars? ZZ says he’s going to move to Orlando to continue training and give some back to his family. Daniel asks what coach said ZZ was the complete package when he told that to the other competitors? ZZ said no coach actually said that, he was just saying that he was everything the business is. Paige cuts him off and says they asked him a question and he said he was the complete package. The judges hound him about that and he freezes up and stutters over it. So they know he lied.

Jericho asks Sara what she thinks about the political situation in China. She laughs and says she likes to stay neutral. Daniel asks her who the toughest coach on her is. She says Booker T because he doesn’t like her smiling. Paige asks if she uses it as an excuse, and Sara says she doesn’t. Miz asks her about her nose ring and she says she likes it.

Jericho asks Tanner if he takes exception to ZZ getting on to him about his lack of facial expressions. Tanner says no because he understands that he’s not doing it well. Daniel asks what he can do about that? Tanner says acting classes. Miz says should the WWE Universe feel sorry about his lack of charisma, and Tanner says he doesn’t have a lack of charisma, he has a lack of ability to change his facial expressions, and he thinks that’s something that can be taught. Paige asks him something about his brother picking on him as a child, and he tells the story of a prank his brother pulled on him in the park.

Jericho now asks Amanda why did her brother beat up her first boyfriend? Amanda basically says just because since he was protective. Daniel asks why Amanda is a better diva than Sara? Amanda says she has everything and the It Factor. She’s way more athletic. Miz says she’s planting seeds of doubt in Sara, but why should the WWE Universe vote for her? Amanda says hopefully now they’re seeing that she’s got more of what it takes than Sara Lee does. Paige asks her about why she would worry about coming across bitchy, and Amanda just wants the fans to know she’s portraying a character.

Jericho asks Josh what he’s most proud of? He says its his daughter. Jericho asks how important is it to be a good father? Josh says its very important because he knows from personal experience what it’s like to grow up without a dad, so he wants to be there for her. Miz asks Josh if his plan all along was to start in the middle of the pack in the background and then go to “superstar mode” like Billy Gunn called it? Josh says if that’s what happened, it was unintentional. His confidence grew as he dropped more and more weight, and you see the end result of that now. Paige asks if he’d let ZZ babysit his daughter and he says absolutely not. Final pleas are next and we go to break.

It’s now time for the guys giving their 30 second statements on why they should stay. ZZ goes first. ZZ says that everything he’s said and done has come from his heart and that’s what he wants to show to all the fans. He’s come from humble beginnings but he’s enjoyed his time here and this is what he wants to do. He didn’t come across very confident at all. That quick thinking segment rattled him it looks like. Tanner goes next and says he’s always been a fighter so he’s not afraid of hard work. He knows that once he puts in the work, everything will pay off and he’ll give everyone what they’ve been asking from him. This is what he wants to do for the rest of his life. Solid speech. Josh is last and he cuts a full scale promo with a lollipop as a microphone. It wasn’t the smoothest speech as I didn’t catch most of what he said beyond asking the fans to come through for him and that he needs them for vote for him. But he swung for the fences and ended with a nice touch of giving the lollipop to Paige. If you’re going to fail, fail giving 110% and that’s what he did. We find out who’s eliminated after our last break.

My Take on Who Goes Home: I don’t think it’s ultimately going to affect the voting at all, but ZZ was by far the least confident in these live segments tonight. The judges obviously rattled him and that last plea was not good at all. Tanner and Josh are ready for the next chapter in this quest to be a WWE Superstar, I don’t think ZZ is. It’s fitting for this show that the least prepared and the least likely to win this competition is going to get the votes and make it to the finals. ZZ SHOULD go home, Tanner WILL go home.

Back for the ending and Jericho goes to Sara Lee and Amanda and asks who should be eliminated and Sara Lee says Tanner because he brings the least to the table. Amanda agrees with that assessment. Jericho says the voting is closed and gives Daniel the chance to use his save, the only one left in the competition. Daniel really thinks about it and decides NOT to use the save, saying he trusts the WWE Universe. VERY interesting there. Live crowd sounds legit surprised.

The votes are in and Tanner is the one going home with only 20% of the vote. Josh actually comes in with a commanding 46% and ZZ with 34%. That’s ZZ’s lowest vote total of the season and is quite interesting heading into next week’s final. Renee asks Tanner about his lack his personality and if we got to see everything from Tanner and he says it may have been tough for him to show everything, but he’ll learn to do it. Renee asks him who should win and he says Josh because he has what it takes and because he’s not lazy. Tanner says he will continue this as there’s a wrestling gym by him that will help him learn all the techniques and such.

Jericho hypes up the finale next week and says the final four will come up with their wrestling gear, their entrance themes, and their overall entrances and perform everything in the ring live. That’s our show.

Final Thoughts

I wanted to watch Tough Talk to see if Daniel discusses if he regrets not using his save. Daniel said that in full disclosure that he was pulling for Tanner. He saw a lot of himself in Tanner. So he struggled with the decision to save Tanner because he wanted to leave it in the hands of the fans who made Daniel Bryan what he is. He didn’t come out and say that he regrets not using the save, but you could see it written in his face. Both he and Miz gave a VERY impassioned plea to ZZ, Miz called him a liar to his face. It’s great stuff if you want to go on the Network and watch it.

As for the finale next week, I’m actually shocked that Josh had such a huge vote turnout this week. So that’s big for him. If he wins this competition, then at least something will be salvaged from this show ask Josh has the look and obviously has the dedication with the amount of weight he’s lost. I think Amanda should beat out Sara Lee, but I don’t think she’s done enough to win the votes over like Josh has. I can at least say it should be an interesting finale.

Don’t forget to check me out weekly for the NXT Spotlight now as I review NXT’s show every week here on TJRWrestling. Until next time, keep staying away from the scarves Jericho.