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WWF Tough Enough by The Cubs Fan




What really happened (maybe): Kenny, in his MTV article, "Pete came to me upstairs and he told me that they were getting into it, but then she started to think about her boyfriend, so she stopped." You know, I believe this story - you're not gonna underplay (or at least PETE doesn't act like he was going to underplay) what just happened to a good friend right after. In fact, this gives me motivation for

Your Annual (Season) Soapbox Moment: They like to call this Reality TV, but the true name really should be A Really Cheaply Produced Show With So Much Footage We Can Almost Make Up Anything We Want The People To Do. These are real people with real dreams of what they want to be - but they're also semi-fictional television personalities, with personalities and actions as decided by the people in the editing room. What you're watching (and I'm talking about here) are those created characters, and not necessarily resembling the real people being represented.

And Now, The Opposition Response: If you're ever on a reality show and don't know all of the above already, you're a moron. And if you're even stupider to give them openings to manipulate your image like Jackie and Pete did. I mean, I've made a conscience effort to cut down on my usage of words like "moron" and "stupid" in these things lately, but I think it's accurate here. 

TV PG L open

Previously: You Haven't Seen This but Pauline Anni thinks she's not been so good in the ring. The kids are exhausted. Not exhausted enough for Jackie and Pete to not crawl on each other in the hot tub. Pete wonders where it leads. Jackie wishes it never happened. 

Trax. Pete says that Jackie and him have had a discussion about what happened yet. They show us Jackie and Pete sitting next to each other at Trax and not talking, and we're supposed to think that there's some sort of tension between them. The problem is they clearly show Alicia's name on the back of the seat Pete's sitting in, so this is long before the hot tub. Pete doesn't know what's going to happen.

Al says they have a lot of ground to cover - they're behind. Armdrags. Oh that was a bad one. Hey look at all the different shirts Pete's wearing in this montage - you don't think this is actually a lot of screwups pasted together to look like they can't do anything one day? Nah. Anni says they were working hard but still struggling and about to drop. Jake repeats that for us. Ivory explains that it was a mental block - "a combination of being exhausted and wanting to do so great." Al says the harder you try do something, the harder it becomes to happen. Al's example is Anni - she's very insecure, to the point it hold her back in the ring and in personality. Um, what does that - oh it doesn't matter this week's an Anni episode. Anni worries that she's tentative in the ring. Even Jackie (Jackie and Anni eat away from everyone else) tells her that she's the least aggressive in the ring and she needs to work on that. Linda tells us that Anni is shy and bashful but needs to be stronger. Linda gives Anni a pep speak - she's got to believe in herself, or others won't. Anni says she's going to try to loosen up and be more confident. You don't say.

Optimum Training. I love this because they do exercises and stuff but it's all so random that I don't have to mention. We pick some day where Raphael complains about them being on empty because that's the non-Anni, non-hot tub story of the day. (See, when they give me two obvious edits in the first few minutes I start questioning everything and no one really wants that - whiny me isn't fun me.) Linda says all that work? Tiring. Hawk remarks in the car that he's tired. Kenny says wrestling is about mental toughness. 

Hawk: "Hey, guess what, more packages for Jackie!" Ah, SongLyricsJason. Jackie explains that they're writing letters back and forth, and it wasn't pretty to start with but it's a little better now. Jake says Pete is stuck on Jackie, and Pete says he hopes Jackie breaks up with Jason, which isn't' really all that nice if you think about it from a non-Pete viewpoint. We're spared most of a Jason/Jackie phone call - just enough to get the crying. Jackie says they had a long, emotional, tearful phone call to get everything out. 

Morning. We're supposed to notice everyone beat down. Jake says when you're tired, you've got to push on. Trax. Big hurries them in. Hawk says he was feeling stress and tension and thought it wasn't going to be a good day. Jackie says the same. Al, in the ring, seems to be in the middle of a "stop goofing up and going so slow - you need to catch up to our speed and if you don't, you'll be left behind" speech. 

Guess what? They still aren't so good. Chavo says that the first two weeks, he was impressed with how the kids were coming. But after that? Not so much. "Everyone slowed down -e everyone took two steps backwards." More blown armdrags. Bob: "I'm not a patient person. And it's hard for me to be patient, because I want to learn - I feel like, I can learn fast, so why can they." Hawk and Jackie pull multiple armdrags. Even Chavo's about had it. Al says he's come to the conclusion that they're not where he wants to be, physically and emotional. Ivory says Hawk was having a bad day and he broke down. Hawk's crying, Bob's asking him why and Hawk's like "it's tough" and somehow, that just isn't good enough for Bob. (Why is Ivory smiling like that?) "I don't have time for people who cry. Knock it off." Big doesn't know what other stimuli it'll take to get them performing how they need him to be. Al addresses the kids: "Take this very seriously; I take this very seriously. Ultimately, we are responsible for how you guys turn out. You care our reputations on with you, and trust me, I will not allow you to [searches for a word] besmirch what I have worked nearly twenty years to get. Won't happen." Break.

Al really should've picked something other than besmirched there.

Night. Pete says morale was low. They go out to the same bar they always go to (Yankees Doodles - I wonder if MTV cut a deal with them) and Kenny hits out people as usual. Let's talk about Jackie and Pete some more. Pete asks Jackie to dance - "nothing sexual, I promise!" Jackie knows Pete would like something but it's not happening because she's got a man. Even if Pete hoped Jackie and Jason would break up "in the back of his mind" (if she only knew) it doesn't matter anyway. Pete's changed to the past tense of "liked Jackie" before the end of the paragraph - he's moving on.

Mooring. Kenny's sleeping too late. Everyone's tired. No one want to train, and Kenny's sure they're going to pay for it.

The kids enter Trax, and we're dramatically not allowed to see who's working out in the ring but they kinda did show Maven and Nidia last week so I'm not really surprised. And also you can see Maven far before you're supposed to. The truly shocking thing is that Nidia has an entrance video. Mostly clips from last season but STILL will wonders never cease. You've seen Maven - Nidia looks thinner than I remember. Big thought it was important that the kids from this season get to meet the winners from last season. Jackie is awed. Al says it wasn't that long ago that they were in the kid's position "and now, look where Maven's at! Look where Nidia's at!" Haha, Al's all about the subtle jokes this week.

Maven gets to talk about himself. We cut to the topical bits, where Maven says there were mornings he hated being there, mornings he and Josh looked at each other and wondered why they made those three minute videos. Injured, sore, hurting, tired of going into Trax (Kenny laughs because he feels it, yo), tired of exercising. "But I'll tell you what, I got to walk out in front of 18,000 people on Smackdown. I walk out, get in the ring, people start chanting your name. 18,000 people chanting your name. And I'm tell you one thing - and if there's ever a moment where you don't think you're in the right business, think what 18,000 people chanting your name sounds like. It's unbelievable. And, I'll be honest, I can't imagine anything else." Jackie explains that Nidia and Maven are from last time, so they relate. 

Nidia wants to know how they feel about being here. Jake says he's done a lot of spots, and the bumps he's taking are beyond all that. Nidia explains that people used to come up to her and ask her if it was as hard as it looked; she said no, it was even harder. "They didn't show half the stuff - they didn't show us puking in the corner from cardio drills." Anni says nothing that we haven't heard. Maven explains that they're the light at the end of the tunnel. Anni tells them how happy she is to be there. 

Big says the kids perked up when Maven and Nidia got there. Here's a montage of them doing everything right. Kenny does the "I want to impress the WWF in this match on Jakked against Crash, so I'll insanely overdo a hiptoss bump" bit. Nidia acts as a referee, so they must have moved on to having matches. I see Edge there too and that's never explained. Anni talks about Maven's personality and how she needs to be less reserved. Al says that Nidia and Maven started coached the kids, and probably didn't realize that they were saying the same exact things to the kids as he was saying to them. Pete says they helped a lot - more than anyone else who's come by so far. Nidia sees a lot of promise in everyone. 

Big talks with Maven and Nidia about their facial reactions when they found out they were going to the Bahamas. The kids this year are going out on a trip too - but they're gonna train too, this year. The location of the trip is such a mystery, we'll take a break.

California establishing shots. Why? We had time to kill.

Big: "We're wearing going is - Sun City, South Africa." 

Now, I'm not most people (duh) but when he said that, the first thought that came to mind was the 80's song "We Won't Play Sun City" (title may be wrong) by Bruce Springsteen and a cast of many more, protesting Apartheid by refusing to play in it's entertainment center. Obviously, things have changed in South Africa since but I'm pretty sure this wasn't the connection they wanted me to make - ah, I'm just a fool for making music connections on MTV.

Getting back to stuff you might care about: Everyone's stoked about South Africa, of course. Anni's always wanted to go to South Africa. Jake has never ever been out of the country. They're gonna train and go on safari. And, as a special bonus, they get to eat dinner with Nidia and Maven tonight (and also Al and Big.)

Nidia and Maven check out this house - Nidia's outfit is an homage to Michael Jackson's video version of "Smooth Criminal" and she manages to say "oh, wow" four or five times. Jackie's still blown away that Nidia and Maven are at their house. But now they all leave and go eat Mexican. Pete explains that Nidia and Maven - well, you see, they were on a very similar show not too long ago. Keep it under Nidia's hat. Nidia references OVW angles when describing her use of forearms on large women (well, I hope it's an OVW angle.) Anni talks. Maven says that Chris (Ni.) would have won if they were just looking for size. Nidia tells them to be themselves, because you don't know what they're looking for. Pete talks but somehow we're back to him and Jackie - they're back to what they were before. Maven: "By the way, the first day you hit the ropes - whew." Pete talks about wanting to do that - Maven talks about doing the same and paying the price when he got into it.

Hey, guess what they're going to do today? We're gonna to run the ropes! Poor Al has laryngitis, it sounds like. Are they tightening or loosing the ropes? The world will never know. Al demonstrates proper technique. Here's one of those morphing montages where one becomes another. Anni is the last one we seen - her's look really good and she talks your through that plot resolution of the week (she doing better in the ring - all based on one bit!) While we get the "look at the rug burn like marks right below everyone's arm pit" shot, I'll take time to note Chavo's wearing pointy WCW logo T-shirt. 

Hawk suggests that Big was bored when he talked Hawk into getting chopped by Bob. We see him chop and open hand slap people from the show they all went too - and Hawk is a sucker. "OOOOOOOOOOOOW!" "C'mon here, now c'mon here, that didn't really hurt." Here's an open hand slap for you too. "Kenny wants one, Kenny wants one." Ivory tries and does horrible - they hurt so little that Kenny smiles about it. Bob notices, and Kenny pays the price - "OOOOOOOO WHOO", I think that's actually the Loony Toons "Oh wow what a smoking babe (that certainly couldn't be my enemy in drag)" noise. Now ones for Pete. Jake acts all tough when he gets his. The girls get none, of course. "Everyone else in the WWF is rough. I may be rougher than others. Others may be a little bit rougher than me. But they have to be prepared for that. But that's what I do, and that's why I'm here." Look at the mark left on Hawk's chest - Bob: "Hahaha, sorry."

Everyone talks about it being a hard week and Maven and Nidia pulled them closer. They're at the beach to get ready for Fitness, but they notice a bird down, with a hook in it's mouth, and help remove it - it flies away. It's a competition, but they've formed bonds of friendship. (Well, except for Jake and Linda not being in this bird saving crew.) They've all become so close - let's watch a bird fly away as we end.

Next: Everyone's excited to be in South Africa, but they've got the toughest heat Linda can imagine (and how did they get a ring there?) It wasn't a vacation - they were there to work.

Tough Enough episodes air Thursdays on MTV at 9pm CST, give or take three minutes and rerun a few times during the week (including right before Sunday Night Heat). Tough Enough's website is Get the feeling the final five we saw together at the end are their picks for the final five?

The Cubs Fan
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