|WWF Tough Enough by The Cubs Fan
13 people, chasing a dream, we get it already. TV PG L. Josh has really got built since the first show, hasn't he?
LIVE. TOUGH ENOUGH. WWFNY! LOOK AT ALL THOSE PEOPLE. IT'S COACH AND TRISH AND EXCESS HAS TAKEN OVER TOUGH ENOUGH. Hype blah blah blah, Coach and Trish retell the story but since anyone paying the slightest attention by now knows it already, we look at each of the five sitting in the audience. Will Chris get booed? YES. He nods, knowingly. He could care less about all these people because (he thinks) he's going win and they're ALL LOSERS. Oh good, Trish and Coach are sending it to the normal half hour.
Previously: Big didn't know it'd be this tough. Josh didn't know moonsaults would be this tough. Al reminds us that this is a competition and time is running out.
The Last Supper. Mansion. Nidia explains that they wanted to thank their trainers for everything they've done, so they're inviting them over and cooking for them. Man, are they going to be thrilled when they see the house. Nidia and Taylor are doing most of the cooking work that we see - actually, we don't see the boys at all. Here's Miss Jackie. "Oh my goodness, y'all are living large!" There's Tori. Josh and Maven are there to welcome Big and Al. Everyone's dressed a little nice but let's take a second to note Chris wearing a suit. Josh: "What he changes into every day when he gets home." No Tazz.
They all end up in the living room and Chris explains that they thought before dinner it would be fun to play a game they just made up. Ah, the Tough Enough board game. Some posterboard with magazine clippings and Pez dispenser playing pieces (two, so I guess they're teams) and a die borrowed from Sorry or something. Oh, cards too. Al has to pick one up. "Refer to Miss Jackie as Jackie during the first week. Go back three spaces." Rock! "Have a Goldberg poster in your room. Go back two spaces." Ha! We get clips of these incidents as they happen and everyone's laughing. Nidia: "Give hiptoss to CK. Injury own hamstring and shoulder. Go to the hospital." "Darryl takes you in a headlock and smells. Go back three spaces." See, I'd think you'd need to go to the hospital after that. "Try to make out with Maven while totally plastered. Go back two spaces." Al wonders who did that one as Taylor looks guilty. "Find a wig store in Milwaukee. You win!" If that game wasn't set up by the producers, that's the new best thing ever.
Time to eat. Big offers a toast. "When I came out here eight weeks, or nine weeks ago, I talked about two things. I talked about respect, and I talked about family. And I think you five epitomize both of that. Hear hear!" Eating! And it's not breakfast. Big asks who they thought would be here at the end. Josh says Darryl and others laugh but I think he meant it. Paulina is brought up by Nidia, and we see her (and everyone else.) Jason too. Everyone agrees that he had a good shot if he had the heart. Chris brings up Greg. I think Nidia says she thought her and Taylor would be here in the end.
Maven and Josh got get the Al wig so Josh can make fun of Al with it. Oh, he's got the mustache too. And then he does his Al impersonation. "What did I do to deserve this?" Big says he's Al Snow Jr. and Al's even more depressed. Josh Snow decrees no more squat thrusts anymore.
Trax. Last 2 Days. Yea, they're still doing squats. Push ups. Taylor tells us that she can sense some closure. They've been working matches and now they're getting to the final product. Did Nidia just pull out a Mexican Surfboard! Yea, but Tazz gives Taylor more advice. Josh takes a suplex from Chris. Al's vague bit about "evaluating them on different levels" but starts giving his thoughts on everyone To him, Taylor has natural aggression. Nidia has some in ring presence that makes you want to watch her. Chris had an advantage from the beginning but that's worn off as time has gone by. Still, he's keeping a high level. Maven's got physicality, agility and charisma. Josh has a lot of passion, heart. He's stayed with top physically, mentally and psychologically. It's still anyone's race.
Here's some more wrestling highlights. Nothing spectacular but all very solid. Tazz talks to Nidia and Josh and suggests a "hudacanrana", if they've done it before. They both assure him it's all good. Let's watch.
Well, they start their match and Josh gets in the headlock. And he says Vince McMahon (since I got no e-mails from non-wrestling people, I assume y'all know who that is) walking in and you get to see his jaw drop in slow motion. This makes up for last week's bad angle, for sure, but I'm all the sudden worried for Josh's chances if he's not paying attention to his match right now. Maven tells us that he saw Vince through the corner of his eye (we see Chris and Maven, originally sitting away from the ring to prepare for their match, then peering over their shoulders to see Vince strolling by in slow motion) and Maven describes the sudden rush of nerves. Josh says it took his breath away a little. Nidia: "I was like, 'Whoa, wow, it's the man himself!'" The man (himself) is drinking coffee and being cool (still in slow motion - that's not healthy), but I think it's just because we're going to break.
Final Exams. We pick up back where we left off, with Nidia and Josh wrestling. Vince and WWF Executive Producer Kevin Dunn. We last saw Dunn back on the selection show. Nidia's happy with pulling off a pretty good match, considering what was going on right around here. Josh too - he was happy with the psychology. Vince and Kevin seem pleased with what they're seeing, though we can't hear much. They're surprised how far they got in ten weeks. Tazz is the referee and coach, encouraging them on. Al rings the bell - time limit draw and I wonder if that was the finish. Probably - I can't even get clean finishes on this show anymore.
Maven and Chris in now. Chris talks about wanting this to be the best match of his life, and he's going all out for it. So much so that he nearly knocks himself out taking a back bump on a clothesline. Chris terms the match "unbelievable" and given the way his head keeps hitting the mat on some of these bumps, that may not be a good thing. Maven says he tried not to have Vince's presence affect him, but it definitely did. It built up nerves, but it also built up adrenaline. Chris wins with a top rope cross body block.
Now Al, Taylor, Tazz and Maven are talking about an upcoming match. Vince is standing by himself on the far side of the room. He seems to be loving this psych job he's doing because he hasn't bothered to stop it. They go at it. Vince and Kevin (still drinking their Dunkin' Donuts coffee) like the fact that the guys and girls are used to wrestling each other. Taylor says it was a little intimidating, a little uncomfortable, and she doesn't think she did as well as she'd like too. Here's the example: Maven goes for a dropkick and Taylor goes down before Maven gets in the air. Vince and Kevin watch, and Vince decides that she has a "woman's softball" body. Kevin says she's athlete. From facial expressions alone, Kevin seems thrilled about the level of wrestler they're going to be getting out of this. Vince is keeping his poker face up. There's the bell to end that match.
Now Chris and Josh. Chris takes a biel off the top rope. Kevin identifies Chris as "the Harvard kid", so they must know a little but not a lot about these guys. Kevin says he has the size, but Josh is tough and heart. Vince says something that I can't totally make out, but I think it's that since Josh is small, he had to be tough and have heart. Kevin gives him credit for taking the best bumps. Josh wins with a flying cross body, the bell rings, and we move on.
Oral Exams. Big leads in Josh to the WWF offices. He's never been on this level before, because he's a little awe struck by all that's around him. Josh is introduced to Kevin and Vince, and I think Big is gonna leave him alone in there. That'd be SCARY. "How you feeling?" "Oh, overwhelmed. "Josh thinks it's scary too, I guess.
Vince (and we're clipping around here too different people) asks Josh what about the business intrigues him the most, and Josh says the entertainment value. He's been watching this his whole life - back to WMII. Vince is a little awed. Chris's answer is that the WWF is one of the classiest organizations that he's ever been around. Maven says it's a thinking man's sport. Nidia (voice cracking) says that everyone in the WWF has a great heart. "We do care about what we do." Taylor says that in the beginning, she didn't think it'd be so tough and figured that these guys took bumps in some way that it didn't hurt. Vince and Kevin laugh. Maven says the next person who tells him wrestling is fake, he might go completely off on him. Vince laughs a lot. Taylor is asked what the toughest part of Tough Enough was, and she says just sticking with it. It's almost more mental than physical. Nidia says in the beginning, she didn't think she'd make it to the end. She almost didn't bring stuff because she figured she wouldn't be around long. But then she decided to give it a chance.
Chris is asked if he got close to the people he was training with, and he says no, not really. They're all good people, but not his kind of people. Chris just killed himself there, because if he can't put up with these four (barely) freaks, how's he gonna deal with all the insane people he'll end up working with? I'd think Chris would know to lie. Josh says they all got along, more so as people left. He got a good friendship with Maven, who says the same. Taylor says everyone's been cool and Nidia will miss everyone a lot.
Vince asks about the inner Josh - what can they bring to the surface and amplify to make a character? Josh says he sees himself as a babyface. He's small in size but big in character. Nice to meet you, 1-2-3. Chris thinks about playing off the Harvard connection, and the stereotypes. Maven says he's a pretty boy back at home. Vince asks if he's a ladies man and Maven says he likes to think so. Maven's the least nervous one by far and that is why he's going to do well in whatever he does. If you can be laughing and joking around with Vince McMahon after a short period of time, you've got some good social and mental skills to use for whatever you do.
Vince asks about life on the road. Nidia is, definitely. She looks forward to it. Taylor says she's not going to be happy doing anything else. Chris says he gives 100%. Everyone thinks they're Tough Enough. That's it. Everyone remembers to shake hands. Kevin: "They made it. They're Tough Enough. How cool is that?" Strangely, Vince and Kevin go into a discussion about the ability to puke whenever you want.
Oh no it's Trish and Coach. Coach starts bringing up the Trish/Vince angle and Trish stops him. I guess he'd get in trouble for making a (similar) Beyond the Mat joke and wasn't around for Stone Cold Steve Austin, WWF CEO. We'll find out who the champion. Only two can live. Or win. Look at those big trophies they get. Coach introduces the ("three") trainers: There's Al. There's Tazz. There's Miss Jackie. I guess Tori only exists in my mind. I don't know what she did to someone but it must've been awful. Trish reads her lines. Looking from the rest of the table, it looks like the family members came as well. Coach says we'll see more of the last days, but first let's take a break.
Farwell. Mansion. Josh and Maven are packing. Everyone is. Taylor is happy to have one bag down. Maven thinks his packing is too easy and figures there must be more stuff in there. Now it's morning (we know because we get a shot of the mansion in the morning) and Taylor, Nidia and Chris are writing goodbye notes to the trainers. So is Maven and Josh some place. Nidia writes "Miss Jackie" which is smart.
Driving. I almost forget about all the gratuitous driving scenes they stopped doing. Chris says that he was really nervous, and he knew it came down to today. Nidia says there was so much going in her mind today - the contract, saying goodbye, and an episode of your life being over.
Graduation. Maven: "When John first told us that we were going to have a match with the trainers, we all were a little excited. We didn't know that it was going to be an utter ass whopping." All the trainers are a lot more vicious then normal and it takes a few seconds for the kids to realize what they're in for. Unfortunately for Josh, he's taking most of the beating. Josh is thrown in the corner so Maven can get victimized. Josh is still hurting. Maven is in pain. Taylor is in and looks eager. Then she starts going with Jackie and gets killed. Folded up in half on a clothesline like she was nothing. Josh is holding his head in pain and in shock of the violence. Both Nidia and Josh have their jaws stuck in permanent drop mode. Everything, every single move, is being hit ten times stiffer than normal and the kids are getting little in - it's like a really vicious squash match. Tazz is even going out of his way to use different forearms than usual because he can hit them harder and make them hurt more. Josh finnaly gets to start the comeback and wins it after a snap suplex.
After the pin, Nidia says everyone cheered, and then the reality of it all being over hit in. Everyone hugs. Taylor and Nidia are crying. Maven thinks that everyone turned it up a notch and it was a good day to end on. Nidia is really broken up about leaving the trainers. "We're never going have this again." Taylor is gonna miss it - it's like a home, and she's more comfortable here than she ever has. Taylor gives everyone cards, which causes Tazz to chuckle. Group picture pose. Big congratulates everyone on being Tough Enough. Tazz says all five have something, and that even if they lose, they should try and pursue this. Jackie says that everyone worked hard, she's happy to have been a part of this. Tori says they have a lot of heart and her respect. Al is very proud of everyone, how they stuck through it. "When I say that you are my kids, you are. I take that responsibility seriously. You guys make me very proud. And I don't regret for a minute spending any day. I can begin to thank you enough, for spending these nine weeks with me. There are five chairs left and there are five people left. It is our wish, all of our wish, that you guys don't take and sit them on the wall. I want you to stand up right now, fold them up, and take those chairs home with you, because you earned them. Thank you very much." Al is almost in tears.
Maven says that knowing it was all over - all the training, all the pain, all the gashes on his head (that I haven't brought up yet for some reason) - he wouldn't give it up for anything. He's glad he made the decision he did. Nidia says she pushed herself to her limit and beyond. She'd totally do it again. Taylor says they all deserve to win and only two can, but the others will probably be happy for the winners. Josh wishes everyone well for whatever they do. They all went through it together. Chris says that he respects the others a lot, and even though they might not be best friends, he'd fight along side them any day.
Everyone was moving their stuff out during that, and they're now driving towards their airport. They leave their luggage at the house - I guess it's being picked up and sent separate, but they say goodbye to the house.
Back live. This is the shot they love on Heat, walking into WWFNY and watching a monitor that has the hosts on it. It's kinda lame. Trish says she's been on the receiving end of a Miss Jackie asskicking, and she's happy they're on the same side.
Al interviews Miss Jackie. Well first he talks to the crowd. We watch that clothesline and Jackie talks trash to Taylor. "Hey Taylor, you took a good asskicking. And you didn't bitch about it either! So you're okay in my book, girlfriend." Al asks Taylor what went through her mind - "I never want to piss her off for sure."
Coach says the moment has arrived, so we probably have another commercial break to it. He also reveals (cue backstage shot) that Jim Ross is here to announce the winners. Kinda funny we never saw the person in charge of talent before now. I expected Vince for some reason, though. Coming up next, we'll find out the women's champion. Break.
We're still LIVE. Still to come, who will be the men's champion? Coach mentions that the family is here as well and we look for them. I don't see Maven's mom at his table. Coach takes us through all five women who were selected - Bobby Jo (booed.) Victoria. Trish has snappy dialogue. Coach does too but it doesn't sound so scripted. Paulina (mild claps.) As a Nidia chant breaks out (huh?) we start a look back at the two finalists.
Taylor. Wrestling clips throughout. Day 2 Interview: "I want to be a WWF superstar because, I think the WWF has certain elements to it that best reflects what I think are my best qualities." Al talks about Taylor's natural aggression as we get that one forehead to forehead shot Justin loves. "My parents don't know the business, and there was a certain amount of pressure not to pursue this - you'll never make it, you're too small, it's like I want to prove them wrong." Miss Jackie says Taylor is a little dynamite. Tori says she's not afraid to get in there and go for it. "I have to prove to myself that I can push myself further than I've ever pushed myself before, mentally and physically. It's what I want, and I'm not gonna quit."
Nidia. "I enjoy wrestling. I want to be the top. I want to entertain." Al says she has emotional toughness. "The people told me that this would be one of the roughest things you'd do in your whole entire life, and I'm just like 'oh, cool, whatever, bring it on.'" Tori says she has a nice presence. Jackie says she's tough - very tough. "It's gone from 'I want to be a wrestler' to 'There's no doubt in my mind that I am going to be a wrestler, if I get the contract or not.' Whether I get the contract or not, I am going to do this because I love it." "Once it's in your blood, you're hooked. I found what I love."
Back to live. It's time. I've just figured out that I'm gonna be happy and sad no matter who wins. I mean, have your favorites but they're all good and they all deserve it and they all deserve respect. I'm supposed to make a joke here about Jim Ross showing up to the Oklahoma University Fight Song but I don't have it in me right now. Is that Big standing in the background? Someone brought a sign for Nidia. "Well, ladies and gentlemen, it's certainly been a very rewarding experience for me, after twenty eight years in the business, to see how hard these young folks have worked. And I can talk you that their mommas and their daddies have raised good kids because they came, they worked hard, they have goals, and they never faltered. You know this business is not for the weak at heart. Very difficult. Very difficult to be on the road two hundred days a year. We have to work very diligently to make sure our audience is happy night after night and these five young people have, in my view, all the ingredients it takes in, my view, to make it in this business. Unfortunately, there can only be one female Tough Enough champion and one male Tough Enough champion. [split screen of Taylor and Nidia - Taylor is intense but sure, Nidia is relatively laid back] And at this time, I'd like to announcer the winner of the female competition. [cheers - they both look at each other when the other is looking away.] Tough decision, ladies and gentlemen, [Taylor can't bare to look] but the winner in the female division, the Tough Enough champion, Nidia!" To her credit, Taylor doesn't even spend a moment on herself and immediately turns and claps for Nidia. Nidia is in tears of happiness. Nidia's in ring presence was the whole deal. Taylor claps and Nidia gets hugs from her parents and sister. And then she goes and hugs Taylor and I think Taylor finnaly cries right here. They spend a moment hugging, talking and crying. Hug for Miss Jackie. I don't know what this music this is but I wish it'd go away. Nidia goes on stage, gets the handshake and hug, and the trophy. Shot of Taylor dealing with it as best as possible.
"Thank you. Thank. Everybody. Hmm, wow. I am so - I got so much emotion going through me right now. But, wow. I - I feel like the luckiest person in the world. I get to realize my dreams, and I've been able to share it with America. Thank you guys for being so supportive. And this one's for my tag team partner right there - I could have not done this without you, Taylor, you're my best friend, you're my sister, you know this. I love you." Hit the music. Taylor is trying to cope but it'd work better if they didn't stick the camera on her so much.
Coach says we'll find out the male one next - which one will win? Split screen, and all three guys seem to be realizing the "two will not win" reality a little more. I like how they say it's live when they don't care.
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My guess? Nidia might have been the lesser worker (although if Vince only saw that one day, he might not think so), but once they said "she has the thing that make people want to watch her", she had all she needed. They've been planning all along that the winner will still need to improve in the ring so Taylor's work advantage is something that can be made up, and that in ring charisma isn't as easy. (Though I didn't see much of a difference between the two in what we saw.) Taylor will make it someday, if for no reason that then there's not like there's a lot of females trained as well as she is and someone will want to to run a Nidia/Taylor angle.
Tazz talks to Taylor, who's more collected but still sad. "Well Taylor, it's obviously a tough night for you. You became just another victim [some laughs and Taylor perks up at Tazz getting his line in] but I tell you what: she went up there, Nidia, and said that you guys were tag team partners, but she's the one with the gold, you're not. What are you feeling and tell the truth!" "I feel, you know, initial reaction, this is my dream to be in the WWF, and they don't want me. Um, I'm hoping that my feelings about that will change. This has been an incredible experience, I'm incredibly lucky, I feel almost selfish for feeling bad, but that's honestly how I feel, you know-" "Yea, I know you - a quick one answer word [Yoda Tazz!]: Are going to quit trying or what?" "Noooooooo." "Good job!"
Coach and Trish talk about Tough Enough 2. 10/5 is the last date in, the audition will be in Los Vegas and the house will be in Los Angeles - yep, MTV has more control here about some stuff. And they want them to interact with the outside world a little more. One more look at the male finalists.
We go back to Triple H episode, and him telling Jason that if he stumbled like that again. Then Darryl sick on the couch. Then quickly back to the Coach who starts to explain the wrong footage being shown. I don't know why the WWF is so happy to be live when they screw up like that. Coach stalls for time while they reset. Maybe they were going to show clips of the five who left early and had to cut it out due to time reasons? Here's the right footage.
Maven. "I want to be a WWF superstar because it's always been a dream and I've always respected what these WWF athletes have done inside the ring." Al says Maven has been in the forefront physically and mentally and he's a very intelligent guy. "Not just going out there and taking bumps and doing cool moves, but it's psychological." Big is very impressed with his presence - he's hard to look away from. Tori sees a lot of potential. "Now I hope when people look at me, in the ring, out of the ring, whatever I do on a daily basis, and I hope people look at me and say 'Maven wants it. He lived it.'
Josh. "What I wanted to do my whole life, you know? Just go out there and wrestle." Al says he has an absolute passion for this business. "Being small, I've never really though of as a disadvantage. There's things that I can do that bigger guys can't." Oh wow, the WWF LH flip! Tori says Josh is a natural - no fear. Unbelievable bumper. Big says seeing him off the top rope takes away your breath sometimes. There's that moonsault. "This is what I want do. I want to walk down the ramp when there's forty thousand people in the arena, you know?"
Chris. "I want to be a WWF superstar because I think it's one of the greatest jobs around." Al says Chris has been a steady performer and has a good grasp about how to put together things in the ring. "My focus is a huge asset. I am absolutely focused on this, this is what I'm willing to give the next fifty years of my life to." Tori says he goes the extra mile and takes care of himself. Big says he obviously has skills and wants to be the WWF superstar. "You get an opportunity like this, you give it 100%, day in and day out." "I'm dedicated to this, because I understand what it takes to get to the top, but I'm willing to put in years and years to get there. I'm the kinda guy they can count on."
JR is back at the podium. I think I'd been happy even if Chris won, though I'd need quite a detailed explanation as to what alignment of the moons and planets occurred to let such a thing happen. "Ladies and gentlemen, we have three outstanding male finalist here tonight. Well, for the winner, the journey is just beginning. A lot of slobberknockers ahead for somebody. No losers here, a lot of great heart displayed by all, but again only one Tough Enough male champion. And the champion is Maven."
Josh and Chris had either accepted that result earlier or adjusted quick, because they're quick to change their flash of disappointment into claps for Maven. Maven hugs Tazz and various people around his table. You can tell he's trying to go over to Josh but family members keep getting in his way for hugs. Wait, I don't think he did stop by Josh when he went up to the stage. Maybe he's just worried about finishing this on time. Chris heads over to Maven's table (and Tazz) a little late. Maven gets handshakes and holds up the trophies, then point it towards Josh.
"Um, [loud "Maven" cheers and yells] thank you very much. Um, first of, I have to, before I do anything, I have to thank all the people who came before me, all the people long before I even thought of becoming a wrestler. They're the ones who make this great business possible. I like to thank all of them. Next, I have to thank Al Snow! Love you man! Miss Jackie! Tazz! I would also like to thank all my friends from Virginia, Portland, Oregon. I'm not gonna disappoint you. I'm not gonna disappoint any of you. I'm gonna work, from this day forward, to be the one of the next WWF superstars. [Maven chant starts back up] At last, and certainly not least, Mom, this is for you. I love you."
Al and Josh talks - "Josh, without a doubt, I'm sure you're happy for your best friend Maven, but without a doubt, you wanted it just as bad as he did. How do you feel? You came this close!" [Josh chant - by the same people who were doing the Maven chant.] "I feel great for Maven. I'll gonna go home tonight and feel disappionted, but tonight, tonight's his night." "But this your dream, will you give it up or will you continue to pursue it no matter what?" "No, I'll continue to pursue it Al." "Alright Josh."
Tazz and Chris. "Well Chris, I guess being more intelligent [boos start here], being bigger, heh, and being more cocky didn't help you tonight, big guy. What are you really feeling?" "Well Tazz, I feel like I've been kicked in the face, but you know that's cool. Congratulations to Maven, he beat me straight up, but uh you know it's not a sprint, it's a marathon. You haven't seen the last of me." "That's good, that's good, Maven came out on top and, just like I said to Taylor, you became just another victim, big guy. Good luck."
Nidia (who showed up back in the crowd as Maven was named) and Maven stand on the stage with their trophies and some family members. Coach thanks everyone and congratulates the winners and reminds us all Tough Enough 2 is coming, they're live, and they've over.
We see reaction shots from the other five over the credits.
That's it.The Cubs Fan
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