Rejoice all, WWE is saved, Cena is back! Pfiew they got us worried there for a minute, I mean he’s been gone for two whole weeks and all. Anyway, after the obligatory Cena vignette, we start live with Chris Jericho, Renée Young and our judges: Daniel Bryan, Paige and The Miz who all have some words of wisdom for our contestants. Amanda got praised by Bryan for embracing the fact everybody hated her. Well, in the wacky world of wrestling that’s not a bad thing indeed.
We switch to the barracks where none other than Chris Jericho is waiting for the group. With some pizza’s. So much for ZZ’s diet. Gigi admits being worried of not getting trough to the WWE Universe and Amanda goes one further by saying ZZ ans Sara Lee( not that she named them but it was pretty obvious) didn’t have to worry about not performing well since fans saved them anyway. The discussion actually got interesting with Gigi saying this wasn’t a competition about who’s the most relatable but ZZ interjected immediately by pointing out being athletic was all very well but if you don’t have that connection you’re lost. Jericho more or less agreed with him and reassured Amanda by saying every good guy needs a good bad guy. That’s all very true and we’ll talk more about ZZ later, but there is a big difference between getting votes on a reality show and getting the crowd behind (or against) you in a wrestling ring.
Jericho then did a Stone Cold by asking some of the contestants what their favorite WWE match was. Gigi’s favorite was Trish Stratus vs Lita, the one in which Lita landed on her neck on the outside and still finished the match. ZZ’s favorite was the cage match between triple H and Brock Lesnar, while Sara Lee was blown away by Lesnar’s victory over the Undertaker. Jericho then tried to make them understand how important story-telling and in-ring psychology is. Couldn’t agree more.
Chris the put the alcohol in Jerichoholic by challenging whoever was still up to it to a drinking contest. The results were clearly visible on the next morning with Tanner doing a pretty good zombie-impersonation. Jericho and the gang then join the trainers and this week’s challenge is putting up an actual match. The get one hour to prepare and some of the NXT wrestlers will be their audience. The coaches and jericho impart some much needed counsel on the contestants during their preparation.
Match 1: ZZ vs Josh
The crowd chanting “Truffle Shuffle” at ZZ was hilarious. Joshh impressed with some smooth moves and, amazingly, ZZ didn’t do badly, far from it. Of course it can also be said that Josh carried him to a decent performance. But the simple fact that ZZ now knows enough to allow himself to be carried says something. The story was the underdog (ZZ) trying (and failing) to overcome theYeti. Much would be made later about ZZ connecting with the crowd, but I don’t know, aside from some rope shaking and hair swishing he didn’t do that much. Josh is really starting to get it though and for me, it was him who told the story. Praise from the judges with the final verdict being: “pretty good”.
Match 2: Amanda vs Sara Lee
Since I’ve criticized a lot these past weeks, I must say it, Amanda kinda impressed me this whole episode. By embracing the fact everybody hated her, she finally (partly) got what wrestling is all about. And she starting to apply that in the ring as well. Still a lot of work to be done of course, but kudos to her. Miz was actually on to something when he saved her. Meaning he really IS smarter than he looks. Wow. Sara Lee wasn’t bad but remains awkward in her moves. And got blasted by Booker T for smiling during the whole match. Final verdict: “Other than that… OK”.
Match 3: Tanner vs Gigi
We start with one of the most hilarious moments in this whole competition:
Jericho : « This is Tanner ! »
Crowd : « Booooooooo ! »
Jericho : « And all the way from Brisbane, Australia… Gigi ! »
Crowd : « Booooooooo ! »
Jericho : « Ermh, she’s the babyface, guys. »
Crowd : »Oh… Yeay ! »
Anyway Tanner impressed with some very smooth moves. Gigi also did well aside from a little misstep after one move. Tanner scored the win with a surprise roll-up and then bailed out of the ring and played to the crowd. Not bad. Not bad at all. Coaches agreed, but they pointed out to Gigi that if the crowd is confused about whether she is the babyface or not, she isn’t doing her job. Tanner got compliments for his ring work but needs to work on his facial expressions more.
Winner of the challenge was Josh, loser was Sara Lee.
Back at the barracks and, for once, no drama. Just Tanner and Josh chilling and talking and Amanda and Giorgia going over some tweets. Now I’m not the twitter kind, so I don’t really know much about it, but some of those tweets were brutal. Again Amanda impressed me by not taking it personally and simply saying, if that’s what it takes to make it… Wow, Amanda, if you keep this up, I’m gonna have to stop calling you Barbie Doll.
Back live and THE CHAMP IS HERE!!! BOOOOOOOO!!! Oh, sorry, I mean YEAAAAAAY… Ermh, which was it again? Mr Jericho? Maybe you can solve the Cena mystery? Guess not. Some pretty generic comments form SuperJohn who accepts Rollins’ challenge at Summerslam. I’m still chuckling at Cena going into hyperbole mode and calling TE the greatest show in the history of shows. Unintentional comedy. Gotta love it.
Judging time with Miz nominating Tanner because charisma can’t be taught, Paige nominating Sara lee for obvious reason and DB nominating Giorgia for failing to get the crowd to understand she was supposed to be a baby-face. Tanner responds to his nomination by making a very good and impassioned plea. In the end, Sara Lee gets 43% of the votes, Tanner gets 35% and Giorgia still fails to connect with only 22%. A very emotional Gigi then says goodbye. Amanda and Sara lee are officially announced as the female finalists
An almost drama free episode centered around wrestling. Who would have thought THAT was going to happen. They changed the pace and having Jericho interact with the contestants like he did was a great move. Easily the best episode so far for me.
ZZ was on fire during Tough Talk, responding to the critics and saying that some might do a 20 minute match without connecting to the crowd, while he could connect and entertain for all the 5 minutes he was in there. I found this interesting because some of what he said came pretty close to Mr Vince Russo’s latest blog. It’s not that it’s untrue, it’s just not the complete picture. The true art is entertaining the crowd for more than 20 minutes, WHILE delivering a great match. That’s what people like Russo never understood. That is what wrestling is all about. Sure you can entertain with goof-balls character or comedy, but if that is all you do, history has proven such characters at best get their 15 minutes of fame. ZZ should study Mick Foley’s work. Foley was great at entertainment and comedy and playing the goof-ball, but Foley could also wrestle up a storm in that ring, compete in long matches and keep the crowd’s interest from the first to the last second. Would Foley’s three persona’s have been as interesting if all those elements weren’t combined? I don’t think so.
ZZ and Sara Lee are still favorites to win it. In the case of Sara lee it’s almost a certainty, since there is no way Amanda can beat her in the voting. However, Amanda getting a contract anyway is now also a certainty.
Daniel Bryan has a very important role next week. As the only judge with a save left, he can decide who becomes the first male finalist. Since Josh is the only one who seems to have a chance against ZZ in the voting, I wouldn’t be surprised if DB uses his save on tanner.
Giorgia did well in the first part of this season but then got lost in the drama. But I’m sure we’ll see her again.
Neither ZZ or Sara Lee have any chance to make it as a wrestler. If they win expect ZZ to be some sort of goofy backstage character and Sara lee to show up on Total Diva’s.
See you all next week for more Tough Enough.
Tags: Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Paige, The Miz, Tough Enough 2015