Yes, I admit it. I’ve been watching the WWE reality competition show, Tough Enough, from day one. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, Tough Enough is a show on the USA Network where contestants compete for a $250,000 WWE developmental contract. Tonight, the winners – one man and one woman – will be decided.
It may be a surprise to you, but I am a wrestling fan. I grew up a wrestling fan as many kids in the 80s did. I stopped caring about it during my high school years, but gravitated back to it my final year in college, when we finally got cable in our dorms. A few years later I found myself not watching again, and in 2011 this brought me back. I’ve been a loyal fan ever since.
The funny thing is, even when I was “away” from wrestling, I still watched the last season of Tough Enough back in 2010. I’m a sucker for reality competition – but I also realized that I’m a sucker for anything that has to do with the “behind the scenes” of wrestling. So when it was announced that Tough Enough was coming back in 2015, I knew I’d be watching.
And I did.
And, well…While there were things on the show that I did enjoy, it was – a flawed show, for lack of a better word.
I was surprised that the show was not earmarked for WWE’s own streaming network (subscriber since day one), but in truth it made more sense to put this on the USA Network. Get more eyes on the product and hopefully steer them to the Network.
The WWE Network did air a special about the casting of the show, and I enjoyed it. I liked seeing all the stuff down in Orlando at their performance center, and it gave you a glimpse of who you might be rooting for once the show started.
And then the show started.
Have you ever tried to fill your mouth with grapes, and then you think – well more grapes would be better – and then more grapes? At some point you realize that you can’t fill your mouth anymore, and your mouth is so full that it’s not even enjoyable anymore.
Wait, what the hell am I talking about?
Oh right, basically I think they tried to cram too much into this show. In one hour each week, we start live in Florida with two hosts and three judges. They talk for a bit, and then we segue to the pre-tapes segment that shows us the contestants previous week. We see their life in the barracks, typical/terrible reality fighting and arguing garbage – everything you assume will happen when you pack a bunch of young people in one place to live.
Then, every week the contestants are given challenges which, for the most part, have nothing to do with wrestling. Okay, fine, it’s reality.
Then we get to see them train and try things out in the wrestling ring. That’s the stuff I find most fascinating – and it’s probably the smallest part of the show. They deal with three coaches (different from the judges) that see their in the ring ability – but that’s all these coaches do. They have no influence on the outcome of the competition each week.
That takes place back in the live segment, with the 2 hosts and 3 judges (not 3 coaches). Each judge then gets to pick one person for the bottom three, and from there it’s up to the viewers at home to vote live for who they want to keep. The person with the least amount of votes (unless they get saved by a judge who each has one save for the entire season) goes home.
Did you catch all that?
So here’s the problem I have with it. We, as wrestling fans, see very little wrestling on the show. I assume that the three judges also only see what we see. Based on that alone, they pick the 3 people that could be eliminated – and then we vote for who we want to stay. It’s just too many steps.
And why would the WWE think we the people would get this right???
The entire show became a popularity contest – and the judges took way too long to catch on. There was one girl and one guy that were basically the worst as far as wrestling was concerned, but they were the most likable. The judges would put them in the bottom three over and over again, and they would repeatedly be saved by the fan vote – sometimes leaving contestants more deserving of being saved with a ticket home.
But I still watched.
And yes, I even voted – for that one girl too. Because she was likable.
And yes, I am a grown adult made. What has become of me?
After weeks of watching this show go through people quitting, people replacing the quitter seemingly out of nowhere, people throwing drinks, people knowing nothing about the WWE, people knowing everything about the WWE, people somehow thinking that “leaving their state” is a big deal, and leather-skinned judges being fired after racist rantings in sex tapes – here we are. The final four.
And wouldn’t you know it – that same girl, Sara Lee, and that same guy, ZZ, are two of the final four. I hope that Sara Lee wins. I want her to win. And yes, I will vote for her to win. It’s not just that she is likable, but her opponent, Amanda, seemingly went out of her way for me not to like her. Plus, I don’t need another blonde, big boobed, girl trying to make it in the ring.
And yet – she is better in the ring than Sara Lee. In fact she was better in most of the challenges than Sara Lee (I think?) but I’m still voting for Sara Lee because I liked her more, and because I honestly think with hard work maybe they can turn her into something.
With the guys, ZZ was the likable one, but at 19 years old to me he just comes off as a kid in way over his head. He can be entertaining sure, but if I were to see a match with him or his opponent Josh – I choose Josh.
In fact, last week, Josh was the top vote overall for the guys. I think the WWE Universe has finally caught on and I have high hopes that in a couple hours, he’ll be crowned the winner for the men.
Josh for the men. Sara Lee for the women.
Those are my picks.
And really Tough Enough is just the pre-show for Tough Talk, am I right?