After a somewhat exasperating episode last week, I think WWE Tough Enough has finally kicked into high gear. This week saw visits from two WWE superstars, a scary injury, drastic changes in personality among the cast, and a surprising elimination. Who took a fall, and who’s standing tall? Find out with this recap of Episode 5, “Swallow Your Pride, It’s Good For You.”
This Summer’s Gonna Hurt
Following last week’s elimination, the cast takes Patrick to task for letting his ego overshadow his talent. I know there’s the old adage about how it’s not cocky if you back it up, but Patrick has managed to rub pretty much everyone the wrong way, regardless of his natural skill. ZZ tries his best to slow Patrick down with some bayou fortune cookie wisdom, but as we see later in the episode, it falls on deaf ears. The first challenge of the week is an obstacle course the judges refer to as the “Humility Challenge.” I didn’t get why they called it that at first, but once the episode was over, it totally clicked. Maybe you have to watch this episode backwards! Has anyone heard from Christopher Nolan lately?
To keep them on course, the competitors are pursued by police officers. I don’t know why, either. Maybe this was the audition to see who would be a worthy sacrifice for Brock Lesnar on Raw. And what kind of authority does a cop have over an obstacle course, anyway? Do you get a taser shot to the butt if you don’t clear the tire wall? Also, Natalya is there for some reason. (I feel like that sentence sums up her presence on Total Divas, too.)
Tanner channels the CrossFit Jesus abilities of Seth Rollins and leaves the others in a Tanner-shaped dust cloud, winning the challenge easily. On the women’s side, Giorgia once again cleans house, with Sara not far behind. A lot of the competitors end up having difficulty with the final rope climb. Josh, Mada, and Patrick struggle for a while before finally making it up. Interestingly enough, Tanner actually heads to Patrick’s side and cheers him on. Amanda also has trouble, while ZZ is lagging behind in a different zip code. Needless to say, I worry about that boy. Chelsea finally makes the climb, but in her exhaustion, she drops straight to the ground and lands awkwardly on her ankle. She’s taken away for evaluation, where it’s revealed that the ankle is badly sprained, but not broken. Tanner is by her side during the ordeal, because… I don’t know, because pickup artist tactics occasionally work, just to remind us that the universe is ruled by chaos. Josh, disheartened by his performance, gets on FaceTime with his daughter, who mimics his hair bun and yeti call. I’ve never been a huge Josh fan, but this was adorable. ZZ is also bummed out, but when the other men try to encourage him and suggest he hit the gym more, Patrick decides to use the Needlessly Tough Love approach. Sometimes, the bayou fortune cookies don’t take.
I was watching this episode with my sister, by the way. Around this time, she asked me, “Is this The Biggest Loser for wrestling?” She’s not wrong, because there are certainly some big losers on this show. Speaking of which…
You Were The Chosen One
I’m skipping around just a little bit, because I feel like I have to cover the worst part of the episode (and possibly the worst of the season so far) in one shot, or I’ll just dwell on it forever and fall into a Sad Coma. I wish I had been recording my reaction here, because this totally Red Wedding’d me. After Chelsea’s injury, Sara is visibly concerned, which somehow rubs Amanda the wrong way. That’s fine on its own, considering that she’s been a non-entity for most of the competition, but then she has to go and get in Giorgia’s ear about it. This is somehow enough to kill the bubbly Australian ray of sunshine that lives inside her and flip her allegiance to the We Hate Sara Squad. Seriously, the change is instant. She spends four weeks rising to every challenge presented and basically becoming the internet’s newest crush, and then that crush drives to your house and lights your lawn on fire because her marginally persuasive friend said so. She openly mocks Chelsea’s injury the next day during drills with a sarcastic fake-cry session. What happened here? Either someone pulled Evil Twin Magic and the real Giorgia is on a boat back to Brisbane, or Amanda had some sort of Manchurian Candidate killswitch phrase prepared in case she desperately needed an ally.
Anyway, I believe I mentioned drills. The contestants have to do a simple tackle-to-body-slam sequence, but they’re challenged to show some charisma and trash-talk their opponent in the process. The losers have to do squats while repeating the embarrassing phrase of their partner’s choice. Mada turns in the best performance for the men, while Giorgia once again racks up a victory. Back at the barracks, Sara’s small spirit grows three sizes and she chews out Amanda and Giorgia for their duplicitous ways. As disheartening as the change in Giorgia was, Sara is the complete opposite. She’s finally showing heart, swearing and looking like she’s ready to fight someone, but it’s a shame she basically had to be bullied to this point. This show is suddenly based around Jekyll and Hyde mood swings, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. The guys are pretty cool with the shouting matches, though.
That’s Tanner, literally passing out popcorn for the girls’ shouting match as if he expects the Miller Lite catfight girls to show up next. You’ll notice that ZZ is absent for these monkeyshines, because such tomfoolery is not becoming of a Southern gentleman of high moral fiber. Make sure you’re using the #DontBreakZZ hashtag in the weeks to come.
At the live eliminations, Big Show makes an appearance to chop each of the male competitors. ZZ reacts like he got stabbed, which is surprising because of his layer of… extra padding, shall we say. When it’s finally time for voting, Paige makes an example of Patrick and sends him to the bottom three for his ego, while Daniel Bryan selects ZZ and Hulk Hogan picks Josh. In the tightest vote yet, Patrick ends up paying the price and is sent home. This is how you know it’s getting real on Tough Enough; a young, talented guy with indy wrestling experience just got eliminated. The ride only gets crazier from here, people.
Week 5 MVP: Sara. Finally. Paige must have lit the hottest fire known to man under her, because she’s finally backing up her physical game with some attitude. Go find this week’s Tough Talk and watch her verbally dunk in Giorgia’s face. Welcome back, Miss Lee.
Week 5 Jobber: I would make a case for Giorgia if she weren’t such a great, moldable athlete. Instead, Amanda is the bottom of the pile this week. She’s had absolutely zero defining moments thus far, aside from being the Iago to Giorgia’s Jafar.
Week 5 Dark Horse: Mada. Another promising week for the pharaoh of the 21st century. He just needs to work on the cardio-related stuff and drop some of the immaturity (like he did this week), and he could be around for a while. Hulk Hogan’s basically his biggest fan right now, that counts for something.
Remember, check back later today for an exclusive interview with Patrick. See you next week!