Tough Enough Stuff, Episode 7: I Now Pronounce You Josh And Tanner

The addition of The Miz to the WWE Tough Enough judging panel was immediately significant after his surprising save last week. This week, the WWE Tag Team Champions drop by and even more drama ensued when it came time for eliminations. Find out who couldn’t stand the heat in this recap of Episode 7, “Spinning a Yarn.”

The Needlessly Wordy Section

So, let’s talk about Amanda. Last week, she was saved from certain elimination by The Miz, and the only criteria he used for this important decision was her looks. When we rejoin the cast at the barracks, she’s pretty comfortable with the fact that this was her saving grace. But does anyone remember the competition special? I know, it was weeks ago, but I’m a stickler for continuity. Just ask anyone who’s ever tried to watch a James Bond movie with me; I’m a nightmare. In case you don’t recall, here’s the blurb I wrote about her in the competition special recap:

“Amanda’s the first one we get any real face time with, and she’s determined to beat the preconceptions people might have about her based on her looks.

To be clear, I’m not putting her at fault here. Her situation is a symptom of a bigger problem. Miz’s save forced her to be complicit to an environment where looks trump skill, and now she realizes that she has to ride that as far as it will take her. You want to take the route of integrity and humbly admit that you haven’t yet developed the in-ring ability or charisma of the other women? That’s cool, but be prepared to fall on your sword, pack your bags, and watch someone else succeed as you realize you could have beauty-queened your way to the top. This is why we need things like Hashtag Divas Revolution. An environment that tells anyone to stand still and look pretty isn’t just wrong, it’s self-perpetuating. We’re only just now breaking out of a cycle that tells us talent is skin-deep. This is a step way the heck backwards.

Sorry if that was way too after-school special. Someone throw a slushie in my face and we’ll call it even.

Speaking of things that are awful, here are two of my least favorite things about the show: ZZ being woefully out of shape, and everybody else harping on him because of it. Imagine if you were a 19-year-old guy, loved by your community, who got on his first plane ride for the sole purpose of getting shouted at by G.I. Bro and Mr. Ass. I think it’s safe to say that ZZ is living the weirdest existence known to man. Anyway, the competitors are told that the focus of the week will be teamwork. They’re asked to team up and put some simple sequences together in the ring. Most of them struggle, but Josh and Tanner look pretty competent at the end.

The Ambiguously Straight Duo

Let’s not shy away from it, Tanner and Josh are killing it in the ring thus far. However, they’re spending so much of their time doing alpha male sh*t that War Machine is probably sending letters from his cell asking for royalties. After learning about Tanner’s subpar game in the hot tub with Chelsea last week, Josh actually has him roleplay chatting up women. I’m really having trouble finding the words for this segment, mainly because “WHAT THE HELL” in 400-point text doesn’t technically qualify as a paragraph. I will say this, though: If homophobia is the latent male fear that a man will treat you the same way you treat women, Josh and Tanner are the least homophobic dudes on the planet, and also the least receptive to irony.

Too Hot (Hot Damn!)

Elsewhere, Giorgia and Sara get into a disagreement about who’s more unsafe in the ring. A rainy day outside the Performance Center keeps the cast in the gym, where we see ZZ finally hitting the weights at a reasonable pace. The next day, the recruits head to a firefighter training facility, where the Prime Time Players inform them that they’ll be putting out fires and rescuing training dummies. Kind of seems like a sudden escalation, no? “Great job on those three straight obstacle courses, now run into this burning building.” ZZ says he was a volunteer firefighter back in Louisiana, so he helps call the shots for his team and eventually helps them win.

At the live eliminations, the judges bring up their concerns. Miz, who is apparently committing to being a full-time judge and full-time crime against fashion, worries that he created a monster by saving Amanda. Daniel Bryan and Paige have problems with the way Chelsea, Sara, and Giorgia handled themselves in the ring. For the bottom three, Daniel selects Giorgia and Paige reverts back to her usual pick, Sara. Miz considers electing Amanda, but instead goes with Chelsea, making him the recipient of the following death glare.

Paige goes on to use her save on Giorgia, who would have been going home with only 22 percent of the vote. Instead, Chelsea goes back home to Canada, and Paige goes back home to punching a mannequin with Miz’s face on it.

Week 7 MVP: Tanner. He and Josh were the front-runners this week, but he gets the slight edge for being on the winning team during the fire challenge. In the long run, I prefer the guy with no game, rather than the guy with so much game that he insists you start flirting with him for practice.
Week 7 Jobbers: People who think Paige is “too mean.” I was very tempted to give this to Amanda again for being such an utter void, but I’m sure I can single her out next week (if she isn’t eliminated). Seriously, go back and listen to the podcast with Stone Cold. Paige is a product of the people who raised her. She has a violent allergy to BS, so if you don’t want to see her flare up, the simplest solution is to not bring the weak stuff into her house. Life is only going to get harder for the competitors who’ve lasted this long, so we’re way past the point of having everything sugar-coated. Real recognizes real, and Paige is as real as they come.
Week 7 Dark Horse: ZZ. Lo and behold, he stayed out of the bottom three. He just needs to lay off the excuses and hit the gym like a maniac, because his connection to the fans is already rock-solid.

And as always, we’ll have an exclusive interview with this week’s castoff. Check back later today to see what Chelsea has to say!