Adrian here! With the Christmas season well and truly over, what better way to ease us back into the grim realities of daily life than a heartwarming British success story? That’s right, it’s time for TNA British Boot Camp, where four young, talented and hungry wrestlers from right here in Good Old Blighty have a life-changing opportunity to follow their dreams on the world stage!
Last week’s double header was the first chance many wrestling fans would have had to see our four contestants, so making a good first impression, you’d think, would be a no-brainer. Personality-wise, The Blossom Twins made no mistake in solidifying their place as my favourites so far, with a level-headedness and maturity that is beyond their years. The same can’t be said for the boys Marty and Spud, whose clashing egos, while certainly making for entertaining television, did little to win them over for me as the kind of people I’d like to go for a pint with (they’d definitely be of no help on the quiz machine, that’s for sure). However, in the ring and on the microphone, all four showed more than their worth. Let’s rejoin them at episode 3:
We start in London where the contestants are having their first commercial photo shoot. This is their first glimpse into the glitzy and glamorous D-list celebrity lifestyle they’ve apparently oh so dreamed of having, so they lap up the attention like famished hyenas after an arduous trek through the salt flats of obscurity. The next day, they pack their bags and head to airport. Destination: Phoenix, Arizona, home of 2012’s “Bound For Glory” pay-per-view. They have a thirteen-hour flight ahead of them, so Spud, being the rebel and free spirit he is, prepares for it in true rock n’roll style: by downing a shot of Jager and promptly hitting the hay. Jim Morrison, eat your heart out. Things go from bad to worse for Spud upon landing as his suitcase gets broken in transit. Frustrated and probably still drunk, he takes out his anger on his unfortunate baggage. Yeah, that’ll show ‘em!
Our stars arrive at the TNA Fan Fest, where they’ll get their first exposure in front of Impact Wrestling’s American fanbase. The group are introduced to ring announcer Christy Hemme, and in a moment of painfully contrived awkwardness, Spud tries to embarrass Marty in front of her. He even does the, you know, gesture with his hand! What was that I said about first impressions? Following that, they have the chance to get up on stage in front of the TNA…er, Solar System (Well it sure as hell isn’t a universe. Although even a solar system is supposed to have one star in it…), say a little about themselves and have some photos taken with the fans. Naturally, the girls get the majority of the love from the post-adolescent male audience, much to Spud’s chagrin, as if he expected to charm this demographic with his enviable looks and infectious personality.
Later that night was the first ever TNA Hall of Fame ceremony, and we see our contestants looking dapper for the prestigious event. Marty, ever the gentleman, continued with his attempt to woo Hannah, asking her to sit next to him at the table. It seems like the sweet-talking might be working, as she obliged. Will we see romance…er, blossom? As they sit they wait to see which TNA superstar will be joining them at their table, and when the living legend Kurt Angle comes out and makes his way in their direction, they can’t contain their excitement. Marty, maybe a little too much. It’s okay Marty, you can get tablets for that.
Kurt Angle chums it up with our stars for a while, and comes back with nothing but good things to say. High praise indeed coming from someone of Angle’s credentials, and considering some of the tweets he’s posted before while under the influence, it’s unsurprising that he and Spud got on like a house on fire. Backstage after the presentation, things got even more surreal for the group, as they met Sting and Hulk Hogan face to face. No snide comments this time, we’re in the presence of true greatness…and Hulk Hogan.
After the break, the contestants are geared up for their first official TNA shoot, and Spud (who else?) is getting frustrated by the Blossoms and how long they take to get ready, as if the fact that girls take ages getting ready is a new development that he’s just discovered. Next they head to the arena where Bound For Glory is taking place, and to a meeting with TNA president Dixie Carter, who announces that they’ve got front row seats for the event, and a few seconds of airtime during the show! Let’s hope one of them’s brought a Cornette Face sign!
They have a little tour of the backstage area before being walked out to the arena itself. To the somewhat inappropriate soundtrack of Metallica’s Fade To Black, they stand in awe at the swathes of seats in this…ahem, 6000-seater stadium (a little larger than your average SmackDown house show…big leagues!) and Spud delivers the knockout blow with a corker of a line:
“I looked around the arena for a brief moment, and it was weird because every seat in the house was empty, but I could hear them chanting my name.”
This review has taken me two hours longer than I expected to write, just because that line caught me so off-guard that I had to look away and physically stop myself from cringing to death. This show is incredible.
Bound For Glory is underway, and our would-be heroes have the best seats in the house for the action. They also don’t know when their fleeting brush with the cameras will happen, and when it does, they have just a split second to make as big an impact as they can. It finally comes, they milk in the spotlight as much as possible, and soon enough they’re bombarded with texts from friends watching all around the world. The next morning, they have a trip to Nashville, where they’re driven to TNA’s headquarters in- wow, a limousine! Like a hen party! Living the dream, guys.
The show closes out at TNA HQ and another meeting with Dixie. Next week we’ll find out what she has to say about their performances, and we get the full scoop on the Marty and Hannah situation that they’ve tantalisingly teased for next episode: Is love in the air?
Thoughts: This week’s episode was a step sideways. The trashiness that I was worried might dominate the series after watching the first episode has toned down, and our contestants feel much more relatable, particularly after their humbling experiences with some of the legends of the business. However, I’m very concerned that the egos of Marty and Spud are stifling the Blossom Twins’ personalities. I had very little to write about the Blossoms in this episode, because although we know that they’re talented and we know that they have charisma, the guys’ constant attempts at one-upmanship are preventing them from showing us what they can really do, and it often feels like a two-person show with Hannah and Holly observing from the sidelines. This needs to change, because so far we still haven’t learnt a great deal about the Blossoms other than that they’re nice girls, when we know they’re so much more. Still, there are three episodes to go, and plenty of time for something big to happen. But our heroines need to make it clear that they’re not just there to make up the numbers.