Last night on Challenge TV we saw the first two episodes of TNA’s newest international project, British Boot Camp. The premise is simple: take four of the brightest stars in the British independent scene and see if they have what it takes to make it in the big leagues across the pond. Whoever wins will receive a contract with TNA and the chance to wrestle in front of a huge homecoming crowd at London’s Wembley Arena. Sounds like nice, wholesome, family-friendly television that’ll show us the best in these four talented young individuals – both as wrestlers and people. Right?
WRONG. All aboard, we’re in for a heck of a ride!
So we begin in London where Dixie Carter is announcing via video link who the four lucky contenders will be: Marty Scurll (of Take Me Out er…’fame’), Birmingham’s angriest midget Rockstar Spud, and most importantly for us, the lovely Blossom Twins, Hannah and Holly. Our four stars make their way out and we see a short introductory video for each one, where we learn about Hannah and Holly’s double life as primary school teachers! These girls just get more adorable by the minute!
Our hopefuls are told by Dixie to get a good night’s sleep, as Boot Camp starts tomorrow. Naturally, they ignore this advice and choose instead to have a night out on the town, as consummate professional athletes always do on the eve of the biggest opportunity of their careers. From the offset it becomes clear that the Blossoms are going to be the voices of reason among the group, while Spud and Marty’s egos are doing them no favours in improving my opinions of them. Aww, it looks like Marty has a crush on Hannah! That’s “the one with the fringe”, by the way.
By this point, Spud already seems pretty drunk (by 6PM? How very rock n’ roll…) and tensions are beginning to mount between him and Marty. The girls – bless them – do their best to try and mediate the situation, but to no avail. Things don’t get any better in the limo home, as Marty presses Spud on the number of followers he has on Twitter (serious business, of course). This turns out to be the straw that breaks Spud’s tiny back, and he lashes out, socking Marty square in the face. Hold on a second – am I watching a wrestling show or an episode of Geordie Shore? The Blossoms are flabbergasted. They just wanted to have a good time! Eventually the girls and Marty leave Spud to his own devices, and head back to their hotel, with Good Guy Marty carrying Hannah’s shoes for her.
The first episode ends with our contestants getting up – some a bit more awake than others – and preparing to meet the British wrestling legend that Dixie has chosen to mentor the group – “Rollerball” Mark Rocco. How will our stars fare under his tutelage?
Episode 2 starts at ringside with Rocco addressing his pupils. He’s been assigned the task of seeing what they’re like in the ring, and if they have the ability and the determination to handle it in TNA. He asks who wants to go first, and our girls the Blossoms’ hands shoot straight up. That’s the spirit! Hannah and Holly get in the ring, lock up and show Rollerball what they’re capable of. He’s certainly impressed, as are Marty and Spud, who admits he had never considered them as competition until then. Big words from the little man.
Things are looking good, until all of a sudden – disaster strikes! Hannah takes an awkward landing and tweaks her ankle. Rocco asks if she wants some ice, but Hannah, undeterred, gets up and keeps going, earning a lot of respect from all sides in the process.
Spud and Marty have their goes in the ring, then Rocco lines them up and makes his decision: They’ve all passed the test, and they’re all going through! Hannah and Holly breathe a sigh of relief, and the dream continues!
The group’s next challenge sees how they can cope under the media spotlight. The Blossom Twins have a glitzy interview with Cosmopolitan to look forward to, but first up is a talk with pseudo-newspaper and intelligence vacuum The Daily Star. Interviewer Patrick Lennon tries to play devil’s advocate, dismissing women’s wrestling as nothing more than eye candy, but the girls handle his questions with confidence and aplomb. Meanwhile, Marty’s chances with Hannah take a serious bruising as he stutters to remember which one of the twins he actually fancies. The one with the fringe, Marty!
Next up is a verbal challenge, as we see how our hopefuls deliver on the microphone. We go to a Progress Wrestling event in London, and our contestants get the chance to talk the talk. The judges? The live audience!
Now, I’d never really heard the Blossom Twins on the mic prior to this, so to say that I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. As they got into the ring and started talking, Spud barged in and snatched the microphone from Holly’s hand, calling her and her sister “a couple of glorified ring rats”. Not being the kind of girls to take that kind of abuse on the chin, it served only to galvanize them, and Holly responded with a blistering retort. Turns out it’s not just his height that makes Spud a “small package”! Hannah then unleashed a bit of vitriol of her own, which Marty seemed to enjoy. A bit too much, to be honest.
Although Marty got the victory in the mic skills contest, the Blossoms certainly held their own, and have proven that they are just as deserving of a spot on the TNA roster as the two guys. As for the show itself, it’s great to get a real insight into the personal lives of wrestlers, even if it isn’t always the things you want to see. At times the show (particularly the first episode) veered dangerously into trash TV territory, but has redeemed itself with some seriously entertaining material, and four stars who, while not all immediately likeable, are definitely watchable and clearly understand the wrestling business (unlike some of the contestants in the likes of Tough Enough). After these first two episodes I’m still rooting firmly for team Blossom, and while they’ve certainly shown they have all the tools necessary to make it in TNA, time will tell if they succeed. Until then, consider me hooked!
What did you think of TNA British Boot Camp? Who’s your tip to win? Let us know in the comments!