Friday, December 1, 2023

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Tough Enough Redux: “Remember to Be the Best”

With the sixth episode Tough Enough in the books, it’s time for another Redux.

This week’s show had a shocking elimination and – perhaps even more shocking – saw one of the judges finally utilize their save. Let’s just say The Miz made a splashy first impression…

The episode kicked off with reactions to Patrick‘s shocking elimination last week. Somehow, the conversation turned into another tiff between Amanda and Chelsea Green over Chelsea’s lightened hair. THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE BLONDE!!!

As the theme of these week was “focus”, the first challenge had the competitors take on a ropes course with the added twist of a memory test. Overseen by Cesaro, they must remember a code laid out across the course and punch it into a safe at the end. In the safe is a prize for whoever opens it first: a copy of Chris Jericho‘s latest book.

While they’re tackling the course, coach Billy Gunn tries to converse with them via megaphone. They must keep up the conversation to demonstrate their focus.

Sara impresses Billy with the personality she demonstrates, but fails to remember the code and can’t open the safe. Amanda runs into the same problem. Chelsea whizzes through the course, but can’t open the safe either. Giorgia goes last and manages to open the safe, but blatantly missed the point of the challenge when she refused to listen to or communicate with Billy.

Chelsea demonstrated some helpfulness throughout the episode, helping ZZ get his head in the game and letting Tanner practice his “promo” skills on her in the hot tub:


The second challenge had its own form of distraction: competitors went through in-ring drills with crowd noise piped in.

Amanda, Giorgia and Sara appear to have difficulty with it while Chelsea rise above the rest, her in-ring experience clearly paying off.

With the challenges out of the way, it’s time for more drama. Back at the barracks, Amanda drops in on Chelsea and Sara, paranoid that they’re gossiping about her and Giorgia.

As you can see above, her worries aren’t completely unfounded. It still doesn’t look too good, though, because when she walks in, they’re practicing lifts instead of chatting.

When they head back out to the common area, an argument breaks out, Amanda clearly preoccupied with any potential gossiping. Giorgia gets involved and laments that she’s never been in so much constant confrontation. How about trying to deescalate things? I gotta say, though, her follow-up Facetime conversation with her father helped repair her image a bit, at least in my eyes.

At this point in the show, we cut back to the live segment and are joined by Team B.A.D., who unfortunately are not here to slap the cliqueness out of the female competitors. Instead, Naomi, Sasha Banks and Tamina Snuka are putting them through a physical challenge.

In front of the live audience, Tamina slams each of the four women in turn and hits them with the Superfly splash. This came across very drawn out and ended up being more of a challenge for Tamina’s stamina than anything else. Maybe it should have been a chance for them to practice selling too, since the no-selling made it look kind of lame.

Lita talked to Team B.A.D. after the show, getting their take on the female competitors:

When it came time for the judges to pick their bottom three, Paige chose ZZ, Miz picked Mada and Daniel Bryan singled out Amanda.

Shockingly, Miz chose to use his save to spare Amanda, citing her hotness as the reason why she should stay. So, despite getting the fewest votes by far, she stayed in the competition. Mada got the axe.

This is a damn shame – Mada showed a lot of potential. His elimination was idiotic – almost as idiotic as Miz’s reason for saving Amanda – and ridded the show of what little diversity it had left. How’s that post-Hulk Hogan era going, Tough Enough?

Lastly, watch the Tough Talk post-show below:


Gut Reactions

Here, I’ll break down my impressions of each of the female competitors, based on their performance in the episode.

Amanda: Amanda should have gone home this week, point blank. She’s not impressing in the physical challenges and doesn’t seem to be too worried about it, as she’s too wrapped up in the high school bullshit with Chelsea and Sara. I’m not sure why she’s so worried about them talking about her. If they want to talk, let them talk. Let your performance in the competition shut them up. The way it was presented on the show made her look paranoid and wrapped up in all the wrong things. She’ll have to develop a thicker skin if she wants to eventually deal with the full wrath of the IWC. Miz may have trying to shore up more heel heat for himself by saving Amanda for her hotness, but it really makes no sense. Is there a deficit of hotness in the Divas division?? It’s nice to see that placed above every other quality, too. Viva la Diva Revolution!

Chelsea: Despite being caught up in more gossipy crap, Chelsea came across well in this episode. She was seen trying to help both ZZ and Tanner, the latter displaying some pitiful “promo skills”. She’s the best in the ring and doesn’t appear to be courting drama, so she’s got my vote. I’m even more impressed by the fact that her ankle injury isn’t factoring in at all. If she’s in pain, she’s not showing it. I was worried that – after all the hooplah over her bad ankle – she wouldn’t last much longer in the competition, but this week assuaged those fears.

Giorgia: Giorgia’s starting to slip – she dominated much of the early competitions, but Chelsea’s put an end to that. Her part in the dramatics don’t help, but at least she was shedding real tears this week. I’m sure her conversation with her father helped restore some of the goodwill with the audience and showed that she’s not a total faker. She’s going to have to step it up if she doesn’t want Chelsea to overtake her completely.

Sara: Sara kind of faded into the background this week, at least compared to the spotlight that was on her before. I was impressed by the personality she demonstrated in the ropes challenge, though. I wonder if the ending of the “beat up on Sara” campaign will lessen her support from the WWE Universe. At some point, they’ll have to stop feeling sorry for her and judge her based on her merits. Right? Right??



Lastly, I’ll name an MVP for each episode, just to highlight who made the biggest positive impression on me. And the honor goes to…

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Chelsea. She made me completely forget about her ankle injury, which had me all but convinced that she’d be on the chopping block soon. Her in-ring experience is going to take her far, and if she stays likable in the eyes of the WWE Universe, she’ll make it to the end. Aligning herself with Sara, whether it was calculated or not, will help her get on the audience’s good side. Let’s see if her skills will be enough to siphon some support off her friend.

Who’s your MVP for this episode?

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