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Wrestling > TNA

Tough Enough III Recap - Weeks 12 + 13
Posted by Peter Kostka on Jan 17, 2003, 16:50

Hola. If you’re a regular at the forums, even back to the old Rantsylvania Delphi days, you know me as Kingpk, the Patriots rootin, JLH lovin’, MST3K quotin’ son-of-a-gun. When Dames and Dr. Tom sent out the call for new writers for the site, I decided to take a crack at the Show HHH Doesn’t Want You to See: Tough Enough III. I’d like to thank them for thinking I was the best of the bunch and offering me a great opportunity at TSM.

I watched and enjoyed the first season of the show, as most of the cast was likeable (even Chris Harvard) and it revealed a softer side of Al Snow you didn’t know existed as he treated the contestants like his own children. Plus, most of the cast (Maven, Nidia, Chris and Josh as an interviewer) are doing pretty well in WWE. I didn’t care much for TE II since it seemed MTV tried to glamour it up in Vegas and none of the contestants seemed likeable OR credible in the least. This season seemed to go back to its roots and be more wrestling oriented. MTV is running their usual marathon on Sunday, so I’ll be able to go back to where Patrick left off (the Iceland episode). For the finale next week, well, I wanted to keep it a surprise, but SOMEONE had to blab on the board that he was coming back one last time. That’s right, the Spoon is comin’ soon!!

Well, enough with the introductory crap, let’s light this candle!

Actually, I’d just like to comment on the RAW X special. How tough is it to basically ignore everything that happened on the show before 1997? Not much, according to WWE, who put a disaster of a show on Tuesday night. The crowd was probably the best thing of the whole show (the guy yelling “Are you high?” to Shane comes to mind). Way to piss on the fans who stuck with you while Nitro was kicking your ass, Vince. WCW’s “All Nighters” were better than this.

Ok, NOW we get to the recap. Let's go back to two weeks ago.....

Previously on TE III: Justin hits the bricks after the trainers make the toughest cut of the season, then the crew drowns their sorrows with Bradshaw. Al and Bill initiate Operation Snowbomb, and Jonah swears vengeance.

We start things off this week at Trax with the kids throwing each other around. The big question now that there are only 5 contestants left is, according to Ivory, “If we throw them into the ring in front of 20,000 people, will they be able to get through a 5 minute match?” Well, 20,000 might be a generous estimate there if recent house show numbers say anything. Bill says that the individual themselves will decide who is tough enough. Big (I didn’t know what kind of car he was driving, so don’t ask. I drive a 1994 Toyota sedan) gathers the troops and introduces some special guest trainers: From TE 1, Jacqueline (defying the law of gravity, as usual) and from TE 2, Chavo Guerrero and Bob “Ass-“Holly. Matt says he sat up a little straighter in his seat at the sight of Holly. Bob says it’s an honor to meet all of them, but today he’s all business. Big also tells the group that they will have a match today, but not against each other, against the winners of the last two seasons (and Chris Nowinski). John is glad to see people who were at the very same position as they are right now. Hey, if you look at Jackie, they’re in a BETTER position. Al makes Jamie admit her crush on Maven to him. Jamie wanted to jump on him, but restrained herself. Man, she’s not going to last very long if she’s still going to act all star struck. Chris (man, does everyone named “Nowinski” have hair like that?) tells them that three that lose will be in the same situation he was, absolutely crushed, but he stuck with it and make it in, anyway. Maven: “Chris didn’t win this thing, but now he and I are colleagues.” Linda and Jackie are not heard from or really seen for the rest of the segment, but by now you’re probably saying to yourself “Jackie and Linda?” The bell rings with Matt and Nidia kicking things off. She tosses John and Matt around and Chris gives Jamie a pretty hard clothesline which knocks her a little loopy. Bill notes that the kids seem to be having a lot of fun in there. Maven talks trash to the cast, but Jonah rolls him up for a near fall. Jamie hits a pretty good cross body off the top on Maven for the duke and it turns into a PIER SIX BRAWL!! Matt and Jonah hit a 3D on Maven through 3 tables while Al laughs in the corner (well, maybe not).

Big announces a second, impromptu match (what is this, ECW?) This time it’s an eight-man between Eric, Jonah, Bill and Bob vs. Chavo, Matt, John and Al. Things are going along smoothly and Matt is looking good until Bob tags in the match and goes NUTS on him, nailing him with stiff chops and forearms. He backs him into the corner and drives a boot right into Matt’s jaw as we go to commercial.

Man what a dick Bob Holly is. I’m not sure why he thinks he should be so rough. I mean, he’s a perennial midcarder, used to be called “Sparky Plugg”, trained two of the WORST wrestlers in history, and then tried to wrestle stiff on the wrong guy and now he’s on the shelf. He’s got a good dropkick, though.

We come back with Matt reliving the beatdown he suffered from Holly, including a boot to the eye that gives Matt a nice shiner. Bob says didn’t want to do that, but he did it because “wrestling isn’t easy” (oh, bullshit, he just wants to be known as a “tough guy” to make people forget he used to have a racecar driver gimmick). John, along with everyone else was concerned and wanted Matt to tag out or do something to get out of there. Matt finally does, looking like shit and soon after, the match ends. Al notes that the beating “will show Matt what he’s made of.” Matt doesn’t really understand why the man who was tag champions with the 1-2-3 Kid had to be so rough, but he knew he had to get through it. He shakes hands with Bob afterwards.

Back at the house, everyone feels bad for Matt as he seems still out of it. Jamie knows Matt looked out for her last week before the cut so she wants to help Matt but doesn’t know if she can. Later that night, everyone goes to dinner and Matt is silent throughout. Everyone tries to talk to him about it. Al says “That’s how Bob is and there are a lot of people like him and it probably will happen again.” And that’s supposed to make him, and the rest of the cast feel better? Matt seems to snap out of it a little by the time dinner ends.

Back at the house (again), the entire cast is still paranoid about Al’s promise to “get them” again. John says the house is now on “high alert” for more shaving cream bandits and they set up noisemaking booby traps in their rooms so if anyone shows up, they will know. The night goes by without incident (thank God). The next morning, Matt still looks pretty bad. He believes (rightly, I think) that his trust was abused and that he’s been taught all along to trust his opponents with his safety in the ring. Jonah comforts him as we go to break.

Commercials. Gee, I wonder what that Just Married movie is all about. I haven’t seen ANY ads for it up until now. And I thought you couldn’t say “pussy” on TV?

Jonah left a message on Bill’s phone asking him to come by to try and explain things to Matt and everyone else since the cast is still confused. Matt notes that Bill talked to them more like a friend than a trainer. Bill says that Matt earned his respect even more by shaking Bob’s hand after what happened. When Matt shakes Bob’s hand again, it will be a genuine gesture. Matt didn’t really think it was the right thing to do, but he sucked it up. Bill tells him that there were a lot of guys who pushed his buttons and pissed him off, but sometimes you just have to swallow your pride. Once Matt heals up (that doesn’t sound good), he’d had learned one of the biggest lessons a wrestler can learn. It doesn’t seem like Bill is really DEFENDING what Bob did, he’s just telling the kids how to deal with the assholes in this business. Bill gets a sudden phone call and goes off to take it. He comes back with tears in his eyes as he tells everyone that Chavo has told him that the man who brought him into wrestling, Rocco Rock, died in the ring of a heart attack. He tells them that this proves that life is unexpected and they should be ready for whatever life throws at them. John says the cast feels for Bill, since he is doing or them what Rocco did for him. Great segment that showed Bill that he’s really a nice guy and the cast is starting to connect with him. Why haven’t we seen the cast bond with Ivory yet? I’d like to “connect” with her, ifyaknowwhatImean. (Hey, I’ve gotten THIS far without a sex joke, give me a break.)

The next day at Trax, Shawn Michaels pays a visit. He tells them that wrestling is only a miniscule part of their life and the most important thing to remember is to have fun in the ring and cherish what God has given them. Matt says HBK’s talk really got to him and he’s learned a lesson or two.

That night, Al, Bill and Big raid the house again, this time, with water guns. The cast tries to hold them off with the garden hose and a big water fight breaks out (dammit, Ivory should have been with them!!). Matt planned to steal their car while all this was going on, but Big catches him and Matt is drenched. It’s nice to see everyone getting along so well. Jonah once again swears vengeance. Matt wraps things up by saying the reasons he wants to be in WWE haven’t changed, but he has definitely learned what it’s all about.

Next week: The Return of Tazz as he plans to take the cast on a nice 6AM trip to the canyon.

Thoughts: A really good episode that focused on someone that has kind of been in the background lately (Matt). The pranks are kind of starting to get a little too much, though. Holly gave an interview with WWE.com Friday in which he called the TE crew “spoiled” and Matt a “crybaby”. With all that, he still wants to be a trainer for TE IV, which shows how much integrity that guy has. “Oh, those kids have it easy with their beautiful house and WWE superstars training them. But I want to do it anyway since I’ll get on TV and get the token “TE push.” Brock Lesnar did us a service, I think.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Now for this week.....

Previously on Tough Enough: Matt gets stiffed by Bob Holly, igniting debate in wrestling messageboards everywhere if Bob was right to do it. Bill talks to the kids about it, but finds out Rocco Rock (the guy who brought him into wrestling), died. Suspense builds as the final week approaches and we’re down to 5.

We are in the last 3 days of training, and John says everyone has to start stepping it up big time. Matt (who seems to be healing up) wishes he could crawl into the trainer’s heads to find out what they’re thinking. How many times has he said that this season? Big says the main criteria for a WWE superstar are: in-ring talent (then why did Gayda win?), personality (then why did Linda win?) and that all important “it” (gotta say it like Heyman in Beyond the Mat to get the full impact) factor. Al says something nice about the four males:

Eric: “He’s a machine.”
John: “Tremendous ability. He could be a major star.” We see John do a standing Shooting Star Press (that looked really good), which Al says no one has done before (I think he meant in WWE, but I’ve heard of someone doing it before).
Jonah: “He’s got talent, and the desire to be a WWE Superstar.”
Matt: “A natural in the ring, has the timing, and feels it.”

Ivory talks about Jamie. She says since she’s been able to hang with the guys pretty well, she has an advantage in the competition.

Jonah talks about the ribbing (with a video montage of all of them. Jonah’s was my favorite) and how he’ll remember it fondly. The cast decides to get the last laugh by removing the tires on Al’s Explorer. During lunch, Matt heads out to do the deed while everyone stays back to keep watch. He finished just in time for their after lunch run, so Al is brought out to see what drenching a swank house such as theirs gets him. Al (for once) is silent. Good rib, but hopefully the last. I don’t know how Big would have liked something like that pulled on HIS car.

The next day: The cast heads into Trax, only to see someone that “personified the business”, according to Matt. Jonah needs a crane to pick up his jaw. Naturally, we go to commercial before that person is revealed.

- Commercials – (one with Big revealing an online poll will determine the last person cut. Go to ToughEnough.com to vote.)

When we come back, Al introduces the man who inspired him: Ric Flair (I was thinking Hogan, but this is a better choice). Too bad Ric is a total joke gimmick wise now, nothing but HHH’s lap monkey. Ric talks about the business and that the public doesn’t understand how hard wrestlers actually work. To succeed, you must be more determined, focused, skilled and dedicated then you have ever been in your life. He says that if you can do something better than someone else, exploit that advantage, since that can be the difference between “camp” and the “big show”. John agrees and wants to work on more of the stuff that separates him from the other guys (the SSP earlier, for example.) I like John; he seems like a solid wrestler as long as he doesn’t rely on the highspots all the time.

We have another guest today, WWE referee Mike Chioda. Al wanted the kids to work with an honest-to-God referee. Well, simple and to the point. Observation: Mike’s a lanky bastard, isn’t he? Actually that seems like a good idea, if only to see Mike’s expressions as he counts and yells at a wrestler.

The cast talks about each other’s chances to win. John picks Matt, since he’s got “it”, a great ring presence, and picks things up fast. Matt thinks Jonah wins; since he has a look no one can teach (i.e. “He’s a HOSS”). Eric thinks John’s gymnastic background will help him a great deal and he‘s a superb athlete. Jamie says Eric is “awesome” in the ring. Jonah says that even though Jamie is the last girl, she’s been holding her own in the ring. Matt notes the final decision that will be made is going to be very difficult, since there are positive (and negative) qualities in everyone. I’ll give my picks at the end of the recap.

While the workout continues, the Cavalcade (what does that mean, anyway?) of Special Guests continues as Tazz walks into Trax, standing behind the guys. Jonah finally notices someone’s behind him and gets up, only to have Tazz motion for him to sit back down in a funny moment. Eric says that Tazz is in the same boat as Bob Holly, big and tough.....ok, just tough. Tazz gathers the cast and promises he’ll be at the house at 6:00AM the next morning for a trip to the canyon, so they better be ready. Heh, remember when he tore the Goldberg poster off the wall in the first season? Everyone is scared and Eric thinks it will be a “ball-buster” of a morning.

Tazz joins the cast at home after training, and Jonah challenges him to a game of Smackdown: Just Bring It (Shut Your Mouth is superior). Tazz picks himself, but gets his ass kicked since Jonah probably played that more than doing chores in the house (hey, not that there’s anything WRONG with that, just saying.) At dinner, Big is disappointed that the cast didn’t dress up for Tazz, which sets off a stampede to the bedrooms to get changed. Geez, Big’s got these kids trained, doesn’t he? I’ll bet he has them polish his Hummer (his CAR you sickos.) When they come back down, Tazz informs them they’ll be going to Smackdown, as is the tradition for TE, but they seem to be going later this time around.

- Commercials – Don’t forget to vote at ToughEnough.com!

Back at the house, Tazz plays one last prank on the cast, telling them he’s been lying all along and that there’s no canyon trip. They seem pretty relieved at the news, to say the least.

We head to Smackdown and Al gives the cast a tour backstage, chronicling what a wrestler does at a given show, including going through the “Gorilla position” (named so after Gorilla Monsoon) and down the ramp, which is a dream come true for Matt. Everyone is awestruck. The cast meets some WWE superstars (including Arn Anderson, DEANO MACHINO~! and Brock). The cast has, naturally, front row seats for the show, and Al and Ivory have matches on the card. Matt says seeing them in there is like seeing a family member in there. This crew really has gotten close in these 3 months, haven’t they? Matt can see himself in that ring, in front of those people. After the show, everyone heads backstage and Vince McMahon comes in to wish them luck (that’s it? They aren’t going to Vince Towers to get evaluated by Vince and JR?), which is an overwhelming moment for Jonah. John says that everyone seems confident that they will win.

The final day: Everyone packs up and reminisces on the last 3 months. Matt is a bit surprised, but thankful to have made it all the way to this day. John told himself from the first day that he wouldn’t quit, and he hasn’t. Jamie says this was the best experience of her life. Eric has passion for the business and has found enjoyment in wrestling. Jonah vows to stick with it, even if he doesn’t win. Jonah, John and Eric talk about the closeness that this group has and we fade to black.

Conclusion: Great way to end the season. I voted Jamie out in the poll since I just don’t think she has the maturity to stay in wrestling. Whenever a special guest came in, she became starstruck. How is she going to be able to work with these people? Also, and I don’t like to say this, but she doesn’t have the look of a Diva, unless she has some work done. She said it herself when Trish came to visit. Now for my picks. This is a really tough decision, but I’m going with Matt, because of the Holly incident, and that WWE has an angle all set for them, and John, since he just seems like a terrific choice and could fit in with a “Team Angle” type of thing.

That’s it for this week. Next week is the finale, and Patrick Spoon will be back (but I’ll still be here). See you then!

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Also, take a look at Smark Talk, where I have some WWF/E tape reviews along with many independent/puro articles by other fine writers.







 

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