Six weeks in to the new series of Tough Enough. The WWE have re-launched the show with a new brand and recognisable line-up twisted with reality television. Chris Jericho and Renee Young host the show, set in Florida, with Daniel Bryan, Paige and the Miz (formerly Hulk Hogan) as judges and Billy Gunn, Booker T and Lita as the coaches. Guest coaches also pop in each time (i.e. Wade Barrett, the Big Show, BAD: Sasha Banks, Tamina Snuka and Naomi.
Each week the contestants are set a challenge and a task that they compete in. These tasks don’t really convert into any meaningful impact other bragging rights, which are misguided at best and obnoxious at worst (see: Tanner, Patrick and Gigi). Following the assessment of the footage the judges then each pick a contestant that is at risk of being eliminated. Each judge has one save for the entire series and can use it to stop a contestant from being eliminated.
At stake is a WWE contract for a WWE Superstar and a WWE Diva.
The WWE Universe then goes to the vote and through Twitter, the Tough Enough app and text for around 5 minutes. The lowest ranked candidate then gets eliminated, unless they’ve had a save from one of the judges, and so far we’ve seen the departure so far of Hank (Week One), Alex (Week Two), Daria and Dianna (Week Three), Gabi (Week Four) Patrick (Week Five) Mada (Week Six). This leaves Sara, Gigi, Amanda and Chelsea (who entered the competition in replacement of Dianna) competing for the Diva’s contract and Josh, Tanner and ZZ left to compete for the men’s contract.
I didn’t get a chance to watch the pre-competition stage where the WWE recruited and tried thousands of hopefuls out but I’ve been enjoying watching the show in the competitive stage.
Though I would like to share some of my reflections and see whether people agree:
Paige: She has certainly brought a lot of energy, and her focus on Sara has enabled her to up her game which is a positive but I’m not sure I get where she’s coming from a lot of the time. From a TV point of view she’s ill-disciplined and talks over the other judges, hosts and contestants which (for an hour show, which they pack a lot into) can distract the audience. No doubt she has the experience and she’s worth listening to but I wish she’d dial it down a notch or two. She was right when she called Miz out on his save for Amanda but what she was trying to say got lost in the argument between them.
The Miz: This week was his first as a judge and he showed to me that he should’ve been there from the start as a judge. He understands what the contestants are going through and he’s Main Event’ed Wrestlemania, and held the WWE Championship. His decision to save Amanda was what a good judge should be, and it should have been used the previous week for Patrick, who undoubtedly was the most ready of the guys.
I disagree with The Miz using his save for Amanda at this stage because I think on balance the final three that week was the right three and that between Mada and Amanda, she should not have been saved. I think Amanda has a long way to come, and I don’t think that the programme is doing her any favours (because she’s coming across negatively, and that may just be the edit).
I also think that had Hulk Hogan not been terminated by the WWE he would have saved Mada and ZZ would’ve gone home, which may have been the right thing for the competition overall.
Daniel Bryan: I would like to see him come more out of his shell. He’s allowed himself to be dominated, in TV-time, by the other judges and he has some really good contributions to make. I’d like to see him to do more, or something like what Paige did with Sara, with Tanner because whilst he’s athletically got all the attributes he’s the least appealing / entertaining of the three guys that are left, unless you want a poundland Daniel Bryan so I can’t imagine him winning the show which would be disappointing considering how well physically he’s performed.