|Tough Enough Report--05/16/02
Yes..here we are, back again after the little surprise 'hiatus' of the show last week; which left us hanging in limbo in South Africa..This one is a real doozy, so let's get to it..As always, they grace us with a little re-cap of last week's show; this time, focusing on the grueling training, and Hawk's doubts and the 'building up' inside of him, which is holding him back..
Opening shot of a backlit sign directing us to Sun City, and the surrounding countryside. Then it is on to the ring in the amphitheatre, and Al telling the group, 'I'm in your head..each and every one of you. And I'm in there, and I'm trying to make you better than what you already are. P*ss me off, and I'll tear you apart.'
They show Hawk looking disconsolately around, then hear him say that whatever they do today weighs heavily on who gets cut. They then show him in the ring opposite Al, and it doesn't look good..Al then tells him when they are finished that he is 'asleep at the switch', and that he does not pay attention, and that is 'inexcusable'. He then tells Hawk sternly to 'Get off the ring.'
Hawk does, and we then hear him say that he didn't have a 'great morning', but that if he tried to do as well as he could, he could 'probably save himself'. Ivory tells him that he will never make it 'doing (bleep) like he just did'.
They break it up for the afternoon, and 'Big' tells them that they are going to a waterpark. The gang is shown waterskiing on rafts, parasailing, riding skidoos, and generally frolicking in the sun.
Well, all except Hawk; who is shown sitting alone in a lawn chair..and who then tells US that 'Right now, he is hurting' and that his heart is 'not there', and that it is a 'horrible experience' for him just being there..And that his 'personal demon' is 'getting at' him. He told US all that, sure; but in the next frame, he is shown talking animately away to HIMSELF, and we can only guess at what he is saying...He is making a bit of a scene, as the camera catches him looking around as if he is actually addressing someone, gesturing wildly..Imaginary friend? Psychotic episode? We can only wonder, until 'Big' cannot take it anymore, and goes over to ask him what is up with that, what he is talking about..and that he is 'kinda scaring' him..
Hawk says that it was about the cut. 'Big' says that he is kind of concerned, and Hawk laughs it off, insisting that he is 'not crazy'--um, isn't that what ALL crazy people say? I mean, all that was really missing was (you guessed it) a mannequin head...
Hawk goes on to admit to 'Big' that he had a terrible day in the ring, and that he was just not 'feeling it', and that it is 'kind of 'do or die' now'. 'Big' tells him that that is one of the great things about 'life' and about the contest--that tomorrow is another day. He also offers his counseling services, if 'things are bothering' him..Hawk shakes his head no.
He walks away, and is next shown in parasailing gear, focusing a bit too intently, and it is almost obvious that he is joining in just to go through the motions..'Big' says that it is obvious that 'something is getting to Hawk mentally'..
Cut to the hotel, and they are all at dinner. Naturally, they rib Hawk about that day's 'episode', and actually ask him if he has an 'imaginary friend'..and that he was 'flipping everybody out'..Al says that he saw Hawk turn backwards mid-sentence, as if he was 'interrupted' by someone, and wonders 'who the sonofab*tch behind ya was', to gales of laughter, Hawk takes it all good-naturedly enough.
Jackie comments that maybe there is a little bit more there, Hawk insists that he is not crazy, but will buy into it a little more, just to please everyone..
They next are shown going out partying again, and it seems that everyone hooks up..Pete is playing tonsil hockey with a little blonde, Linda is laughing away with some guy at a table, Jake is dancing away with two chicks...You get the picture. All except Kenny; who is shown dancing alone, and then saying that he will 'Pick my battles, I'm not gonna run into a wall anytime..' Okay, then, Kenny..
The next morning, both he and Pete are late for breakfast..great. Ivory makes fun of them, and Al says (almost approvingly) that Kenny 'is a 20-year old. He acts like he's 20 years old, he thinks like he's 20 years old..and that is exactly who Kenny is.'
Then it is back to the ring, and Al is in that fabulous hat again, reminding them all that there WILL be a cut and to go all out. They mix it up a little, featuring Kenny at first, and 'Big' wonders if Kenny is giving them all he's got..he seems to be doing pretty well to me, especially for being hung-over in that hot sun. Al tells him that he was oblivious, so that is how much I know, haha..Jackie comes on and says that 'some people' are just there to party and have a good time, but that she is there in South Africa to train..can you all smell the irony? She does seem to be focused on her training again, so, thankfully all her wild oats have been sown, and it is back to business...Ivory says that Jackie seems really cut out for the business, and seems to have 'a good head on her shoulders'..What short memories..
Ivory then walks up to Hawk saying, 'Time to redeem'..Hawk nods, but is still having trouble, and his match against Jake is pretty sloppy..and we hear Pete say that it was 'just a mess', and that they went in there to kick butt, but ended up 'kicking their own *sses'..Hawk is chided by Al for throwing a knee that he hasn't even been taught yet. Hawk then says that everything is 'bubbling up inside him' and that he is his 'own worst enemy'..Ivory then points out to them that there were people sitting in the amphitheatre actully laughing at them. Ouch. I am wondering why the whole thing is deemed Hawk's fault..
Then, here it comes. The moment I have dreaded since they arrived in South Africa. Hawk is shown climbing moodily out of the ring, and then Al tells us that it was then that Hawk pulled him aside, wanting to speak to him alone. Al says that 'he knew', and so did I, as my heart sank. Hawk is then shown fighting back tears and we all know what is coming next as they break for a commercial.
When they return, Hawk is explaining to Al that his heart is just not in it, that he has been hurting for the past two days, etc, etc, yadda, yadda..and Al says that Hawk owes him the respect of an explanation (well, gee, Al..Maybe it is the fact that everyone--from Hardcore Holly to the other contestants to random passersby at the amphitheatre--has been taking potshots at this guy..). Al says that Hawk seemed 'fine' until he 'tore into' Hawk yesterday---Is he telling him that he has cracked? Hawk says he guesses. Al says that 'a guess' is not good enough, and wants to know what is in his heart, 'not this bullsh*t, not these words', and (pointing to Hawk's chest) wants to know what it is 'here' that is telling him not to continue. 'Big' saunters over, and says that it doesn't make sense, and Al agrees. Hawk is worn down, and cries, and says that something deep down inside is hurting, and the two of them dig at him...good TV, huh?---until Hawk says that he does not know. Al is then shown saying that he thinks that Hawk has been wrestling a lot of personal demons...again with the personal demons..I have had just about enough, as Hawk decides to call it a day, and say his goodbyes. The others look pretty shocked, as Hawk hugs each one of them and walks away. All I can say is Good Luck, Dude..and that I will definitely miss that kid..It just won't be as interesting, shall we say, without him (yeah, I popped a d*mn tear..).
Time to move on, or so I thought; as 'Big' sits them down to discuss what happened with Hawk--that is, that the mental part is more difficult than the physical part..and that being in competiton with each other--and yet looking out for one another like family--is just what the WWF (E) is about. They all listen politely, and Kenny says that that is 'the nature of the beast', and that one has to keep looking forward. Jackie says that it came as much as a surprise to each of them as it did to Al and 'Big' (wait 'til Hardcore hears this!), and that you gotta keep on with your dream..No matter what. 'Big' stresses that Hawk's leaving has gotten them down to six..'let's see what happens now'.
Back in the ring, Al is going at them, and showing them all how to throw/be thrown out of the ring..The go at it (Kenny rolls halfway home when he lands, haha), and we then hear 'Big' say that Jackie has her whole heart and soul in the competition..She is shown ripping it up, and then Al tells them all it is time to 'get the H*ll out of this sun.' They all looked wiped and agree..been a long day.
So, naturally, Kenny and Pete want to go out. Linda goes with them, and lo, and behold---King Kenny hooks up with 'his princess' as Linda calls her, and leaves with her. The two of them sneak up to his room, and well...With Linda's eyes bugging out as she runs from the room, and some well-placed sound effects, we are led to believe that they are in the middle of..getting to know each other better..They show a shot of them asleep in the bed...how heartwarming.
Kenny and the unnamed 'Princess' (who cleverly got herself on American television) say their rather casual goodbyes the next morning, and Kenny says that it was 'a good night, a good time', and that it brought everything 'back into focus'. Jackie says that it was good for him. Uh huh.
They are then back in the ring, working five minute matches, incorporating everything learned thus far..'Big' again stresses the cut; saying that he expects to see a lot, and that this is a 'golden opportunity to shine'..Off to another commercial break.
When they return, Annie says that (now that Hawk is gone, I guess) nobody among them 'sticks out like a sore thumb', so they must all step it up. They all go at it for an audience of mostly wildly applauding children, it seems; and it is good to see a little action...back in the ring..as they work their butts off and sell like mad.
And then, in what was sort of a dirty trick, 'Big' congratulates them all on a good job there in Africa, and informs them that THERE WILL NOT BE A CUT AFTER ALL. Linda's eyes bug out again..and mine did, too..Jake is relieved. They all leave and high-five the kids in the audience like Superstars..
When the day is done, they take the bus home..to arrive, to their surprise, at a native 'Boba' ceremony in their honor...There is traditional dancing, and food, and everybody gets into it...even Jake, who plays 'pattycake' with a young girl. Ivory says that the trip helped her to get to know everybody a bit better. Al displays his 'fatherly' side, as he shares a 'thumbs up', then strokes the cheek of a tiny toddler in traditional dress, awww...They all agree that it was a once in a lifetime experience. Al agains stresses that the kids are 'his kids'..Okay, everybody bond. On your way...
When they arrive home, Hardcore finds out what went on, and wants to know if Hawk told any of them why he quit---why? Does he want to hear that it was his fault? Huh? Jackie babbles something unintelligible in explanation, and Ivory asks him what he feels about putting Hawk's chair against the wall, and Bob replies that he 'wants to take that sumb*tch and throw it right through that wall.' Bob then reveals to us that he didn't want Hawk to know it, but he 'really did like him a lot', and he was 'really disappointed' that they came back from South Africa and Hawk wasn't there...Too little, too late, Bob. Al kind of pats the chair as it is placed against the wall, and they show a little 'Best of Hawk' montage..and then it is back to business.
Ivory says that now that Hawk is gone there is a 'new energy' of 'Let's get busy' within the group, and it would seem so; as they are then shown again in the ring workin' it. Bob says that after they returned it was like a 'completely different group of people'. Al says that he is 'so happy right now' at the result, and Bob is actually shown grinning from ear to ear..All is well, things are movin' and shakin'---Jackie says that they were all just 'shot full of energy', and Al actually tells her and Jake to slow down..
..And then it happens. In excruciating slow-motion, of course...In a freak accident, Jackie clothelines Jake and lands horribly, at an odd angle and immediately grabs her knee..The pain on her face is evident, as Bob and the others walk quickly over to her. Al is horrified, holding her leg as she tells him, her 'entire THING just broke'..It is her knee..and it is bad. Al asks quietly, nervously, 'Where's the nurse, where's the nurse, where's the nurse?' over and over..and that's where they leave us, folks...
Until next time..