|Tough Enough Report for August 9, 2001
This was, to me, the best episode so far, as there was lots of ring action, and no one was cut. It opens as always, with a re-cap of last week's show.
We kinda get the hint that something is up with Greg, as they focus on him right from the get-go (with Harvard saying as how he feels that his biggest competition is Greg).
Al puts Paulina's chair..um..tombstone against the wall..um..graveyard; telling everyone not to let that affect them negatively, and that it is 'in moments of decision that their destiny is shaped' (I heartedly agree), and that when they make decisions, it affects the rest of their lives..Oh, so true. Then the trainers stress how it is only two girls left, while Nidia and Taylor fidget a bit uncomfortably. Jackie tells them to turn it up a notch, and Maven says that he thinks it will be Taylor, as she is hungry for it.
Al stresses that it will get harder and harder, and that his expectations will be higher and higher.
We then see them taking a lot of bumps, learning how to sell getting slammed into the turnbuckle, arm drags and hip tosses; and some of their resulting injuries~~Harvard Chris taping his wrist, Psycho Chris holding his jaw, and Nidia hurting her calf.
They then learn overhead body slams (wow!) with Al stating that when they pick someone up, they are ultimately responsible for that person in the air, and for putting them back down without injury. It is during this speech that we find out that Greg has had a herniated disc in his back, and that the possibility of injury is never far from his mind.
The ensuing montage of them learning this is fascinating to me (I can sure understand why Al injured his back lifting and throwing all of them around---in slow motion sort of, step-by-step, so they could learn). I also really admire his courage in trusting them to do the same to him (even little Taylor).
We see then that Josh has a bone bruise on his hip, looks painful--get used to it, kid..He and Nidia both have to sit out a spell..Jackie and Tori tell them that, although the bumps tear you up, your body eventually gets calloused up and 'used to it'...Al takes a minute to talk to them, telling them not to get 'all gun-shy' on him, that he is not doing anything different with them than he did when he ran his school. He has such a patient, calm, mensch-like quality at times, and is so empathic, but never ever sugar-coats anything with these kids--I can sure see why he was chosen to do this. The man is good at what he does, and my admiration grows each week. Sorry to mark out--but I just had to say that.
They then work with each other and tape it. After each mini-match, he has them shake hands.
Then, they watch the tapes of themselves---with Al calling Taylor the 'Salty Dog' because 'she walks like she's saddle sore' (and she does), and does a little 'Why I oughta' imitation of her, like a pirate or something..funny stuff.
Nidia is worried about catching up, and Taylor, in turn, does not want her to drop out because she does not want anything just handed to her..I can see her point, as they are going to have a difficult enough time gaining any modicum of respect from the locker room...'Big' then sends Josh and Nidia home, and the rest to the WWF offices to work out. At home we see poor Nidia icing her leg and crying, and I cannot blame her. She states that if it keeps up this way, she fears she will have a breakdown..
The next time they are all together at the house, Greg tries to lighten things up by saying that it seems like every week they seem to have a 'new gimp'..and that he is one of them.
Then, on to the Trax, and the guests this week are---Team Extreme! The look on Josh's face is just bald open staring--they are all pretty starstruck. There is, of course, the introductory montage of The Hardyz and Lita in the ring. (The 'ring rat' in Nidia comes out a little, as she exclaims over Jeff, haha)
There is a little talking back and forth with them, and we see their various reactions. Matt seems to be the spokesperson for the group. He gives a little inspirational talk, and then Lita takes over--saying a little about how she first viewed pro-wrestling, and how now she 'gets' the psychology behind it--I can identify with that, for sure. She then goes on to say that getting her butt kicked by Steve Austin was the hightlight of her career thus far, haha..The contestants all look properly inspired, and then it is time to get in the ring and mix it up.
Poor Josh and Nidia have to sit out, and Josh says that he had to go into the bathroom and cry at having missed this opportunity..awww..I don't blame him, as the resulting bumpapalooza is great. Greg is totally blown away by having Matt drop a leg on him--looking up and seeing Matt there--he calls it 'surreal'...They all then thank 'Team Extreme', and they are on their way..
Then it is back to work, and they all have to run..Al comments on how Taylor has 'a lot of heart' and Jackie cheers her on as she runs by.
Then, more hip tosses and bumps, and then, in agonizing slow-motion, we see Greg's injury rear it's ugly head. It seems he twisted wrong, while hip-tossing Maven, and it just went. He tries to walk it off, but it doesn't help. He talks to Al about it--confessing that he had the injury before he even came, and begins to cry. Al tells him that he is starting already 'behind the eight-ball' and that 'this is what you live'(on a daily basis) and that he never had back problems himself when he started, but that 'now he has so many'..He says that he will talk to 'Big' about the situation, and that 'it's not over yet'.
'Big' comes on and says some very positive things about Greg, and how he was just getting to the point where he was getting comfortable in the ring..what a shame, my money was on him..
Back at the house, Greg brings everyone else up to speed as to what is wrong with him.
The next morning, they all go on to the Trax, while Greg is dropped off at the Hospital for some tests, it appears.
Nidia is still not one hundred percent, but chooses to do extra sets of the calesthenics she is capable of doing. AS Al says, it 'speaks volumes' about her heart, and how tough (mentally and emotionally) she is. Nidia says that she feels like she has graduated to a new level of pain, haha..
Then, more calethenics, more bumps, and it is time to work against each other in a mini-match for the cameras. Nidia hasn't learned to do a body slam yet, but they feel they can work around that. The two girls get in the ring and really show us what they are made of, so much so that Al asks Taylor what Nidia did to 'p*ss her off' before asking them to shake hands. While watching the tape of the match, Al's play-by-play is hilarious~'Cinderella running to the Ball', haha..
Then, Greg comes back, 'The Prodigal Son returns', and the diagnosis is that it will be really tough for Greg to get back to it by Monday..Al tells him that he shouldn't 'jump off the cliff' but that they will see when Monday comes.
Greg closes the show by saying that there are very few things in his life that he has done just for him--and that this is one of those things. He says that he has been made to feel like a member of the WWF Family--and that he doesn't want to let that go...He may have to wait until Monday, but we all will have to wait until next week...that's the show, folks.