|Tough Enough Report for August 30, 2001
This was, in my opinion, the best episode so far, and it is amazing to see how far these kids have come in so short a time. The show opens with its usual re-cap, focusing on the defection of 'CK', and the total non-support of Taylor's parents..
We see the contestants at the Trax, learning a number of things, and taking a few bumps..Including Al tossing Harvard over the ropes, and from the camera angle and his reaction, it looks like he has taken a bump..um..'down there'..Al tells him that he has to learn to 'wrap that up like a yo-yo, like he's walking the dog',as Harvard walks a bit delicately away, haha..
We then learn that in the upcoming week they are going to learn 'what it is like to be a professional Superstar on the road'--wow--that they are going to go with Al to the PPV, to Raw, and to Smackdown..driving most of the way..
First up is Chicago, and we learn that Harvard's parents live there, and they will most likely stop by and see them--I am a bit curious about that..They then will drive to Milwaulkee, and--that night right after the show--drive on to Indianapolis..
Al looks weary already (just joking) when he says that they will be his responsibility, and with him pretty much twenty-four hours a day..He then affectionately warns Josh to 'behave', with a 'typical Dad-type' finger point, haha..
Back at the house, we see them making ready, packing, etc..and hear Taylor on the phone with her parents, telling them her upcoming plans..Her father says that he couldn't bear to watch all but a few moments of her on television and had to stop watching...She tells her mother that she thinks that she is going to win, and her mother says that she doesn't want her to win...Aww, Mom...and actually tells Taylor that if she were home, she would 'get to watch TV'...What? She cannot do better than that?
Then it's off to Chicago, and we see the contestants piling into a limo; and, after a little scenery, it is off to the night's venue..
They help the crew set up for the show, as Al stresses that it is important to see it from all aspects, from top to bottom..and the only way to respect what the crew does is to work with them. I agree.
Nidia says that they worked hard, but everyone is sooo happy..They all say that there is a family atmosphere, and we see them all hanging out and hobnobbing with the crew.
Then we see a few shots of the milling hordes filing in as the venue fills for the show.
The kids get to sit in a Skybox with Al, and see it all from yet another angle, from yet another point of view, as Al explains what is taking place in and out of the ring. There is a nice montage of the show, including Shane's incredible bump from the Titantron.
Afterwards, they all go out to the 'Funky Buddha', where they can let their hair down a little, dancing and partying after a long day..Taylor proceeds to get rip-snorting drunk, and there is a shot of her drinking what appears to be Champagne straight from the bottle...Oh, Girl, what are you thinking?
In the vehicle afterwards, she gets totally out of hand, as (egged on by Harvard and Nidia) she pretty much attacks Maven, even biting him on the arm..She is all over him, and I mean, all over him..To his credit, he is embarrassed but does not make a total *ss out of her..she does a pretty good job of that herself...when they arrive at the hotel, she all but falls out of the vehicle..
The next morning, she is hung over big-time, and asks to sit by the window on the drive to Harvard's house for breakfast. No one argues, hahah..
Nice house, nice family, no shocking surprises there, total Middle America scene--right down to the 'Dogs Playing Poker'prints on the wall. As Nidia says, 'the Brady Bunch'..Taylor vomits in this nice family's nice bathroom, and I am grateful that the cameras didn't follow her in there..They eat quite a repast (except for Taylor, of course), and are on their way...We then hear how seeing Chris' family just made Taylor more miserable, as her family takes no interest, gives her no support whatsoever, in what she is trying to do..no wonder she got drunk...
On the drive to Milwaulkee, we see Harvard wearing an Al SNow shirt, and I wondered if he bought it just for the contest..suck-up..
Backstage at the venue, we see them surrounded by and meeting a host of Superstars, including Pat Patterson again, Ivory, Matt Hardy, Test, Steven Richards, Spike Dudley...and see Chyna walking moodily by...Nidia then asks Al if 'they are going to go backstage' to which Al replies,'You are backstage', hahaha...
They then are asked if they know who The Brooklyn Brawler is, and, to their credit, they know..He takes them all back to the Pre-Tape Room, and they get a chance to try cutting a few promos.
Nidia goes first, and does pretty well calling out Chyna--all sass and street-smart, not bad at all, for having to go first..Then we have Taylor, who must still be a little hung-over, as she is a bit fumbling and quirky...Oh, my,yes..then we have Josh--AKA, 'The Sponge, as he 'sucks everything up' in his bid to challenge Rhyno..Not too bad, actually, until 'The Manbeast'himself pops in to watch, and we see Josh sweat a little..Rhyno laughs good-naturedly along with the rest, as they call him a 'suck-up' and 'Captain Brown-Noser'...Next up is Harvard; who, despite his thoughts to the contrary, does rather well (ennunciating clearly) as he calls out Taker. He says that he has one thing that Taker does not--the fact that he was trained by Al Snow--Brawler just about busts a gut laughing over this, and Al chimes in that he 'didn't train him to say THAT', hahah..Next we have Maven, who does a pretty smooth job of calling out Raven at 'Judgement Day', using biblical references, and saying he is going to 'take Raven to Paradise' to 'meet his maker'..They all say that he did the best, but I think they all did a good job; and wonder how many hours (especially Josh) they spent as kids practicing just this sort of thing..
Then, we see them all on the long drive after, and hear that they all have to stay awake on the ride, out of respect to the driver..I agree..
When they are in Milwaulkee, we see more of that heartwarming camaraderie, as Josh finds in a wig store, an 'Al Snow' wig, and puts it on, mimicking Al..Nidia says that it is 'just like looking in a mirror', and Al says that it is NOT, haha..We hear how there is a 'bond' between Josh and Al, and how it has become almost a little contest in seeing how they can push each others' buttons..Al says that 'There are moments when you want to strangle him, moments when you want to hug him, and moments when you want to do both at the same time..' (awww..) We see them walking down the street together, Josh mimicking Al right down to the fanny pack and sunglasses, and I got to admit, it is pretty funny..Josh says that sometimes they all forget that Al is a 'Big-Time Superstar'..
Cut to Al being a 'Big-Time Superstar', being mobbed at the arena, taking pictures and signing autographs, as well as a few foreheads. Maven say that this is what it is all about.
They then get to go to lunch with a vast array of Superstars---I saw Malenko, Hardcore Holly (!), Saturn, Molly Holly, Bubba Ray Dudley, and many others..Tazz shows that he can be moderately human, as he leaves his table and sits with the guys, joking and laughing..Nidia marks out a little again, as she meets the Hardyz, and Al tells her to 'stop', haha...
We then go to the show, and to another montage of the Superstars in action..looks like a great show, and everyone is enjoying their front-row seats. Jackie comes out and has a great match against Molly Holly, and the kids are so into it (Nidia saying that she felt sorry for Molly, because Jackie 'doesn't play'), especially when she gives them a point and a thumbs up at the end. They said that they felt like she had that match just for them, and that they felt like 'her kids'...
We then see what we now know may have been Al's last match against Essa Rios; and without getting too maudlin on you guys, I will just say that it was a little difficult for me to watch, and that I am glad to have caught it on tape when it occurred. He struts down the ramp to a huge pop, wearing a 'Tough Enough'shirt in their honor, and the kids all marvel at the moves that he has worked in at their request. It is a great match, and a clean win--and it was good to see the triumph and the pride in his eyes..Harvard says that it is something that they will never forget, and I can sure understand why..Maven say that 'hands down, bar none' that this trip was the best four days since they have been involved...I have to agree..
Back to the Trax, and we see an amazing array of moves that the kids have learned, including standing drop-kicks (Josh's was great!), and a few insane flying cross-bodies from the turnbuckles..Wow..just, Wow.
Nidia says that after the trip, everything pretty much fell into place, and that it all makes sense now...It didn't at first, but does now..Just as Al had said at the very beginning.
The show closes on an introspective Taylor (graveyard of chairs in the background), saying that the most important thing she has learned from this whole experience was 'not to give up'.
Looking back on Al's career, I have to say that that is the one thing that has always impressed me the most, and inspired me the most..his tenacity, his refusal to let go of his dreams...
These kids have learned from the best. And not just about wrestling.
Fade to black.