|Tough Enough Finale ~ September 27, 2001
At last...It's here...The long-awaited season finale of 'Tough Enough'..It is hard to believe it is finally over, and before I get all emotional or give something away..let's do this thing..
We are live from WWF NY, and there is a gigantic sign out front, proclaiming what is going on inside..It is a madhouse inside, and the crowd is PUMPED.
Jonathan Coachman and Trish Stratus are our hosts for the evening.
There are a few shots of everyone from the show seated at tables inside, dressed to the nines..including Nidia, in a wild furry cavewoman's vest..And, once again, Harvard is booed mercilessly..
Coach tells us that we are going to find out the winners 'in a few minutes' but first, we are going to take a look back at the last days of the contest..
They begin with a re-cap of last week's episode, with lots of ring action, and Al telling everyone that it is still a contest..
Then it is on to 'The Last Supper'..The contestants decide to thank the trainers by having them all to dinner.
First to arrive is Jackie, who exclaims over the house, telling Nidia that they all have been 'living large'..
Next to arrive is Tori; then 'Big' and Al..who are a little late..Down the stairs comes Harvard in a suit and tie-who is dubbed 'Captain Caucasian' by a laughing Al..
Conspicuously absent is Tazz..
As a before-dinner treat, they all sit down and play the 'Tough Enough' board game the contestants have made up--with little personal splats at everyone..and what appear to be 'Pez Dispensers' as the game pieces. They show little bits from past episodes, and it is pretty funny..
They all sit down to eat--with Josh insisting on sitting next to Al--and 'Big' raises his cup in a toast to the kids, telling them that they 'epitomize both family and respect'..very nice.
They all eat dinner, laughing and talking, and then reminisce about past cast members who they thought would have made it.
Then Josh decides to put on his 'Al Drag' (with a drawn-in moustache this time) and come in and sit back next to Al..who looks embarrassed but pleased, as well; as he is mimicked to a tee..down to 'Als favorite saying' which is, 'What did I do to deserve this?', hahah..
Al says, 'God, I hate you', to him (with such warmth and fondness in his voice) that I am reminded of the ribs he and Foley used to pass back and forth..
At the Trax the next day, we see them working out, and hear Taylor say that there is definitely a sense of closure there, as they work their matches against each other..
There is a nice montage of ring action, as Al rates them all, naming their individual strengths..
Suddenly, Reek! Reek! Reek!~in walks Vince McMahon! They are all freaked out by that (and with good reason), and we hear their reactions.
Vince is accompanied by WWF Executive Producer Kevin Dunne, and they watch the kids work (Final Exams), and hear some of their comments..for example, that Taylor has the best 'facials'..They are really mixing it up.
Then it is on to the 'Oral Exams', where they are each individually interviewed in Vince's office..time to kiss some serious butt..
Vince puts out some serious and thoughtful questions, and gets some serious and thoughtful answers in return..The one comment that stood out to me the most, was when Harvard said that he respected everyone that he trained with, but would not really choose to hang out with any of them..you can just see the faintest suggestion of a grimace cross Vince's face...my imagination? I know I grimaced at that..
After they leave, we hear Kevin Dunne comment that they are ALL 'Tough Enough'..
Back to WWF NY, and the Coach teases Trish about a *ss-whooping she took from Jackie once..and we see the big honking gold trophies that the winners get to take home.
They then take the opportunity to introduce the trainers--'the one and only Al Snow' first (to a goodly pop), then Tazz (looking grumpy, as usual), then Jackie..where is Tori?
We then go back to the House, and see the kids all packing to leave(--what could be in that HUGE box they are taping up?), and tearfully signing farewell cards to the trainers to take with them on the last day. They arrive at the Trax ("Graduation'), and---whoa---have matches with each of their trainers. This is amazing, there is some genuine hard work going on here. Taylor takes a 'clothesline from H*ll' from Jackie that almost takes her head off--and they (Tazz in particular) seem to enjoy throwing poor little Josh around the ring like a ragdoll..day-um.
After Josh has the priviledge of pinning our cult hero, and the final bell rings...it hits them. This is it. It is over, and (as Nidia says) they will never have this again.
Everyone is quite emotional, and the girls cry as AL hugs them to pieces..he looks like he is ready to maybe bust out a tear or two himself..and yeah, yeah...I did, too..
The cards are handed out, and pictures are taken..and then they all get a few parting inspirational words from 'Big'and the rest, saying how proud they are of them..even Tazz..and Al's voice shakes a little as he tells them that they 'are his kids, and that he takes that responsibility very seriously'..he looks so sincere, my heart just breaks, as he tells them that he 'doen't regret any time that he spent there with them'and thanks them for spending the nine weeks with him..he then tells them that it is all of the trainers' wishes that they get to fold up and keep their chairs, as they have earned them..No graveyard for any of them..
The girls keep crying, and we hear the various reactions, as we see them pack...all very touching, until Harvard sort of ruins the mood by saying that 'although they may not be best of friends' that he would fight alongside them any day...yeah, right..
They take a long last look at the house, and it's back to WWF NY, and Trish brings up that clothesline again--and then on the floor, Al has the mike, and he asks Jackie what she was trying to teach Taylor there---Jackie says 'Not to get into the ring against her'--and that Taylor took an *ss kicking, but didn't whine about it, either..Al then asks Taylor what was running through her mind (besides her *ss, hahah) at that moment--and Taylor nervously says something about not p*ssing Jackie off, but that she would like to get in the ring with her again...
Al then wishes her the best of luck from all of them, and it is yet another tease from the Coach and Trish--showing J.R. backstage pacing with the envelope..After the commercial, they come back and talk about the non-finalist women--and then show nice recaps of both Taylor and Nidia, with lots of ring action and commentary. Then--can it be finally the winner? Yes! J.R. comes out, and after a little Oklahoma Sooners music (I think), and a nice speech, announces that the female winner is---(drum roll)---NIDIA!
The crowd goes wild, and Taylor is obviously crushed (as was I), as Nidia makes her way to the podium, hugging a lot of folks along the way (with Al finally pushing her gently towards the stage), to thank everyone..including her 'tag-team partner Taylor'(who is seen crying at the table)...I bet Taylor's parents are thrilled, as she can come home now, and watch TV...
Nidia is ushered away, and they deliver the final blow to Taylor, as Tazz asks her her thoughts--calling her 'just another victim'..Taylor struggles to be graceful about it, until Tazz cuts her off, asking her if she is gonna quit---she answers 'NO...'..good girl.
They then plug 'Tough Enough 2', noting that the casting special will be held in Las Vegas, and the House wll be on a sandy beach in Los Angeles..
They then talk about the male non-finalists..and show recaps of the guys--Maven, Josh, and Harvard..
J.R. then announces the male winner to be...(insert another drum roll here)----MAVEN!
The look on Harvard's face is one of stiffly guarded shock, and Josh seems wanly happy for his bud Maven, and gamely gives him a standing ovation.
Maven makes his way to the podium, collects his trophy, and holds it aloft to a rousing pop, before delivering a smooth acceptance speech. He thanks everyone, and says that the trophy is for his Mom..aww...
Al then asks Josh how he feels, as he wanted it just as badly. Josh replies that he is happy for Maven, and that tonight is his night--and that he will feel disappointed later...he also says that he will continue to pursue this..good, Josh.
Next is up is Harvard, who is splatted by Tazz--who says that being bigger and cockier, etc. didn't help this time---Harvard (looking really p*ssed) replies--after congratulating Maven--that 'it's not a sprint, it's a marathon' and that we haven't see the last of him..to his usual chorus of boos...Harvard kinda looks like he wants to punch Tazz in the face as Tazz calls him 'just another victim', and wishes him luck...
They show a last shot of the winners onstage, smiling happily with their trophies--and the Coach thanks us all for watching and all that sort of stuff..and the show closes...
I just want to personally congratulate all of the kids--and, as corny as it sounds, they really ARE all winners..They have come down a harsh road, and I, for one, am sorry to see it end.
Can't wait for Season Two, and a new crop of hopefuls, but this was the groundbreaking first---Good luck all, and Goodnight..