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April 12, 2011

Quick hits on WWE Tough Enough

• When the bottom three were revealed as Matt, Rima and Ryan on Monday night’s Tough Enough, I thought for sure Ryan was going to be the one sent home, but “Stone Cold” Steve Austin swerved us. Matt – a high-flyer who has wrestled for years on the independent circuit as “M-Dogg 20” Matt Cross (see highlights of him in the videos below) – was one of the favorites to win it all, but he ended up being the second person eliminated. Austin’s reasoning was that he didn’t shine when he was given the opportunity. It was clear from Matt’s reaction that he did not expect to be eliminated. I suppose WWE wanted to put the other competitors on notice that no one is safe, and also to send a message to viewers that the eliminations are not always going to be easy to predict.

• There’s no doubt in my mind that Ryan should have been eliminated instead of Matt, but I think WWE is keeping him on the show a while longer because it gives Bill DeMott someone to pick on. When Ryan started crying because he missed his girlfriend, Tiffany, I was convinced that his fate was sealed.

• I see a lot of similarities between Ryan and Ric Flair. By that I mean that they both have long blond hair, are quick to cry and have had significant others named Tiffany.

• If Rima wasn’t Miss USA and someone whose presence brings attention to the show, I think it’s a good possibility that she would have been eliminated for showing up 20 minutes late to a workout.

• The final segment of the show when Austin cuts intense promos on the bottom three is must-see TV every week. Austin had me laughing out loud when he was lecturing Matt on making the most of his opportunities and talked about Vince McMahon calling him up and offering him a spot as The Ringmaster. “I knew The Ringmaster sucked, but it was a foot in the door,” he said.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 8:25 PM | | Comments (15)


Why so many jabs at Ric Flair lately? I also hate to see him in TNA where he is being misused ala WCW but your comments sound like the trolls on message boards rather than someone who writes for the Baltimore Sun.

Why don't you ask Shawn Michaels if he thinks Flair is a "sad joke" as you called him recently. After seeing them together at WM weekend I feel a little better about Flair than I did. He would be better off in WWE where he wouldn't be bleeding buckets every week for a lost cause. At 62 he shouldn't be wrestling but doesn't need your approval or anyone else's after the career he's had.

Sorry I know this column is about Tough Enough but had to vent. BTW Flair is no longer married to Tiffany & hasn't been for 2 years.

RESPONSE FROM KE: I never said that Flair needs anyone's approval, but my opinion is my opinion and I am entitled to it, just as you are to yours. ... I know Flair is no longer married to Tiffany (wife No. 3). I said he and Ryan both HAVE HAD significant others named Tiffany.

I think Matt's fate was sealed when he asked for permission to speak right after Stone Cold had just told him that he needed to take the business by the balls.

I'd never seen Matt Cross wrestle before these clips, and I gotta say, I'm not impressed. He's just a gymnast trying to be a wrestler. Those punches he threw were awful, and even the high flying moves were sloppy. However, I do think that crybaby punk Ryan should have been eliminated. I'm still waiting for one of the contestants to get in Stone Cold's face instead of acting so afraid of him. I'm pretty sure that's what he wants. Honestly, I don't see one male wrestler out of all of them that could actually make it.

I'm not happy with this show at all. The "life lesson" Steve Austin keeps referring to is that television is a producers world. I didn't think Stone Cold was "Tough Enough" to let go Miss USA and sure enough he didn't. He needs to man up and boot her butt out of there.

Not really much point in the IWC posting what he can do...there was nothing stopping him doing a shooting star press. There is no doubt that if he'd executed it safely he would have stayed in the competition probably until the end without issues. In the end he was given a shot and basically allowed Luke to steal the show, who now already looks like a worthy winner.

Get rid of big afro man before Ryan

Mixed opinions about this show. The dog challenge was exceedingly lame. First of all, not even an Olympic sprinter could outrun one of those dogs in that get-up, secondly the padding also prevented injury, so it wasn't a serious threat. Proved nothing and aside from Erik it was mostly watching a bunch of undistinguishable people being tackled by dogs.

The elimintaiton was predictable. I'm not familiar with Matt, but he was clearly the least charismatic of that bunch, at least from initial impressions. If it were to be judged solely on skill level, then it would probalby have been Rima off this episode and Matt the next. Skill on the mic and in terms of personality is just as important as skill on the mat, especially in this kind of environment.

I'll stick around to see what happens anyway.

I feel sort of bad for these kids. Austin tells them that they need to take the business by the balls, but isn't he technically their boss? He can say whatever he wants, but if you mouth off to your boss in any situation, you're going to lose your job. Also, he's Stone Cold. I'd be lucky not to crap my pants under the full force of his anger.

That being said, I would have like to see Matt fight a little harder for it. I thought he would refuse to let the belt go, and we'd have an even more interesting end of the episode. Kevin, if Matt had been more forceful after Austin told him he was out, do you think Austin might have changed his mind? At that point, it's not like he had anything to lose.

I don't think Rima has long on the show, Ms. USA or not. I don't see any of the women making it long on the show, but aside from Luke, I don't know that any of the men have much of a chance either. I'd love for Eric (big guy with the afro) to make it further, but I don't think he'll be on the show by the first episode in May.

Like a lot of people, I assume, SCSA isn't allowed to get rid of Rima yet, even though she probably deserves to go. As for this week, I agree that Ryan really needed to go, and it really sucks for Matt that he had to hit the road.

That footage is amazing. But when he has such a weak personality, and average look, it's hard to really care.

If that kid Matt had the stones, he could have told Austin that he was just helping make that other guy look good during their match. Much like all the guys who flopped around for the Stone Cold Stunner that helped make him all those years ago.

I've actually been impressed by Rima so far. She's taken the bumps without complaint, and she certainly has more charisma than most of the others there. And Stone Cold was right; she's shown just as much in-ring ability as those who have more experience than her. Being late for practice is obviously a big no-no, but it's easier to teach someone to be on time than it is to teach someone to have charisma.

Matt was probably eliminated because Stone Cold and Trish had high hopes for him which he failed to deliver on. Since he's been in the business 9 years, he should have stolen the show from day 1. Especially when Trish gave him a chance to shine in a match. Since he failed to take that opportunity, there's no reason to believe he would be able to take it later either.

And asking for "permission to speak" after Stone Cold's rant that essentially boiled down to "you have to grab this business with both hands and run with it" likely sealed his fate.

Part of the problem is that, even though the shows opens the window on the scripted nature of professional wrestling, they haven't thrown the door open to the masses. In order for anyone to do something more advanced than what they're covering that week, they'd have to speak up and ask for permission. You can't exactly stop filming and ask for someone to lay down so you can do your move off the top rope, a move that, if you messed up even slightly, could seriously injure yourself or a fellow competitor/trainer. For Austin to berate Matt for staying quiet and following along is somewhat disingenuous. Did Matt have what it takes to make it? Probably not. But he definitely deserves to be there more than some of his competitors. If Skidmark is already crying because he misses his girlfriend of a year, there's no way he could be away 300+ days a year.

So far, for what little it's worth, I do think Rima has performed well enough to stay on the show. She should be in the bottom, true, but she is taking her bumps like a true rookie. Being late was really bad, but I think Austin was serious when he said if it happens again, she's gone. She's not going to win, and she probably will be on longer than she should be because of who she is, but I'm not terribly bothered by that. So far, I don't think she should have been booted.

I've been waiting for you to finally make a blog of Tough Enough. LMFAO! It's sooooooo hilarious listening to Austin's invective!
"RUN YOU SON OF A _ITCH " "YOUR HAIRS _ISSING ME OFF. LOL! Does anyone not crack up off of Austin just chewing out anyone and everyone.

People keep saying they can't see any of these men in the ring. Yea! Miz's whole heel gimmick is based upon the very true fact that "most people never thought they'd see him become of anything when he first started and now he's proved us fools wrong." Able to walk the walk, and definitely talk the talk, The Miz can talk down pretty much anyone on the roster. I was hoping JBL was returning permanently to see if The Miz could talk down that mouthy Texan that could even shut Michael Cole up -- well face Michael Cole -- but he left soon after.

I don't know. I kind of have to disagree with you Kev. I think Austin knows what he's doing. I think he made the right decision in getting rid of that kid this week. I didn't like that he didn't impress Trish. C'mon! Who wouldn't want to impress Trish AND I'M GAY!

P.S. None of the guys the WWE chose for this show are hot.

Kevin, I wrote on last week's blog for Tough Enough that "maybe the girls should be grouped separately from the guys and trained by female trainers. It's uncomforting to see 500 pound man run down a female with full-force, especially a white man running down a black woman. Puts nasty images in my head like I'm watching something from the Jim Crow era. I think it was normal for a sista looking up to another sista making it as opposed to Stone Cold Steve Austin"

What do you think?!

RESONSE FROM KE: I'd be lying if I didn't say it made me slightly uncomfortable to see Bill DeMott being so aggressive with the women, but then again, the show is called Tough Enough.

Very True! You have the show's name put right out there and these girls probably knew what they were getting into and were probably told all of this beforehand. Anyways, great blogs by the way!

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
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