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Talkin' Tough Enough - Week 1

By Dan Calvarese     April 11, 2011

Hello everyone! Welcome to Talkin' Tough Enough, a new weekly column all about Trish Stratus' latest venture as a trainer on WWE's Tough Enough. First off, I would like to extend a big thank you to Trish and Team for allowing me to write a column about Tough Enough's big return to television. When I was asked to do this, I jumped at the chance without hesitation. I like to look at this as an experience to grow as a writer (I did graduate college with a degree in broadcast journalism!), as well as incorporate some of my favorite things -- wrestling and of course, Trish! So without further ado, let's look at what happened in the first week on Tough Enough and see who really was (or wasn't) indeed tough enough.

The opening starts with our host, Stone Cold Steve Austin, introducing some of the the contestants while he still shows us why he is the baddest SOB that WWE has - and ever will - see. Wait…Did I just see Miss USA?! This is gonna be good! The contestants enter the arena as Stone Cold stands in the ring and tells them how the process of the show will work. He lets them know what he's looking for in the next WWE Superstar or Diva and tells them to "get their asses backstage". Ah, he hasn't lost a touch! The contestants get a rude awakening when they find out that they will actually be helping the WWE crew set up the arena for the show that night, as well as cleaning and breaking down the arena after the show. Well, that certainly isn't my idea of first day on the job!

We cut to the following day, where the crew is sent to their new beautiful mansion in California. And who do we see waiting for their arrival? Booker T, Bill DeMott, and…7-time, 7-time, 7-time, 7-time, 7-time, 7-time, 7-time WWE Women's Champion, Trish Stratus! That's right Booker, this is Trish's site, but thanks for the line - it suits Trish quite nicely! After brief introductions from each of the trainers, the contestants were in awe. Glad to see I wasn't the only one! Trish tells them to get inside and get settled (she tells people what to do so much nicer than Stone Cold!) as the contestants rush to the door. The contestants check out their rooms and the house, where they see they are each given a WWE Championship belt, symbolizing their status in the competition. But like any WWE show, conflict would soon brew between the contestants! Mickael Zaki comes in telling the girls that if they have the booty, they don't need the wrestling experience! Uh oh! He clearly didn't see that one of his trainers was one of the most, if not the most, decorated women's wrestlers of all time! Ariane Andrew jumped up, defending the girls and told him to wait and see what they're capable of before he judges them. Miss USA Rima Fakih joined in and defended the girls as well. Things got a little out of hand when pillows were thrown, drinks were poured on people, and expletives we choose not to say on TrishStratus.com were shouted! Looks like Mickael will be choosing his battles wisely from now on. These potential WWE Divas just shouted 'Girl Power!' much louder than I've ever seen the Spice Girls shout it - figuratively speaking, of course!

The students (I think it's fair to call them that at this point, right?) arrive to the training facility to see their trainers waiting for them. Bill DeMott wastes no time letting them know he isn't there to be anyone's friend and busts out his military sergeant persona. As the contestants bust their butts working out, Stone Cold comes riding through on his motorcycle. As if the trainers haven't instilled the fear of God in them yet, Stone Cold surely reinforced that when he showed up and talked to them. The trainers took the students into the ring individually to see what they had in the ring in terms of wrestling basics (rolls, front bumps, etc.). Trish calls out Michelle Deighton, a former model who says she has 11 years of experience in the wrestling business. "Miss 11 Years, come here!" comes from the mouth of Trish. Uh oh, you better be able to back up those claims because you're in the ring with one of the best right now! After seeing Michelle perform, Christina Crawford questioned her claims to have been in the business for 11 years. Either way, Bill DeMott reminded us all that this isn't going to be an easy task for any of the contestants involved. After a long first day of training, the contestants put on their party hats and celebrated. Hot tubs and alcohol always make for a good time! While some partake in the fun, others prefer to keep their mind on the prize and stay focused…Smart thinking!

The next day, Trish and the trainers greet the students as they make their way into their second class. "Sore" was a common answer when Trish asked how all of them were feeling. Who cares? Start stretching and get ready for another long day! Stone Cold walks in and tells them about their weekly Skills Challenge, which this week was 3 Minutes in Hell. The name of the challenge fit the actual challenge quite nicely. I don't know about you, but running the ropes for 3 minutes doesn't exactly sound like Heaven to me. While some excelled at the challenges, others did not. Trish was seen screaming "Pick up your feet!" and "Come on!" while Eric performed his challenge. Ariane caught the attention of Trish in a negative light. She was focused on making sure she pants were still intact with her waistline as she ran the ropes. Trish revealed that messing with wardrobe is one of her biggest pet peeves in terms of working in the ring. Oopsy Ariane! But don't worry, it didn't stop there! It was discovered by Bill DeMott that Rima was caught running the ropes with padding in her pants! Pretty sure I'm going to have to answer Trish's question to Stone Cold and tell her yes, that is cheating.

The judges meet together in Stone Cold's office and discuss the contestants and their progress. Trish definitely didn't hold back, letting the trainers and host know what she felt about the students. Ariane needs to get it together and bust out the double-stick tape if she's concerned about something popping out, Michelle lacks the star quality, and Rima needs to know the rules of the ring. This is Trish like we've never seen her before - and I'm loving every minute of it! The general consensus is reached between the judges, and Stone Cold announces that Michelle, Ariane, and Eric are in the bottom three. He tells the rest of them to get out and go home. The contestants scattered to grab their things and evacuate, as any sane human being would do after being told to do something by Stone Cold Steve Austin. The contestants up for elimination return home to retrieve their WWE Championship belts and get some final advice from fellow contestants on how to stay safe and refrain from being eliminated. "If I have to throw someone under the bus, I'm going to do what it takes to win!", exclaimed Michelle before elimination. Oh snap! The gauntlet has been thrown down!

We are next taken to the elimination ceremony where Stone Cold enters and meets the contestants, each of which are standing under spot lights in a dark room. If that's not putting someone 'on the spot', then I don't know what is. And don't worry, I've beaten you to the punch because I know it was a cheesy joke. Stone Cold asks them all why they feel they deserve this opportunity. Ariane says that she has essentially put her life on hold in order to be there and apologizes for her antics in the 3 Minutes in Hell challenge. As Stone Cold tells a story of a match between him and Yokozuna that resulted in an unintentional accident (I'm going to leave it at that!) and he continued with the match, Michelle chimes in and says she would have continued as well. I hope she's prepared for Stone Cold's rebuttal! He asks her if she feels she has maximized on her 11 years experience in the business. Michelle reveals that she was self-trained but also got married, had a baby, and was sidelined with her modeling career within the past 6 years. So does that mean she has 5 years of self-trained wrestling experience? I'm confused. Next, Eric is berated for not being in shape for the contest. Stone Cold switches roles with Eric and tells Eric to ask him why he deserves to be there. This is followed by an amazing Stone Cold promo that made the WWE Universe love him from day one; therefore, I don't think I need to say anymore. The focus is brought back to Ariane, who was asked her thoughts on Michelle. I think things are going to get heated now! Ariane and Michelle get into an argument about passion for the business, with each making valid points against one another. Stone Cold stops this mess and asks Ariane what she's passionate about, which she says her new passion is wrestling. When asked what her favorite match is, she says "My favorite match is with Melina and Alicia Fox." I mean absolutely no disrespect to either Melina or Alicia Fox at all, because both are accomplished performers but really? If I was asked that question, I would've responded with Trish Stratus vs. Victoria vs. Jazz at Wrestlemania 19, or Trish Stratus vs. Mickie James at Wrestlemania 22, or Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Undertaker at Summerslam 1998, or Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker at Wrestlemania 25. I have plenty of favorite matches, and those are just a few out of many. Either way, Ariane answered wrong in Stone Cold's eyes because he sent her packing. He let Michelle and Eric know it was not a time to mess around and they need to step up their game. The episode ended with Stone Cold hanging up Ariane's WWE Championship belt, signifying she was eliminated.

Thank you everyone who read this, and I'd love to hear feedback on what you thought! I look forward to writing the column for the show in the coming weeks! Check back next week!

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