Tx: January 1, 2013; 10.30pm, Challenge TV
“I don’t know what the big deal is,” says Spud, who, lest we forget, has been vomiting in a car park and kept Rollerball Rocco waiting – two big social no-nos.
Rocco scolds Spud for drinking and vomiting and not getting an early night. Also, I believe that’s Scurll peeking round the corner to see his nemesis get a proper telling-off.
Spud eventually shifts his hungover backside into the gym, where Rocco gives the expected motivational chat about risking his reputation and wanting to see the very best of what they can do. The girls volunteer to be the first ones in the ring, and Rocco is pleased with their commitment and enthusiasm.
The pair then audition for another new reality TV show, called ‘Legit Beating Up Your Sister’.
Even Marty has to begrudgingly give them credit, despite admitting he hadn’t seen much of their work before, and despite being on at least one bill with them last year. He then reiterates, in case we hadn’t noticed, a) that the Blossoms are pretty, and b) that he likes to have sex with women because he is a red-blooded heterosexual man.
Unsurprisingly, Spud wasn’t expecting them to be any competition for him, but he seems to have grasped that they are.
Until Hannah turns her ankle, that is.
Hannah insists she’s fine to carry on as she hops around the ring, Rocco calls for ice, while Marty does a smug piece to camera about getting hurt being part of the business.
As an aside, I’m starting to notice a weird little dynamic going on in this episode. Spud – who, lest we be under any illusions here, is our villain – seems genuinely taken aback by the girls’ ring work and when Hannah refuses to ice her ankle and says she’d rather continue work, he seems genuinely impressed by her guts – it might be a grudging respect, but we can see that she’s proved herself to him as a wrestler and she’s earnt it. Marty – who is supposed to be our grinning, laddish hero – sees Hannah grit her teeth and keep on wrestling, and just tells us, “I like that determination in a girl.” This occurrence is all about him, not her; and more depressingly it’s all about his purported tastes in women. I realise that heels speaking the truth and faces being shallow is nothing new in wrestling tropes, but it’s strange seeing it played out by British wrestlers on my television.
Anyway, Rocco is proud of Hannah. I would imagine she is quietly chuffed to pieces. Although maybe not so chuffed about him then adding, “Not many girls can do that.” Not many boys would, either, dude. That’s surely the whole point of having this kind of boot camp.
Marty and Spud are next up. In a montage of pieces to camera filmed next to various London landmarks interspersed with material from their bout, Scurll gives his reasons for squashing Spud. None of them involve Twitter, thank goodness.
Spud doesn’t look like he’s having much fun – “Get out of my FUCKING NOSE!” being the only audible shout – and it’s exacerbated by Rocco mocking him wildly, so he chooses to throw a strop and walk out.
Rocco strides after him, telling him, “Get back in the ring.”
Spud’s response? “Don’t touch my arm, man!”
Rocco then chases him down the street and manhandles him back to the ring, informing him: “I’ve got someone who’ll get in the ring with you.”
Rocco’s gonna kill you. Yes?
It’s Spud’s turn to earn grudging respect. Rocco beats the hell out of him but he refuses to tap or walk out this time. “That makes for a great wrestler,” says Rocco.
So now all four of them have had chance to show off a bit, does Rocco think they should progress to the next stage of Boot Camp?
Of course he does!
Their next challenge is facing the media, and yes, I’m going to have another little rant at this point. And yes, it’s about sexism again. And no, I don’t want to hear anything about “that’s just the way it is”, because it’s not, it’s the way it’s been created, and it shouldn’t be. Not all wrestling fans are angry women-haters who want to see all female characters in wrestling patronised and degraded and objectified. So if there are sensible people who object to sexism watching professional wrestling, why must companies cater to the lowest possible misogynist denominator all the time?
First, I want to say that I think it’s absolutely brilliant that TNA have got so much mainstream media coverage in the UK for British Boot Camp. And notwithstanding my doubts about some of the people who write the articles (more specifically their knowledge of the British scene), it’s great when national newspapers cover British wrestling.
But this bit?
When Patrick Lennon – billed as “one of the toughest interviewers in the business” but who’s not averse to actually becoming involved in wrestling angles, which could conceivably affect his impartiality, and recently seen giggling over a mug of coffee in a cupboard fawning over Chris Jericho – puts on his best “tabloid journalist” voice to say to the Blossoms, “Let’s be honest, women in wrestling generally are just viewed as eye candy”?
The man who’s on WrestletalkTV, who are supporting the bloody Siren Search, which isn’t about finding new female wrestling talent but is there to find female “eye candy” so that poor insecure men don’t ever get the thought that professional wrestling is just a teensy bit homoerotic at times?
Well, he deserves these wtf faces from the girls.
Of course, when Lennon talks to Marty, he refers to the “two beautiful birds” and nudge-nudge-wink-wink asks him if he’s “tried [his] luck or got any numbers”. When you’re saying “women in wrestling generally are just viewed as eye candy”, Patrick, are you perhaps really saying “women, particularly in wrestling, are generally viewed by me as eye candy”? If not, then perhaps think about your language. You’re on national TV, after all.
Oh, hang on, wait a minute. No, my mistake. The radio presenter is just as much of a sexist twunt.
“These girls are hot, aren’t they?!”
“Yes, yes, they are.”
Marty then chats about how he has his eye on Hannah, although “not necessarily for a relationship”.
I hope she kicked him in the balls when she saw this.
And I really hope that Cosmopolitan asked the Blossoms similarly inane questions about the men.
But I suspect it was just mostly some fluff about make-up.
Oh, hang on again.
To be fair to Cosmo journalist Lorna Gray, she’s doing the interview while tootling round London in the back of a cab with the girls, and she asks them sensible questions about the potential pressures of fame and the possibility of becoming role models to young women. They give depressingly suitable and textbook answers about being powerful strong women who have retained their femininity.
Time for one more gross sexist remark before we go to see how our contestants get on with The Sun? Yes, I think so.
“Do we get to see any Page 3 girls?”
No. And just when I was starting to like you.
Rob McNichol of The Sun asks the four about potentially working with Dixie Carter. The girls enthuse about what a powerful strong woman she is. Marty confirms, in case we cared for his opinion, that she – his future potential boss, mark you – is “a fit bird..I totally would. I really would.” You’re taking it too far, now, Scurll. More entirely warranted wtf faces from the girls.
Simon Rothstein, TNA’s PR guy in the UK (and thoroughly stand-up chap), gives him a right telling-off. Marty’s defence is “I meant it as a compliment!” Hey, here’s a clue. A man expressing a desire to have sex with a woman (especially one who has shown no interest in him at all) is NOT NECESSARILY A COMPLIMENT. Bloody HELL.
Moving on, then.
Outside the Garage, Islington, TNA announcer Jeremy Borash introduces their next task – working a crowd on the mic during PROGRESS Wrestling’s show. Marty seems to have an unfair advantage here as he’s been a regular on their roster since their inception, and had possibly the match of the year there versus his tag-team partner Zack Sabre Jr back in March.
Sure enough, the crowd cheer him to the rafters, and boo Spud, his adversary (although there is a smattering of smarks chanting, “Rockstar Spud!” in response to the “Party Marty!” shouts). As Spud points out, “For somebody who has never walked in this building before, you seem to know exactly who I am.”
The Blossoms look a bit nervous but Spud helps them through it by being a hateful git, calling them “a couple of glorified ring-rats”, and enticing them to make “small penis” jokes about him…
…brb, feeling nauseous…
Anyway, Spud is suitably chased out of the ring by the offended girls.
And in case you were wondering, Marty Scurll was “turned on” by this display of “feisty” behaviour.
Jeez, give Scurll some bromide already.
Marty and Spud face off, and for about twelve seconds they pretend they want to fight RIGHT HERE, and then mutually decide that, no, actually, it’s probably best to build this feud and have the culmination of it at the end of the series at Wembley Arena during the TNA tour. Yeah, that’s probably the best decision. Well done, boys.
So hooray! All of them passed Borash’s arbitrary test, and all of them have to pack their bags and get on a flight to America. En route to the airport, they also have an additional task – ringing their families on speakerphone to bid them farewell.
Join us then!