November 24, 2014

British Bootcamp 2 Ep. 6 Review

The Slug in the Singlet
Go Away, Grado... Just Go Away...

British Bootcamp 2 Episode 6 writeup commence-eth thusly...

Last week, the final 6 arrived in America and were treated to lunch with Dixie Carter where they learned which opponents awaited them if they survived the next round of eliminations, Rockstar Spud was the world's most clueless tour guide, Dave Mastiff decided that the fun and games were over, and the contestants were given a van (sans talking dog) to ride around in. Unfortunately, the only mystery they had to solve was the mystery of why Grado is still taking up valuable real estate on our TV and computer screens. Tragically, the answer continues to elude them... 

As this week's episode begins, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach almost immediately. And if your patience with British Bootcamp 2 turning into The Grado Show, guest starring five other people, is wearing anywhere near as thin as mine is, then you probably grabbed an airsick bag right along with me as the opening minutes feature the titular albatross lying in a pool of urine. Truly this is reality competition at its finest. Watch out, Amazing Race, there's a new sheriff in town!

We needed to see this why?
Anyway, the contestants arrive at a TNA live event arena and are told that their first task is building the ring. Kay Lee Ray says she was taught to pay her dues in wrestling and doesn't think twice about this as such tasks are commonplace for her -- an attitude which apparently has not rubbed off on Grado, who is seen napping in the stands and goofing off while everyone else is working. This draws the ire of Mastiff and Brown, who deem him deserving of a little prank. 

Grado acts indignant at this, which frankly baffles me. Note to Grado: If you want to act like a clown, don't complain when people treat you like one. As far as I'm concerned, if he's not taking this experience seriously, then he deserves whatever ridicule he gets (we could've had Nikki Storm, damn it!). Mastiff and Brown appear to think similarly as they carry him, hogtied, into the bathroom and leave him lying in a pool of human bodily fluids. I'm pretty sure the show doesn't want me to cheer them on for this, but I do. They see right through this Grado dog-and-pony show British Bootcamp 2 is putting on, and are treating him like exactly what he really is, which just made them the biggest babyfaces in this cast IMHO...  

...but only until the Hardcore American Icon of Wrestling EC3 shows up and likens Grado to a giant piece of Haggis, which wikipedia tells me is some kind of pudding made from sheep intestines. Yeah, that sounds about right. #ClassicEC3 

Once the set is built, the cast has to familiarize themselves with the 6-sided ring before they can wrestle in it, and have Austin Aries, Zema Ion and Magnus put them through their paces as Al Snow watches on (Joe and Gail had the week off, I guess).

Mark Andrews seems to perform well despite some trepidation, though he finds the two extra sides disorienting and feels he dropped the ball. Noam Dar draws compliments for his wrestling skills, but has some problems adjusting to the extra tautness of the ropes. Though she has wrestled in a 6-sided ring before, Kay Lee Ray admits to feeling the pressure, but this doesn't foul her up and the TNA stars are impressed with her. Dave Mastiff attempts to show off his conditioning and footwork, drawing strong reviews from everyone, and also uses his talking head segment to take a few more veiled shots at Grado, which, again, just sounds like Mastiff being candid and honest rather than a bully. Rampage Brown shows off his physicality and appears confident, believing Mastiff is his only competition. Don't count out the readhead, Rampage; just FYI.

When it's his turn, Grado works with Noam Dar, presumably because the roster members were put off by the urine smell. He finds the 6 sides confusing, but says he always gives it his best shot despite some people thinking he's not great technically, while EC3 taunts him with hilarious zingers at ringside. But there comes a point when the razor sharp wit of Wrestling's Greatest Hero goes over Grado's head one time too many, making the anthropomorphic sack of haggis a tad insecure, and he dares the crown jewel of the Carter family to get in the ring as I nearly suffocate with laughter at the very idea that Grado thinks such a thing would turn out well for him in any way, shape or form. 

In the epitome of class and sportsmanship, EC3 decides to be merciful and walks away, cool as a cucumber on a crisp December morn, feeling no need to associate himself with such nonsense and leaving Grado looking rather foolish. Noam Dar says Grado looked bad, and, yes, he did embarrass himself for not being able to keep his cool in the face of some harmless joshing. Then Dar calls EC3's behavior unprofessional, which makes me laugh again. Compared to some of the stuff we've seen Grado do so far in this competition? Um... yeah... pot, meet kettle.    

FTR, though he seems almost embarrassed to say so, (and who could blame him?) Zema Ion admits that Grado shows a lot of personality, which is true. The problem is that said personality reminds one of some bizarre, moving, clown-shaped dummy thrown onto a shooting range for target practice that fills you with an overpowering urge to just keep buying more and more bullets until you finally nail it right between the eyes just so you don't have to look at its stupid face anymore.  

And that's where we leave off this week. The promo for the next episode shows us nothing of the 6-person tag match that will decide which three contestants advance to the final round, and instead focuses on Al Snow warning Grado not to do anything stupid. I appreciate the effort, Mr. Snow, I really do, but as far as that goes, you might as well be pissing into the wind at this point. 
TBH, it felt like not a whole lot happened this week. They worked out in the ring, Grado was as skin-peelingly irritating as ever and that's about it. Cutting out the filler, episodes five and six probably could have been combined into one, quite frankly. I enjoyed the contestants getting evaluated by members of the roster, whose comments were informative enough that I wanted to hear more of them. Sadly, there wasn't time for more because the rest of the runtime was taken up by all the Grado garbage, which is treading dangerously close to my last nerve. 

I was really looking forward to the change in formats after the audition rounds, hoping that it would help us learn more about the contestants, about who they are as wrestlers and as people. But more and more, it seems like the only person we're ever hearing from is the one repellent ass-clown who I wish would just shut his trap already.

Not to mention, the increasingly scripted nature of the Grado segments is really pulling me out of the show now, making it hard to take any of this seriously. EC3 antagonizes him in kayfabe and we're supposed to buy that this is reality-based? They didn't try to blur the work/shoot line in season one, which was one of the things I found so refreshing about the show. But it seems as if TNA is becoming more interested in producing a Grado audition tape for the UK talk show circuit than they are in showcasing some of the finest wrestling talent those countries have to offer, which is disappointing to me on a lot of levels. I hope that changes in the final two installments, but at this stage of the game, it looks like British Bootcamp 2 plans to ride the Grado horse all the way to the glue factory. God help us...  

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