Injuries sent the 2011 WWE Tough Enough competition a major curveball this week. Two cast members took trips to the hospital after suffering serious injuries. One may come back while the other is gone, this taking four hopefuls one step closer to a WWE contract.
Martin Casaus has become the runaway WWE Tough Enough favorite to win the show over the last few weeks. Martin had excelled faster than anyone in the competition after a slow going in the early weeks. Casaus, a six and a half year independent wrestling veteran was a constant winner in competitions and regularly finished first or at the top of cardiovascular drills. Unfortunately Casaus hopes and dreams came crashing down this week after suffering a show-ending injury.
This is also reminds me of Casaus’ appearance on WWE RAW to introduce the show with the other cast members. He was obviously hurt yet walked in and out of the ring on his own without crutches. He really is tough enough.
It was certainly an emotional moment seeing Casaus tell the coaches and cast that he had to leave the competition. Stone Cold Steve Austin took Casaus aside and reminisced about Owen Hart dropping him on his head just when he popped as Stone Cold and the emotions he felt having to sit out just as he hit the top. I certainly felt for Casaus. It is one thing seeing someone who wasn’t going to win anyway get hurt. It is something else watching someone who was the runaway winner leave the contest due to a freak injury. The hits didn’t stop there.
Christina Crawford was the next victim to be bit by the injury bug. Crawford is the final girl left in the competition, and that was played up throughout the entire show. Coaches Bill DeMott and Trish Stratus appear to have really taken a liking to Crawford, pulling her aside for pep talks, etc. Unlike Casaus’ injury, Crawford had a little help on this one.
Crawford and A.J. Kirsch were doing a freestyle drill which required them to do one move off of the top rope. Crawford went up top for a flying body press. Kirsch was out of position and Crawford appeared to shift in mid-air to come down instead with a flying axe handle (aka: Macho Man) and rolling her ankle. Crawford looked to be in much more pain than Casaus. The show ended with Crawford crying in pain and A.J. knowing full well that he may have not only sent Crawford home, but probably got himself a fast ticket out of the competition as well.
This may sound cold and I don’t mean it to sound that way, but Crawford better have something seriously wrong with her to justify all of that crying. I have watched a lot of WWE and pro wrestling and I have never seen a Diva cry like that from injury on RAW. I hate to sound callous but that is just the way it is in pro wrestling. Now at the same time if she blew out her knee or broke her leg, that’s fine. But if tests come back and she is fine, the trainers may be thinking the same thing. Especially Booker T who seems to doubt anyone’s injuries on the show.
Crawford is the sister of Alicia Fox and was already in FCW before joining the show. I don’t think her exit is as devastating as Martin’s because she already has a foot in the door. The fact of the matter is I don’t think anyone thought she was going to win the competition over Martin, Jeremiah, and Luke anyway so her story is much different than Casaus’. The show ended with her holding her ankle in pain, so we will find out her fate next week. My gut tells me she will be fine but that is just a guess.
Luke Robinson becomes the favorite at this point. Tough Enough spent a lot of time this week on Luke, really getting him over as somewhat of a heel. During Martin’s emotional roller coaster, Luke pretty much said that he hated to see him go like that, but he wasn’t upset about seeing his biggest competition go. He said similar things about Christina. He was absolutely right and he will fit in well with everyone else politicking for spots in the WWE. There is obviously reason he seems to dominate the air time every week and I think it was obvious as soon as Casaus left the show.
I still like Jeremiah Riggs as a dark horse. I had him as a Tough Enough favorite over Luke last week but I lean a little towards Robinson after this week. Riggs seemed to have a hard time this week focusing and may have peaked at the wrong time. Robinson appears to have rebounded from a few bad weeks and without Martin around, his confidence has obviously skyrocketed. On a side note, there were also rumors about Riggs suffering an injury but that is just a rumor at this point.
The Rock will appear next week on the show. The preview shows Dwayne Johnson working out in the ring with the kids and cutting a promo. I hope that means that the coaches will work with the kids on promos next week. Rock and Steve Austin teaching promos could be television gold. It is a bit disappointing that after seven weeks none of the kids have had a chance to cut a promo yet on the show. That could be a difference maker.