Review: TNA British Boot Camp Episode 3

Welcome back to our weekly look at the reality show everyone in professional wrestling is talking about! This episode focused on the contestants' journey to Phoenix, Arizona for TNA's biggest show of the year, Bound for Glory. While there, they also bear witness to the induction of the Icon, Sting, into the brand new Hall of Fame. Not to mention, meeting numerous stars of Impact Wrestling in the process.

The sheer scale of these events worked wonders in impressing upon the audience, as well as the contestants, just how important this competition actually is. To have genuine icons wandering the halls and treating the contestants as colleagues, to walk out on that Bound for Glory stage and take in the entire width and breadth of the arena, to know just what is expected of them when they become the newest TNA Superstar. Before this, the contestants had only been to small independent shows and in the case of their "training" with Rollerball Rocco, a single ring in an empty storage unit. Whereas a packed arena, housing thousands of screaming fans, being seen live all over the world...this contest just got real.

In the first of what became a series of meet and greets, the Campers (it's a thing now, go with it) were introduced to long-time TNA Knockout and Ring Announcer, Christy Hemme. Having seen the gorgeous redhead at a live show, I know just how enthusiastic this living-dynamo can be. So you can imagine my surprise when one meeting with Rockstar Spud could send her slinking away in disgust! Rather than politely introducing himself, the joker of the group decided to make an impression by telling Hemme that Party Marty has a poster of her on his wall. If he'd left it there and it was simply a joke about Scurll being a fanboy, everything would've been fine and dandy. Instead, Spud pushed things one step too far and shook his fist in the air, hinting his co-competitor likes to masturbate to said poster! Oh my god. That was so embarrassing, even I felt the shame emanating from the screen. I apologise for my fellow Brit, Christy, we're not all like that, I swear. Saying it out loud, I mean. We're probably all still thinking it.

This bad behaviour continued well into their interaction with the TNA fanbase, bordering on unprofessional. In a rare moment, the boys ire turned towards the Blossoms, who everyone wanted their picture with (and who can blame them). Each time a fan would pass by Spud in favour of the Blossoms, he'd sneer, make rude comments and clap sarcastically. To look at the expressions on the fan's face, he was not impressed and in a distinct rush to get away from the Rockstar! I'm all for solid character work in professional wrestling, but when it comes to the fans, you have to win them over, face and heel alike, and make sure they had a good time. Whereas Spud was making such a stink, he was ruining the mood for everyone involved.

The single success story in Spud's one man charm offensive seems to be none other than multiple-time TNA World Heavyweight Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist, Kurt Angle! The fan-favourite took time out of his evening at the Hall of Fame ceremony to sit down with the young prospects and weed the future legends from the jobbers. Wouldn't you just know it, Spud impressed him! The miniature menace made a risque joke about having ripped his jacket during a bowel movement and that it was a shame because it was his Dad's favourite suit, which brought Angle out in fits of laughter. I maybe would've saved that material for a couple more minutes into knowing him, but if the best wrestler in the world is impressed, who are we to argue! Although, this is the man that's currently impressed by Wes Brisco, Garret Bischoff and once told Chris Sabin his next gimmick should be Pig-Pen from Peanuts. Mr Angle has his hits and misses, we'll wait and see with this one.

However, some sound advice did come in the form of the man of the evening himself - Sting! Passing the Campers in the hall after his induction, he stopped to wish them all good luck in the contest and that the key to success in this industry...longevity. Deceptively simple answer, yet really makes you think. How many of the greats that we worship at the feet of now, only got there because they outlasted the competition? With both Hogan and Sting standing tall at nearly three decades a piece, it's safe to say they climbed the mountain and they sure as hell aren't coming down!

The MANY photo-shoot segments were most definitely the highlight of the show, as the contestants true personalities began to shine through...and not always in a good way. Away from their icons, the Campers' pretense of civility fell away and in some cases, outright hostility broke out. The Blossom Twins were as professional and mature as ever, but the same could not be said of the boys. We'd already gotten glimpses of their pre-existing problems in episodes one and two, but here, the one-upmanship boiled over. Both Marty and Spud attempted to sabotage the other's shoot, whether it be with a playful pair of fingers over the head or the more drastic mooning (which was more of Spud than I ever needed to see!).

Almost a co-star of the episode, TNA President Dixie Carter's shadow loomed large over our Fab Four. No less than three times in the space of a half hour show, the group were called to meet with her. The repetition didn't do any favours for the structure of the show, but she's such a strong presence, I'm happy to see Dixie taking a firm hand with potential employees. Although, with Jeremy Borash running back and forth fetching them, he's coming off like Jonathan from 30 Rock. Does he have a desk outside Dixie's office and runs around adoringly while she sits inside drinking Scotch? What am I saying, OF COURSE that happens!

Finally, the Campers were escorted to their seats at the ringside of Bound for Glory 2012! Having been promised guaranteed television time by Dixie earlier in the night, all four were on best behaviour and clearly on the lookout for cameras for their big moment. If you can remember from watching the pay-per-view live all those months ago, it eventually came during the entrances for the Knockouts Championship match. Swinging the camera away from Tara and Tessmacher, we caught a quick glimpse of the group. Spud chewed scenery with the best of them, so much so, the Blossoms were mildly distracted and almost missed their cue entirely. They did recover though, blowing the audience at home a pair of kisses, before Marty signed off at the end. It was only a quick moment in the grand scheme of things, but you can tell it's going to be watched back by upper management and analysed ad infinitum, perhaps more harshly than it should.

At the end of the day, this episode exposes an interesting flaw in the premise, commonly referred to as "squeaky wheel gets the oil". The majority of the focus went on Rockstar Spud, but not because he's the better wrestler or the better speaker or the better publicist, simply because he's making the most noise. In drowning out Marty Scurll and the Blossom Twins, Spud could win this competition for all the wrong reasons. Hannah and Holly should most likely win on merit, but by being quiet and not causing a fuss, they're drifting to the back of the pack and not being noticed nearly enough. A problem that could very well be solved next week as the trailer teases potential romance between Fringe-Blossom and Party Marty. Could this be the perfect match in and out of the ring?

Written by Mark Clements

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