On Wednesday night, all eyes were on Ramsey Nijem. | Photo Courtesy: Spike
Thanks to careful editing this season, we are led to believe that there is a stark contrast in styles between the coaches. Junior dos Santos is the coach that cares, while Brock Lesnar is the coach that glares. By all accounts, Team Dos Santos is becoming a cohesive unit of trained mercenaries, the way it should be. Team Lesnar looks like a bunch of dudes spread apart on a tight rope, and it's every man for himself as they cling for their lives.
Body language alone shows a widening gap between the teams. The Dos Santos boys are strutting around with a winning look befitting any Sheen or Estevez, while Brock’s team shuffles around like Charlie Brown while “Christmas Time Is Here” plays softly.
“I just honestly believe Lesnar doesn’t care,” says Team JDS assistant coach Lew Polley. “We have four-hour discussions about one training session. Junior honestly does care about how these kids are doing.”
Polley has proven himself to be a very passionate man when it comes to the fighters making the most of their time on the show and is never shy about it: “You have to do everything in your power to help, and Brock’s not doing it. I can tell he’s not doing it.”
Lesnar returns to his flock following a quick departure for something personal back home.
“Len, I heard you fought hard, buddy,” Brock says while awarding Bentley with an awkward fist bump. Not much chemistry between the big coach and his team, but he still has the so-called “Four Horsemen” consisting of Chuck O'Neil, Charlie Rader, Clay Harvison and Tony Ferguson. These men represent Team Lesnar’s last four chances at redemption.
If only they could transfer the bond they have at home into the gym.
“It’s never a dull day when you have Chuck in the house with you,” Rader says of wrestling buddy and training partner Chuck O’Neill, who is always riding Rader about his food intake.
“What would I do without you?” Charlie asks as the camera focuses on his bowl of spinach. “You’d be 183 [pounds], like when I got here,” Chuck responds. Rader loves having an in-house, ball-busting nutritionist at his disposal.
Team JDS is still in control of the selections, so Dos Santos selects Charlie Rader from Team Lesnar to face their own Ramsey Nijem. Rader smiles and seems relieved to have his name called. “I’m going to knock him out, period,” he says. Alternatively, Nijem views Rader’s energy as something he can exploit.
Back at the house, we learn more about Ramsey Nijem -- a lot more.
For starters, Ramsey has painted toenails. OK, it’s 2011, and things have changed. America has let that stuff go, and so have his roommates.
“They don’t give me any grief about those anymore because there are more things they’re giving me crap for,” Ramsey says. Ramsey remains footloose and fancy free, shaking his haters off.
“They always give me a hard time because I watch Glee,” says Ramsey. “Those kids are freaking talented.” Then Ramsey doubles down and introduces “Stripper Ramsey,” who -- and this should come as no surprise -- is a character who constantly dances naked around the house. We are finally treated with a shot of Ramsey coaxing his teammate Shamar Bailey into rubbing some lotion onto his back.
“I like making Shamar uncomfortable, but the weird thing is that it’s getting more comfortable,” we’re told by “Stripper Ramsey.”
Next day at training, Lesnar brings in what he calls “a little surprise,” and out walks Matt Hughes. “Their eyeballs fell out of their heads,” says Lesnar, as Hughes spends the morning rolling with them, advising them and handing out the perfunctory kind words of encouragement.
After training, they have the weigh-ins for Charlie Rader and Ramsey Nijem. Lesnar takes a moment to look Nijem up and down during the staredown. He blanches at something he sees on Nijem’s foot.
“I just noticed something,” says Lesnar in disbelief “If you don’t beat that guy... …did you know he paints his toenails?”
Toenails don't seem to matter when it's fight time. Ramsey shoots for a takedown almost immediately, and Rader does a good job of defending... sort of. The first round is really just a five-minute takedown attempt for Ramsey, who eventually works Rader to the mat in the final minute, giving him control of a pretty uneventful round.
Rader is even more listless in the second and doesn't offer much resistance once Ramsey takes his back again during a scramble early in the second round.
“I knew we were going to lose that fight the second he got in the Octagon. I could see it Charlie’s eyes,” says Lesnar. “I thought I was in a bad dream between rounds. Here’s a guy who’s beating himself.”
After a few soft punches, Ramsey flattens Charlie out on his stomach, and Charlie taps well before Ramsey fully applies the rear-naked choke.
“Normally when you get caught in a choke, you start to defend it,” says Dana White, explaining some of the finer grappling intricacies before adding that “there was none of that.” The whole scene disgusts Lesnar, who chucks his stool.
“He’s taking time away from his life,” says Dana, explaining Brock’s anger. “When you come here and invest your time... I don't blame him. I’d be throwing stools too.”
The mood in Team Lesnar’s locker room couldn’t be more contentious.
“You all look like chicken s--t,” Brock says predictably, adding an encouraging “choke, choke, choke” for good measure. After disparaging his team’s attitude, Lesnar goes on a further tear by essentially calling all of them out by their hometown regions until Len Bentley decides he’s had enough.
He stands up and mutters something about not caring to listen to this because he knows he fought his ass off the previous week. As his best fighter walks out the door, Brock sing-songs after him: “Good for you, Len. Good for you.”
Lesnar still has three fighters remaining, but they’ve more or less checked out on him at this point, so this should end well. The “TUF” crystal ball shows nothing but looming turmoil on the horizon. This might be the year when a coach actually tries to take the life of one of the contestants.
“He wanted to go home,” says Nijem as his team makes its way back to the locker room. With Brock snarling away next door, Ramsey and his coach Dos Santos perform a celebratory dance.
Stripper Ramsey, feel free to dance twice as naked tonight. You've earned it.