This week’s episode of “Tough Enough” proved that nobody on the WWE reality show is safe.
Just ask 19-year-old contestant Patrick Clark Jr.
Clark, a frontrunner in the competition since the first week, didn’t shy away when it came to his fandom of the WWE. Despite his knowledge of the industry and his in-ring experience on the independent wrestling scene, his lack of humility rubbed folks the wrong way — including the audience that voted him home Tuesday night. However, Clark did win over at least one WWE Hall of Famer in Mick Foley and "Tough Enough" lost one viewer in the process:
At this point, it becomes a popularity contest - which isn't how you find a star of the future. #ToughEnough— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) July 22, 2015
At this point, I'm officially tapping out of #ToughEnough.— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) July 22, 2015
Q: You were extremely likeable when you came on the show, but once you let your ego show, viewers obviously didn’t like what they saw. Why did you decide to “play the heel” per se?
Clark: I wouldn’t say that I was playing a heel character; I wasn’t playing a character at all. This is who I am; I just dialed it up 100 percent because I knew the world was watching. When I first started in Week 1, Tanner was beating everyone and he was rubbing it particularly in my face. And when I finally beat him in Week 2, that was my motive … to rub it in his face. You know, turnabout is fair play. An eye for an eye. But, when you begin to win over and over again, and I was on a three-week win streak, you’re the leader of the pack. You’re the alpha male and all the other guys, the other wolves, are coming after you.
Q: Describe your relationship with ZZ.
Clark: ZZ and I have a weird relationship. We keep each other in check but we have very different work ethics. ZZ likes to use this story, or this metaphor, that, if he and I were both building a house, I would finish the house in a day. But ZZ would finish the house in a week. Why is that? Because I’m driven and I like to work hard and I like to get things done as quickly and as efficiently as possible, that way I have more time to do more. ZZ, he’s a guy that likes to take the scenic route. He wants to enjoy and live in the moment. I’ve never been that type of person. I like to work and get my job done and move on to the next thing, because the more I accomplish, the more I achieve, in essence. ZZ wants to relax and enjoy the moment.
Q: As a huge wrestling fan, you’ve no doubt seen (and heard) Big Show’s slap before. What was it like to actually experience it firsthand?
Clark: So, the rumors are that he’s got this frying pan-like hand, which is completely true, and that it’ll cave your chest in, which is still completely true. I don’t know if you realized this, but I have darker skin, and he left a red mark on my body, which is really, really hard to do. Big Show has hands the size of a frying pan, legit, and when he comes down at that velocity and you don’t have anywhere to go, it’s one of the most painful experiences in your life.
Q: Tell me about your time in Maryland Championship Wrestling. Did you think that your in-ring experience would play to your advantage in the show?
Clark: Yes, definitely. I joined Maryland Championship Wrestling on June 3rd, 2014. I began at the Maryland Championship Wrestling Training Academy, which is located in Joppa, Maryland, and I had my first match under MCW February of this year. Going into this competition, I definitely thought that my in-ring experience would benefit me, which it did, but, as I learned through this process, is that you need more than in-ring experience to become a WWE superstar. You need three very important things, and that’s the ability to wrestle in the ring, the ability to talk on the microphone, and the ability to entertain a crowd.
Q: You talked about God challenging you after you got eliminated. Do you feel that you’re destined to do this? Why?
Clark: I definitely know that I’m destined to become a very great WWE superstar. I wouldn’t consider myself highly religious, but I do believe in God. I knew coming into this that “Tough Enough” just isn’t the way that I’m supposed to go about this. If it was, I would’ve just waited along for it just like everybody else who claims that they have a passion for the WWE, but instead I decided to take the old-fashioned route. I found myself a territory, or as they call them today, independent promotions, in Maryland Championship Wrestling, and I planned on working my way up. “Tough Enough” just presented itself and I took advantage of the opportunity. It was never set in stone. I never sunk my feet in it and expected that this was going to be it, this was my only way in. You always have a backup plan, and I’ve prepared for it.
Q: What’s next for you?
Clark: What’s next for me? Well, I fly out to Baltimore later on tonight. Tomorrow, I’m headed to the Maryland Championship Wrestling Training Academy to start training again, and Saturday I’m looking forward to taking my first booking with an independent promotion since I started “Tough Enough.”
WWE "Tough Enough" airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m./7 p.m. CDT on the USA Network.