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    Monday, October 15, 2018

    "Survivor" Series: What Are People From Slamtown Called?

    Welcome to "Survivor" Series, our weekly column focusing on the adventures of one John Hennigan, a.k.a. Johnny Mundo, Johnny Impact, John Morrison, Johnny Nitro, on the islands of Fiji as a castaway on Survivor: David vs. Goliath. The season kicked off this past Thursday (Manila time) with an epic premiere. And as promised, this column will zero in on how The Mayor of Slamtown maneuvered his way through the game, for better or worse.

    Come on in, guys! *looks at feet*

    Did John Hennigan get voted out last week? 

    Nope. But the Goliath Tribe went to Tribal Council after losing the combined Reward and Immunity Challenge. They unanimously voted Jeremy Crawford off after he'd proven himself untrustworthy and too much of a long-term threat. 

    Did he hit someone last week? 

    Nope. I'm probably going to stop asking this question because Johnny Mundo is proving himself to be very well-liked on the island!


    For starters, he said in a confessional this week that he thinks the game is "all about connecting [with] people," and he's absolutely right. Survivor is as much a social game as it is a strategic game or a game against the elements. And he's correctly recognizing that creating these social bonds is key if he wants people to look past the fact that he is an obvious physical threat.

    He was shown having caught one fish in last week's episode, which he proudly brought to the tribe, much to their delight. It looked like a small catch, but when you're marooned on an island with barely any resources, that's a haul worth celebrating in itself.

    Okay, but is he playing up the fact that he's a pro wrestler?

    There's a scene early in the episode where he talks to Jeremy—the guy they all vote out towards the end—about the latter never having seen a wrestling match ever. He doesn't talk down to Jeremy, nor does he build wrestling up as something that's like an exclusive club that Jeremy was never part of. He just talks to Jeremy like two dudes would over a hobby that one of them has never partaken in before. It's so... human.

    That's fine, bro. We'll vote you out tomorrow anyway.

    Johnny Nitro explains in a confessional that his game is built around him just being himself, stripped of any wrestling gimmick he may have back home. That's a great move, especially when it's so easy for these people who don't know him well stereotype him as a dumb jock. He even mentions that he's getting better at "old school human skills," like conversations and laughing with friends. And it cuts to a montage of The Shaman of Sexy being goofy with his tribemates by doing silly things like pitting hermit crabs in a race against one another.

    His social game seems to be doing well, then. What about his strategic game?

    The Wednesday Night Delight still hasn't given up on trying to make an ally out of Natalie Cole, his Goliath tribemate who has alienated most of their tribe because of her abrasive and bossy attitude. He correctly points out that her behavior hasn't endeared her to the tribe and might eventually cause her downfall, while also saying that he wants to keep her around for the long game. 

    This tells me that he must have identified Natalie as the unsavory player that he wants to keep as his ally so that if they make it to the end together, he'll get all the jury votes on account of Natalie having pissed everyone off on the way there. In Survivor parlance, we call this player "the goat." Natalie is John's goat.

    Side note: John Morrison was never known to be excellent on the mic, but on Survivor, the man has become one of the more interesting narrators this season!

    Was he the driving force behind the Jeremy vote?

    Not really. His ally Angelina Keeley, who Jeremy identified during his exit interviews as someone who had been in a "showmance"—basically a romance on the show—drove a lot of the votes towards Jeremy because she didn't want to let him make it far as a potential threat in the endgame. That move benefited John because had the tribe gone for Natalie as a target, his goat would have been voted off.

    What's interesting is Johnny Blaze's nice little moment during Tribal Council when host Jeff Probst asked him what their criteria are for voting someone off that night.

    The Mayor of Slamtown responded by saying that the vote was about keeping the tribe strong, but he also layered his answer by saying that "strong" can have different meanings. That answer displays incredible awareness about the game and its different components. Keeping your tribe strong isn't just about physical strength for challenges. For example, say you have a tribemate who's as huge and powerful as Mark Henry, but he's also a pain in the ass to live around or someone whose attitude is grating and aggravating, then that divides the tribe, weakening it in the process. 

    He also makes a joke at the end about moving forward to take the David Tribe to Slamtown, which the Goliaths actually laugh at. If you watch the episode, it isn't the nervous, awkward laughter you'd hear after your tito makes an inappropriate joke. It's genuine laughter, which shows that John's built enough social capital to endear himself that way to his tribe. They get that the Slamtown shit isn't something that's way up his head. Johnny Mundo is in on the joke, and now, the Goliaths are, too.

    That's a lot to pick up from that 30-second clip at Tribal Council. And yes, it shows that Johnny Impact is set up pretty well here. Let's just hope it stays that way when the tribes swap and he inevitably mingles with the David Tribe.

    Will the David Tribe even like him?

    Well, he already has two fans in Christian Hubicki and Fil-Am Gabby Pascuzzi (my winner pick, by the way). The two had a cute scene this week in which they openly discussed the logistics of Slamtown. Here's the entire conversation word for word.

    Gabby: What are the logistics of Slamtown?
    Christian: I mean—
    Gabby: I must know.
    Christian: So clearly, on some level, being on Slamtown means that you have been slammed. 
    Gabby: *chuckles* You're obsessed.
    Christian: I love Slamtown!

    *cut to a Christian Confessional*

    Christian: I think that John from the other tribe, Mayor of Slamtown, is endlessly fascinating. He was born and raised in Slamtown, which sounds awesome to me! But here i-i-i-i-in Wimpville, where I grew up, we had hard times! So I can't wait to hear what Slamtown is like!

    A resident of Wimpville

    *cut back to Gabby and Christian's conversation*

    Christian: If you're in the slammer, and all the people's like, wait, someone's got to govern these people. And they have needs. Someone has to oversee them.
    Gabby: And it's, it's John. And he's the Mayor.
    Christian: Yeah.
    Gabby: What are the citizens of Slamtown called?
    Christian: The Slamtonians.

    All this is happening while their tribemate Carl Boudreaux looking exasperated at these two nerding out over Slamtown.

    Not amused

    I fucking love this season. 

    What do you think of Johnny Mundo's third week on Survivor: David Vs. Goliath? Are you impressed by how he's playing so far?

    Drop us a confessional and your vote down below! Survivors ready… Go!

    Screenshots from CBS


    Stan Sy (@_StanSy) is the Editor at Large of Smark Henry, and is also a radio DJ on Wave 89.1, an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXTLucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can ask him questions about wrestling, Survivor (yes, the reality show), or whatever you like on his CuriousCat account.
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    Item Reviewed: "Survivor" Series: What Are People From Slamtown Called? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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