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"Survivor" Series: The Mayor Has Some New Constituents


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 he did find himself in a new tribe.

The game was shaken up on Day 10, when host Jeff Probst uttered the iconic phrase, "Drop your Buffs!" It was time for a tribe swap. But before that, another David went home, when MMA fighter Bi Nguyen quit the game due to an MCL injury that she didn't want to aggravate.

What tribe did Johnny Mundo find himself in?

The Mayor of Slamtown drew a green Buff, placing him in a brand new tribe, Tiva, which also had to start from scratch at a new camp. He was joined by fellow Goliaths Dan "Hot Cop" Rengering and Alison Raybould, along with my favorite nerdy alliance of Gabby Pascuzzi and Christian Hubicki from the old David Tribe.

Is this good for Johnny Impact?

On the outset, sure. It's a five-person tribe where the Goliaths have a 3-2 advantage over the Davids, just like every other swapped tribe because of how the swap configurations played out—at least before Alec Merlino blindsided ally Natalia Azoqa on the Vuku (orange) Tribe when they went to Tribal Council.

Based on how they performed in the Immunity/Reward Challenge this week, where they placed first, the Tiva Tribe looks like they're in a good spot. They've got the strength locked down in The George Bushy of Tushy and "Hot Cop," and they also have the brains of Alison, Gabby, and Christian, making a well-rounded lineup for the challenges.

They can keep winning and stay solid until the Merge—or more likely, a second Swap—or just pick Gabby and Christian off if they ever lose and have to go to Tribal Council. I'm hoping that that doesn't happen, though, because I love these two Davids, particularly Gabby, who is my winner pick. Plus, who's to say that John and Dan won't turn against Alison, who hasn't been shown to have any alliances on the show yet.

The Mayor and his new constituents
Honestly, this is the best thing that could've happened for me as a viewer. My three favorites from the season—Gabby, Christian, and John—are all together on the same tribe, and they don't appear to be the jabronis who'll get steamrolled? Maaaaan. What a winning combination. 

(Survivor gods, please don't let anyone of them get swap-screwed. Please don't let anyone of them get swap-screwed.)

Hold up. Gabby and Christian were the Davids who marked out over Johnny Nitro and Slamtown last week, right?

They absolutely were.

And they seem to be getting along with him just fine! Christian, in particular, seems to be in some sort of bromance with the Mayor now, even joking with John about applying to be the comptroller of Slamtown. To the Mayor's credit, he didn't no-sell the joke, showing that he knows how to play along and be nice towards the other players. 

But did John roast his new tribemates in a confessional at all?

Not even. He talked about how he portrays himself as generally confident in the real world because of the characters he plays in wrestling. And then he juxtaposed that with how he tends to be socially awkward in real life.

After that, it cut to him having a bit of an awkward conversation with Christian to prove the point. It wasn't even edited with dodo music to make fun of him.

What this tells me is that John is actually getting a pretty layered edit, which has generally gone to players who either (1) make it very far into the game or (2) have a very significant part to play in the larger storyline of the season. This has led to a lot of people in the Survivor fan community, from viewers to writers to podcasters all being high on the Mayor of Slamtown moving forward. 

If the season's first four episodes are any indication, it's that John Hennigan isn't being portrayed as the stereotypical meathead that they cast under his archetype on the show. Our boy's actually on a lot of people's radars now, and it he looks poised to make a deep run, which is really exciting me as both a Survivor fan and as a wrestling fan.

Yay, foods!

We didn't get to see much of John and his tribe this week since they won the Immunity/Reward Challenge. But from what little we did get on screen, it looks like he's set up pretty well for this next phase of the game. It also didn't help that there wasn't much friction on the Tiva Tribe, so there really wasn't any drama to go around. That's probably because Natalie Cole is now on the Jabeni (purple) Tribe—a name that sounds too close to "jabroni," which is an accurate description of how their tribe looks on paper. I wonder if they'll be able to reconnect if both of them remain in the game long enough.

The Jabroni—I mean, Jabeni Tribe

Hoo boy. Now my paranoia is kicking in because I may have just jinxed things for Johnny Mundo. Welp.

What do you think of John Hennigan's layered edit so far this season? Is he justifiably a frontrunner for the endgame of Season 37?

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

Photos taken by Robert Voets for CBS Entertainment

*****



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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