The fourth season of Ax Men is reminding me more and more of professional wrestling than the quality reality series I remember from the first three seasons. I’m not about to say nothing from the first three seasons weren’t staged or exaggerated for additional drama for television, but it does feel like the artificial drama has been ratcheted up dramatically this year.

Created and produced by Thom Beers’ Original Productions, Ax Men should work best as a show about the men working their asses off in extreme conditions most of us can only see on television, much like their other wildly popular series, The Deadliest Catch. Grinding away for fifteen hours, hauling in crab pots seems to dramatic enough for that show to be successful, so why do we need to manufacture drama for Ax Men to succeed?

For Ax Men, I don’t think there is more than a scene or two where things aren’t overdone. The Rygaard crew has become one of my least favorites to watch due to the scripted feel of their segments. I get a chuckle everytime the narrator comments on how Dave came in with a ‘new’ attitude towards Craig Rygaard, his boss who apparently can’t fire him. Wasn’t this angle done a hundred times with Vince McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin back in the day?

The only thing the producers apparently haven’t asked them to do is fight. I suspect that’ll be coming in upcoming weeks. If Craig really were that big of a jerk to Dave, Dave would have taken a swing at him. Fisticuffs is the only thing that’s missing from this crew.

You can’t say the same thing for the Papac crew in Alaska, however. Coatsy and Joe go toe to toe so much that it’s become somewhat of a running gag at this point. Just get these two in some tights and throw them into the WWE ring.

With the S&S and Collins river loggers, there’s no telling how much of what they do is real or fake. The separated shoulder may have real… to a point. When James tried to help his father with his shoulder, it sounded like Jimmy was snapping a stick with his foot for added sound effect. And the number of underwater hangups this year is off the charts. I swear Patrick “Pond Bear” Swilley had to be saved in fifteen inches of water when Joe Collins jumped in to cut him free earlier in the season. It still makes me laugh to this day.

The more I see of these guys, the less I enjoy Ax Men. They’re giving in too much to the producer’s attempts to create drama that wouldn’t ordinarily be there. Craig and Gabe Rygaard have done phone commercials together and those days of following a script have trickled into the show. The Rygaard segments feel completely scripted. What ever happened to actual drama? Why do we have to create drama? Isn’t Ax Men supposed to be a reality show?