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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Tough Enough Curse"
September 21, 2005 by David Morrison


This is my first column so any comments would be greatly appreciated .

I am writing this after just hearing than Daniel Puder has been released from his contract which got me thinking about all the other previous Tough Enough winners and how many of them have been released in the past few months. Maven , Nidia , Jackie Gayda ( Miss Jackie ) , Linda Miles ( Shaniqua ) and now Daniel Puder have all been released in recent months and have all been winners of the competition.

Maven :

Maven Huffman was the co winner of the first Tough Enough , he debuted in October 2001 and began feuding with his trainer , Tazz , and then with The Undertaker both of whom he defeated at one point throughout their feuds ( with a little help from Nidia & The Rock ). Things seemed promising for Maven he even had 3 runs with the Hardcore Title, after that Maven would occasionally appear on RAW and be decimated by Evolution . In November of 2004 Maven was in the RAW main event of Survivor Series in which he won total control of RAW for night and promptly booked himself in World Heavyweight Championship match with HHH , which he almost won . After that Maven turned heel on Eugene and was rewarded with a feud over the Intercontinental Title ( which Shelton Benjamin held at the time ) , at New Years Revolution he was pinned twice in seconds by Shelton Benjamin . After that he was teamed up with Simon Dean and made into a comedy tag team who rarely won and when in singles competition Maven usually lost , then Maven was released on July 5th 2005 after 3 ˝ years with the company.

Nidia:

Nidia was the other co winner f the 1st Tough Enough , shortly after winning she was put into a tandem with Jamie Noble as a kind of trailer park trash couple for over a year she would occasionally compete in bikini matches or mixed tag matches , which she would usually job in , then disaster struck , Tajiri sprayed black mist in her eyes ! This resulted in Nidia taking 1 month off , the reality is she had the time off so that she could have a breast enlargement , when she returned she was " blind" and often cost Jamie Noble matches which culminated in Jamie v Nidia at No Way Out in 2004 which she lost when he cheated. In March 2004 Nidia was drafted to RAW so that she could challenge for the women's championship, however in 9 months she rarely had much of a singles push and was released 3rd November 2004.

Jackie Gayda:

Jackie was the co winner of Tough Enough 2 and was quickly placed as the valet of Rico Constantino on RAW and spent a few months competing in bikini matches and a few mixed tag matches, in March 2004 Jackie & Rico were traded to SmackDown! And in September 2004 she entered into a feud with Dawn Marie who claimed that she was having an affair with Jackie's real life fiancé ( Charlie Haas ) which lasted 3 months , after that she rarely appeared on WWE TV, meanwhile Jackie Gayda and Charlie Haas married in real life in June 2005, July 6th 2005 they were both released - some wedding present!

Linda Miles:

Linda Miles was the co winner of Tough Enough 2 and participated in 2 matches on SmackDown! In June 2002 before being assigned to OVW, 1 year later she reappeared under the guise of Shaniqua ( a dominatrix clad in PVC and brandishing a whip ) who also served as a valet to the Basham Brothers and frequently interfered in their matches , Shaniqua went on to demolish all Diva's standing in her way and took part in a handicap match at No Way Out with the Bashams against Scotty 2 Hotty and Rikishi which she lost. After that she was reassigned to OVW and released from her developmental contract due to an incident with Jim Cornette relating to her bad attitude.

Daniel Puder:

Daniel Puder was the winner of Tough Enough 4 and was arguably the most popular contestant in the series due to his impromptu shoot match with Kurt Angle in which The Olympic Hero was almost forced to tap out on national TV to the young rookie, this gained him much popularity in certain circles . When he was announced winner of Tough Enough 4 he was also entered into the Royal Rumble. When The Royal Rumble came around he entered at No 3 and was completely beaten by Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit and Hardcore Holly. After that Daniel Puder was assigned to OVW and was progressing well and was also due a run with the OVW heavyweight title until he received a call on Monday 12th September telling him he was to be released from his contract less than 1 year after winning the competition. So out of all 7 Tough Enough winners only 2 remain under contract ( Johnny Nitro and Matt Capotelli ) one of whom has just broken his leg the other doing quite well ........ For now. As a long-time wrestling fan I though Tough Enough was a brilliant idea , showing just a fraction of what it takes to become a professional wrestler - Physical Endurance , Guts , Determination . At the same time would you really make out with Mae Young , try and score with Hardcore Holly or even have a practice match with him and suffer a lot of stiff shots like poor Matt Capotelli had to. But hey it's all experience isn't it " So to sum up as we head towards Tough Enough 5 would you endure months of physical punishment, torture and embarrassment only to be fired shortly after winning" If you said yes, then I look forward to seeing you on SmackDown! In the next few months and then at the job centre in 5 years.

by David Morrison..


Johnny LaRue wrote:
I don't think you can call it a "curse". The releases of former Tough Enough winners make sense to me. As Daniel Puder stated on wwe.com "The fine print in the contract that I won on Smackdown's Tough Enough was that only the first of the four years (at $250,000 per year) was guaranteed".

Since it seems this was the deal with all past winners tell me why on earth would you waste a quarter million on a wrestler for the second year of their contract that is not over with the fans" Hell, why pay a wrestler that much when he or she is not even on TV"

Sorry "Tough Enough" was a rotten idea. It takes more than a push on TV to be over and accepted by the fans. The exception being Jackie who had great potential but not worth the amount left on her contract.

Let's be honest the first Tough Enough was the WWE's answer to reality TV. I had a hard time not flipping channels when the last one was on Raw. My guess is the last one was on Raw since nobody would watch it as an half hour show.
Benjiecky wrote:
I think that this is a great article, and it also supports my feeling on how WWE is just getting lower and lower, they pull people in who have been fans for god knows how long, put them on National Television, humiliate them, put them to there physical limits, i mean dont some of them over the years have to be dropped because they tried so hard they ended up injuring themselves, what if they where able to come back and won the contest, would it just be "thats for all you have done, but we dont want you no more", some bloody thanks that'll be.
Antonio The Great Muscleman of New Havens wrote:
The reason most of the Tough Enough superstars were released was because none of them had charisma to be a wrestling susperstar. Atleast to me anyway. Good in-ring work doesn't always help people like Daniel Puder if they aren't getting the reaction out of crowds that people like Vince McMahon want. Johnny Nitro however, has that combination of charisma and ring work and I could see him having a good future with WWE. People like Maven, Linda, and Jackie just don't.
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