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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Guess They're Not Tough Enough
February 19, 2005 by Steve K.


Back when the concept of reality shows was just getting started, the WWF came up with Tough Enough, a reality show featuring aspiring wrestlers competing for two spots in the WWF roster. The original TE was a success, and three more versions have followed since. However, entertaining as it may be to see Al Snow and Hugh Morris put these youngsters through hell, the results of their efforts have been...disappointing. Of the many TE contestants and winners to appear in the ring for the WWF/WWE:

SEASON 1
Maven - started off with a bang, winning the Hardcore title and having some good matches. But injury and lack of experience have relegated him to nothing but a jobber who has no good moves in the ring and is nowhere near over with fans. He needs a few more years at OVW to amount to anything serious in the future.

Nidia- the first female TE winner pretended to be Jamie Nobles' blind girlfriend, got traded to RAW, wrestled a few short spots, and was then released. At least the boob job was most likely free.

Chris Nowinski - Thank goodness for his Harvard degree. Now he won't starve to death after failing to recover from post-concussion syndrome.

SEASON 2
Linda Miles - the second season of TE's co-winner, she became a leather-clad useless valet for the Bashams. She was then sent back to OVW, whined, and then quit.

Jackie Gayda - biggest achievements to date for the SmackDown! diva include prancing around with Rico (who has more talent than almost all of these TE kids), rolling around with Dawn Marie, and being described as a dead fish by Charlie Haas on Pay Per View. One of the most successful TE products to date.

Matt Morgan - generic big man jobbed on SmackDown! for awhile, then went back to OVW. Good move by the WWE to send him back.

SEASON 3
Matt Cappotelli - has yet to officially join one of the WWE rosters. Moored in OVW, slowed by concussion problems. Was recently teamed with Scotty 2 Hotty in a SmackDown! dark match though.

Johnny Nitro - spent some time as Eric Bischoff's lackey on RAW, lost to Eugene, now back in OVW.

Now, why do most of these people fail when they reach the top stage" I believe it is because the ones who were on top had never paid their dues. Many of the TE contestants and winners were placed on RAW or SmackDown! very quickly and with minimal in-ring training. As such, they crashed and burned under the spotlight. Most big talents in wrestling are spotted quite early on when they choose to enter the business, so these TE kids can only hope to become good mid-carders who will eventually get their chance at the top. But the business they have chosen requires years of experience. People like Charlie Haas, Tajiri, Rhyno, Billy Kidman, Spike Dudley, William Regal and the Hurricane are able to hold their own in the WWE mid-card because they have put in so much effort to get to there. Watching TE, it seems many people who try out just joined because they thought they could make easy money pretending to fight. It takes years to learn all the good and bad of pro wrestling, and years more to make your way toward the top, provided you have the talent. Lets hope the WWE does the right thing with the TE 4 people and keep them in OVW for at least a year or two, because if they are again rushed too quickly, Tough Enough will never have any real winners.

by Steve K...


Brad Dykens wrote:
To go a little more in depth. Several of these wrestlers are 'developing' into well rounded superstars. The reason they didn't last very long in the WWE is because they weren't ready.

Matt Cappotelli is in OVW, currently one half of the tag team champions with Johnny Jeter in a team known as the Thrill Seekers. I think all things considered, his progress should be applauded.

Johnny Nitro is also in OVW and teaming with indy sensation Joey Matthews. They were also tag team champions until the Thrill Seeker's defeated them.

Matt Morgan had a long stint as OVW Heavyweight champion, before losing a "loser leaves OVW" match and returned under a mask as "The Blue Print". His progress may take longer but a man of his size can't be overlooked.

Some other Tough Enough competitors making a splash outside of the WWE system are Greg Matthews (formerly of CZW), Taylor Matheny (quit the business after getting her 'sweet' ass kicked in japan), Kenny King (wrestling indies), Jessie "no last name" (she works, or used to work, backstage for WWE as an assistant), Jonah Aldeman had a match in TNA and continues to train --- you also forgot Josh Mathews, whose talents are being totally wasted!
Jess wrote:
You know, I'm sick and tired of hearing people diss the Tough Enough winners. Yes, they may not be the greatest wrestlers in history, but think about it. Maven, he was just some kid off the street who came in for shot at a WWE career and.. made it! That's a huge success alone. Now I can't even think of a Raw without seeing Maven. Yes, he may not be the greatest, yet. He has plenty of time to develop and become a big name. We have a rare chance of watching someone's career skyrocket right from the get-go. The big problem is, yes, they wern't ready. How can you be ready after a few measly months of training" The training may have been quick-paced so they could do it in a TV series, but fact is, Maven passed the training and is still the only one (that I know of) who's still wrestling on WWE programs. I'm not going to get into the other TE winners because I never really saw them as being anything as big as Maven. Maven was the first guy to go in and pass, after him (and Nidia) everyone else could, to some degree, know what to expect.

As for Maven's moves in the ring, he may not be the greatest highflyer or the best technician in the ring, but again, he hasn't had fifteen+ years in the ring, he's still learning. There's one move in particular that I was surprised from. That backbreaker he did to Hurricane the week before Raw went to Tokyo. That very morning I spoke to a few friends and stated "just watch Maven, he's going to do something with this heel role and take himself somewhere.. he just needs a new move" Then boom, that backbreaker I've never seen in WWE before.

As for the T.E. series, no more. It's old and it's a waste of time and money. As for Maven (among others) all they need is time and we'll find out who real truly be Tough Enough. I'm rooting for Maven.
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