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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Who the Hell is Tough Enough?
October 18, 2005 by Jason "XtremeFalls" Simmons


A few years ago during the reality TV peak Vince McMahon and MTV got involved and made a program called Tough Enough. Tough Enough was a contest where the WWE would pick 13 kids to compete for a WWE contract. They picked 8 males and 5 girls, all of whom were different in styles and looks. After three TV seasons and a Tough Enough segment on SmackDown, who is really Tough Enough?

Tough Enough has been a commercial success for the WWE and has made them some good money. The problem is how much damage did Tough Enough do to the business? First a lot of insiders have complained that it exposes too many secrets of the business. Which you can’t say is completely wrong. They also say it’s not fair that theses kids get into the WWE off a TV show, while other stars worked there ass off to get into the WWE. Which once again you can’t say is fair.

Here is my opinion though; Tough Enough was a good entertainment that could bring in new fans. The insiders who say that it exposed too much in wrestling don’t realize not too much isn’t already known by most fans. Also there was news coverage and movies being made about wrestling at that point, so all of that was being put out anyway. Also for the people who say it isn’t fair they got a free shot into the WWE and didn’t pay their dues like most wrestlers did, I got one thing to say; get over it. First off any wrestler who said they wouldn’t have done Tough Enough to get into the WWE is lying their ass off. A lot of wrestlers say wrestling is so tough to get into anyway so more power to them if they can get into the WWE more easily

Now from a business stand point you could say the Tough Enough franchise has been very good to the WWE. During The original season the show did over a 2.0 in the ratings for MTV which is very good for MTV at least. Sure over the next two seasons the ratings went down but they still did good numbers. Also Tough Enough created another franchise for the WWE and put the WWE in a new aspect of the entertainment industry.

Now from a wrestling stand point the show is really a disaster. Besides the exception of Johnny Nitro none of the winners or losers who have been on WWE TV have impressed me, at least in the ring. Maven started off very strong in the ring but after breaking his leg he never seemed to get back to regular form. After that none of the other Tough Enough stars have excelled in the ring at all and some have had some really embarrassing experiences. Take Jackie Gayda and fellow Tough Enough star Christopher Nowinski. They teamed up to take on Bradshaw and Trish Stratus in a match some would called the worst match of all time. It started off OK but once it was down to Gayda and Stratus it was obvious Gayda had no clue what she was supposed to do and by the end of the match Trish looked like she was about to kill her.

The other sad thing about the Tough Enough series is what happens to the cast after the show has ended. As many of you know Daniel Puder, the winner of the Million Dollar Tough Enough segment on SmackDown, was released not that long ago mostly because of the million dollars. Also earlier this summer Maven, and Jackie Gayda were released. Not that long ago Nidia was released during the end of 2004. Also Linda Miles the co-winner of Tough Enough 2 was fired in the middle of 2004. Christopher Nowinski, a non-winner who made it to the WWE, suffered a major concussion back in 2003 and has never been medically cleared and doesn’t seem like he ever will be either. Also Matt Morgan the other non-winner to make it to the show were released by the WWE along with Maven and Gayda. So the only winners of Tough Enough left in the WWE is Johnny Nitro who is a member of MNM and Matt Cappotelli who is at the moment injured but still working down in OVW as well.

The sad part is a lot of the losers are already done with wrestling and have moved on from the business. The first winner Maven is getting into the acting business and joining the cast of the Surreal Life. Nidia, Jackie Gayda, and Matt Morgan are still trying to make it in the business and there’s a rumor they all might be going to TNA. Linda Miles is a whole different story about what happened to her. Many found her to difficult to work with, and had a major attitude problem. She constantly argued with OVW head Jim Cornette and just right out had a bad attitude. Many found it funny that the WWE never saw it coming considering during the Tough Enough show she constantly was a problem in the house fighting with the other cast members. She has pretty much fallen off the face of the planet since her release.

Johan, Paulina, Greg Whitmoyer, Jesse, Josh Mathews, Taylor Matheny, and Hawk have all had a role in the business in some shape or form. Johan had a match with TNA, and also had a try out match with the WWE but gave up and now works for Venturi Partners in Boston. Greg and Hawk both did do some independent shows but have never made it to the WWE or TNA. Jesse and Josh Mathews made it to the WWE but not in the ring - more as production people. Jess quit and Josh is the commentator on Velocity. Taylor wrestled for a while but after a rough trip in Japan pretty much gave up on the business and is now studying Hollywood make up. Paulina made an appearance at a TNA event during the beginning as a bodyguard for The Disco Inferno, after was pretty much never heard from again.

The rest of the former cast members either never tried to get into the business after the show, or did a couple Indy shows but nothing further than that. So like the title says “who really is Tough Enough?” I don’t know; the better question is why have the products of the show ended up not making an impact? Is it because they’re off a TV show? Is it because they aren’t pushed hard? Well I think both of them could be reasons but I have an opinion of my own on why they have failed. They are not ready right out of the gate no matter how much the WWE wants them to be. Maven had three bad matches with Tazz before the WWE finally sent him to OVW and Nidia never even had chance to show her in ring skills, only having a few matches on RAW before her release. Also Miss Jackie was another victim of a quick push that wasn’t ready for TV yet.

The funny thing is, even a guy who didn’t make it into the contest itself was cut by the WWE this week. Tough Enough hopeful Brian Danovich was cut from his developmental deal a couple of weeks ago. Brian was a guy who tore his shoulder during the million dollar Tough Enough try outs. Now with so much failure and success from the franchise makes one wonder if WWE should continue to do the contest. My opinion is that the WWE needs to revamp the contest in some way. Who knows what the WWE is planning to do with it, I’m not sure but it makes you wonder who really is Tough Enough?

Until my next column people… Feed back negative or positive will be answered and thanks for reading.

by Jason Simmons [View Jason's Column Index]..


God of Gods wrote:
I would defenitly have taken the change to do tough enough if the oppertuinity was presented, however the fact that the current stars are upset cause they had to work a lifetime to get where their at, is more then understandable. Theve spent their hole life acheving to get where their at.. and these kid win a little contect and are suddenly their... yea, id be upset about it to
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