Posers & Wannabes - A Look Back At Tough Enough
June 26, 2003 - by Emer Prevost
Well, after weeks of nothing, your friendly neighborhood Spider...(oops, wrong
intro), I have returned to OWW, and my Wayback Machine is in working order
again. But, I won't be using it tonight. I won't need it to talk about reality
Let me start off by saying that I hate reality TV. Whether it be "Survivor",
"Big Brother", or even "American Idol", I see it as nothing more than the
networks running out of good ideas and making up for a screenwriters strike.
None of these shows were really real (except for the original reality show,
"COPS"), and wind up being nothing more than suburban waste wanting to prove
that they are something they aren't. It doesn't matter if they think they can
survive in the jungle, or if they think they can sing, the shows are always dull
The WWE jumped on the reality TV bandwagon with "Tough Enough", and proved once
again that anything anyone else can do, the WWE can do just as bad.
Now, I should let you know, that I didn't watch a lot of "Tough Enough", but
whenever I did watch it, I felt sorry for all my fellow fans for having to
someday put up with some of these vapid dimwits in the ring. Sure, Chris
Nowinski has proven himself, but look at Maven, Nidia, Jackie Gayda, and Linda
Miles. None of them have really gone far in the company.
I find it really funny that the only "Tough Enough" competitor that is really
going anywhere didn't even win the competition. I find it even funnier that all
the female winners have been downsized from wrestlers to managers. Oh well, the
winners got contracts, the WWE never said anything about having to wrestle.
All contestants on the show got to live in a house that looked like it was from
the "Real World". I huge house with cameras everywhere. They had plenty of
food, and warm beds, and a hot tub, and everyone just hung out. How many real
stars are going to say that they trained in a posh gym, and slept in a warm bed
and ate real food when they were training. If Chyna and Mick Foley's books have
taught us anything, it is that real competitors have to struggle to make it in
When I first heard about the idea of becoming a WWE superstar, I thought it was
going to be a good idea. Fans from around the country and beyond sent in
audition tapes where they all cut annoying promos and dressed like Kurrgan when
he was with the Oddities. At this point, my hopes for something entertaining
went right out the window. If the audition tapes they were showing us on RAW
were any indication of the crap that was sent in, no wonder the rejects who made
it on the show made it. Everyone else was just lame.
Then, the audition episode came. The finalists for the show stood in a ring,
cut a promo and showed their athletic prowess. Nothing much there. Then, the
show actually got started.
Victoria cuts her first promo.
Eventually SHE was cut.
In fact, I feel that the training part of the show, the part that mattered most,
was where the show dropped the ball. They shouldn't have just done a few months
training. They should have done at least a year of training each season.
Actually teach the rookies some moves besides the basics. No wonder Maven can
only do dropkicks and cross bodies, those are the things he was taught on the
show, and OVW just taught him how to master them.
Oh, and there was some training, too. Here is what I watched the show for. I
wanted to see if these kids could handle being in the ring. They had all proved
they could talk into a camera and try to make everything sound like a soap
opera, so they had half of the needed WWE training, but the other half was a
Most of these kids were complaining at the start about taking back bumps. Sure,
I can understand a few complaining about the pain (what little there is landing
on the ring mat), but it felt like everyone bitched about it.
Anyway, after weeks of whining about bumps and seeming to gain almost no real
experience (again, I attribute this to the lack of training on the show), the
big day came, when two of these "hopefuls" were weeded out and chosen to be WWE
Besides the lack of time to train all of these wannabes, they also got to train
on beaches and fly out to exotic locales and do even more training. Here, they
slept in five star hotels and ate gourmet food. Again, what real wrestler
actually made it in the business with these conditions. I'll answer for you,
none. Every real wrestler trained in a dingy gym, with a bitch of a trainer,
and suffered to master the art of wrestling. These kids whined about basics and
were chauffeured in SUVs from the gym to their house or from their new exotic
training ground to their hotel. You see why I hate reality TV, it isn't real.
Maven's only real accomplishments are eliminating The Undertaker at the Royal
Rumble and winning the Hardcore Championship (and later losing it to Spike
Dudley at Wrestlemania X8) twice (he won the title back from Christian later at
the same Wrestlemania). Besides that, he is just another RAW/Heat jobber who
wins a match one in a blue moon. Oh, and it seems that Maven is clinging to Al
Snow like a baby sloth over the last few weeks. Well, Maven's career can only
go up, unless he jobs to Gillberg, then his WWE career can be classified D.O.A.
After the winners were announced, you saw them for all of two weeks on RAW or
Smackdown! and they where whisked away to the isle of misfit wrestlers and
talent who the WWE doesn't want to use, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). Here is
where these young stars are to sharpen their skills with the year of training
that should have been given to them in the first place. But, sadly, when they
come back, it feels like little has changed. They don't seem as green, but they
still aren't clicking on all cylinders.
Now, I shall look back at all of the winners of "Tough Enough" in a segment I
will call "Where Are They Now? The Tough Enough Winners".
Nidia's comeback had her as the Hurricane's stalker (a stupid storyline to begin
with) and this evolved into Nidia de-evolving into trailer trash with Jamie
Noble (another great star with a rotten gimmick). Besides this, she
embarrassed herself at the Girls Gone Wild pay-per-view (just like everyone else
at that PPV), and was used to fuel the Sable/Torrie Wilson feud.
It seems that the Tough Enough I winners aren't faring so well, huh? Well,
let's see if the winners of Tough Enough II fared any better:
First up, Jackie Gayda. She seemed to have a lot of promise on the show
(something I really didn't think I'd say in this article, that a Tough Enough
kid actually showed promise), but after her year at OVW, she has come back as
Miss Jackie, the manager to the Adrian Street clone, Rico. But, she hasn't had
enough time to really develop a character, so she slides.
Linda Miles has come back as Chiniqua, the manager of the Basham Brothers. Oh,
and she dresses like a cross between Jazz and a dominatrix. Again, she hasn't
had time to develop a real character, so she is pardoned from a final judgment,
In fact, if anyone thinks I despise the people on this show, I don't. I feel
that if they fail in the WWE, or in any other promotion, it isn't entirely their
fault. The WWE really didn't do the show right, and didn't give the kids enough
real training before shipping them to OVW to let Jim Cornette do the real work.
Jim can do a lot of things, but he can't work miracles. Even with the most
talented rookie, if you don't have the time to work with them, and if their
previous trainers more or less gave them a thimble full of basic training, you
have a long hard road ahead, and the WWE has to get these kids on their shows
before everyone forgets about them.
And as for Matt Cappotelli & John Hennigan, the two Tough Enough III winners,
they are still in OVW collecting skill and experience. I hope the best for them
on their way.
Oh, I almost forgot, Josh Mathews (another hopeful from the first season) saw
WWE light, as an interviewer and as a commentator on Velocity. So, Nowinski
isn't the only one who made his way without winning the contest. Well, at least
they aren't putting Mathews in the ring, we all know what happens when
announcers climb into the ring (**COUGH** Mean Gene vs. Mark Madden **COUGH**).
And, after their Tough Enough experience, some of the "losers" (we really don't
want to call them losers, just to be polite) have moved on. While some have
been through the indy circuit, others have been on NWA-TNA and some have even
earned developmental contracts with the WWE (which was the prize for winning
Tough Enough, in case you forgot). So, everything works out for the better,
Well, sorta. There are a few black eyes that Tough Enough had that impacted the
show, and the major ones happened in the third season.
First, there was Lisa, who went totally bonkers (oops-sorry, I mean "had a
psychotic episode") and was kicked off the show and sent to a padded room for a
while. Later, she was seen stalking the WWE (not a wrestler, but the whole damn
company!!), and may still be roaming free to this day. [Click here to find out more]
And what does the future hold for Tough Enough? Well, the last I heard, MTV
wasn't picking it up for a fourth season (MTV's reason: "wrestling isn't cool
anymore"), but there is a slim chance (and I mean real slim) of the show making
it's way on TNN.
Next, there was Wendell, who I will not even dignify to call a hopeful. This
reject from a K-Kwik look-alike convention was winded after only a few minutes
and spent most of the audition show on his back whining like a two year-old with
a skinned knee. Whatever happened to this total loser, I have no clue. In
fact, I really don't want to know. But, if you feel so inclined, if you know
where this joke of a man went after almost sabotaging Tough Enough III, feel
free to e-mail me.
And, if TNN picks it up, I just might send in a tape. Why not, even if I would
make it on and get cut, I might get picked up to be a manager in the WWE (a role
I feel I was born to play). And, even if Tough Enough isn't renewed for that
fourth season, I still might send a tape in. The worst Vince and Co. can do is
throw the tape out. No big loss.
by Emer Prevost
Tough Enough Kids
Tough Enough Gallery
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