As the current buzz revolves around the NXT invasion of WWE, I'm comparing the fad of the new decade with its predecessor: Tough Enough. In 2001, WWE cameras spit on the grave of kayfabe by filming aspiring WWE Superstars as they lived, trained, and endured a crash course in learning the wrestling business. Despite traditionalists complaining that these novices were receiving preferential treatment by soaking up the fame of being MTV reality stars, WWE continued the experiment by adding more seasons and implementing different strategies such as a unique blend of trainers and sending WWE Superstars to proclaim motivational speeches. At first, the results were mixed. Now? Well, Tough Enough must have done something right due to the arrival of NXT. Just how successful was Tough Enough in producing WWE Superstars?
Tough Enough: Trainers
Al Snow, Jackie, Tori, Tazz, Hardcore Holly, Chavo Guerrero, Ivory, Bill DeMott
Chris Jericho, Miz, R-Truth, Christian, CM Punk, William Regal, Matt Hardy, Carlito
This is a no brainer. Aside from Tazz, none of the Tough Enough trainers achieved main event level success; whereas the NXT Pros feature 2 former WWE World Champions and 2 former NWA World Champions. I will give Al Snow major credit for treating those rookies as his own kids, but a lot of parents raise screw ups.Just ask Zazzy G's parents.
Aizaz's Note - To this I say, better a screw up than a pedo.
Tough Enough: Winners
Maven, Nidia, Shaniqua, Jackie Gayda, Matt Cappotelli, John Morrison, Daniel Puder
Winner: Tough Enough
So it basically comes down to Morrison vs. Barrett. Obviously, judging Barrett this early is ridiculous so this really is impartial. John Morrison has had an exceptional career thus far, by holding the Intercontinental, Tag Team, and Slammy Championships. He's very young with plenty of potential to headline WrestleManias; however, Barrett has that same potential.
Verdict: Tough Enough failed.
Maven became typecast as the "Tough Enough" guy; therefore, his persona never developed into a distinguished personality. He was hot as the underdog in the beginning of his career, but the longer he wrestled the less impact his underdog gimmick maintained. A supreme dud.
Nidia was my favorite Diva between 2002-2003. Her trailer park trash gimmick was hilarious and her romance with Jamie Noble revitalized the Cruiserweight division. Although I believe she was blinded by Noble's "mist" rather than Tajiri's green liquid, Nidia was the greatest woman to emerge as Tough Enough Champion.
Shaniqua competes with Chyna and Nicole Bass as the ugliest Diva in WWE history. Apparently, her athleticism was so superior to the other contestants that WWE brought her onto Smackdown as a manager/valet. More so manager not only cause she was built stronger than Aizaz but also because she "managed" the manhood of the Basham Brothers. Their S&M gimmick never achieved success and Shaniqua left shortly thereafter.
Jackie Gayda will forever be remembered for the infamous tag team match on July 8th in Philly where she made Great Khali look like Kurt Angle. I was never a fan of Gayda in WWE, she seemed pretty blah compared to the other blonde, boobtastic Divas. She married Charlie Haas and operates a custom energy drink/ apparel business today. I wish her luck in her future endeavors.
Matt Capotelli is a tragedy in wrestling. Matt was the favorite during the 3rd season of Tough Enough, but his career never ignited due to a brain tumor. Matt had unlimited potential in the WWE, and everyday prayers should be said that Matt enjoys the remainder of his life. A wrestling star that the sky never met.
Daniel Puder was eliminated 1st at the 2005 Royal Rumble. Yup.