Monday, May 10, 2010
Kayfabe Monday--May 10th Edition
First I want to show you some pictures that I have taken of various wrestlers that are on WWE Wrestling programming or TNA Wrestling programming when they were "paying their dues". Above you see photos of "Black Machismo" Jay Lethal as well as Trent Baretta (I know him as Plazma) to Lacey Von Erich applying the Iron Claw to Angel Orsini (also known as Riptide in the original ECW) to Mickie James (also known as Alexis Laree) and Beth Phoenix (also known as Phoenix). I have a lot more photos, but did not want to make this blog too photo heavy.
Why did I show you those pictures first? Here is the reason: TNA is to launch a "tough enough" style show this summer. The production dates are set for July with the television broadcast taking place in August. The show will be produced by Bischoff Hervey Entertainment.
Gee, didn't the WWE in conjunction with MTV Networks do a Tough Enough program? Let us see where the "winners" of said show as well as the other contestants are now:
WWE Tough Enough, originally known as WWF Tough Enough, was a reality television show produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and MTV wherein participants underwent professional wrestling training and competed for a contract with WWE. There were two winners per season for the first three seasons but only a single winner for the fourth season. All three televised seasons aired on MTV. A fourth competition was held in 2004, but was integrated into UPN's SmackDown!.
As of 2010, the only Tough Enough winner still wrestling for WWE is John Hennigan. He is currently wrestling as John Morrison on the Raw brand. Hennigan and Tough Enough I winner Maven Huffman are the only two Tough Enough winners to win championships in the WWE, but with Hennigan winning both the ECW World Heavyweight Championship and WWE Intercontinental Championship and Huffman winning the WWE Hardcore Championship. Christopher Nowinski, who didn't win Tough Enough, also held the WWE Hardcore Championship.
Together, John Morrison and The Miz are former WWE Tag Team Champions, former World Tag Team Champions, and two-time Slammy Award Winners; both of whom are Tough Enough alumni.
Maven Huffman and Nidia Guenard won the first season of Tough Enough. Only two contestants were actually cut from the competition, the others who were eliminated voluntarily exited. Of the final five contestants, four would eventually join the Federation. Nidia was released from WWE on November 3, 2004, while Maven was released on July 5, 2005. The first season of WWF Tough Enough was released on DVD in 2002, as was the soundtrack.
By the time the second season aired, the World Wrestling Federation had changed its name to "World Wrestling Entertainment" and the show was renamed "WWE Tough Enough". The second season winners were Linda Miles and Jackie Gayda. Linda was released on November 12, 2004 and Jackie was released on July 5, 2005. The announcement of Jackie and Linda as the winners offended members of the male finalists, who claimed that this was not what was promised when they signed forms to compete on Tough Enough, citing that the forms claimed there would be one male winner and one female winner. One male finalist called into WWE's then late-night Saturday/early morning Sunday show WWF Excess (later replaced by WWE Confidential), who aired his grievances over the decision the following week after the winners were announced. Current WWE wrestler, Shad Gaspard, member of the Tag Team Cryme Tyme, was scheduled to be one of the contestants on the show, but failed a physical therefore causing him to be replaced. John Hennigan made his official debut during the auditions. Despite displaying well-tuned athletic ability, Hennigan's arrogance irritated the judges. It would be another year before Hennigan would make the show.
The third season was won by John Hennigan and Matt Cappotelli. Hennigan, who wrestled for two years under the name Johnny Nitro, is now wrestling on WWE's Raw brand as John Morrison. He is a former ECW Champion and the first and, to date, only Tough Enough contestant to win a major championship in WWE. He is a three-time Intercontinental Champion, and he has held both the WWE World Tag Team Championship and the WWE Tag Team Championship. Cappotelli was developing his talent further in the WWE development territory Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), but was diagnosed with a brain tumor in December 2005, forcing him to step away from wrestling and relinquish his OVW Championship. The tumor was removed in 2007, although it is unknown whether Cappotelli will return to professional wrestling.
Melina Perez tried out for Tough Enough III and made it to the final twenty-five, but was cut from the competition. During the tryouts, however, she met John Hennigan and they eventually began a romantic relationship. She now works for WWE as Melina on the Raw brand and became the first-ever Tough Enough contestant to win the WWE Women's Championship, a title she has held three times. Additionally, Melina is also the first-ever Tough Enough contestant to win the WWE Divas Championship, making her the most successful female Tough Enough contestant to enter the WWE. Both Shawn Daivari and Daniel Puder are seen on film during audition episode. Both made it to the final 75, but were cut before they could make it to the training facility. Both men later went on as performers for the WWE.
The fourth Tough Enough competition was conducted as part of WWE's SmackDown brand between October and December 2004 in response to Raw holding the first annual "Raw Diva Search" contest. The prize was a $1,000,000 professional wrestling contract split evenly over four years with only the first year guaranteed. The winner of the fourth series, announced on December 14, 2004 and televised on December 16, 2004, was Daniel Puder, an American professional mixed martial artist. Puder competed in his second WWE pay-per-view event on January 30, 2005, being the third entrant in the 2005 Royal Rumble match. Soon after, he was sent to OVW before eventually being released in September 2005.
The most notable incident from this competition came on the November 4, 2004, episode of SmackDown, during an unscripted segment of Tough Enough, Kurt Angle, a former American amateur wrestler and 1996 Olympic gold medalist, challenged the finalists through a squat thrust competition. The winner was Chris Nawrocki, and the prize Nawrocki won was a match against Angle. After Angle defeated Nawrocki, Puder challenged Angle. During the match, Angle and Puder wrestled for position before Angle took Puder down; in the process, Puder locked Angle in a real submission hold, a kimura lock. With Puder on his back, one of two referees in the ring, Jim Korderas, quickly counted three to end the bout, but some observed that during the pin, Puder's shoulders were not on the mat. Puder later claimed he would have snapped Angle's arm, thus making Angle tap out on national television, if Korderas had not ended the match.On December 14, 2004 (televised on December 16), Puder was announced as the winner of Tough Enough. Other finalists were:
Nick Mitchell (later joined WWE, most notably as Mitch was released in May of 2007 now training in MMA)
Mike "The Miz" Mizanin (later joined WWE, he now wrestles under the Raw brand, currently holding the WWE United States Championship)
Chris Nawrocki (later signed a developmental contract but was released in 2005)
Justice Smith (later a Gladiator on American Gladiators)
Ryan Reeves (later joined WWE but was released in January 2007. Signed another contract in Fall 2008. Is part of WWE NXT as Skip Sheffield)
Daniel Rodimer (later signed to a development contract but was released in August 2007 to return to real estate)
Source: Various wrestling history websites.
Now I guarantee you this one thing--with the exception of Daniel Puder and Melina Perez who wrestled as Kyra on the independents, NONE OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED "CONTESTANTS" EVER STEPPED INSIDE A WRESTLING RING. If I am wrong, feel free to correct me. This why I, as well as wrestlers, despise this type of programming. You will not see the true rigor and pain of professional wrestling. You will not see all of the travel for a hot dog and nachos as payment. You will not see the wrestlers putting together a wrestling ring or busting their backs and other body parts for a crowd of 20 people. To all those who think this is a "great" and "creative" idea, you have another thing coming.
Remember, I believe in kayfabe,