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Liam DunneJuly 15th, 2015BlogComments Off on Tough Enough Is A Failure

Tough Enough Is A Failure

Tough Enough has returned with its sixth season. And we’ve already seen a number of eliminations since the shows inception. However looking back at, one can only see utter failure in WWE’s attempts to find the “next big star”. Is this show really worth it’s time? I don’t mean on an entertainment level, but does it warrant existence? The whole point is to find a new star, but how many times has WWE actually done that? And the better question could be, will it happen this time? To find a clue to the answer, we must look back into the past.

Enter 2001, a turbulent year for wrestling, and the world as a whole. In the summer WWE aired Tough Enough, a show that was clearly meant to be seen as a competitor to UFC’s show “The Ultimate Fighter”. We saw 13 competitors enter the competition with the promise of two winners. So let’s have a look at who the winners and runners up were, and where they went…

SEASON 1 WINNER: Maven Huffman

Maven was probably the more famous of the two winners, and clearly was favoured out of them both by management. The show finished broadcasting at the end of September, and within a month Huffman debuted simply under the name “Maven”. After starting a brief feud with Tazz, who was one of the trainers on the original shows run, he went on to enter a rivalry with the one and only Undertaker, whom he managed to actually eliminate from the 2002 Royal Rumble match. Within 4 months from his debut he won the WWE Hardcore title from Undertaker a belt he would “hold onto”* past WrestleMania 18
*the Hardcore title was held under 24/7 rules at the time, meaning that even at house shows Maven could have dropped and re-won the belt several times. Therefore this was not a single consecutive run.

From there Maven entered the mid-card scene, a place he stayed for around 2 years before being added to the Survivor Series 2004 match where he competed for Team Orton against Team Triple H, who would go on to win the match. After a notable match for the World Heavyweight title the next night, which he lost, Maven started a heel turn. Eventually he faded back into the mid-card and vanished from people’s memories in 2005 as he was released from his contract.

Maven went on to compete on the independent circuit for 2 years before retiring from wrestling completely.

In 2012 Maven was arrested for “Doctor Shopping” due to an addiction to various drugs. Since 2013 he has been a bouncer for the 1015 Midtown club in New York.

SEASON 1 WINNER: Nidia Guenard

Unlike her male co-winner, after being awarded the WWE contract, Nidia was sent down to OVW, WWE’s developmental territory at the time. She didn’t appear on WWE television until the summer of 2002, where she was scripted to be The Hurricane’s ex-girlfriend. The Hurricane entered a fued with Jamie Noble, who started an on-screen relationship with Nidia and took on a trailer trash gimmick. Nidia acted more as a manager for Noble, and helped him go on to win the Cruiserweight Championship from Hurricane at the King of the Ring event.

Nidia entered a fued with the baby-face Torrie Wilson for a short time, and then was left with little to do besides being Noble’s cheerleader.

A year later she was “blinded” by Tajiri’s poison mist attack. Using this new disability to Noble’s advantage. He would throw Nidia in front of himself so his opponents hit her, and then would claim it they did it intentionally. This angle continued for a few weeks until Mysterio revealed what was happening to Nidia herself, and culminated in a match against Noble at No Way Out 2004.

A few months later she was drafted to the RAW brand, and with it she ditched her trailer park trash gimmick and chose one based more on her real life heritage of being Puerto Rican (Think Rosa Mendez when she managed Primo and Epico… but less sexy and no corsets).

The gimmick went nowhere and in late 2004, she was released from her contract.

Little seems to be known of Nidia’s post WWE career. She wrestled a handful of matches for both TNA and the independent scene, but the last known thing is that she started her culinary career in early 2010 down in Texas.

Christopher Nowinski

Dare I say that Nowinski is probably one of the more famous characters to come from the first ever season of Tough Enough. Before even entering the show, Nowinski wrestled on the independent scene under the name “Chris Harvard”, a gimmick originated from his real life education at the prestigious Harvard University.

In 2002, Nowinski debuted on the RAW brand by helping William Regal win the European Championship from Bradshaw, whom he would feud with for the next few weeks. After this he moved on to facing the new Dudley Boyz, Bubba Ray and Spike

It wasn’t long however until Nowinski entered a rivalry with Al Snow, a trainer on the first season of Tough Enough. Season 1 winner Maven would often come to help Snow and the two formered an alliance against Nowinski, which resulted in a tag team win in favour of Snow and Maven.

In 2003, Nowinski allied himself with “Thuggin’ and Buggin’ Enterprises” a stable of African American wrestlers, including Rodney Mack, Jazz and Theodore Long.

In the summer of 2003, a year after he debuted, Nowinski suffered a concussion during a match against Maven. Taking a year out to recover, he decided to retire from professional wrestling.

Since he ended his wrestling career, Nowinski has dedicated his life to looking at the effects of concussions in the sporting arena, based on his own experiences. He has become incredibly respected in that particular field and was the one who suggested that the authorities should do a post mortem on Chris Benoit’s brain after the Benoit Tragedy of 2007. It is due to Christopher Nowinski that WWE, and sports in general, are aware of the dangerous effects of concussions and kick-started WWE’s Concussion IMPACT tests.

Josh Lomberger:

Better known as Josh Matthews, and without a doubt the most famous and well known of the Tough Enough Season 1 players, and the longest serving employee from any season of Tough Enough. Like Nowinski, Matthews wrestled on the independent scene before signing up for the competition, although he didn’t have as much experience as the Harvard graduate.

Matthews was signed to an on-screen interview role with the company, making his start on the Saturday night show “Velocity”. From there he went on to host WWE’s online show “Byte This”.

In 2004, Matthews was given a very brief time to shine in the ring as, then, WWE Champion JBL, slapped him in the face for a lack of respect shown to him. Matthews teamed with Booker T and the two went on to win the match, essentially meaning Matthews is also the only one who is undefeated in competition.

For the next few years Matthews would be a commentator for shows such as Heat, ECW SmackDown! and even RAW. His biggest accomplishment was doing commentary for most of WrestleMania XXVII, technically making him the only Season 1 competitor to go to WrestleMania.

Matthew’s WWE career came to a close in the summer of 2014. Afterwards he quickly joined TNA to do their commentary with former Tough Enough trainer Al Snow. He has been actively outspoken about WWE and some of their current and former employee’s such as Jim Ross.

Taylor Matheny:

Taylor reached the finals of the competition with the previously mentioned stars, but was the only one who never got signed to a contract for the company. This didn’t stop her however as she made her wrestling debut a few months after the show finished airing for the World Wrestling Alliance.

She went gone on to wrestle around America on the independent scene, and met her eventual future husband Brian Kendrick. Like Nidia not much is known about her current life, but the last thing we could dig up was that she was perusing a career as a make-up artist for Hollywood, working on the 2005 film “The Last Will”

But what about Season 2? Did the contestants fare better? Check back next week to find out!

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