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WWE Tough Enough tryouts special recap & review

WWE Tough Enough

By Kenneth Nida, kennethnida@wrestlingobserver.com

After a montage of clips showing the two day training camp, we are introduced to several contestants including Mike, a wrestler with a prosthetic leg. Booker T enters the ring in front of the contestants and introduces Lita and Billy Gunn. 40 people were chosen from the 11,154 videos that were submitted. Lita mentions that the contestants come from various walks of life including an alligator wrestler, fitness models, MMA fighters, and boxers. Billy Gunn explains that there will be various eliminations until 13 contestants remain; 7 men and 6 women will qualify for the show.

The panel interviews each contestant and asks them why they are tough enough and what separates them from the others. The first person declares they are the “… strongest mother**cker here”. “Mr. Ass” Billy Gunn tells him that speaking that way in front of women is offensive, while Booker T is more concerned if he can back up his words with actions. The contestant then brags about how he’s been giving kids German suplexes against their will since he was 15, claiming he has proof of this. I don’t think WWE’s Be A Star campaign would approve.

Other highlights include someone who doesn’t have a favorite match, someone who doesn’t know why they are tough enough, and someone who is asked what their favorite joke Lance Storm told. We also get an exotic dancer flat out admitting they aren’t familiar with the WWE when asked what the WWE means to him.

Mike tells his story of serving in Afghanistan and being the only person to survive an IED attack on a Humvee, in which he lost a leg. Next is Zamariah “ZZ”, an alligator wrestler from Bayou Beouf, Louisiana who entertains all the judges. After the introductions they show various drills being performed, which are much more difficult than some were prepared for. Nick, a powerlifter, is sent to the ER with shortness of breath and chest tightness. The panel discuss who should be eliminated, and make their selections. Day 1 concludes with 10 eliminations, in addition to the 2 who were eliminated for medical reasons.

Day 2 starts with the Kingdom twins withdrawing from the competition, giving the reason that they “… felt their time was wasted” and that they didn’t like how the judges spoke to them. Additional footage of training is shown, followed by the arrival of Paul Levesque who walks by someone puking in a trash can. Mike takes the day off, after the previous day’s training caused his prosthetic to open wounds in his leg. We’re then introduced to Kahlil, a former running back for the NFL. He rubs people the wrong way with his cocky attitude, but shows a lot of charisma. Next is Ashley, a pro wrestler from Oakland who has a very unique look, and is more like Lita than your typical WWE Diva.

Joshua, otherwise known as “The Yeti” and who formerly played for the Green Bay Packers, is introduced. Next is Daria, an MMA fighter with the nickname “The Jersey Devil”. When asked if she’s in a relationship, she takes the opportunity to come out as a lesbian. Following that is Gabi, a bikini model from Brazil. She’s very outspoken, and brags about saying whatever she wants. This doesn’t impress the judges. Patrick, from Washington D.C., talks about how WWE helped him get through rough times growing up.

Stephen, a bodybuilder, cuts a promo on the judges for comments made during training. Mike then re-joins the training after being inspired by his competitors. All the other contestants cheer and encourage him. Chris Jericho then joins the panel in the ring for the final eliminations at the camp. He briefly speaks about it being a whole new world for the contestants, before Mike asks to speak. Mike thanks everyone for the experience and friendship, but declares that his body cannot keep up with the competition and bows out.

At the end of eliminations, two male contestants and two female contestants remain. Between the men, Kahlil is chosen over Stephen, and Ashley is chosen over Samantha. Ashley calls her father with the news that she made it. However the next day it is revealed that after some additional testing, she may have a dangerous heart condition. She is eliminated from the competition and follows up with a cardiologist; she’s obviously broken up about the news. Lita meets with her and tells her that after she figures out her health, she can come back to the performance center. It is also announced that Khalil did not pass all of his mandatory evaluations, and is also eliminated.

Paul Levesque chooses Gabi to replace Ashley and ZZ to replace Khalil in the competition. He then congratulates all the people that made it. The show closes with various people speaking about Mike and how impressed they were with his drive and accomplishments, as well as contestants reflecting on how it feels to have become a part of Tough Enough. The final 13 are Alexander, Hank, Joshua, Mada, Patrick, Tanner, ZZ, Amanda, Daria, Dianna, Gabi, Giorgia, and Sara.