WWF Tough Enough Just the Beginning for Would-Be Wrestlersby John 'Freakboy' Brodigan -- 07/10/2002
I know what you're saying to yourself. You're saying, "Self, there isn't nearly enough Reality TV shows on the air these days." MTV and the World Wrestling Federation agree with you because on June 21st they debut WWF Tough Enough. There's one big difference between this reality show and all the others. No one here is competing for a cash prize. In Tough Enough, the contestants are competing against each other to fulfill a dream - contracts with the World Wrestling Federation.
The first episode kicks off with a one-hour "Casting Special" that shows how and why the thirteen finalists were selected. Twelve half-hour episodes begin airing on the 28th, with the winners announced during a special live season finale. The show hasn't even debuted yet and already there are plans for a videotape release.
In a conference call with reporters on Thursday, trainers Tazz and Al Snow, WWF producer John Gaburick, and MTV producer Ken Mok discussed the show and there was one word that kept coming up. Respect.
All of the wrestlers in the WWF, from the WWF Champion Steve Austin to the wrestlers who appear in warm up matches before Raw Is War, made it to the WWF after paying their dues. There are thousands of Independent wrestlers who would sacrifice a body part so that they could simply have a "developmental contract" with one of the WWF's Farm Leagues. Now here's the WWF giving away two spots in the WWF, and according to producer Gaburick would be put right on WWF television.
It was because of this that Tazz was extra hard on the contestants. He didn't want them to think just because they were getting a "free ride" to the WWF that things were going be easy for them. They learned respect for the business quickly once they began their training and found out that wrestling isn't a game. It takes a lot of hard work to learn the simplest mechanics of the ring.
Tazz also made sure he was hard on the contestants because he didn't want to offend his peers who didn't get the luxury of being where they are thanks to a TV contest. Those same peers guest starred on a few shows and though they originally had a chip on their shoulder, after meeting the contestants they were impressed with the heart and the drive the wrestling hopefuls had.
But both Tazz and Al Snow agree that even though the contest is over, the two winners still have years of training ahead of them. Tazz says that they still have to earn the respect of the other wrestlers in the lockerroom, which isn't something that will be easy. Snow added that all this show will do is give the winners a shot. They'll still have years of hard work ahead of them in order to learn everything there is about wrestling.
For more information on "WWF Tough Enough," check out www.wwftoughenough.com.
Hot off the presses: WWF New York presents the World Premiere of WWF Tough Enough this Tuesday, June 19, at 8:00 p.m, two days before its June 21st MTV premiere. Fans interested in attending can call 212-398-2563 for more information.
John "Freakboy" Brodigan is the webmaster of Wrestling Bytes. For more great articles on wrestling (kind of the opposite of "reality TV"), make sure you check it out!
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