We've seen the action on WWF Tough Enough. Now let's go behind the scenes to see what really (or maybe not really) happened during the casting special!
SCENE: The WWF New York restaurant, where hundreds of applicants hope to try out for the new reality series, TOUGH ENOUGH. A ring has been set up in the center of the floor, while a row of tables is off to one side. The judges representing the WWF and MTV face the applicants that appear in the ring.
(Episode joined in progress. Camera follows Bagwell as he climbs the stairs to the tables and walks over to Al Snow. Al is sitting amongst the panel of judges.)
Bagwell: (pulling out a pad and pencil as he reaches Snow) Okay, sorry I’m late.
Snow: (looking at Bagwell with a smile) Great! Great! (pulls out menu and scans for items) Uh, I’ll have the hamburger, medium and dressed with the side salad . . . uh, what kind of dressings do you have?
Bagwell’s Mom: (appearing out of the blue before Bagwell can speak) We have blue cheese.
Bagwell: (quietly) Moooooommmmm . . ..
Snow: Don’t you have anything other than blue cheese?
Bagwell: We have –
Bagwell’s Mom: (cutting Bagwell off) No. It’s blue cheese or nothing. If you don’t like it, then you can just hire yourself another waiter, Mister.
Bagwell: (quietly) Mom, don’t blow this for me.
Bagwell’s Mom: Shut up! I know what’s good for you. I’m your manager. (turns back to Snow) So what is it? Are you too good to have my son get you blue-cheese dressing?!
Snow: Uh . . . just give me some fries instead.
Bagwell’s Mom: Okay, fries. (turns to Bagwell) Write that down. And don’t get it wrong! (turns back to Snow) And we better see a good tip out of this, Snow! I’ve got a commission to make.
SCENE: Later that same day at WWF New York. Al sits at the table with a plate in front of him of a half-eaten hamburger and a side of fries drenched in blue-cheese dressing. He is talking to a male applicant who stands in the ring.
Snow: Just to give you an idea as to who is judging you . . . (points to his right at two clean-cut, thirty-something individuals, a man and a woman, dressed in Manson and Creed t-shirts, black slacks and each with their own cell phone and laptop) . . . these two scumbags are from MTV.
MTV Dude and Chick: (in unison) Hey!
Snow: (ignoring their outburst) They’ll be judging you on your vanity, hotheadedness and ability to throw a wrench into the works for any contender that may actually have the ability and attitude to actually win this contest fairly. So I suggest sucking up to them straight away.
(Camera pans stage-right as Snow points to himself)
Snow: I’m Al Snow, of course. (Snow points to his left) The man next to me is Tazz.
Tazz: (arms folded) I’m going to kick your ass so hard that –
Snow: Waitaminute, Tazz. Save it for the finalists.
Tazz: (thinks about Snow’s statement, shakes his head, shrugs, then stares at applicant with intense anger)
(Camera pans from Tazz to the next man, who is Foley. Foley is busy writing on a pad of paper with a pencil, oblivious to his surroundings. He has copies of his books stacked up in front of him.)
Snow: And next to Tazz is Mick Foley. (pause, as Foley continues to write) Mick? Mick? (yells) Mick!
Foley: (looks up at Snow with goofy grin) What?
Snow: I’m introducing you to the contestant. You want to join us?
Foley: Oh. Sorry. I was busy working on my next book. I’m up to page 19,302, where I’m talking about what I had for breakfast this morning. I just wanted to get it down before I lost my train of thought.
Snow: So you’re almost up to date on your life?
Foley: Oh, hell, no. This is just the introduction to the book. (turns to applicant and gives a thumbs up) Hey, don’t forget – Foley Is Good, out in bookstores now. (bends over and starts writing away again)
Snow: Anyway, Mick, Tazz and I will be judging the men today for finalists on the show. To help with the women who are trying out, we have . . .
(Camera pans quick to each person as Snow speaks)
Snow: Jackie . . ..
Jackie: (Smiles, waves, then breaks into tears)
Snow: . . .Chyna . . ..
Chyna: (ignores Al and applicant; leaning back in chair with feet up on table, looking at her layout in Playboy)
Snow: . . . and Jerry Lawler.
Lawler: (enthusiastically pounding on desk) Puppies! Puppies! I want to see Puppies!
SCENE: (Camera cuts to later in the interview. It is a camera-shot from behind as the male contestant stands in the middle of the ring. He is shirtless and is holding his hands behind him as he waits for the judges to ask him further questions. Foley gets up from his chair and moves out of camera range as Snow addresses the contestant.)
Snow: Okay, we would like to get an idea of your athletic ability in the ring.
Male Contestant: (shuffles slightly in anticipation)
Snow: Don’t worry. It’s not going to take too long. Now, Mick Foley will be coming into the ring with a bag that we want you to jump over as often as you can with 30 seconds. (Snow stops as a loud crash is heard off-camera) Mick? Are you okay?
Foley: (medium-shot of Foley coming out of the shadows and into the ring with something in his hand) Sure, Al, sure. Got just the thing right here. (opens a metal folding chair and places it in the center of the ring in front of the contestant)
Snow: Uh . . . Mick? What happened to the bag?
Foley: (looking up at Snow) Hmm? Oh, I thought this would be better. (pulls out a lighter, flicks it twice and moves the flame to the chair, which is suddenly ablaze is reddish-orange flames)
Male Contestant: (wide-eyed)
Foley: (backs up and looks at contestant as he pulls out a stopwatch) Okay . . . (clicks the stopwatch) jump.
Male Contestant: (looks at Mick in grave concern)
Foley: (sudden fury in his voice as he goes into Cactus Jack mode) I said, JUMP!
Male Contestant: (takes a running leap at chair, makes it the first time, tries again and trips over it, catching his pants on fire as he rolls around in the ring, screaming)
Foley: (clicks stopwatch and looks at time) Hmm. (looks at Snow and Tazz) Should that count as one or one and a half?
SCENE: Edited vignette of other contestants trying to jump over the flaming chair. Some tripping, some running away in flames. One tries to run off without jumping, but Foley picks up the flaming chair and bashes them in the back of the head. Finally, Foley sprays one tangled up in the chair with a fire extinguisher.
Foley: Okay. Work it off, work it off.
SCENE: Later at the WWF New York. There is a blackened area on the mat as the camera shows the judges sitting at the table. EMS personnel are seen leaving out of the corner of camera-range. Foley is back to writing his next book.
Tazz: (speaking into microphone) Before we go any further, I’d like to thank Mick for eliminating some of the deadwood from the number of contestants we have to look at today.
Foley: (looking up from pad of paper) Anything to save time. I’ve got another 700 pages to write tonight.
Snow: So we’ve now reduced the number of applicants from 2,043 to (quickly flips through list on table) . . . uh . . . 32. Nice job, Mick.
Tazz: (shouts) Okay, the next piece-of-crap-who-wants-their-ass-handed-to-them can come into the ring.
(Large, heavy-set man comes running to the ring.)
Tazz: (under his breath) Oh my god . . . it’s Fat Albert . . ..
Snow: (off-mic, but clearly audible) Now, let’s give him a chance. You never know if he might have something special to show us.
Foley: If nothing else, maybe he’ll sing a song for you.
Darryl: (climbs the stairs to the ring, bends over to get between ropes, trips and does somersault into the ring; stands up and shadowboxes a little to make it appear that he intentionally rolled into the ring)
(Tazz and Foley look at Snow, who is obviously embarrassed.)
Snow: . . . uh . . . nice . . .. (clears throat) Could you come to the center of the ring and gives us your name.
Darryl: (walks to the center of the ring, but keeps shadowboxing) My name is Darryl.
Snow: Okay, Darryl. Can you . . . can you . . . will you stop with the boxing already!!
Darryl: (stops with a puzzled and hurt look on his face, having no clue as to why Al is angry)
Snow: Okay. Darryl, take off your shirt and flex your muscles for us.
Darryl: (shakes his head in acknowledgement and reaches for his waistline)
(Close-up of judges staring in shock as the sound of clothes hitting the floor can be heard. All groan in unison as some cover up their eyes.)
Jackie: (covers her mouth and runs off as if to throw-up)
Snow: (screaming) Your shirt! Your shirt! I said take off your shirt!!
Darryl: (innocent look of misunderstanding on his face)
Snow: (covering up his eyes) And for the love of God, PLEASE stop flexing your muscles!
SCENE: Later in the show. Camera is behind female applicant as judges look on. Scene cuts in as Jackie is talking to the applicant while Tazz and Foley hold a snarling Chyna back. Lawler sits with his head in his hands, looking down at the table.
Jackie: . . . and that’s why we really can’t consider you as a candidate for this show, Kat.
Chyna: (shouting in the background) Let me at her! I’ll murdurlize her!
Kat: (starts walking off in a huff)
Lawler: (looking up, upset) Aw, now, sweetpea, don’t walk off like –
Kat: (waves a hand at Lawler to stop him) I’m NOT talking to you! (walks off and out of building)
(With the slamming of the door, Jackie’s lip starts quivering. Foley and Tazz move Chyna back to her seat and Foley looks over at Jackie as he sits down in his chair.)
Foley: Jackie? Why are you so upset?
Jackie: I don’t know. It just gets to me sometimes. It just gets to me having to reject these people.
Foley: But . . . that was Kat you just kicked out.
Jackie: (stops to think about what Foley has said) Oh. Yeah. You’re right. (smiling) Okay, let’s bring out the next applicant.
(Stacy, an attractive, redheaded, well-built woman, enters the ring. Tazz, Snow and Foley immediately take interest and smile. Jackie is studying the woman while Chyna breaks pencils in half and Lawler continues to look at the table, depressed.)
Tazz: (notices the depressed Lawler out of the corner of his eyes and nudges Snow and points to Lawler)
Snow: (sighs, then speaks into microphone) Jerry? King? Would you like to start this one?
Lawler: (not looking up) Naw. You go ahead. I’m fine.
Tazz: (off-mike) C’mon, Jerry, get into the swing of things.
Lawler: (still not looking up) I’ll be alright. I just need to think about things right now.
Snow: But, Jerry . . . look. (points out the contestant to Lawler) Puppies.
Lawler: (looks up at the contestant and suddenly does a 180 with his emotions) Alright! This is what I’ve been waiting for. A chance to talk about puppies! What’s your name, little girl?
Stacy: (with Australian accent) I’m Stacy.
Lawler: (smiling) Stacy. What a great name! (lost in thought) Where have I heard that name before? (shakes his head) Anyway, that’s a right attractive accent on you, Stacy. Where are you from?
Lawler: Down-under, huh? I like being down under my—
Snow: (interrupting Lawler) Let’s get started on the interview, okay? So, Stacy –
Lawler: Take off your shirt and flex your muscles for us.
Snow: NO. No. Don’t take off your shirt. Just flex your muscles.
Stacy: (flexes muscles, which are just of average nature for an average person)
Lawler: Look at those puppies bounce!
Tazz: (annoyed at Lawler) Speaking of puppies, will someone muzzle the King?
Jackie: (ignoring the guys) You’ve got the start of a nice build there, Stacy? Tell me, where did you get the work done?
Stacy: (not understanding) Work?
Jackie: Uh, y’know (indicates the chest) . . . those. Where did you get them done?
Stacy: (laughs) Oh! Why I didn’t get anything done. They’re natural. (laughs) Natural puppies.
(All the guys lean forward while Jackie and Chyna lean back in horror. Silence fills the room.)
Jackie: (quietly in shock) Oh my God.
Chyna: OH MY GOD!! (stands up and picks up microphone) How dare you come in here with those, you – you, HIDEOUS FREAK OF NATURE! (points to door) Get out! Get out before I show you what a REAL woman can do!
Stacy: (in shock, runs out of restaurant in tears)
Lawler: Wow! Did you see how those moved in action as she ran –
Snow: Oh, shut up, Lawler. (looks over at Chyna, who is sitting back down; Snow speaks with a heavy edge of sarcasm) Nice going, Joanie.
Chyna: It’s not my fault. How dare she come in there with those . . . those . . . things. (muttering to herself) Pretending she’s a real woman just because she has real boobs . . ..
Jackie: (reaches over to Chyna to try and consul her) It’s okay, it’s okay.
Foley: (turning to Tazz and Snow) Well, I liked her.
Tazz: She certainly wasn’t any worse than anyone else so far.
Snow: Yeah, I can see some potential there.
MTV Dude: (looking at laptop in front of him) Oh, no. She won’t do.
Snow: What are you talking about?
MTV Chick: (typing away at her laptop) Yeah, she’s WA-AAAY too old.
Tazz: (incredulously) What?
MTV Dude: Yup, she’s over the hill.
Foley: Well, she didn’t look THAT old. How old is she? 35? 40?
MTV Chick: She’s an ungodly 27.
Snow: What are you talking about? So she’s 27, who cares? She’ll be good on the show.
MTV Dude: She doesn’t fit into our window of targeted buyers.
Tazz: Neither do you two.
Male and MTV Chick: (in unison) What?!
Foley: Oh, c’mon. You’re both look like you’re over 35.
MTV Chick: H-how dare you say that? We’re young, we’re vital, we’re radical.
Snow: Just because you’re wearing a Marilyn Manson T-shirt doesn’t make you young or radical. I bet you were 27 before you even dated someone.
MTV Chick: (gasps) . . . how did he know . . .?
(Lawler comes up behind the group.)
Lawler: What’s all the whispering about?
Foley: (pointing at the MTV people) They don’t want to use Stacy on the show.
Lawler: Why not? She would be great! She seemed intelligent, had those great puppies, had a great accent, had those puppies, was young –
MTV Dude: Not that young. She’s 27.
Lawler: (ashen-faced) Whoa! 27! Oh, that’s way too old. Waa-ayyy too old. (shivers as he starts walking back to his chair) Oooh! 27! Brrrrr!
Snow: (rubbing his forehead to stop the headache) Okay, okay! Let’s just get this over with!
(Next applicant comes into the ring. It is Bobbie Jo, a thin, blond-haired girl, obviously in her early twenties. She is wearing a matching leopard skin cowboy hat and bikini top. She struts to the center of the ring.)
Snow: (short and to the point; getting fed-up with the whole interview process, he plays with a pencil in his hands in aggravation) Name?
Bobbie Jo: My name is Bobbie Jo and I love my breasts!
(Silence prevails as jaws drop around the judges table. Snow drops the pencil from his hands absentmindedly.)
Snow: . . . Ooooooo-kay . . ..
SCENE: Tazz sits in front of the camera in a medium-shot. He is in another area of the restaurant, high above the ring. In the background the remaining judges can be seen watching an applicant in the ring talking.
Tazz: After the interview and the physical test, we give each contestant a chance to do a promo in the ring. It’s a real endurance test. . . for the judges . . . as most of these jackasses wouldn’t be able to cut a promo even if Terry Funk was shoved up their asses.
(Scene cuts to man in ring.)
Male Contestant #2: I hunt by night. I sense the blood of my victims! I am the wolfman! I am the man without fear! AAWWWOOOOOOOO--
(The man’s howling is cut short by Tazz stepping into camera-range and punching him in the mouth. The contestant falls to the mat unconscious.)
Tazz: Now you’re the man without teeth.
(Scene cuts back to Tazz above the ring.)
Tazz: It has been a grueling experience. But we did have a few laughs with the applicants as well.
(Scene cuts to another man in the ring finishing up his promo.)
Male Contestant #3: . . . and I just want to thank you for the opportunity of having to wait for hours and hours on end in a hot little room with 200 other contestants. (Puts down microphone).
(Camera cuts to Tazz, who is laughing.)
Tazz: That was really funny.
(Snow and Foley look at each other, confused.)
Tazz: (wiping tear away from eye) Oh . . . that was good. Let me shake the hand of the man who came up with such a great promo.
(Tazz stands up and moves around the table, going out of camera-range with his hand outstretched. Snow and Foley partially stand-up, calling after Tazz.)
Snow and Foley: (intermixed talking of the two) Uh, Tazz. You may just want to cool down a little . . . Tazz . . . TAZZ!
Foley: Oh, God. (looks at applicant) Run!
(Off-camera, voices can be heard as Snow and Foley look on in concern. Suddenly, a series of loud crashes and screams fill the air as Snow and Foley flinch to each new sound.)
Tazz: (heard off and on during the commotion, but still out of camera-range) . . . teach you some [BLEEP] respect, you [BLEEP] . . . I’d tear you a new [BLEEP] but you’ve already learned how to talk out of your second one . . ..
Snow and Foley: (one final flinch after the last crash; they speak in unison) Oooohhhhhh . . ..
(Tazz comes back to table and sits down, completely normal and unconcerned. Snow and Foley sit down as well.)
(Scene cuts back to Tazz above the ring.)
Tazz: (chuckling) Yeah, we had fun today.
SCENE: Backstage. The judges sit around a round table with Big John standing at the head of the table next to a large board on an easel. Polaroids of the contestants are on the table, with Big John pinning the 23rd Polaroid to the board.
Big John: Okay, so that’s Shadrick.
Jackie: (claps her hands and raised them in victory) Whoo-hoo! A fine piece of – (Jackie stops as everyone looks at her; she puts her hands down) Sorry. It’s been a long day.
Big John: (picking up photo from table) Next is Bobbie Jo.
MTV Dude: Excellent choice!
MTV Chick: I agree!
Snow: (astonished) What are you talking about? She was lousy in the physical test, couldn’t remember where she lived and said that she only wanted to do the show so she could get into Playboy.
MTV Dude: But she’s young and willing to go half-naked if necessary for ratings!
MTV Chick: She can be a presenter at the Music Video Awards!
MTV Dude: Wooo! Excellent idea, dude! (raises hand for high-five)
MTV Chick: Uh, I’m not a dude.
MTV Dude: (quietly, hand still up in the air) Just play along, Margaret.
MTV Chick: Oh . . . (awkwardly puts up hand for high-five) uh . . . woooo.
Snow: (ignoring the high-five’ing MTV people and looking over at Chyna) Joanie, I’m sure you’re not in favor of Bobbie Jo, right?
Chyna: (talking on cell phone and ignoring Snow) No . . . no . . . I said I wanted the part in Wonder Woman, not Bionic Woman. . . Did you ever see the Bionic Woman? . . . That girl was a stick! . . . I can’t play a stick, I have to play a real woman . . . At least Lynda Carter looked a little like a real woman. I’ll just bump it up a few notches to show the next stage of female evolution . . .Are you laughing? . . . You better not be laughing, Bill, or I’ll throw you through a window!
Chyna: (looks over at Snow, covers up mouthpiece of cell phone looking annoyed) What?
Snow: Do you want Bobbie Jo?
Chyna: Sure, fine. Whatever. If she wants to be in Playboy she’ll have to get a boob-job anyway, so she’s okay in my book. (turns back to phone) . . . Bill, what about that offer to appear in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with Piper?
Tazz: Whatever, let’s just get this damn thing over with!
Foley: (looks up from writing) Huh? Oh, I’m sorry, I lost interest in her interview when she started displaying her talents by reciting the alphabet, so I started writing again. I don’t know. Whatever the group wants to do.
Jackie: (feeling pressured to answer, tears start welling up in her eyes)
Snow: Okay, okay. No problem, Jackie. (turns to Lawler, who has a big smile on his face, just anticipating Snow asking him) Uh . . . nevermind. (turns back to Big John, resigned to the fate in store) Okay, put her up there, but you better put Daniel up there as well.
Tazz: I agree. Daniel showed a lot of talent out there and he might be able to make it if he works at it.
Foley: I agree too. He’s as good if not better than most of the picks up there already.
Jackie: He’s a good choice.
Big John: Sounds good. (puts Polaroid of Daniel to put on board)
MTV Dude: Whoa! Where’s Darryl?
MTV Chick: Yeah, we need Darryl in the show.
Tazz: What? That [BLEEP] was a joke.
MTV Dude: We don’t care! We need conflict in the house. Nobody’s going to be watching this show for the wrestling. They want to see people fight!
Big John: We only have room for 25 finalists. Someone would have to come off the board to fit him in.
MTV Dude: Okay, that’s simple. Take Daniel off.
Snow: You are NOT going to take Daniel off to put Darryl on. That’s ridiculous!
Tazz: Oh, forget it, Al. Let it go. (Tazz leans over to Snow and whispers) At least we’ll know someone we can cut straight away. It’s a no-brainer.
Snow: Okay, okay.
Big John: And that’s our 25 finalists. Now we just need to whittle it down to 13.
SCENE: Next day at restaurant. All 25 Finalists are waiting by the stage in nervous anticipation. Finally, Stephanie comes out to greet the crowd. Her hair seems to be meshed to the side of her head as if she had “morning hair.”
Stephanie: Well, you are our 25 lucky finalists for the Tough Enough program. As you may know, we were originally going to split you all off today and have you all do on-camera interviews in order to get a better feeling of what you are like. Instead, we decided to let you all fight to the death for it.
(Tazz, Jackie and Snow start handing out chains, 2X4’s, steel chairs and other weapons to the speechless finalists. Stephanie brings out four chairs and sets them up on the stage. Tazz, Jackie and Snow return to the stage and sit down with Stephanie, facing the startled crowd.)
Stephanie: Okay, the final 13 still standing will be in the show. (claps her hands and shouts) Get to it!
(A couple of the finalists start bashing away at others and soon the whole room is in chaos. Snow pulls out a cooler, opens it and tosses a beer to each person on stage.)
Snow: (opens beer and leans back in chair; he turns to Tazz and sighs) Y’know. This makes it all worthwhile.
(They sip their beers as the camera pulls back to show the fighting continuing below.)
SCENE: 12 of the 13 final contestants are shown sitting bruised and beaten outside of the house. A Hummer pulls up and Big John gets out.
Announcer: Next week on Tough Enough...
Big John: Are all of you here?
Contestants: (randomly) Tom’s not here. . . Tom isn’t here yet . . ..
Big John: Oh, well, Tom won’t be joining us today. So to replace him, we have Greg.
Greg: (gets out of car and comes towards the group)
Josh: (comes up to Greg) Glad you could make it, Greg! But what happened to Tom?
Greg: It was weird. He was heading back to the hotel last night and got hit by a car. He’s at the hospital with a couple of broken legs and a broken arm.
Josh: Wow! That’s really unlucky. That car must have hit him kinda hard.
Greg: Well, I had to back up a couple of times.
Greg: Er . . . Say, what does the house look like?
(Josh and Greg head towards house as the camera fades out.)
Dale Sherman is the author of several music biographies including his most recent book, 20th Century Rock and Roll: Women in Rock, which is available now. He can be reached at email@example.com.