YMMV: WWE Tough Enough

  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • One way to interpret Stone Cold eliminating Ariane first is that he definitely saw potential character and athleticism wise but chose to cut her because she had no training - and would be better off going at her own pace in developmental, as opposed to struggling to keep up on the show (and would be sent to developmental regardless, as Andy was when he won). Another possibility is that he knew Ariane had potential but wanted to Break the Haughty and make her work for her spot.
    • The decision to give the win to Andy instead of Luke could be this as well. Given Luke's Smug Snake nature, it's likely they intended to make him want to work hard for his spot, knowing he would probably be even more cocky if he won the contest. Of course in this respect, it failed with Luke but succeeded with Ariane.
  • Author's Saving Throw: The winners of Season 3 could be seen as this. Given that in Season 2 they broke their "One male winner, one female winner" tradition and picked two females instead, they decided to go with two male winners to even it up.
  • Base Breaker: ZZ from Season 6. He's very popular with the WWE Universe, having easily survived multiple elimination votes. On the other hand, he's also despised for being very out of shape, to the point that he's last in nearly every physical challenge and had shown no improvement in that regard since the competition started. It didn't help that he's avoided elimination over competitors such as Patrick and Mada.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Some of the weekly challenges really have absolutely nothing to do with being a WWE superstar. Highlights include cheerleading, waiting on tables wearing rollerskates, getting chased by attack dogs and playing basketball against a team of midgets.
  • Creator's Pet: Andy for some. The trainers seemed to show selective favoritism when it came to him, giving him a free pass in places where others wouldn't get one.
  • Crowning Moment of Funny:
    • Stone Cold to Ryan: "Your hairdo is pissing me off."
    • During the running-the-ropes drill, Jeremiah's prosthetic two front teeth came out. The trainers stared at them in surprise when they realized just what they were. To add to the hilarity, Bill DeMott initially thought they were his:
      Stone Cold: Get your teeth out of my ring.
    • During the Tough Enough finale in front of the Raw audience, while Bill DeMott was talking.
      Audience Member: "Thank you for freshening up tonight!"
      DeMott: "You're welcome!"
    • "My favorite match is Melina vs Alicia Fox." Wrestling fans who weren't exploding in rage were probably on the ground laughing when they heard this.
    • From the highlight reel on the last episode of Season 3: Scott slapping Ivory's butt while she is lying face down a beach chair saying "Say my name."
  • Elimination Houdini:
    • Stone Cold made a point to defy this in the case of both Rima and Ryan. In Rima's case, she would have been in the bottom three for the third week in a row so he eliminated her without picking two others for the bottom three. Same case with Ryan in the next episode.
    • ZZ from Season 6. He was in the Bottom 3 more than anyone, but the WWE Universe always saved him. He even made to the final four where he lost to Josh.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: For Season 5, Andy, Martin, and Jeremiah stood out, mostly for being the most direct competition to Smug Snake Scrappy Luke. Christina for the girls, once she upped her game. Just to give you an idea of how popular Andy had gotten and how hated Luke was, during the final elimination in front of a live Raw, the entire arena was cheering Andy over Luke.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Bill DeMott's Training from Hell shtick, namely the penchant for pushing guys extra harsh, disrespecting the trainees via derisive nicknames, etc., until they earn his respect, is definitely viewed as this in light of the allegations surrounding his former role as head trainer of NXT which suggest that his Tough Enough persona was him turned way down.
    • Also notable is the part from one of the earlier episodes where he splashes Ivelisse in the corner. Special attention is drawn to how painful it was for her. In 2015, Ivelisse came out and said that while she was in developmental, she was released for speaking up about DeMott and his treatment. Ivelisse claims that she was made an example of.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Stone Cold and Bill DeMott working together; Austin famously ripped apart DeMott's Hugh Morrus moniker during his heel run in 2001, which was also the first time he did the WHAT? phrase.
    Austin: Your name is Hugh Morris...What? Your name is Hugh Morris...What?. Is that funny? Is that humorous?
    • Austin's feud with Booker T, which involved the infamous supermarket brawl.
  • Narm/Tastes Like Diabetes: Ariane's crocodile tears saying she'd given up her job and home to be on the show. Stone Cold had a similar reaction to the fans'.
  • Older than You Think: Season 4 (a.k.a. the $1,000,000 Tough Enough) was mostly held at SmackDown! tapings in front of a live audience where contestants would take part in challenges (some mundane as dressing up and seducing Hardcore Holly) before asking fans to vote for them online. Add the Fleeting Demographic Rule, and you pretty much have the initial version of NXT. Ironically, both featured Ryan Reeves (a.k.a. Skip Sheffield).
  • Replacement Scrappy: Bill DeMott replacing Al Snow as the trainer for Season 5.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap:
    • Needless to say there was an outrage when Ariane announced she'd been signed when the first episode aired. However she's gotten quite a few fans for herself from people who have seen her FCW work or else just like what she's doing on TV.
    • Once Eric was eliminated from the show he buckled down and worked hard to improve his conditioning and got good reviews for a lot of his matches.
  • Tear Jerker: Martin's elimination. Martin was consistently a good performer and was well liked by the trainers. He came in on crutches saying that the doctors wouldn't allow him to continue. He would have gone through the show with a fractured ankle if the doctors had let him. Stone Cold gave him the distinction of hanging his own belt up, rather than taking it from him.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Rima, Mickael and Luke are notable in Season 5:
      • Rima was doomed to this role from the beginning, being a former model who got on the show while Annie Social, Roxie Cotton, Brittney Savage, Sara Del Rey and Mercedes Martinez were turned down.
      • What makes Luke infuriating is that he's a selfish prick who's extremely annoying... but also happens to be the single most talented competitor of Season 5, and therefore really can't be called a Creator's Pet or an Elimination Houdini.
      • Christina as well due to perceived coddling from the part of the trainers and preferential treatment from trainers despite not doing all that well in anything (Ivelisse being told to "suck it up" and tough it out through a sprained knee while Christina's sprained ankle was treated as a big deal is probably the biggest example). Her timing always seemed off which would often result in botched moves that tended to get blamed on who she was with (usually AJ) instead of her and in at least one instance (Ivelisse) actively led to injuring someone else which later caused that person to be eliminated while Christina herself suffered no backlash.
    • Out of all the Season 6 judges, Paige's the most despised, as many fans believe that her criticisms were very hypocritical.
    • Taz was a scrappy for the first season, due to his dickish attitude in contrast to the other WWE personnel, Al Snow, Jacqueline, Tori etc., who were seen as stern but fair.
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • The second season got an induction by WrestleCrap. The finale, where they did an abrupt swerve and announced two female winners instead of one male and one female, is only the least of it. In most of the confessionals, Al Snow was constantly talking about how badly the training was going, to the point where "these kids aren't ready" should have been the show's tag line.
    • Within a few episodes, people were already calling the sixth season the worst of the lot. Paige being an insufferable judge, most of the challenges being silly, and the eliminations were decided by public vote, meaning that some of the more useless contestants would be saved over the talented ones (see below).
  • Shocking Elimination:
    • Matt Cross in Season 5 considering he had nine years of wrestling experience and watching one of his matches will show that he would have been a great addition to the roster. Unfortunately, Matt choked when he was put on the spot to show his experience, and was swiftly eliminated for it (see Epic Fail).
    • Patrick's elimination in Season 6 was widely considered to be a huge shocker. So much so that the coaches disagreed with the elimination. Mick Foley went one step further and tweeted that he was done watching the show as was becoming more of "a popularity contest."
    • Mada's elimination was also a shock, especially since he seemed to be one of the frontrunners prior to this.
  • Smurfette Breakout: In Season 5, which featured five female contestants against eleven males, Arianne, Christina, and Ivelisse got signed while Andy was released a year later. Arianne became the first to debut on TV (as one of Brodus Clay's dancers) while Ivelisse became the first to debut in a wrestling role (on NXT).
  • Unfortunate Implications: When Ariane (or Cameron) was a guest on Talk Is Jericho, the bad implications about her elimination were noted - especially the undercurrent of sexism and misogyny. Brie Bella also mentioned the reactions of the Divas in the locker room when the episode aired, questioning why someone liking one of their matches is supposedly an indicator that Ariane didn't have passion for wrestling.note  Ivelisse herself also questioned the reasoning in an interview with Diva Dirt - especially the decision to eliminate Ariane instead of Michelle, who had told everyone she auditioned for four other reality shows. This is emphasised by Ariane working hard in developmental and proving to be a good character, while Michelle ended up quitting the show after three weeks.
  • What an Idiot:
    • Jake and Kenny, the male finalists from Season 2. After it was announced that Linda and Jackie were the winners instead of one male and one female, they promptly complained about it and subsequently shot their chances of being signed by the WWE. Luckily for Kenny, Ring of Honor and TNA both went on to like him.
    • Alex from Season 6 claimed that "knowledge didn't mean anything" when it came to wrestling. While he meant to say that knowledge about the WWE didn't translate to skill in the ring, the way he worded it made him sound very ignorant about the business, and he wound up getting eliminated because of it.
  • The Woobie:
    • Any of the contestants that have to leave due to injury.
    • Eric, whose severely mentally handicapped brother was his prime motivation for competing in Tough Enough.