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.
    • An interpretation of Michelle not being eliminated first in Season 5 could be that she had prior training and would possibly be ready to go after a few months in FCW - and putting her in the bottom three was a Break the Haughty moment to get her to work off her ring rust. Obviously Austin couldn't have foreseen Michelle opting to leave to be with her daughter.
  • 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 had absolutely nothing to do with being a WWE superstar. Highlights include cheerleading, waiting on tables while wearing roller skates, getting chased by attack dogs, and playing basketball against a team of midgets. Then again, as WWE became more slapstick and random in its promos and gimmicks, it does make some sense.
  • 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.
    • Amanda, who was saved from elimination despite placing in the bottom three by the judges and coming dead last in fan voting, leading to the elimination of fan preferred contestant Mada.
  • 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 was this 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.
    • Mada, no doubt owed to his resemblance to Tomasso Ciampa.
  • 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 in one of the earlier episodes of Season 5 where he splashed 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.
    • The late night practice sessions between Bill and Rima, where Bill is rather dismissive towards Rima's attempts to get better. After the show wrapped, Rima revealed she had actually been nursing a broken rib at the time.
  • 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?
    • Stone Cold and Booker T working together. This is especially notable considering their feud, which involved the infamous supermarket brawl.
    • The Miz's entire journey can be seen as this. He went from being "that guy that was on The Real World" in Season 4, to replacing Hulk Hogan as judge on the show eleven years later.
  • 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 as 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.
  • 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, such as those for the NWA remnants like Vendetta Pro.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Tazz 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.
    • 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 made Luke infuriating was that he's a selfish prick who's extremely annoying. However, he also happened to be the single most talented competitor of Season 5, and therefore really couldn't be called a Creator's Pet or an Elimination Houdini.
      • Christina got some hate her way after causing Ivelisse to get injured after a botched leap frog. Likewise people were annoyed that the trainers seemed to coddle her when she herself got injured - when Ivelisse had been told to "suck it up" - as well as AJ being entirely blamed for Christina getting injured.
    • The Miz became this in Season 6 when he went from host to judge after the firing and blacklist of Hulk Hogan, namely for saving Amanda two weeks in a row (once officially, the other through mind games with the other judges) specifically because she's hot. This despite (a) The Miz being supposedly Happily Married to former WWE Diva Maryse, and (b) the WWE roster, and even the Tough Enough cast, having no shortage of attractive women with highly varied levels of skill and experience. What made it even worse was the two people most likely screwed by The Miz's smitten antics were Mada, who prior to that episode's challenge was probably the frontrunner among the men, and Chelsea, who was the most popular remaining woman not named Sara Lee and thus could've stood more of a chance against Sara in the final running than Amanda did.
  • 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 tagline.
    • Within a few episodes, people were already calling Season 6 the worst of the lot. Paige was seen as an insufferable judge who was hypocritical, most of the challenges were considered 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). Lucha Underground would eventually be thankful for the learning experience.
    • 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." A few weeks after Season 6 ended, Booker T reiterated that he disagreed with Patrick's elimination.
    • Mada's elimination was also a shock, especially since he seemed to be one of the frontrunners prior to this.
    • Giorgia's elimination in Season 6 was seen as this on this women's side. Like Patrick's elimination, Booker T disagreed with it feeling that she was the best of the female contestants.
  • Smurfette Breakout: In Season 5, which featured five female contestants against eleven males, Ariane, Christina, and Ivelisse got signed while Andy was released a year later. Ariane became the first to debut on TV (as Cameron, one of Brodus Clay's dancers) while Ivelisse became the first to debut in a wrestling role (for the WWE version of FCW, then its replacement, NXT).
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • No lesser a mind than Mick Foley pointed out the negative implications behind Amanda accusing Sara Lee of being a "ring rat". Specifically how low it was of her to resort to Slut-Shaming in an attempt to sway fan votes. He also noted how bad it was that none of the judges called Amanda out for her bullying. He later wrote a retraction after being told that it was Kayfabe and that Amanda is actually a Mean Character, Nice Actor, though he still said she shouldn't have resorted to Slut-Shaming to get Cheap Heat.
  • 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.
    • In January 2016, Josh, the male winner of Season 6, referred to the Social Outcasts (Heath Slater, Curtis Axel, Bo Dallas, and Adam Rose) as #SocialJobbers in a deleted tweet. As a result, he received major heat from both fans and other wrestlers for being disrespectful.
  • 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.
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