|Tough Enough Interview:
Feelings, Finalists, Criticism, Tazz/Snow Posted by Ray Kim on September 27, 2001 at 12:51:19: The following interview with John of Tough Enough comes from Wrestling Guys.com:
On if he was surprised on who the final five turned out to be: "I think that a lot of people looking at the surface though Jason, who was chiseled like granite and really wanted and looked like the kind of person that could be a WWF Superstar would probably be the favorite. It didn't turn out that way and a lot of things surprised me on who we were left with."
Does he believe that Victoria quit when she did because Bobbi Jo quit at the same time thus making it easier for her to leave? "I think that's a good way to look at it. I knew there was no way Bobbi Jo was going to stay. Victoria surprised me. That shows you how tough this business is. Here she is, a stuntwoman who has been involved in a lot of different stunts (like) going through broken glass and fires and yet she couldn't take two weeks of learning how to be a professional wrestler. Did (Victoria quitting when she did) have to do with those two being together? Probably. But in the end (Victoria) wasn't going to make it. She didn't have the make-up to come this far." Are there are any plans to try and work with the three finalists that don't win a contract?
"Originally there was only going to be one male and one female and they would be the only ones that got contracts and that's the way we stand right now. Although I honestly believe, and in talking with our talent people they believe also, that all five of these people have a future in this business. "
The difficulty of the decision making process: "It was a real tough decision. With Josh, Maven and Chris it came down to who do we think has all of the ingredients to be a WWF Superstar and it was a very difficult decision to make and with the girls it was just as difficult. But in talking with Jim Ross and the talent people (they believe) all of these five, after what they've went through, has what it takes to be in this business."
On Tough Enough 2:
"Tough Enough 2 auditions are now until October 5 and we are accepting tapes. The auditions themselves will be held in Las Vegas. We're still working out the logistics of the location but we are committed to have it in Las Vegas. It will be three days towards the end of October. It'll be somewhat the same type of thing we did with the first one with the format and the physical challenges and things of that nature. The show itself will begin shooting the first week of November at a yet-to-be-determined site. Tough Enough 2 will be on the air most likely in the first week of March." John confirms he will be the producer of the Tough Enough 2 as well. What he thinks of the criticism that the winners of the contract will not have earned their spot in the WWF like others that worked for years to get a contract:
"Maven said it best in that he knows they have some dues to pay. Do I think they have earned it? Absolutely. These five went through the toughest Tazz could give them. The toughest that Al Snow could give them. The toughest that Jackie could give them. I honestly believe they earned it. No they didn't put in the years. They did not put in the time that a lot of guys on the independent circuit have put in. But they've been tested by Tazz and Al and I can guaran-damn-tee you that (those trainers) are not going to let those five walk out of there with (the trainers) reputations on the line if they have demonstrated that they are not tough enough. In the beginning, a lot of wrestlers questioned Al and Tazz and Jackie and said 'Hold our reputation out there and make sure these guys earn it.' As the producer of the show I hope that we captured some of that.."
Did you make the training and challenges any easier when so many people dropped out so early?
"The MTV people were ready to jump off a bridge a couple of times. I dealt with them every hour of every day and they were very, very concerned that we were not going to have a show. A quote from the Executive Producer of MTV was 'I'm really afraid the show is not going to happen the way things are going.' I did not have that same fear because I knew we had a solid group of people that were not going to give up. I didn't know it was going to be these five, but I knew we would have some people stick it out. The original plan stayed from beginning to end and it was the program that Al, Tazz, Jackie and myself designed and whoever made it through it would be in the finals. I was prepared for a lot of things that happen but it is a reality based show and (Victoria & Bobbi Jo) caught me off guard. But I think that's the great thing about this show. It shows a little bit about how difficult this business is and some people think it's fake and it's a joke and that anybody can do it or that it's a trampoline they are jumping on and I hope again as the producer we were able to demonstrate that these guys go out there and give their bodies, hearts and souls to this business and it's not a walk in the park."
On the mental challenge being the hardest part of the contest: "(The five finalists) will be the first ones to tell you that physically it is incredibly demanding but the mental aspect of what they went through is something I couldn't go through myself to be honest with you."
On the upcoming video release:
"A box set coming out you'll hear more about on the season finale and there's a behind the scenes /bloopers reel type thing. All the Darryl fans out there will get a real kick out of it!" The show closes with John joking about giving up his house again for "TE2" and saying the WWF puts him up in "a little shack".