|Tough Enough pre-show webcast
by Kevin Gregg-Wrestling Observer
WWF Tough Enough: The Web-Cast Report - 9/26/01
Kevin Kelly, Al Snow and the Tough Enough finalists are at the studio in Stamford, Connecticut and it's a special webcast from WWFToughEnough.com! Kevin says that they'll be going over emails, and talk to the finalists about how this has changed their lives. Kevin asks Al to sum up what they have really gone through and how have they progressed from point A until now? Al Snow says that they literally started from nothing. Never stepping foot into the ring, and Al tried to create the ability in them to work a match, to where you would think that they have been performing for a couple of years when they only trained for 9-12 weeks. Kevin asks Al Snow if he's pleased with the way that things have been going, and Al Snow says that he's very pleased, but he can't wait for this to end! They are great in the ring, but out of the ring...Kevin and Al Snow laugh. Kevin says that a lot of people are pointing to Maven as a favorite. It's a sizable advantage in the polls, but that's not going to effect the final outcome. How does that make Maven feel, that the fans are behind him?
Maven says that it makes him feel good that he's a fan favorite and he learned after week one, he learned not to check the sites, because he used to check the sites and they said that Maven was cocky. Kevin says that the girls seem to pair themselves down really quickly. They stuck it out, and a lot of the Internet sites have pointed towards Maven as the favorite for the males, but there's no clear favorite for the females. Taylor says that she's nervous. This probably goes for all of them, but it goes for Nidia and Taylor as well. No one sticks out as being a favorite. She and Nidia compliment each other well in the ring. They learn and work well with each other. Kevin asks Nidia how she will feel if Taylor's name is chosen. Nidia says that she'll be sad, but she would be happy for Taylor. Kevin says that a lot of people have said that Josh works so hard in there, and he just has this unique flair about him, but he's the smallest one. How has he been able to over come that within his own mind? How can he make sure that he sets himself apart? Josh says that being that he's been here for the whole 9 weeks, that proves that he's Tough Enough to win the contract.
Kevin says that Chris is the biggest of all of the guys, and he asks Chris if he knew that he has this, hands down. Chris says absolutely not. He saw Jason, Greg, Darryl and the others. Everyone has their advantages, but size doesn't make you the best candidate at all. Al says that it's still anybody's race. Each one of these guys has a certain aspect that the WWF is looking for. There's no definitive mold that each person fits. They have their own strengths and weaknesses, but they have enough of their own strengths that it's hard to choose just one person. The Internet may favor Maven, but it could just as easily come down to Josh, Chris or Maven. It's that difficult of a decision to make. It's going to be interesting to see who ends up getting it. Kevin asks Al how many people are going to be influential in the decision and Al says that he doesn't know. Kevin says that they had the opportunity to meet with some WWF Superstars, and Kevin asks Maven who was the favorite for him? Maven says that all of them stuck out in his mind, because these are the people that they see on a daily, weekly basis.
Meeting Triple H was life altering. When Austin came by and hung out, and they went to Chicago and ate with all of the wrestlers, it was unbelievable. Kevin says that the WWF Superstars played a large role in shaping the cast. Kevin goes over an email question, and it asks which ever one of them makes it, when you are in the back with the other wrestlers, will you be afraid of not getting the right respect, because you were 'given' a contract? Maven says that's a fear that you have to have. In wrestling, there's something called paying dues. They are getting around a lot of that, but they are going to have a lot of dues to pay. They've been told since day one that some people are going to be upset about the opportunity they were given. If this is something that you want bad enough, you'll take a few licks and deal with it. Kevin asks Nidia which Superstars have been most influential for her and Nidia says of course, Jeff Hardy. Over all, Kurt Angle, just because she can relate to him. He had his tough time with wrestling, and it gave her some hope. Kevin goes over another email, and it asks what or who inspired you to audition to become a WWF Superstar?
Kevin asked Josh and Josh says that it's not just being a part of Tough Enough. It's a part of being the WWF. Who inspired him? Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Al Snow, Avatar, you can go down the list of great Superstars in the past, and just watching them growing up, these are the Superstars, larger than life people who you want to be like growing up. Kevin jokes with Al Snow, about him being pissed at what Josh said. Al went with it, and Kevin asks Taylor what she's going to do if she doesn't win. Taylor says that you have to prepare yourself for not winning. She's going to take whatever opportunities are available, because of this whole experience. She'd love to continue to wrestle. She has her foot in the door, and she's going to continue. Kevin asks who has an agent? None of them seemed to have one, and Kevin says that many who get involved in the reality shows have an agent, because they have goals in Hollywood. Kevin asks Maven what happens if he doesn't win? Maven says that they weren't coming into this for immediate wealth. They didn't come into it for movie star status. All five of them generally want to be in the WWF. If Maven doesn't win, he'd like to think that his time in the WWF would come some day. Obviously, that wouldn't be immediately. Who knows what will happen 6 months to a year from now. Another email question: Any regrets going through the competition? Chris says that he has none. Every day, he gives his best and he was as prepared as he could be, and he doesn't have any regrets. Taylor says no, they did the best that they could. It was very hard to make it through Tough Enough. Kevin asks if the cameras on them all of the time provided moments of regret? Chris and Taylor said no, and Josh says that he has no regrets, either. Kevin says that Al has regrets of being here. Al said to be honest, he's gotten to do a lot of cool things in this business, but this is one that he's most proud of. He's been a great experience, and thank God it's over. Nidia says that there's no regrets. She did the best she could with what she has. Maven says absolutely not. Kevin refers to Chris as the Career Killer and the Tough Enough finalists corrected him, telling him that it was the other Chris. Kevin then sets up a video from Tough Enough, and it's from the circle game when Chris lost the bet and he had to walk around as a Harvard representative, and he had to say that he's Yale's bitch.
Al says that he went out of his way to find every person he could for Chris to greet and tell Harvard sucks. Kevin asks Chris if he's had any heat from his friends and Chris says that the Coach told him that he's got a lot of nerves to show his face around here. Chris says that he didn't have a choice, and the Coach told him that you always have a choice. Kevin asks Maven who he thinks should win if he doesn't? Maven jokes and says Darryl. If he doesn't win, he would pick Josh. He's the best wrestler. He's done things in the ring that none of them have done, and it would take Maven years to even attempt it. Kevin asks Nidia if she doesn't win, who does she thinks should win? Nidia says that she's going to have to go with Taylor! Kevin asks Chris who he thinks should win, if he doesn't win. Chris says that he's not going to go there. He thinks they both have earned it if they win, and he would be happy for them. Josh says that if they want somebody big, they'll pick Chris. If they want somebody with looks, charisma and the entertainment value, they'll pick Maven. Kevin tells Josh that he just buried both guys, by saying that Chris is ugly and Maven is small. Maven says that he thinks that they all bring something to the ring and they are bringing these qualities in and out of the ring. Kevin asks about the idea of living amongst guys and girls in a coed house. What was that like? Difficult? Nidia says that she doesn't remember the first two weeks. There was so many people in that house, with the camera crew. She didn't even know that Josh was in there until week two! Kevin asks Taylor about it, and Taylor says that some of the guys are complete slobs. Eggs are a major problem, especially when you had a total of 3 pots in the house. The kitchen was a disaster. Being able to cook food in a clean environment was a challenge. Al asked her if she means that Darryl is a slob?! Taylor says that he had that smell problem going on. Kevin asks Josh to describe Darryl in one sentence. Josh says tremendous? Really bad? He doesn't know. Sleeping in that room was hot and it smelled bad. It was easier to sleep on top of blankets on the hard wood floor. Kevin asks Taylor for some thoughts on Darryl. Taylor says that he has this coming for him. He's a big bafoon. Blabbering idiot. Chris jokes that he and Darryl were close. He didn't like Darryl very much, but Chris isn't the greatest guy in the world.
Maven says that Darryl came into the house with preconceived ideas of what he thought he was and he quickly was brought down to reality. Nidia says that he was helpful. If she wanted to take a nap, she'd ask Darryl to tell her a story! Al Snow says that there's something that he has to do is grow up. It's time to be an adult and not run around and live your life in the past, or the supposed past. Kevin says isn't it so funny that someone who isn't around anymore, everybody still asks about him. Al says that people still talk about him. They hated him. He's a good kid, and he had a good heart, but what we saw on Tough Enough was really him. After Darryl got cut, people always asked if that's the way Darryl really was. Al jokes and says the next show will be called Darryl Enough. Kevin asks Taylor who she thinks should win, out of the guys. Taylor says that she thought about this a lot. A few months ago, she thought that Josh should win it. He knows a lot about wrestling, but now that she thinks about it later on, Josh is the high flyer, but Maven has that look about him and he's very charismatic. Chris is a big guy and a great wrestler. It's 33% for all of them. Kevin says welcome to Cop Out Enough.
Kevin then turned to Nidia and asked her who she thinks should win. Nidia says that they all bring something. Put them all together and we have a winner. Al Snow says that he's been saying that for months. If you combine all three of them into one person, which they probably tried in their hotel room, he would be the obvious one. The guys are even, and with the girls, you could literally flip a coin. Al still doesn't know who is going to win. Kevin says that the announcement of who is going to win their WWF contracts will be tomorrow night at 10pm EST on WWF Tough Enough, live on MTV. During the filming of Tough Enough, the contestants went to a Live Smackdown!, and Josh says that it was his first WWF event. After showing the clips, Kevin asks Josh how did being at ringside put this whole experience into perspective? Josh says that it was unbelievable. To go to a live show and seeing it put together and watching them go out there and do what they do best in front of the crowd, that's what makes you want to do it. Kevin says that Taylor has seen a little bit of everything, how did that night shape her? Taylor says that night was very inspirational. As hard as Tough Enough was, at times, you would forget why you were doing this. To go to a live show, that sparks up your interest.
Kevin says that Chris is still sporting a little bit of a shiner, from saying hi to the ring post, over all, what was the worst injury they got? Maven says that he chipped a bone in his elbow. All summer, he's had it drained. 3 or 4 times already. It's giving him problems, but they knew going into it that this was about pain, and they don't call it Tough Enough for nothing. Chris has ice on his body all of the time and Josh is always limping around. Al asks what was it like from what he expected from the reality? Maven says that the reality hit him the morning that it took him 5 legit minutes to walk to the shower. After 3 weeks, it took him 5 minutes to get to the shower, and then he was thinking that they had to get back in the ring and do the same thing. It was only Tuesday and they had the rest of the week. Nidia says that she woke up one morning because she was in so much pain. She laid in bed, and asked herself what would be more painful, laying in the bed or getting some aspirin? Chris says that it was a lot like football, but that only lasted 2 weeks. Tough Enough was 9 weeks, and Al asks how it was different from what he expected.
Chris says that he knew that he'd be beat up, and Kevin asks Chris if he thinks they turned it up or took it easy on him. Chris says that they weren't excessively cruel to them, but they weren't soft at all. Taylor says that the first week was definitely a big wake up call. Watching wrestling, they make it look so easy. The worst thing by far was learning how to take the back bump. That becomes second nature later on. It's also the emotional part that hurts, too. You are learning how to do stuff and guys like Tazz and Triple H are yelling at them. Josh says that it's not ballet. He knew it was going to hurt, but he didn't know it was going to hurt half as bad. The rings aren't as soft as people think when they watch TV. Al says the obvious thing is the physical part of it, but what about the mental part of it? How was that different from their expectations? Maven says that he had no clue what so ever that working and performing a match was as mentally challenging as it came to be. Their bodies became conditioned to the bumps, but that's when the mental aspects kicked in. Al told them that they have 10 minutes to put a 6 minute match together and it had to be good, because Al would be watching it. He never knew that it would be as hard as it was and is.
Nidia says that you get tired and make up excuses, and you gotta suck it up and do the best you can. Kevin asks Nidia if she was afraid to show injury or show if something stung? Was she afraid that since all eyes would be on her, act like it's not hurt? Nidia says that everybody was getting hurt, and you gotta suck it up and keep going. Josh says that's the thing about the constant threat of being cut. You could be going home tomorrow and that was always weighing heavily on your mind. Josh says that they don't have any idea what they are looking for in a winner. Taylor says that what wasn't shown on TV is that they began training at Trax at 9:30 in the morning and they don't get back until 9 at night. Having to wake up and do it all over again the next day was a tough part of the mental. As for being injured, you weren't afraid to tell them, because you don't want to do anything wrong to fall behind. Kevin asks if there was a bit of relief when they were the only 2 left? Was there competition? Taylor says that it's been hard to feel competition between them, because they are working to help each other. Chris says mentally, it's the most challenging thing he's ever done. Everything would be hanging over your head. When you left Trax every day, he was preparing for the next day.
Al Snow talks about how in wrestling, you form bonds with people, but you compete with them at the same time. You never want to fall behind, because your friend that you're competing with could go 5 steps ahead of you. This is really a cool show, because people don't realize that they are watching how the wrestling business takes place. Kevin Kelly talks about Tough Enough 2, and he breaks the news that Ivory is going to be one of the trainers on Tough Enough 2. If you thought there was some tension on the show between Al Snow and Tazz, just wait until you see Al Snow and Ivory. Al Snow says that they definitely looked for people without experience, but now they want some experienced wrestlers to come in and audition. Kevin asks them if they will stick it out and try and make it in the wrestling business without the WWF's backing, if they don't win? Maven says that he would like to think that all of them have come way too far to stop with everything now. They have a dream, and they are close to it. To give up now would be ridiculous. Nidia says that she loves wrestling, and she's going to stick with it no matter what. Kevin asks if Al has explained to her just how crummy and rotten the Indy scene is?
Nidia says she has, and Josh says that he's going to pursue it as long as he can, and Taylor has found what she wants to do with her life and she has a direction. It's a great feeling, and Chris says that he loves this and he will be wrestling in the Indies in the fall. He'll be wrestling for as long as he can. Kevin asks what the hardest wrestling move is that they learned to pull off? Maven says that the hurricanranas were hard. He got a pretty big cut on his head the day they were practicing those. Nidia says that she would have to say the suplex. She couldn't get her hips into it and she kept dropping people on her heads. And the drop kick. Josh says that the hardest move was the moonsault. Taylor agrees. The moonsault and the back drop. Chris says that he had a tough time through a simple forearm, to make it look realistic. Kevin talks about hitting the ropes, and they literally tear the skin off of your sides. Al says that people don't realize. They hurt. Another question, are they going to stick together and be friends when this is all over? Josh laughs and says absolutely not. Tomorrow night will be the last time he sees any of these people! They all laugh and Josh says he will be in contact with Maven to place his NFL picks, but that's about it.
Taylor says she thinks they're all meeting at Al's house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Al says that he's moving and not leaving a change of address, either! Kevin asks another question: Second chances, for those that didn't make it to this point. Greg and Paulina. Any thoughts about cast members that fell back for one reason or another that might really have something to offer? Maven says that if Greg didn't hurt his back, he would be standing up there with them today as well as Paulina. They had to leave due to injury. Injury that they couldn't work with. The doctors urged them not to work. Maven wishes them both the best, and if they get back into the wrestling business sometime, he wishes them the best. Nidia says they were fan favorites, and Kevin asks how she and Taylor would feel if Paulina would be there? They'd be scared, because she's huge. She has a great look, too. Josh says that Paulina was a monster. She was like 7'5"! Greg had 3 herniated disks, and he once told Big that he would have to break both of his arms and legs to get him out of there, but he was eliminated due to 3 herniated disks. Al says that he hurts all of the time for doing this, and that's something that he's accepted. That's a part of his life.
He's 19 years in this game, and Greg already had a degree of pain. Herniated disks are nothing to take chances with It was going to go downhill from there. If he gets corrected, Al personally thinks that Greg would have a future in wrestling. John "Big" Gaburick joins the show, and he's the Captain of the ship, who's keeping everybody together. Kevin says that he has to have some mixed emotions as he gets to the final hour of Tough Enough. John says that this experience changed his life as it changed theirs. It was an incredible endeavor, and it's going to end tomorrow night. There's a lot of people who have put a lot into Tough Enough and they never get congratulated. They deserve a thank you. John is really looking forward to tomorrow. Kevin asks Maven why he thinks he should win? Maven says that he thinks since day one that it would have been hard to break him, and it could have been done, but it would have taken a lot to make him leave. When it all comes down to it, Maven stepped into the ring, and in 9 weeks, he's got what it takes to perhaps one day be in the WWF. He thinks that if now isn't his time, maybe later. Who knows, he might be what they are looking for now?
What about Nidia? Nidia says that it's a tough question. They've all been to hell and back and they all deserve it. The only thing she can come up with is that she wants it. Kevin says it's a difficult question and it has been an emotional ride for all of them. Josh says desire. He's wanted it since he was a little kid. A lot of people have wanted things that they don't get and Josh has had 15 weeks to prove that he's tough enough. Taylor says that she loves wrestling. There's nothing more that she would love to do with her life than to be with the WWF. She likes rough activity. She likes fighting in a sense and be rough and fight with the guys and stuff like that. Chris says he thinks he deserves to win, because he's proven that he's capable of anything they've asked him to do in the ring. He's willing to give up anything and he has given up a lot to be here today. He thinks he can get to the top as quickly as anyone. Kevin asks Al what he thinks they are going to be between now and tomorrow night? Al says one can only imagine. After putting this much time and coming this close to the brass ring, the decision is still up in the air. It's almost like a relief on one side of it, like 'ah finally.'
They'll be relieved to have it over with, but on the other side of it, it's like the day before Christmas. You're hoping that it's the present that you were asking for as a kid. This is a rare time in anybody's life that you can actually see your hopes and your dreams and you may just get it. Speaking personally, after doing this for 20 years, this has got to be one of the coolest jobs in the world. For them to get the chance to do it, what can you say? Kevin asks how their lives will change and Al says dramatically. They are going to have the opportunity to go places and meet people they've never had the chance to. Al doesn't care what anybody says about any other form or any other line of work, you'd have to combine the travel of the armed services to see the world like the WWF does. To get to interact with the societies and culture and to meet people, he can't put it into words. At the same time, the sacrifices have only just begun. You will continue to let go of things to do this, and it has to be an honest to God true passion. Something that you feel like you have to do, because if you don't, then you shouldn't be doing it at all.