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WWE Tough Enough: Austin puts 14 contestants through the paces
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling


Tonight on WWE Tough Enough: "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Booker T, Trish Stratus and Bill DeMott lead 14 contestants through the rigors of the world of professional wrestling looking to find out who is Tough Enough. On this debut edition of the show, we see what makes Austin so great and one person is going home.

Host "Stone Cold" Steve Austin takes us through some of the contestants in highlight form, giving us a preview of what's to come. "I'm looking for the complete package. I'm looking for someone who's Tough Enough!"

We're in an empty arena with the TitanTron and ring and all 14 contestants come out. Austin tells them to look around but realize most of them are not going to make it. He says every week he is going to give them a chance to prove themselves. They are going to be judged on their in-ring performance and the strength of their character. He says if they piss him off for any reason, he'll throw their ass out.

He says their first lesson is about commitment. He wants to find out how committed they are and tells them to get backstage. Austin says he wants to teach them a life lesson each week. They are outside the arena going to work. Putting coveralls on and

Michelle says she choose modeling over wrestling at first but now this can combine her two passions. Ariane is helping out with cables. We see the crew putting the aprons up for a TV taping and hanging out around the arena doing odd jobs. Now they have to clean up catering. Now they're cleaning up the arena at 1:13 a.m. The sun rises are we are in Hollywood.

We're at the Tough Enough house and we're met by Trish Stratus, Booker T and Bill DeMott. They enter the house and are each given their own Tough Enough spinner belts but they have to give it up when they are eliminated.

Jeremiah says he'll sleep with the thing every night. They start talking and find out Rimah is the current Miss USA. We get our first drama when Mickael talks about the girls only needing booty. Ariane takes exception to this. Mickael starts throwing pillows at Rima and she pours water on him. "Miss USA is out, bitch!," Rima so eloquently states.

Now it's over to the Tough Enough training house. DeMott immediately puts them through some conditioning drills. As they going through this, Austin rides in on a motorcycle. This is ridiculous. He steps in the ring. Austin tells them every time they step in, their ass is on the line because this is a competition. They put them through some drills in the ring. DeMott calls Martin "Donny Osmond" and apparently that's going to stick. DeMott says nicknames is what he remembers. Someone gets "Skidmarks." Sucks to be him.

AJ gets named "Tumbleweed." AJ thinks his main competition is Luke. Austin says his performance is outstanding.

Ariane is struggling in the ring because of a lack of experience. Rima epically fails at her first somersault try. Michelle says she's been wrestling 11 years but can't do a roll. She says she's lost her basics and needs to pick them back up quick. DeMott says none of the contestants realize how tough this is going to be.

We're back at the house and there is some drinking going on. The girls are in the hot tub. Not everybody is drinking, though, because apparently they are taking things a bit more seriously than the others.

(Ads)

Luke says he wants to be the Ric Flair of this competition. Party all night and be the first in the gym in the morning. Now it's time for the skills challenge. Austin says today's skills challenge is "three minutes of hell" that'll test the heart physically and with its desire. They have to run the ropes for three minutes and someone is leaving today.

Austin says this is going to give him an immediate answer to who's in shape. Eric is really struggling. He says his legs started feeling like spaghetti. Austin wonders how hungry he is. Jeremiah says he's the greenest person here but he's going for it. He loses his false teeth while running. This was great. DeMott thought it was his, he says. Ariane keeps pulling he pants up and the trainers run her down for it.

Rima is running and DeMott whispers to Austin and Stratus that Rima has a pad on his rear. They call her out and Austin says nobody is taking any shortcuts. Rima says it made sense to her but she learned a lesson and hopes she gets a second chance.

(Ads)

The trainers meet and Booker likes Lucas. They go through some of the talent and offer some evaluations. Both Booker and DeMott say Eric hasn't shown much. They all get on Rima for cheating. Booker says if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying.

All the contestants are lined up in the training center and Austin is in the ring. He wants them to come forward when he calls their name. He calls Eric, Ariane and Michelle forward. He tells them to go get their belts and pack their bags.

(Ads)

The three contestants on the brink return to the training center and Austin says they need to impress him. He asks Ariane what this opportunity means to her. She starts crying and says she's given up her job and house and has done everything to get here. She asks for the opportunity. He asks her about pulling up her pants. Not looking good for her.

He asks Michelle about her 11 years. She says she got away from wrestling the last six years because of her modeling career, having a baby and getting married. Austin says she needs to prove it to him. He really runs down Eric. He asks for one reason why he should be here. He continues to ride him. He says he has an Autistic brother and Austin asks why he didn't come here in shape if he has so much riding on this.

Austin asks Ariane to comment on Michelle. She says she's done better than her. Michelle fires back that she and Eric has the passion for the business. Things are getting catty now. Ariane says her new passion is wrestling and Austin asks her her favorite match is. She says Melina vs. Alicia Fox. Austin is indignant about this selection. He asks for another and she can't name another. This is tremendous. She asks for the opportunity and Austin says he isn't giving nothing.

He tells Michelle and Eric to get their asses back to the house and tells Ariane she isn't tough enough.

Ariane says she brought everything she had and put everything on the line. She's pissed because she didn't want to be the first one to go and that'll do it for the show.

Overall, a very good first show. The thing is, I'm used to watching The Ultimate Fighter, a show that has become so stale and almost boring it's ridiculous. Tough Enough absolutely blew last week's debut of TUF away. No doubt. Austin is absolutely awesome in this role just by being Stone Cold Steve Austin. The look on his face when poor Ariane told him "Melina vs. Alicia Fox" still has me cracking up 20 minutes after it happened. I would say this is a must-watch show for both non-fans and fans alike. We'll see how it progresses, but this was a great first effort.

Matt Bishop can be reached at bishop20@msu.edu. Please include your name and hometown. Click here to follow Matt on Twitter. Should be a good one!.