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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Think outside the box

By TJ MADIGAN

 It came straight from the horse's mouth.

In an interview with TSN on Tuesday, WBC undisputed champion Lennox Lewis confirmed he was in negotiations with World Wrestling Entertainment.

The 6-ft. 6-in. boxing superstar, visiting Toronto for the Muhammad Ali tribute at SkyDome tomorrow, hesitantly discussed the possibility of a WWE appearance with a Canadian media contingent.

Lewis denied he will be facing world wrestling champ Brock Lesner at No Mercy, as reported by a British newspaper last week, and avoided specific questions what his wrestling role would be.

"We spoke about a relationship, whether it be guest refereeing or something of that nature," he said, claiming a "mutual approach" brought him and the WWE together. When the media began grilling him, the 36-year-old Londoner quickly ended the interview.

It's not clear whether Lewis was deliberately being evasive to protect a surprise storyline or if he genuinely doesn't know what his WWE involvement will be.

Either way, Vince McMahon rarely allows public discussion of an angle that isn't a lock and most insiders expect the deal to be done by tomorrow night.

As it stands, the most talked-about scenario is Lewis vs. Lesner in a shoot fight, though it'll be tough to convince the non-wrestling media the action is for real this time.

Despite the potential backlash from boxing traditionalists, a Lewis-Lesner collision (scripted or otherwise) would be a goldmine for the ailing WWE (and, more importantly, its stockholders).

Some of the biggest wrestling angles in history have involved pro boxers, including the infamous Ali vs. Antonio Inoki match in 1976, which ended in a dissatisfying draw when the competitors couldn't agree on a finish.

The most recent wrestling-boxing connection, credited with helping turn WWF business around in the late '90s, was Mike Tyson's enforcer role in the Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin main event at Wrestlemania XIV.

Lewis actually made a WWF appearance, too, when he was British heavyweight champion in 1992. He escorted Davey Boy Smith to the ring in front of 80,000 fans at that year's Summerslam at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF ENOUGH: If you're planning on watching wrestling this Monday, you can get your fix without having to sit through that embarrassing necrophilia angle (don't get me started!) on Raw.

Instead, just tune in to TSN at 6 p.m., when the season premiere of Tough Enough III is aired across Canada. This series is a more intense, grittier version of the show, with the focus firmly on the physical strains of becoming a WWE superstar.

Instead of open auditions (which often provided some of the funniest moments of the previous seasons), MTV screened the contestants in advance, so only 75 legitimate athletes made it to the California tryouts.

Gone are the white-trash wannabes, the muscle-bound himbos and the overweight stragglers who can't pull off a single push-up. Instead, we get an intriguing (but ultimately less entertaining) group of gym-bodies, duking it out for a place in the final 13.

In the pilot episode, we see 21 semifinalists take on a series of insane physical challenges to prove their dedication to their dreams and earn a place in the Tough Enough house.

Al Snow and Ivory return as trainers, with Bill De Mott (Hugh Morrus) completing the lineup. The only familiar face among the contestants is John (the spin-a-roonie guy), who barely missed out on a TE2 slot last year.

This time around, there's no playing nice with the trainers, though.

They yell, they swear and their tough-love tactics sometimes border on outright bullying.

When Nick lands the wrong way doing a back bump, Snow forces him to do the painful move 50 times straight (without a breather) to teach him a lesson.

He nearly passes out.

This season marks the first time Canadian athletes made the Tough Enough cut.

Voula and Sarah, both from Ontario, will be competing in the series, though (without giving too much away) tune in early if you want to catch them both in action.

More on: Brock Lesnar




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