|Trainers 'incredibly honored' to be part of first Tough Enough
by Phil Speer
There will be an entirely new season of "WWF Tough Enough," and there's no reason to believe that there won't be more after that. There will be different trainers, different contestants, different locations -- perhaps even a wrinkle or two in the rules of the competition. But the initial installment of Tough Enough will be the only one that can ever truly be called "unprecedented." As the first season came to a close last Thursday night, live at WWF New York, the significance of that first season was not lost on the trainers.
"I'm definitely proud to be part of Tough Enough 1, especially now that there's Tough Enough 2 coming," said Tazz. "No one can ever take it from me, Al and Jackie. We are the trainers of Tough Enough 1. I'll never forget that. That's a milestone in my career. I'm very proud of that."
Added Jacqueline, "I understand there's going to be a Tough Enough 2. I was happy and honored to be a part of the first one. It was great working with Al and Tazz. I'm proud to be the first trainer. Everybody was wonderful to work with -- directors, producers, Big (John Gaburick). It was like a big family.
"There's always going to be that first one. We set the standard." WWF Tough Enough was the first series that documented the makings of a World Wrestling Federation Superstar. In the past, there was a veil of secrecy about the business -- a wall dividing the competitors from the fans who watched them.
That wall came tumbling down when WWF Tough Enough -- the first season -- debuted. Subsequent seasons of the show will not be able to make such a boast.
"I hope that people who aren't even fans of the Federation or sports entertainment can have a certain respect now for how tough it is and what we go through," Tazz said. "That's what I think the show is going to educate people about -- that it really is tough what we do, on your body, on your mind and on your family. Now they get to see it."
Snow predicts that the show will make a positive impact on the sports-entertainment business as a whole.
"It's a big demonstration how the business has evolved," Snow said. "Just like with the magic business and how they let people see on the inside. The magic business got a boom from that because of renewed interest and respect for what really took place. I think (Tough Enough) will do the same for the wrestling business. It'll help people who may not even be wrestling fans suddenly gain a new appreciation and respect for it, and then watch and be entertained by this. And for the wrestling fans who are wrestling fans -- which is kind of redundant -- maybe they'll gain a new insight and a new appreciation themselves. They'll enjoy it even more."
The impact of Tough Enough was felt, in part, on SmackDown!, when Maven wrestled Tazz. In his first televised match, the Tough Enough Champion had the crowd chanting his name.
Will Tough Enough have a similarly progressive effect on the careers of the trainers?
"I haven't thought about it," said Snow, who will be back for season No. 2. "I hope (being on the show) affects it positively. But I don't count on anything. I write everything down in pencil in this damn business because until you've been there, done it, (you're) back home and the check hasn't bounced, then it ain't happening."
Whether being on Tough Enough will clear a path to the Federation Championship -- or any championship -- for the trainers remains to be seen. But dozens of Federation competitors past and present have been Federation Champion. Only Tazz, Jackie, Snow and Tori can say that they were the trainers on the initial, and most significant, season of Tough Enough.
"I've been incredibly honored and proud to be doing this and to have been a part of it," Snow said. "I think it's one of the coolest things I've ever done, and I've done a lot of cool things."