Jim Ross was a fan of the Tough Enough concept. The casting, however, is another story entirely.
In June 2001, WWE Tough Enough premiered on MTV, giving a cast of hopeful wrestlers an opportunity to earn a contract with WWE. The winners of season one, Nidia and Maven stayed with WWE until 2004 and 2005, respectively.
Speaking on the latest episode of his Grilling JR podcast (via AdFreeShows), Jim Ross admitted that he didn't think Maven was ready for the WWE. He continued on, saying that the show was let down by a weaker cast than they normally would have liked. The blame, though, is squarely on WWE for the way they selected the contestants.
"No. No, I didn't. I thought that -- and this sounds bad. I don't want to get roasted for this, but that was not a really super-strong class for Tough Enough. It just didn't quite make it for me. As the long story went along, I don't think Nidia and Maven, they didn't make it. But the class, in general, was not overwhelmingly strong and that's a result of how they're selected and the process they go through and all that stuff. I'm not blaming the coaches, but I think our system kind of failed the event at that time with a weaker roster than we probably normally would have liked, quite frankly," JR said.
Though the cast could have been stronger, the AEW commentator says that he was a fan of the Tough Enough concept. He said the following:
"I was a fan of the concept. But it's like any other TV show, that's what it was, it's a TV show. It's all about the casting, i.e. the booking in wrestling vernacular. So that's the key to the whole damn thing is your roster; who are you working with. But I didn't think it was a bad idea, quite frankly. I thought it had a lot of merit. I thought it was a unique way to open the door a little bit farther on our product. So, no, I didn't have a problem with Tough Enough the concept. I had a problem with Tough Enough, at times, and the casting."
Tough Enough ran for six seasons, the final coming in 2015. Only two of the cast members who were signed remain with WWE; Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose.
Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp recently spoke with Nidia about her time on Tough Enough. You can find the full interview here.
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