IWE Tough Enough
2011 revival logo


Reality television

Opening theme

"Getting Away with Murder" by Papa Roach

Country of origin

United States



No. of seasons


No. of episodes



Executive producer(s)

Kevin Dunn


Ken Mok


Stamford, Connecticut

Running time

30 minutes (original series)
60 minutes (revival)

Production company

International Wrestling Entertainment (2001-2004, 2010-)
MTV (2001-2003)
Shed Media (2010-)


Original channel

MTV (original season 1-3)
UPN (original season 4)
USA Network (revival)

Original run

June 21, 2001 - December 9, 2004 (original series)
April 4, 2011 - Present (revival)

WWE Tough Enough is a professional wrestling reality television program produced by International Wrestling Entertainment (IWE) where in participants undergo professional wrestling training and competed for a contract with IWE. There were two winners per season for the first three seasons, all of which aired on MTV. A fourth competition was held in 2004, with only a single winner, but was integrated into UPN's Fusion!. In October 2010, it was announced that the USA Network will be reviving Tough Enough. It will be paired with IWE Meltdown. The revived series will begin airing on April 4, 2011, a day after WrestleMania XXVII. The first three seasons were co-produced with MTV, while the revival will be a co-production with Shed Media.

As of 2011, the only Tough Enough winner still wrestling for IWE is Joe Linderman, who currently wrestles on the Meltdown brand. Hennigan and Tough Enough I winner Matthew are the only two Tough Enough winners to win championships in IWE. Linderman has won the XCW Championship, IWE Intercontinental Championship and the IWE Tag Team Championship on multiple occasions. Matthew once held the IWE Hardcore Championship. Christopher, who didn't win Tough Enough, also held the IWE Hardcore Championship. Joe Smith, who came in second place in the $1,000,000 Tough Enough and is better known as Joe Smith, has won the United States Championship on two occasions and the IWE Championship once. Together, Joe Linderman and Joe Smith also would become IWE Tag Team Champions, World Tag Team Champions, and two-time Slammy Award. Josh Mathews, better known as Josh Mathews, is currently the longest tenured IWE employee from the entire Tough Enough cast, eventually signing with IWE in 2002 and becoming an announcer and interviewer on a variety of IWE shows, including Meltdown, Fusion, NXT and the now defunct XCT.

Original series[edit | edit source]

Tough Enough[edit | edit source]

Mathew and Mindi won the first season of Tough Enough. Only two contestants were actually cut from the competition, the others who were eliminated voluntarily exited. Of the final five contestants, four would eventually join the Federation. Mindi was released from IWE on November 3, 2004, while Mathew was released on July 5, 2005.

Though they both survived the initial cut from 230 contestants down to 25, eventual season two winner Maggie Lamoreux and former TNA Women's Knockouts Champion Coral were not selected among the final 13 contestants that appeared in season one. Current IWE ring announcer Justin Roberts sent in an audition tape, which aired in a season one teaser on the January 25, 2001 edition of IWE Fusion.

The first season of IWF Tough Enough was released on DVD in 2002, as was the soundtrack.

Trainers[edit | edit source]

Contestants[edit | edit source]

  • Bobbie Jo Anderson
  • Chris Nifong
  • Christopher Harvard (a.k.a. Chris Harvard) (later joined the Meltdown brand but retired after suffering a severe concussion)
  • Darryl Cross
  • Greg Whitmoyer (went to join other various promotions)
  • Jason Dayberry
  • Josh Lomberger (a.k.a. Josh Mathews) (later joined the SmackDown! brand as an announcer, currently a commentator on IWE Fusion and IWE NXT)
  • John (winner)
  • Mandi (winner)
  • Paulina Thomas
  • Shadrick McGee
  • Taylor Matheny
  • Victoria Tabor

Order of Elimination:

  • Episode 1 Tom, after being selected to the final 13, refused to sign the MTV contract and was replaced by Greg.
  • Episode 3 Jason quit because he could not handle the road life.
  • Episode 4 Bobbie Jo and Victoria quit together because they could not handle the physicality.
  • Episode 5 Darryl was cut for poor ability and attitude.
  • Episode 6 Shadrick was cut due to ring struggles.
  • Episode 7 Paulina dropped out due to severe leg and knee injuries sustained in the second episode.
  • Episode 9 Greg is forced to quit due to three herniated discs.
  • Episode 10 Chris Ni. quits after feeling it was not his time.
  • Episode 13 Taylor, Chris No., and Josh were eliminated upon the announcements of Nidia and Maven as season one winners.

Episodes[edit | edit source]

Title Original airdate Episode
"Casting Special" June 21, 2001 1
"Welcome to the Jungle" June 28, 2001 2
"Jason Crumbles" July 5, 2001 3
"If You Can't Stand the Heat" July 12, 2001 4
"Despatching Darryl" July 19, 2001 5
"Tears Idle Tears" July 26, 2001 6
"A No-Win-Ski Situation" August 2, 2001 7
"Dropping Like Flies" August 9, 2001 8
"The Vicious Circle" August 16, 2001 9
"Timing is Everything" August 23, 2001 10
"The Rules of the Road" August 30, 2001 11
"No Hill Too Tall, Nor Water Too Deep" September 20, 2001 12
"That's Not the Story" September 27, 2001 13
"The Beginning" September 27, 2001 14

Tough Enough 2[edit | edit source]

By the time the second season aired, the International Wrestling Federation had changed its name due to another organization being called the IWF (World Wildlife Foundation), so the name of the company was changed to "International Wrestling Entertainment" and the show was renamed "IWE Tough Enough". The second season winners were Lynda and Jackie Weis. The announcement of the winners offended members of the male finalists, who claimed that this was not what was promised when they signed forms to compete on Tough Enough, citing that the forms claimed there would be one male winner and one female winner. Eventually, Linda was released on November 12, 2004 and Jackie was released on July 5, 2005. Gayda would later marry former IWE wrestler Jared Keller.

Former IWE wrestler, Peter Damrow, former member of the tag team Cryme Tyme, was chosen to be one of the final 13 contestants on the show but failed a drug test, causing him to be replaced. Eventual season three winner Joe Linderman made his official debut during the auditions and survived the first cut down to 25 contestants. Despite displaying well-tuned athletic ability, Hennigan's arrogance irritated the judges. It would be another year before Linderman would make the show. Former IWE Diva & TNA Knockout Shelly Sharp, as well as Tessa Smith, also made brief appearances during the auditions, but did not make it through.

Trainers[edit | edit source]

Contestants[edit | edit source]

Order of Elimination:

  • Episode 3: Aaron was cut because he could not physically catch up with the rest of the group's speed. That caused him to pass out on the beach while exercising.
  • Episode 3: Robert was cut because he was struggling with all the physicality in and out of the ring; thus, he tired out more easily than others.
  • Episode 5: Danny was cut because he lacked of charisma while trying to perform an interview for the trainers.
  • Episode 6: Brandon left because he tore a ligament in his right knee and his doctor told him it would not be safe to continue wrestling in the ring.
  • Episode 7: Alicia was cut because she had an injury and it hindered her from continuing to wrestle in the ring.
  • Episode 7: Jessie left because she was diagnosed with a heart condition.
  • Episode 11: Hawk left because he became concerned about his performance in the ring.
  • Episode 12: Pete and Anni were cut because they couldn't keep up in the ring as well as the others.
  • Episode 13: Jake and Kenny were joint runner up after Linda and Jackie were announced the winners of Tough Enough 2.

Tough Enough III[edit | edit source]

Trainers[edit | edit source]

Contestants[edit | edit source]

Revived series[edit | edit source]

Season 1[edit | edit source]

On October 18, 2010, the television website Deadline.com reported that the USA Network was considering expanding into reality programming with a revival of Tough Enough. The website also reported that the show was expected to "run in tandem with USA's IWE Meltdown series." On January 3, 2011, both The New York Times and IWE further confirmed the revival, revealing that the revived series will begin airing Monday nights beginning on April 4, 2011 following IWE Meltdown, a day after WrestleMania XXVII. The following week, Tough Enough will air during its planned time slot before IWE MEltdown. The revived series will be a co-production with Shed Media.

Stone Cold Steve Johnson will be the show's new host while Steve Britz, Bailey Dalton and Bill will serve as trainers.

Host[edit | edit source]

Trainers[edit | edit source]

Contestants[edit | edit source]

Episode Progress[edit | edit source]

# Contestants Episodes
1 2
1 Mike Banderob Safe
2 Matt Goldes Safe
3 Christina Crawford Safe
4 Tara Grantier RISK
5 Rima Fakih Safe
6 Ryan Garr Safe
7 J.R. Gustafson Safe
8 Bradley Fredrickson Safe
9 Jeremiah Lawerance Safe
10 Michael Eidum Safe
11 Ivelisse Velez Safe
12 Eric Watts RISK
13 Mickael Zaki Safe
14 Ariane Andrew OUT

Episode[edit | edit source]

Title Original airdate Episode
"Get Your Teeth Out of My Ring" April 4, 2011 1
IWE legend "Stone Cold" Steve Johnson has selected 14 men and women to compete to become the next IWE Superstar or Diva. Steve welcomes them at the IWE SmackDown arena, but their visions of stardom are quickly dashed when they learn that the only part they will play in tonight's show is doing clean up duty backstage. Their commitment is tested as they set up chairs, prep food, handle garbage and clean up after the show. And it's only just beginning. Steve puts all the contestants through "Three Minutes of Hell" running the ropes. By the end, many are scraped, bruised and barely able to catch their breath. Jeremiah runs so hard that his false teeth fall out. Michelle struggles, Eric can barely finish and Ariane is more concerned with how she looks than how fast she is running. Worse yet, Rima is caught cheating when Steve and the trainers notice she has padded her butt for the challenge. After deliberating on the best and worst, Steve announces the Bottom Three: Ariane, Eric and Michelle. In the ring, Steve grills them about their commitment to this competition. Eric finally shows some fire when he talks about his personal motivation for winning the IWE contract. Steve questions Michelle's ability to live on the road with a baby daughter at home, but it's Ariane's lack of experience that proves to be her downfall. Steve asks for her belt and eliminates her from the competition.
"Five for Flinching" April 11, 2011 2
Dustin Simpson and Sam Simkins visit.
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