The Spotlight WWE Tough Enough Power Rankings for Week 1

Hello everyone and welcome to the first edition of my Tough Enough Power Rankings where each week I will update my list of where each one of the final contestants on the new season of Tough Enough stands. My rankings will be based on progress, likability, fan interaction, trainer feedback & intangibles. Of course with tonight being the premiere episode of this season of Tough Enough, my rankings will be based mostly off background, what we saw on the competition special as well as some of the social media aspects surrounding each individual. Remember, at the end of the day, these rankings are my opinion (they’re no reflection of WWE) so if you agree or disagree I’d love to hear your opinion. Hopefully we’ll have a little bit of fun with these power rankings each week for WWE Tough Enough. With that bit of a disclaimer out of the way, let’s get into this week’s Tough Enough Power Rankings.

1- Joshua Bredl-

 This may come as a bit of a surprise but Joshua Bredl, The Yeti is my top ranking going into the first episode of the show tonight. Joshua is 6-8, 275 pounds and just turned 24 years old, he simply has all of the intangibles and actually bears a striking resemblance to Roman Reigns. Joshua also comes from a good athletic background having played as a defensive end for the Green Bay Packers. While I don’t personally think that “The Yeti” is a character that has legs in WWE, it’s getting pretty over with some of the fans as evidenced by some of his interactions with the fans on Periscope. This bit of likability will only help Joshua if eliminations are really determined by a fan vote.

2- Amanda Saccomanno-

If there was a girl who stands above the rest heading into the show, for me, it’s Mandy Sacs. Amanda was the winner of that WBBF pro world bikini championship that they continued to reference during the competition special as WWE did some scouting for Tough Enough at that show. Amanda also seemed to be really passionate about wanting this opportunity and seems to have a good support system at home as evidenced by her phone call with her supportive, presumable, boyfriend and his support of Amanda’s father. Let’s also not discount that Amanda is a beautiful blonde, which WWE is actually lacking for the first time in recent memory.

3- Patrick Clark Jr-

Patrick is admittedly a little young, at only 19 years old, but I like the kid a lot. Not only is he a lifelong wrestling fan, who has even ran trivia contests with fans on Periscope to prove what a true fan he is but he’s been able to show a bit of his personality during these episodes. Patrick also has a bit of a leg up on the competition being that he’s already been through six months of training to become a wrestler and is the only member of the finalists who is a trained wrestler. He also seems to be determined to make this happen and I don’t see any reason he can’t.

4- Mada AbdelHamid-

I gave Mada the bump here over the others because he has a completely different look than everyone else with his bleached blonde mohawk. He’s also Egyptian so you figure he can be a great embassador for WWE in that regard as he’s made it clear he wants to be an Egyptian representative for WWE. He’s also a 6’6 245 pound former professional basketball player. I would like to see Mada show a bit more personality but I’m sure over time, it will come.

5- Daria Berenato-

Perhaps a little high for Daria but she made an impression on me both with her character of the Jersey Devil and also showed a lot of trust in WWE by coming out on national television during the competition special.  Daria is also a professional MMA fighter and the host of UFC Afterbuzz TV so you figure she has a good amount of fan support from that.

6. Giorgia Priscina-
 Giorgia is someone who really made an impression on me since the competition special when she revealed that she has a full face birthmark that she has been a bit self-conscious about. Giorgia revealed the birthmark on Periscope and has since gained a ton of support across social media platforms. Aside from that she’s also a 21 year old bikini competitor from Austrailia so, like Mada, I believe this can only help her cause.

7- Tanner Saraceno-
I don’t recall too much about Tanner from the competition special but he seems to be the only Tough Enough finalist with an amateur wrestling backround. Aside from Brock Lesnar and Dolph Ziggler, I’m unsure if anyone else on the WWE roster currently has an amateur wrestling background but using those two superstars, Shelton Benjamin and Kurt Angle as role models, amateur wrestlers tend to pick up the WWE style fairly quickly. I do question with Tanner though, just how bad he wants this based on the fact that he’s chosen MMA as a career over pro wrestling. He’s another one that I’d look to see him develop his personality a bit more.
8- Zamariah Loupe-  I’m sure many of you aren’t too happy to see ZZ way down at number 8 on the list and if its turns out that fan voting is the determining factor here, he will jump up to number one as he’s far and above the most popular contestant amongst fans.  Hoever, if it goes to a judge’s vote, I can see ZZ voted out tonight.  I’m a ZZ fan as well but there are three things to consider with him: he’s already been cut so there’s something WWE already questioned about him, he’s the youngest contestant on the show at 18 years old and he’s never been away from home so it’ll be interesting to see how he holds up. One other thing, and I know we’re in a new era where Bray Wyatt, Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe are all focal points of WWE television, but ZZ is the one contestant who isn’t in the greatest of physical shape.
9- Diana Dahlgren-
Another contestant that I really don’t remember from the first competition special but based on her past success she may move up the power rankings as early as the next edition. Diana is a very accomplished bikini model who has won several IFBB competitions. I had also heard from f4wonline that she was already down training in the performance center prior to the show which would indicate that she’s already on WWE’s radar. She could end up doing very well in the competition.
10- Gabi Castrovici-  I’ll go back to what I said about Mada and Giorgia, Gabi is Brazlian with a ton of Brazilian pride. This is something that WWE will only like as they used to headline South Africa with Justin Gabriel. Likewise, if you follow the tough enough trends on twitter, you can definitely sense a big Brazlian contingency really coming out to support Gabi. With that said, Gabi has already been cut and was cut because of her attitude and her making fun of the other contestants. That’s obviously a pretty big red flag on her but the saving grace for her could be that her biggest supporter, at least from the competition special, was Triple H, who’s the guy who brought her back.
11- Alex Frekey-
By the looks of it, Alex Frekey looks like he could have just what it takes to be the next WWE Superstar as he’s got a bodybuilder’s physique and an athletic background. My issues with Alex are that he seemed to really struggle through the drills during the competition special and I haven’t seen much from Alex in terms of personality. Furthermore, from some of the videos I saw of Alex on Periscope, it doesn’t seem like he’s too familiar with WWE. If you remember the winner of tough enough 3, John Hennigan (Morrison) didn’t make it on to the Tough Enough Season 2 cast based off not knowing what a spinarooni was because he didn’t follow the product.  For example, when asked what his favorite WWE moment was of all time on Periscope, Alex said Goldberg’s streak, which obviously took place in WCW.
12-Hank Avery Jr.-
From the fist look, Hank looks like a good ole boy who’s probably a lot of fun to hang out with as most of his appearances on Periscope have been him singing country music. Hank’s also responsible beyond his years (23) as he has a wife and kids. However, Hank was only on screen during the Tough Enough Competition Special when he was being criticized by the trainers and Triple H. He was even one of the names being considered during the first round of cuts, so I was very surprised he even made the final 13 and that’s why he finds himself towards the bottom of the list.

13-Sara Lee-

I like Sara, as a matter of fact for my personal taste, she’s the most attractive of the female contestants. I just didn’t really get anything from her during the competition special and she hasn’t established herself amongst the different forms of social media available to the contestants. She also seems to be the only female contestant who doesn’t have a bikini modeling or mma background. While I appreciate that she comes across as down to earth and a girl next door type, I do believe she starts as a notch below the other female contestants due to all their respective backgrounds.
In the end, it’ll be interesting to see how close I was with my pre show power rankings or if perhaps Joshua or Amanda will be the first cut tonight. Regardless, it’s bound to be a fun show when WWE Tough Enough debuts on the USA Network at 8PM EST tonight!


The Spotlight On The WWE Tough Enough Competition Special 

  Tonight WWE Tough Enough will debut live on the USA Network, returning after four years. I’ve already broken down all of the changes to this year’s show and so for this piece I’m going to be breaking down the, what was in essence, first episode of Tough Enough, the Competition Special which aired last week on the WWE Network. I was really happy to hear WWE was going to be airing the special as not only did this add new content on the network, I’m always happy about that, but it also got you familiarized with the contestants, the trainers & the new Tough Enough season overall, prior to the debut episode on the USA Network. Let’s get into some highlights of the show. 

 Mike Hayes Steals The Show– Right from the first scene of MIke exiting his hotel room, you couldn’t help but root for the guy. He’s the first person we’re introduced to and someone who’s story we follow along with throughout the show. It’s revealed that Mike is a war veteran who was involved in accident while overseas which left everyone else in the accident dead and left Mike without one of his legs.  Despite Mike having a prosthetic leg, he has still become a wrestler and was chosen to be one of the 40 finalists on Tough Enough.  In the end, unfortunately, Mike’s body gave out on him and he took himself out of the competition.  When he did leave the competition, however, he received a standing ovation from not only the rest of the contestants, but also from the trainers and Triple H which was a really nice sign of the respect Mike earned.  The good news is that following the show WWE released a video showing that Mike was offered another chance to come back to the performance center, when he felt that his body was up for it. 

 This Isn’t For Everybody–  What I always appreciate about these casting specials is that they show the hard work that the contestants are forced to endure in order to prove that they are, for lack of a better term, tough enough.  Whether it be the contestant that puked as Triple H entered the facility or the individuals literally falling over, it was clear that this wasn’t for everybody.  With that said, it was also nice to see that most of the contestants were wearing protective headgear so that if they weren’t trained prior, they would be able to protect themselves while learning how to take bumps.  The trainers really seem to be a good fit this year as Booker T is back and does a fantastic job as the leader of the trio.  Billy Gunn and Lita also seem up for the task and don’t look like they’re going to be messing around at all.  In particular Billy Gunn’s criticism of Lorenzo not being coachable and of Alex (The Big Oh!) being too much of a “wrestler” as opposed to just being himself and letting the trainers get to know him as a person. 

 The Good, The Bad & The Ugly- With every casting special of every reality show ever, half of the fun is seeing not only the good contestants, but also the really bad contestants.  Tough Enough had it’s share of both.  Whether it be the cocky guy who claimed he was 6’0 only to have a tape measurer prove he was but 2 inches away from that height or the former exotic dancer who had zero WWE knowledge whatsoever or the infamous Kingdom twins who pulled out of the competition claiming that they felt the trainers could have been nicer in the way that they spoke to them (which lead to a great Booker T response by the way) there were some historically bad contestants in the final 40.  I think Lita said it best when she said that she’d like to have a word with some of the producers who even wasted their time with some of the contestants.  That said, there were also some really great contestants.  Aside from Mike Hayes the contestant that everybody has been talking about is 18 year old Alligator Wrestler ZZ who’s small town charm (and Bray Wyatt demeanor?) captured the hearts of wrestling fans and viewers alike.  There was probably no greater moment in the entire competition special than when ZZ returned to join the final  13 after being cut earlier in the show.  On the contrary, it broke my heart to see Ashley (In all of her Eva Marie glory) not make the show because of a heart ailment as she seemed to want it more than any of the other girls there.

Closing Thoughts  Overall, I’m a big tough enough fan and I’m enjoying the fact that everything is going on live as opposed to the entire thing already being recorded.  I really hope they take a Big Brother approach with the live shows and show live footage intertwined with the major happening highlights from the week.  Since this special launched, the tough enough contestants have taken to Periscope as a way for the audience following along interact with the contestants and get to know them better.  They’ve also announced that immediately following the live shows, there will be a post show entitled “Tough Talk” hosted by the Miz that will air live on the WWE Network.  Periscope and Tough Talk are both really great ways for WWE to tie in both social media as well as the WWE Network into the Tough Enough experience.  Lastly, I also like that the tough enough house this year isn’t the mansion that it has been in past editions of the show.  It’s fine for the contestants to have opportunities for rewards and fun but living in a mansion just isn’t realistic.

That’s going to do it for me today but be sure to check back later today prior to the Tough Enough premier to see my first edition of the Tough Enough Power Rankings where I’ll be ranking the chances of each one of the remaining 13 finalists.  Until then, what are you most excited about this year’s Tough Enough?