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Most Successful WWE Tough Enough Contestants

Listing the 6 most successful contestants of the WWE reality TV show "Tough Enough".

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7. Introduction

Tough Enough was a reality TV show concept born by the WWE in 2001 whereby they would screen and audition "regular" people with hopes of becoming a WWE wrestler. The successful contestants would gain a once-in-a-lifetime chance to study with the biggest pro wrestling company in the world and quite literally learn the ropes from the superstar wrestlers of the industry.

Oddly enough, "winning" the show was never an indicator for how well the individuals would fair in their careers as documented by this list, which will attempt to rank the most successful Tough Enough contestants to have ever gone through the show.

Honourable mentions:

Matt Morgan – first seen in season 2, Morgan is now retired. The massive 7-foot powerhouse had a stint in WWE and would wrestle for TNA.

Matt Cross – eliminated early in Tough Enough season 5, Cross was already a well-established independent wrestler before entering the competition.

Cameron – currently employed by the WWE, season 5 participant was one-half of the "Funkadactyls" and stars on Total Divas – the new generation of WWE reality TV show.

6. Maven Huffman (Season 1)

The winner of the first ever season of Tough Enough, Maven had a good run in the WWE, eliminating the legendary Undertaker from the 2002 Royal Rumble match in what was still one of the most shocking underdog moments in the WWE to date. He would later go onto have a brief rivalry with the Undertaker which actually resulted in him pinning him (with some help from the Rock) and winning his first WWE (Hardcore) Championship from him! Maven would go onto win the Hardcore Championship 2 more times before leaving the company in 2005, but being the significant winner of the inaugural Tough Enough season and with some great career moments under his hat he earns himself the #6 spot on this list.

Career Highlights:

oEliminated the Undertaker at the 2002 Royal Rumble

oHolds a pinfall victory over the Undertaker

oWWF Hardcore Championship (3 times)

5. Kenny King (Season 2)

Kenny King’s first appearance was on the 2nd season of Tough Enough and despite the fact that he did not win the competition he would actually go onto have a better career in the world of professional wrestling than the 2 winners. King would end up wrestling for reputable promotions such as Total Nonstop Action and Ring of Honor; winning titles in both and being able to show the world not only his great athleticism but his superfluous charisma and is still wrestling in both promotions to this very day.

Career Highlights:

oRing of Honor World Tag Team Championship (1 time)

oTNA X Division Championship (1 time)

4. Josh Matthews (Season 1)

Back to season 1, Josh Matthews was one of the smaller wrestlers of the crop but he managed to do pretty well in keeping up with his larger contenders. Matthews is another one who did not actually win the competition but was signed by the WWE regardless, where he had a few matches and run-ins with other wrestlers. However, as fate would have it Josh Matthews was not destined for an in ring career and he eventually became an announcer – a position which one could argue made him the most “successful” contestant from a pure employment perspective, as he remained at this post for over 10 years before being let go by the WWE in 2014. With no titles under his belt and only a few matches Josh Mathews still manages to claim the #4 spot on this list for the way he became a regular part of WWE television for over a decade.

3. John Morrison/Johnny Nitro (Season 3)

During Tough Enough season 3 there was one particular contestant who stood head-and-shoulders over the others; John Hennigan’s athletic ability wowed the judges as he pulled of high-flying manoeuvres most established WWE wrestlers couldn’t even do. His outstanding abilities would serve him well as he went onto win the competition and be signed to a WWE contract. In spite of his incredible athletic prowess his career didn’t get off to a very sure start as creative didn’t seem to know what to do with him – he introduced himself a “Johnny Blaze” in a short backstage skit, only to re-introduce himself as “Johnny Spade” a week later. The third time was a charm for Johnny as he then became “Johnny Nitro” and formed a tag team with Joey Mercury, to become one of the better tag teams in recent WWE history. In 2007 “John Morrison” became the final stage in the evolution of Hennigan, forming yet another successful tag team with the Miz and establishing himself as a solid singles competitor thereafter. In 2011 Henigan left the company but not before building an impressive championship history and leaving viewers with some memorable moments.

Career Highlights:

oECW World Championship (1 time)

oWWE Intercontinental Championship (3 times)

oWorld Tag Team Championship (1 time)

oWWE Tag Team Championship (4 times)

2. Ryback (Seaosn 4)

Even though Ryback has not won any championships in the WWE thus far it is safe to say that he has been successful in the company to date – even if he has not fulfilled his potential on some of the occasions he has been given. A huge mass of bulking muscle, Ryback has smashed through opponents and established his own rather eccentric character, his chant of “feed me more” catching on as a chant by audiences as well as other various analogies which require him to “feed” on his opponents. Ryback has had singles matches at WrestleMania, main evented pay-per-views and been the main contender in feuds for the WWE title and looking very close to winning it. His career is still in its early stages so it’s possible that we see Ryback climb the mountain and actually become the main guy for the WWE in the future.

1. The Miz (Season 4)

The “most must-see champion in WWE history”, Mike Mizanin aka: “The Miz” is the unsurprising #1 on our list. Not many people gave the Miz a chance when he first started; a former reality TV star, wrestlers and fans alike seemed to hated him, he didn’t look like a wrestler and he was rather loud, obnoxious and annoying. But the Miz would actually use this to his advantage in his journey to being a top heel in the business, becoming a successful tag team wrestler he worked his way upwards to singles championships. Eventually he would win “the big one” in 2010 where he became the Money in the Bank briefcase holder, allowing him a championship match whenever he chooses. This was an opportunity he took full advantage of later that year when he beat Randy Orton to win the WWE Championship – the first time a Tough Enough contestant had ever accomplished such a feat. The Miz is also a “Triple Crown Winner” – a title which isn’t often officially recognised but held by a high esteemed list of past superstars the likes of; The Rock, Stone Cold, Triple H and Shawn Michaels to name but a few. Within the WWE a Triple Crown Winner is typically defined as one who has won the WWE Championship, the Intercontinental Championship, and the World Tag Team Championship. At WrestleMania 27 in 2011 the Miz won the main event, beating John Cena to retain the WWE Championship in what further solidified him as the most successful Tough Enough contestant to date – and possibly the most successful there ever will be.

Career Highlights:

oWWE Championship (1 time)

oWWE Intercontinental Championship (4 times)

oWWE United States Championship (2 times)

oWWE Tag Team Championship (3 times)

oWorld Tag Team Championship (2 times)

oMoney in the Bank (Raw 2010)

oTriple Crown Champion

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