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WWE $1,000,000 Tough Enough

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The fourth Tough Enough competition was conducted as part of WWE's SmackDown brand between October and December 2004 in response to Raw holding the first annual "Raw Diva Search" contest. The prize was a $1,000,000 professional wrestling contract split evenly over four years with only the first year guaranteed. The winner of the fourth series, announced on December 14, 2004 and televised on December 16, 2004, was Daniel Puder, an American professional mixed martial artist. Puder competed in his second WWE pay-per-view event on January 30, 2005, being the third entrant in the 2005 Royal Rumble match. Soon after, he was sent to OVW before eventually being released in September 2005.

The most notable incident from this competition came on the November 4, 2004, episode of SmackDown, during an unscripted segment of Tough Enough, Kurt Angle, a former American amateur wrestler and 1996 Olympic gold medalist, challenged the finalists through a squat thrust competition. The winner was Chris Nawrocki, and the prize Nawrocki won was a match against Angle. After Angle defeated Nawrocki, Puder challenged Angle. During the match, Angle and Puder wrestled for position before Angle took Puder down; in the process, Puder locked Angle in a real submission hold, a kimura lock. With Puder on his back, one of two referees in the ring, Jim Korderas, quickly counted three to end the bout, but some observed that during the pin, Puder's shoulders were not on the mat. Puder later claimed he would have snapped Angle's arm, thus making Angle tap out on national television, if Korderas had not ended the match. On December 14, 2004 (televised on December 16), Puder was announced as the winner of Tough Enough. Following the incident, Dave Meltzer and Dave Scherer gave these comments;

"It was real. If you don't follow fighting, Puder had Angle locked in the Kimura, or keylock as Tazz called it, although Tazz didn't let on the move was fully executed. Not only was Angle not getting out of the move, but most MMA fighters would have tapped already. Angle couldn't tap for obvious reasons. The ref counted a three even though Puder's shoulders weren't fully down, trying to end the thing, because the reality was Angle would have been in surgery had it gone a few seconds longer or had Puder not given up the hold." ― Dave Meltzer
"As you would expect, Kurt Angle was less than happy backstage at Smackdown after almost being forced to tap out to Tough Enough contestant Daniel Puder. Downright ticked off would probably be the best way to describe his mood. The unscripted nature of the contest was the main reason that Angle was made to look so bad since Puder just reacted to the situation and could have forced Angle to submit had the referees not thought quickly and counted a pin that wasn’t there on Puder." ― Dave Scherer

Marty Wright, who lied about his age during the auditions and was disqualified, later signed with WWE and competed as The Boogeyman.

A DVD of this fourth competition was released in 2005.

Other finalists were:

  • Nick Mitchell (later joined WWE, most notably as Mitch was released in May 2007 and was then training in MMA)
  • Mike "The Miz" Mizanin (later joined WWE)
  • Chris Nawrocki (later signed a developmental contract but was released in 2005)
  • Justice Smith (later a Gladiator on American Gladiators)
  • Ryan Reeves (later joined WWE but was released in January 2007. Signed another contract in Fall 2008. Now competes as Ryback)
  • Daniel Rodimer (later signed to a development contract but was released in August 2007 to return to real estate)

See also

External links

WWE Tough Enough episodes
WWE Tough Enough I
Casting SpecialWelcome to the JungleJason CrumblesIf You Can't Stand the HeatDispatching DarrylTears Idle TearsA No-Win-Ski SituationDropping Like FliesThe Vicious CircleTiming is EverythingThe Rules of the RoadNo Hill Too Tall, Nor Water Too DeepThat's Not the StoryThe Beginning
WWE Tough Enough II

Casting SpecialReality CheckIt's Hard To Be HumbleNow Thats' HumiliatingAll about personalityRaw RewardsGut Check TimeHot Tub TroubleInspired PerformanceAfrica or Bust!African DreamHeart and DeterminationThe Final EvaluationWho Will Be Crowned Champion?

WWE Tough Enough III
Are You Tough Enough?This Is Not A Game Show...Jonah Makes A Real ImpressionThe Meat Of CompetitionFight For Your DreamsLearning To AdaptJonah Pulls A Fast OneA Trip To IcelandOn Foreign GroundReaching New HeightsGuess Who's Coming To DinnerHard Knocks And HeartbreakThe Nature Of The BusinessOf Endings And New Beginnings
WWE $1,000,000 Tough Enough
Million Dollar Tough Enough
WWE Tough Enough V
Get Your Teeth Out of My RingFive for FlinchingBad Day. Real Bad Day110 Pound Elephant in the RoomDon't Mistake My Kindness for WeaknessIt's Getting Down To Nut Cuttin TimeRunning with WolvesI've Been Bamboozled and FlabbergastedNow We Face the RattlesnakeMay The Best Man Win
WWE Tough Enough VI
Boot Camp or BustSwamp StoriesWho Are You?One Man ShowSwallow Your Pride, It's Good For YouRemember To Be The BestSpinning A YarnThere's No 'I' in TeamFriend Or Foe?A Champion Is Crowned
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