If you expected the WWE Tough Enough 2011 winner to jump into the chaos of RAW or SmackDown you’d be mistaken. Andy Leavine will reportedly head to FCW to fine tune his craft. “I welcome all the challenges that I’m going to face.”
I have read mixed reactions by the wrestling media or as Matt Hardy would call them, “the dirt sheet writers” on the plans. Some argue that the WWE is missing out on Leavine’s momentum by sending him to the WWE’s developmental division in Florida and keeping him off of television indefinitely. Others argue that the WWE is doing the right thing and taking their time with Leavine rather than throwing him to the wolves.
I watched every episode of WWE Tough Enough this season and most who watched would agree that Leavine wasn’t ready. He was sloppy and tentative on most weeks and only appeared to turn it around in the final two weeks of the competition. His match with Bill DeMott in FCW was reportedly pretty good but it was never shown on television to judge. Leavine was also one of the least experienced competitors on the show.
Andy Leavine just graduated college a year ago. Immediately after graduating college, Leavine prepared for an NFL career. Leavine went undrafted but wound up spending time in the Miami Dolphins training camp. Leavine later gave wrestling a shot and spent time in FCW, but only for about six months. Taking someone with six months of wrestling experience and promoting them to the main roster would have likely been devastating to Leavine and the show.
John Morrison is without a doubt the most successful Tough Enough winner (winner, not alumni Miz fans). Morrison had a year or so more experience than Leavine won he won Tough Enough in 2002. Morrison was immediately sent to OVW and didn’t come up to the main roster for about two years. Yes the WWE lost the initial momentum of Tough Enough but I’d say the gamble paid off wouldn’t you?
This isn’t to say that Leavine should just be immediately forgotten by the WWE universe. I would love to see the WWE update the fans with his progress every five-eight weeks. They could show vignettes of Leavine training and wrestling along with comments from veterans like Ricky Steamboat on his training.
Regardless I don’t think there is anything wrong with Leavine taking some time to season his skills in the minor leagues. Is the WWE really going to fall apart by not bringing Leavine to the main roster? Of course not, so why risk a potential long term investment on a questionable short term gain.
Read the entire WWE.com story on Leavine here.