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HomeEntertainmentAndy Leavine Wins WWE Tough Enough 2011 (Video)

Andy Leavine Wins WWE Tough Enough 2011 (Video)

Andy Leavine was crowned the 2011 WWE Tough Enough winneAndy Leavine was crowned the 2011 WWE Tough Enough winner tonight live on RAW. The 6’5″ “Silent Rage” earned a WWE contract and is likely to start in FCW in the upcoming weeks.

This year’s Tough Enough finale was a little different than past shows. They aired a taped Tough Enough episode for about 40 minutes and then shot live to the RAW crowd in Richmond, VA. The competition then went live with the elimination process taking place in the ring along with some typical WWE shenanigans.

[adinserter block=”2″]The first portion of the program showed Andy and Luke Robinson go down to FCW, the WWE developmental territory in Florida. They were told that they would each have a match in front of the live crowd with trainer Bill DeMott. Whoever had the better performance would win the competition. Additionally, WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Ricky Steamboat would work the kids all week to prepare them for the match.

It got a little campy here. They presented the matches as if you were about to watch the finals of The Ultimate Fighter. Bill DeMott cut promos on the kids as if he was really going to go in there and beat them up. For ten weeks, the program presented pro wrestling as a work, so why insult your viewers in the last episode with this dramatic chicanery?

I think the size difference was really evident when they showed both guys warming up for their match. I was watching the show with my wife who hasn’t watched any other episodes and is not a wrestling fan. However, she took one look at Andy and remarked that he looked like a wrestler. She didn’t say the same about Luke. I agree and I have a feeling that is what came across to the audience.

This is where things got a little weird. After two months of build you would expect to see the final matches to determine the winner, right? Nope. They showed a video montage of highlights from both matches. I thought this was really weak and a big disappointment for anyone (me included) that invested the last two months in the program. That would be like The Ultimate Fighter showing fight highlights for the finals instead of offering fans a real fight.

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The only thing I can possibly thing of is that the matches were both terrible. If they were good, why not show the matches? The advantage of post production is that if both or one guy had a bad match, they could splice it together and make it look pretty. Even still, they could have edited any botched spots so that is still not a good excuse.

Back in Virginia, the coaches and the entire cast came out first. Andy and Luke were introduced separately. Andy really came out of his shell here in the finals. He showed a ton of charisma coming out and the fans just absolutely loved him. Luke on the other hand came out with a cocky swagger but nowhere close to the intensity of Andy. The crowd didn’t like him and continued to boo him throughout the ceremony.

I should also point out that Bill introduced the cast (all but Rima) right before the final two came out. Jeremiah Riggs got a huge pop from the crowd. That kid had arguably the best personality of any of the contestants. He really has potential to be a fan favorite. I don’t know what the plans were for him but I think he won himself a developmental contract tonight by the fan reaction. No other contestant received anything close to the reception he got. Not even Luke.

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Steve Austin asked the trainers who they thought should win the contest. All three of them picked Andy. That kind of surprised me a bit. I figured they’d give worked answers to create drama but they didn’t. The crowd just ate this up. Austin had them each cut promos at this point which seemed written for them. Austin was about to crown the winner a limousine pulled up and out came Vince McMahon.

Seeing Steve Austin and Vince McMahon in the ring together is always a lot of fun. Vince tried to hug Austin who had other ideas. Vince then proceeded to cut an odd promo about Tough Enough and was about to name a winner before Austin stopped him. Austin said it was his show and he was going to crown the winner. Austin then officially named Andy Leavine the Tough Enough winner to a rousing ovation from the live crowd. Luke looked devastated.

For his accomplishment Andy received a nice big slap to the face from Vince McMahon. Quite the welcome from his new boss wouldn’t you say? Austin then proceeded to kick him in the gut and deliver a Stone Cold Stunner. The ceremony went way over the allotted time and wound bleeding into the first ten minutes of WWE RAW.

Some skeptics may contend that this entire show was a big work to get Andy over and that he was a plant. Andy was reportedly submitted by the WWE to the show (the production company picked the others), and he is a former FCW wrestler. On the other hand, who should have beat him? I don’t think Luke was WWE material and Jeremiah needs more training. Christina (who posted on her Facebook that her and Luke were engaged) also has FCW experience so the argument is rather moot.

[adinserter block=”1″]This is what I wrote about Andy in the Tough Enough 2011 season preview. As you can see, Andy has quite an athletic background. “This 6’5″ giant hails from Brooksville, Florida where he had four years of high school varsity wrestling experience with a record of over 90 wins. The 23 -year -old former football player has a mere six months of independent wrestling experience. Starting over 40 games as an offensive lineman for Florida International University, Andy holds the school’s power clean record of 365 lbs.”

Andy certainly has a long road ahead of him. Only one previous Tough Enough winner has been successful and that is John Morrison. At 6’5” and close to 300 pounds, Andy certainly has the size to make an impact in the WWE. He is already a big crowd favorite which is half the battle in itself. There is some serious potential with “Silent Rage.” The only thing I worry about with Andy is the WWE rushing him up to the main roster before he’s ready. He’d get eaten up alive if that is the case.

There is no official word on a second Tough Enough season on the USA Network. Bill DeMott tweeted a few weeks ago about Tough Enough 2 tryouts but nothing has been said since. I hope to see more of Stone Cold and his weekly elimination promos in the near future. The finale was a little different from the other shows with a little more of a goofy WWE feel to it. I didn’t particularly care for it but overall I would say it was a great season.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. I didnt think any of them were wwe superstar material. none of them show the true talent an appreciation of what it meant to be a wwe superstar. thats a talent that only a select few have an finding will b few an far between.

  2. I agree-Andy has no mic skills, little personality, and he always put down all the other wrestlers. His wrestling skills did not stand out at all either, in fact he looked rather clumsy through much of TE. Loved the show, but not the ending.

  3. I honestly thought Luke would win. He's above average in the ring, can cut a decent promo, and has set himself up as a cocky heel. The only thing he lacks is size, and even then i don't think he needed Andy size for him to get over.

    He had heel heat already tonight. I thought in front of a live audience he had amazing potential.

  4. Andy wins. No surprise there. Vince loves the big guys. Andy seems really nervous and, quite honestly, terrible on the mic. I know I just made the case for Sin Cara staying silent earlier but at least he has a lot to offer wrestling wise. Andy needs as much development on the mic as he does in the ring. Screaming and shaking your bangs to hide the fact that you have nothing clever to add will only get you so far.

    As for whether there will be a season 2, I'd bet yes. Last I checked, NXT is in season 42 right now so I think Tough Enough at least gets a second go around. Production, trainers, and competitors now know what to expect so the next season will be a vast improvement on the first.

  5. It did suprise me that Big Andy went from being in the bottom 3 three times to winning the contest. However, as the past has shown, the WWE knows how to make money on both side of this. Martin has the pure talent to be huge in this industry, jeremiah needs a DV contract with FCW (or at the very least go train with 3D in Kissimmee), and Luke seems like a great heel for Impact Wrestling. Dont kid yourself Jarret/ Hogan was watching this and they likely already had a deal with Vince to buy the talent for Impact that Vince wasnt ready for just yet.
    I think Andy needs a year or so working FCW and becoming a champ there before hes ready to made a run at WWE. Luke will likely be on Impact in a couple weeks (think Christy Hemme many years ago). Martin well, he could work on either side but while he has skills, he really needs to learn the IT FACTOR before coming to TV. If the MIZ and MORRISON can land WWE deals off the same show, lets see how this pans out. I cant wait to see how all this plays out.

  6. I'm going to agree with you on the potential plant comment. If you watch the series, he never was really featured or stood out in those early to mid episodes. Then he happens to make the finals and now win? Yet, they brought up others not showing up so to speak on numerous occasions. It leads you to believe yes, he was thrown in as insurance in case there were no real WWE material in the bunch.

    Sorry, none of the women had a real chance and "Donny Osmond" to me was the real stand out story until he got hurt. Luke is Morrison 2.0, or Luke Nitro. The guy would have been a cancer in the locker room and it would really make you wish for the days where JBL was in the locker room to run the roost. The guy is too cocky and he's in it for fame, not love. Andy, he seems to be a student and has passion. No big man wants to be seen crying, work or not and it came through that he has heart.

    Basically, when it comes down to it, Andy won because he deserved to with who was left, Jeremiah will be in the WWE hopefully before Luke, but I'm sure Luke will be back, at least in developmental, but damn, please let Season 2 hit the Indy's and bring some real talent and not actor wannabe douches, pricks who love themselves too much, models with no clue or skills, some real lady wrestlers (Kong/Karma types who want to wrestle) and finally, teeth. Make sure they have teeth!!

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