Luke Robinson and Andy Leavine will get one last chance to impress Stone Cold Steve Austin. The two WWE hopefuls will compete tonight in the finals of the Tough Enough 2011 contest to earn a WWE contract and a lot of road ribbing for the next ten months.
Luke and Andy will compete in their final challenge. Their last challenge will see them wrestle trainer Bill DeMott in front of a live crowd. They will wrestle in the WWE developmental territory, FCW and whoever impresses more will win the contest. The two young grapplers will also work out with one of the greatest technicians of all time, WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat.
The match was taped a couple of weeks ago in FCW. It is certainly an odd way to decide the contest. The two will be wrestling in a worked match, so it isn’t like The Ultimate Fighter where the guys will go out there and fight each other to win the show. Also, it is a huge advantage to Andy who used to wrestle in FCW. Andy will likely be seen as the hometown hero and get a bigger reaction than Luke. Quite frankly it is a little unfair but it is what it is.
Both guys had pro wrestling experience coming into the competition. Luke had a few years while Andy only had six months. Ironically Andy already had his in with the WWE before the competition, wrestling in the WWE’s FCW promotion. Call my cynical but one may even suspect that Andy was planted in the competition due to his size and experience in the company. One may also point to the boys wrestling in FCW as more evidence towards a conspiracy, but would anyone really be shocked if that was the case?
Luke was the early Tough Enough favorite on the show and certainly promoted in the early weeks as if he was the star of the show. I wrote this in my blog when I reviewed the Tough Enough 2011 season premiere.
“The front runner of the show appears to be Luke. Amazing that a guy who looks like every WWE wrestler out of FCW is the front runner right?”
Martin Casaus slowly broke away from the pack and leaped over young Luke after a few weeks and became the darling of the trainers. Casaus shined in everything from skills challenges to conditioning drills. Sadly, Casaus suffered a freak ankle injury during training and was forced out of the competition. Once Casaus left the competition, Luke seemed like a sure winner until Andy began coming out of his shell in recent weeks.
The big guy came out of his shell after being torn down by Steve Austin during elimination. Leavine was finally able to put together the entire package of size and charisma in the ring and out at just the right time. The trainers have been raving about Andy over the last two weeks, practically printing out his contract on last week’s episode.
Luke certainly has the star power between the two. Luke just had so much more charisma than anyone on the show and it shows every time he is on camera. Luke also rarely makes mistakes in the ring and just appears a bit hungrier to be a WWE superstar than Andy is. The biggest thing working against Luke is his size. At 6’0” and 200 pounds he is a boy among men in the WWE. The Miz has certainly helped break that barrier, but there aren’t many other opportunities for 6’0” pretty boys in the WWE these days.
Finally, I think if you are looking for a solid WWE hand than Andy is your guy. If you are looking for your next WWE superstar, I think you roll the dice with Luke. Luke to me is high risk-high reward whereas Andy is low risk-low reward. Either way I would be surprised if both guys didn’t walk away from this with WWE contracts. But when all is said and done I think unless Luke goes out there and completely crumbles under the pressure, the contest is his to lose.
The final WWE Tough Enough 2011 episode airs tonight at 8 PM/EST on the USA Network. Steve Austin will pick a winner live on WWE RAW following Tough Enough.