What Maven, The Original WWE Tough Enough Winner, Is Up To Today

Maven stunned the world when he eliminated the Undertaker from the 2002 Royal Rumble. Shocked, the Undertaker retaliated by eliminating the young Superstar himself and attacking him with a chair. Accordingly, Maven earned an Undisputed WWF Championship title shot the following week on "WWE Raw," for technically never being eliminated from the Rumble — as Undertaker was not an active competitor in the match at the time of Maven's elimination.


The inaugural "Tough Enough" co-winner went on to briefly feud with "The Deadman," defeating him for the Hardcore Championship. In total, Maven captured the respective title on three different occasions before later leaving WWE in 2005.

Following his release from the company, Maven ventured into some work with Total Nonstop Action (TNA) and occasional work on the independent circuit. In 2007, however, Maven formally retired from professional wrestling. "My love for the business went on hiatus," he told the "Two Man Power Trip Of Wrestling Podcast." Maven then traded in his wrestling boots for full-time work as an independent contractor and television host, later finding himself "in the heart of the financial district."


The Finance Guru Returns to Wrestling

A self-described "finance guru," Maven moved into the "weirdest industry you can work in right now," as he told Chris Van Vliet. Commuting from New Jersey, "I travel in and I work for a company that is right there on Wall Street," he said.


Although he spends most of his days crunching numbers now, Maven returned to the professional wrestling scene in July 2015, at Brian Myers' Create A Pro Wrestling. In late 2021, the former "Tough Enough" contestant started work with Independent Superstars Of Pro Wrestling, competing in an ISPW Heavyweight Championship Rumble match. Shortly after, he began hosting a weekly show for the promotion, entitled "ISPW Sunday Night Slam," and managing future champion, Danny Morrison.

Despite his initial love loss for the wrestling industry, Maven revealed that his recent work rekindled it. "I was ready for a while to be just like, 'it's over, it's done' .... Then Tommy [Fierro, promoter of ISPW] came around. I did some stuff with Matt Cardona and Brian Meyers with their Create-A-Pro and their Major Figure Podcast, and it re-sparked the love I had in the business," he said.


In recent months, Maven re-aligned with former NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Matt Cardona, as the two have become good friends in real life. In August 2022, the former Harcore Champion became the officiant for the renewal of Cardona and his wife Chelsea Green's vows at night two of GCW Homecoming. Before the ceremony could officially conclude, however, a familiar foe shared his interesting way of objecting.

From Friend to Foe

"The King Of Ultraviolence" Nick Gage proceeded to strike Cardona's father with a light tube before hitting a spinebuster on Cardona himself. Subsequently, Gage began carving Cardona's forehead with a pizza cutter, as the blood soon started to pour out. Gage's ally Allie Katch smashed Chelsea Green with cake to the face before delivering a piledriver. Meanwhile, Maven ran away from the pursuit.


Following the ending disaster, Cardona was not impressed with the lack of action from his friend. "MAVEN IS NOT TOUGH ENOUGH...and he is DEAD TO ME!" he said in an Instagram post. The two would exchange a war of words on social media before meeting at the Figure Wrestling Federation in October. With the company's inaugural Tough Enough Trophy on the line, Maven and Cardona battled in a street fight, with Maven taking home the prize.

Despite Maven's recent resurgence in professional wrestling, the now 46-year-old believes he's "at a different stage in [his] career ... I'm not chasing anything anymore," he told "The Bob Culture Podcast."

"For so many years, I was either waiting for a call," he said. "I was waiting for bookings, just living my life hoping that the next opportunity was coming. Now, if I never ever do anything else in wrestling after today, besides whooping the hell out of Cardona, then I'll be perfectly content with that."