Why Daniel Puder Says He Had A Target On His Back During WWE Tenure

Wrestlers plucked from the world of reality television can be a mixed bag. For every Miz and John Morrison, there's a Daniel Puder, who would be a very deep cut in a wrestling trivia game if it were not for the infamous 2004 shoot incident that saw him nearly break Kurt Angle's arm. Even before that occurrence, however, the winner of "Tough Enough" season 4 said his MMA background made him a marked man during training, which he recounted on "Developmentally Speaking."


"I had a huge target on my back the whole entire time," Puder said. "It was a whole different world for me. And some things I didn't get right off the bat. Some things I got a little bit faster. I worked on promos every day. I busted my butt in training every day. I didn't drink, I didn't do drugs. I stayed very focused on what I needed to accomplish. And I put a lot of effort into it."

Any momentum Puder may have had following his main roster debut quickly faded after the November 4, 2004 episode of "WWE Smackdown." A segment of the show saw Kurt Angle put the "Tough Enough" trainees through intense calisthenics before challenging two of them to shoot matches. He quickly pinned Chris Nawrocki before Puder stepped in and put up a tougher fight, locking the Olympic hero in a Kimura. Puder said that besting one of WWE's top stars didn't do him any favors.


"I had a bigger target on my back the day that I took Kurt Angle and kinda wrapped him up a little bit," Puder said. "Definitely after it aired on TV. They didn't know what happened that day on the Tuesday, but after it aired on Thursday, by Friday and Saturday, the whole company was like, 'Holy crap, look at what just happened.' So, that was pretty interesting."