To the fan led to believe Daniel Puder’s contract with WWE was a four-year deal, his release likely came as a surprise. But, to those inside the company, it was heavily expected.
During a July conversation with Johnny Ace, Vince McMahon reportedly expressed surprise that Puder was still on the roster. It was clear throughout his run that management never intended to keep Puder around for the duration of his four-year option; the feeling is that obligation is the only reason he lasted as long as he did.
Between Puder’s reputation for being a kiss-up, and the incident in which he showed up Kurt Angle, WWE higher-ups did not even want Puder to win the Tough Enough competition. In fact, there was allegedly a plan to make Puder look bad in one of the later events. If not for a miscommunication between Johnny Ace and the official in the ring, the situation might have prevented Puder from scoring enough votes to win.
Even though Paul Heyman, among others, respected Puder’s professionalism, few WWE officials had faith that he could ever become a big draw for the company. Even after extensive training, little optimism over Puder’s ability to “get it” emerged.