Tough Enough returns with a sixth season this week, as a competition special airs on the WWE Network Tuesday night. Former contest winner Daniel Puder has an interesting story about his rise and fall in WWE, and told it to The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast. He opened up about the Kurt Angle incident, Royal Rumble, and leaving WWE. You can read the highlights below, and listen to the full podcast here.
Not having respect for WWE:
“It is what it is at the end of the day. To me, when it’s what you do for work and after a year the company says, well we aren’t going to pay you $70,000 a year we are going to pay you $10,000 a year. I don’t believe life is fair at all but it’s not respectful and it is very dishonest. I don’t have any respect for them.”
The Kurt Angle incident on Tough Enough:
“I was really mentally prepared for that sort of thing. One of my coaches, was one of the guys that lost to Kurt Angle on his way to the 96 Olympics. He basically had taught me a bunch back in the day so I figured that Kurt can’t be that much tougher then him. When I tested it out and with their rules when I went into the ring there was no striking. Kurt just admitted it that I did have him. It’s interesting to see that people say that it’s not true but Kurt Angle himself says 8-10 years later that “Puder had me”. I just wanted to win. Would I have broken his arm? It was as tight as it could go without coming off.”
The presentation of the $1,000,000 Tough Enough:
“I loved the format. About the fifth week in they told us we could talk smack about who you were going to vote off and there were a few people that were saying we have to vote Puder off. I didn’t know who I wanted to vote off but they made me say one person and I knew what they were doing. If they were doing that to me then I knew that they were doing it to everyone else. Because I was so close with Dave Meltzer I was on the phone with him for probably an hour a day on average. We went over promos, what to address, how to dress and what to do. So I gave it my all.”
Miz and Ryback becoming stars:
“All of them had a lot of potential. They narrowed it down from 10,000 down to 50 and out of 50 they had them all at a tryout to get a top 8. They all had skills and had potential. None of them have values. Four of them said they didn’t drink and they were all drunk and plastered cheating on their wives or girlfriends within the first couple of weeks. Can they wrestle? Sure. Can they build a wrestling career? Sure. Are they unique individuals? Sure. But it is what it is.”
2005 Royal Rumble appearance:
“They were trying to teach me a lesson. And that’s the challenge. In the world of MMA you might have a theory about how you train, because you train smart and you are training to not hurt each other. In that whole experience right away they pounded on me. That just showed me that if they (WWE) wanted to they could have actually built me and I would have been very loyal to them.”
Daniel Puder also discusses in great detail his return to the ring, his MMA career, his time in Ring of Honor, bullying, My Life My Power and much more.