Nowadays, it seems like when something works on television, everyone scrambles to copy it in hopes of cashing in on the fad. Vince McMahon, like any executive, decided to tap into "reality" craze by creating "Tough Enough". This amalgam of "the Real World" and "American Idol" is in its fourth season and follows contestants as they compete for a contract to become a superstar in the WWE. While there were two contracts given away during the show's first three seasons, for the fourth there's only one.
Unlike the first season, which was a 3 disc set, the WWE has opted to release the fourth season as a single disc. They've compiled the nine regular episodes and one special episode into an hour-long clip show. Personally, I think one of the the WWE's greatest strengths is putting together a good promo during the weekly shows, and this clip show is a great example of this. However, if I were a fan that actually took the time to watch this show as it aired, i'd be pretty upset. See, while I am a fan of the WWE, I am not a fan of reality shows. However, I think watching nine half hour shows would have you more emotionally invested in a contestant that an hour clip show that doesn't really allow you to get to "know" them.
That's not to say the WWE shortchanges the fans. In addition to the hour long feature, they've included a slew of extras listed below. When the feature starts, we cut the contestants from 50 down to 8 thanks to an obstacle course on the beach. From there, we follow the contestants as they're tested by a variety of challenges designed to show them what they have to look forward to as a WWE superstar. Since this season was part of the SmackDown! broadcast, a multitude of WWE wrestlers make an appearance. Besides show regular Al Snow, who serves as their "mentor", Kurt Angle, the Basham Brothers and Big Show also show up to challenge the contestants. In fact, there's also a special appearance by Mae Young and the Fabulous Moolah that will warm your heart.
The main feature didn't annoy me as much as I thought it would, though I still think it's unfair that the people who compete are essentially taking a spot away from someone who's been wrestling their entire life in hopes of hitting the big time, especially taking into consideration what became of past Tough Enough winners. As of this writing, only two of the previous six winners (Maven & John Hennigan) are still in the ring. Jackie Gayda, makes an occasional appearance on SmackDown! - but as a valet. Matt Capotelli is training in OVW, while Nidia and Linda Miles no longer have contracts.
As usual, the WWE has jammed packed this disc with extras. From the original audition tapes to the SmackDown! challenges, there's close to 2 1/2 hours of extra footage.
Activities - A collection of the group's appearances on the weekly SmackDown! show.
The REAL treat, however, is the inclusion of WrestleMania Recall. This 50 minute show was originally called "WrestleMania's Ten Greatest Matches Ever" and hosted by "the Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Broadcast on SpikeTV before WrestleMania XX, it was also a part of the 3 disc WrestleMania XX DVD set. It's been repackaged here as a separate disc, this time hosted by "Mean" Gene Okerlund and is six minutes longer. It features ten of the greatest WrestleMania matches, chosen by the WWE superstars themselves. Unfotunately, they're not the entire matches, but it's just enough to give you that warm and fuzzy feeling of nostalgia.
Audio: The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound was crystal clear and enveloped my
living room while I was watching it.