After a four-year absence, the WWE brought back their reality-competition series, Tough Enough, to the USA Network last summer for a 10-episode season spanning June to August. The Tough Enough reboot featured a new format combining both live and taped segments, along with an all-new team of trainers and judges, and of course, a fresh crop of contestants.
Chris Jericho played the role of host for Season 6 of Tough Enough with Daniel Bryan, Hulk Hogan (later replaced by The Miz) and Paige as judges. Billy Gunn, Booker T, and Lita were cast as the trainers. After thousands of hopefuls submitted their video applications via the Tough Enough app, the field was narrowed to 14, seven men and seven women.
Of the 14 that made the actual Tough Enough show, both a male and female would be crowned as the winners and awarded a developmental contract worth $250,000. Josh Bredl and Sara Lee were eventually declared the winners, ultimately decided by the fans who were voting throughout the season. Josh and Sara may have been the most consistent and were arguably the closest to the total packages, but they were far from the most popular.
That designation would have to belong to Zamariah Loupe, otherwise known as ZZ. The gator hunter from Louisiana won over Tough Enough fans with his unique persona and overwhelming likability. It was obvious that his personality, and not his wrestling ability, earned him a spot in the semi-finals, eventually finishing as the runner-up to Josh. It even earned him a WWE developmental contract with officials wondering if they could tap into what had made him such a beloved figure.
ZZ, along with Josh, Sara, Amanda Saccomanno, Mada Abdelhamid, Patrick Clark, and Daria Berenato, signed WWE contracts in October of last year with dreams of someday making it to the main roster. Well, on Thursday morning, that dream ended for the charismatic ZZ, as he was released from his deal, according to Pro Wrestling Sheet. ZZ’s downfall, from his first days in the Tough Enough cast to now, was his conditioning. He never committed to being in shape, perhaps relying too heavily on his ability to entertain.
ZZ was never able to make it onto the NXT roster, but he did wrestle at a live event show in March, resulting in a victory over Oney Lorcan. It was reported at the time that ZZ did not have an impressive offensive arsenal, often reverting to rest holds throughout the match. He pinned Lorcan with a roll-up out of nowhere in front of a crowd that did not seem to care at the end of it.
According to Daily Wrestling News, ZZ suffered an injury back in November, and even though he was scheduled to miss six weeks, he ended up sitting on the shelf for more than two months. The injury occurred during a training match at the Performance Center in Florida, with most competitors and officials placing the blame of the injury squarely on ZZ. It became more clear by the day that he did not have much of a future in WWE after shining on Tough Enough.
Fans continued to get a glimpse of Loupe during the WWE Network series, Breaking Ground. The show followed WWE hopefuls down in NXT, ranging from those about to be called up all the way to the brand new competitors, including ZZ. Fans continued to witness a lack of dedication to the work required to make it in a WWE ring as the shine had worn off from his days on Tough Enough.
All in all, ZZ lasted just 10 months in the WWE as the company surely wished him the best in all his future endeavors.
[Image via WWE]