What Was Was, What Is Is
Here I was.
I never thought I'd make it.
This had been a dream for me ever since I first saw the WWE.
Something inside of me kept telling me not to call it the WWF.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is JC Williamson (or Jordan Christopher if you prefer.... but I'd really like it if you called me JC),. I'm one of thirty-five hundred other people auditioning for Tough Enough. What is Tough Enough, you ask me? That's a good question. I'll try to answer it as best as I can without sounding like I'm quoting from a Hallmark card. Basically, Tough Enough is a WWE reality based show where people such as myself want to try and get a contract to join in the ranks of World Wrestling Entertainment. The contestants are trained for about three months, and those that are found to be tough enough (forgive the pun) live their dreams and get a contract. The others will leave but they may be given a chance to live their dreams if they train harder.
I looked around me and saw thirty-five other people who wanted to get their chance. I have followed the WWE when it was known as the World Wrestling Federation. I started watching wrestling back when I was in eighth grade, switching between WWE and World Championship Wrestling (or WCW). I remembered watching wrestlers such as The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, Savio Vega, The Million-Dollar Man Ted Dibiase and Vader in WWE. I remembered watching WCW wrestlers like Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Perry Saturn, Hugh Morrus, Psychosis, Dean Malenko, and Eddie Guerrero. I even remembered some of the wrestlers from ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling). I saw wrestlers like Justin Credible, Lance Storm, D'von, Bubba Ray, & Spike Dudley, Rob Van Dam.... I could go on and on and name all the wrestlers I could think of from the WWE, WCW, and ECW. But in this era of World Wrestling Entertainment, right here and right now, I needed to focus on three things: who I am; what I want; and how I'm gonna get there.
A few hundred other participants and myself were in a large gymnasium at the University of Nevada, Carson City. The area we were inside was large, with a large floor mat for us to do our routines. In the background, there were various banners hanging in the background. At last check, UNV-CC had not won any championships in basketball. Then again, I could have be wrong, and the banners could have been for wrestling championships. I did not bother to venture into it any further and deter my concentration.
At mid-court, a table with five panels was situated: the judges. I hated judges with a vengeance. I guess it's a nervous tick of mine since my martial arts days. When I was a martial artist, I was disqualified in my final match because I attacked with a closed fist to the side of the head. I had done that move once before in that match, and the judges allowed it. The score had been tied 4-4, and the next point would have won the championship. The judge screwed me when I went for the same attack, and the judge rewarded the trophy to my opponent.
I was thoroughly pissed off at the tournament, but after about a week after the contest, I calmed down. I didn't return to my martial arts school that following week, and I told my sensei that I was leaving. I told him that I would use my martial arts for something positive and continue to work out. I was hoping that Tough Enough was where I can use my martial arts and some luchador-esque type moves. That was what I wanted to learn, but I also wanted to learn the basics. I was a quick study, and I was sure that if I'm one of the fifteen selected, the trainers will find out.
I saw the Tough Enough Talent Manager John "Big" Gaburick and a panel of four judges. Big was a large man for his size. He wasn't tall per say; he had a round figure, almost like a certain mad scientist from a popular video game. He looked all business, looking from one potential to the next. After seeing and attending some events, I recognized the judges immediately: Al Snow from WWE (he looked like he could pull off a few ribs here and there). Dean Malenko from WCW and WWE (funny, his eyes were more intense in person). Lita (damn, she's fine; a shame she's spoken for - then again, so am I). Steve Blackman (damn, he was making me nervous.... when I looked Blackman in the eyes, I saw the tournament judge that screwed me. I knew he and the judge weren't not the same person, so I remained calm). I remembered seeing all of these people on TV, and here they were, judging contestants for Tough Enough. I'm surprised to have made it this far, considering my explosive background.
I sent the judges a tape of my earlier martial arts days, when I was doing stretches and talking trash. I sounded natural when I talked trash. I combined the intensity of Latino Heat Eddie Guerrero to the suaveness and patience of Edge and Triple H when Triple H was the "Greenwich Snob" Hunter Hurst Helmsley. The differences between those superstars and me were: first, I was not Latino, and I didn't talk like I'm gonna blow a vein 'cause I was so intense; second, I was not Canadian (but my girlfriend was) , and thrice; I was sophisticated. I liked Triple H back when he was Hunter Hurst Helmsley. I still liked him, even though he was a heel. He was the best damn heel in the business today. For those who don't know, a heel was the bad guy and a face was, well... the good guy. I wasn't sure what I would be considered, because I had an explosive temper; yet, I was also calm and cool-headed.
Maybe during our training, we'll get to experiment between being a heel and being a face. I dunno. Maybe I'm making too much of a deal of this whole wrestling thing. I was told when I was younger that wrestling was fake. I didn't believe it then, and I don't believe it now. These judges were actual people. They were superstars, who performed day in and day out to a live audience. Something that I wanted to do.
I knew the judges did their background checks in choosing who would be selected. I could not remember where my application was, but I knew that they saw that one vicious flare I had when I was in the martial arts. I saw them go through applications through the side of my eye as I continued stretching and then they stopped when they got to mine. I continued my routine and heard soft chuckles. They signaled for me to stop and introduce myself to them.
I was nervous; like the other competitors before me. My walk was slow and shaky as I looked from Al Snow back to Big. I spoke clearly and calm when I was in front of them. "The name's JC Williamson," I said clearly, before doing my best Hunter Hurst Helmsley bow. I smiled and the judges laughed when I came out of the beautiful flourish.
"Where are you from? Al Snow asked, covering his eyes and laughed as he saw my flourish. "England? And where did you see that kind of bow?"
"I'm from Manhattan, sir," I answered calmly. As for the second part to Al's question, I just ignored it. I tried to look intimidating. I gave the judges an icy cold stare, something I saw a familiar warrior princess do when that show was on. I admit it now. I was a hardcore nutball. I liked Xena Warrior Princess. What can I say, except I had many skills?
My cold stare would have worked, but it melted like the Wicked Witch from the West in The Wizard of Oz. The reason it melted: Lita was looking in my direction. It must've been that fiery red hair of hers, because it sent a jolt of curiosity from her. "And why do you think you're tough enough?" she asked, her tone serious. "We could have selected someone besides you. Besides your background, what makes you so special?"
In response, I backed up slowly and ran my hands through my long black hair. They were not dreads, I just thought I'd look cool if I let my hair out and let it fall just past my shoulders. Sorta like one of those characters in Japanese animation. They had long hair, so why couldn't I? I talked my girlfriend into allowing me to do it. She didn't object.
I started to talk trash, being cool and calm about it, but I turned it up a notch when I rotated my head. Afterwards, I did a dazzling display of martial arts combined with gymnastics, which got gasps, proud laughs, and applause from the judges. I saw their jaws practically drop when I did a full split with no problem. Lita laughed and watched with interest, and I realized I was not just impressing her, I was impressing the other judges. I knew that in Lita's eyes, she thinks of me as another Rob Van Dam.
R-V-D. The Whole Damn Show. Mr. Monday Night. I had forgotten he was in the WWE. I remembered seeing him at a couple WWE venues, especially when he was in the Alliance. He was the only one in that powerful organization that got mad props. I liked him. I still like him. He was cool. Especially his thumb salute to himself before he does some high risk maneuver, like his top rope plancha. Who knows? I might just get the chance to wrestle him, if I've proven that I'm tough enough.
I remember going to only a couple of events the now debunked Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) when I was in ninth grade. The blood, the sweat, the hardcore. Damn, that was wrestling. I enjoyed that bloody show of wrestling. I saw so many future WWE superstars, and I didn't know what was going on with the company until a few years later. I saw wrestlers like Tommy Dreamer, Rob Van Dam, The Dudley Boyz. My God how I missed ECW!
Other participants in the competition were stretching and going through their routines. I saw one of the competitors, a lean and athletic man. As I leaving, I heard the other athlete introduce himself. His name was Riley Willis, and he was from Long Island. Great. Another New Yorker just like me. He had a physical presence much like Lex Luger, almost flexing the same way that he did. It almost sickened me the way he did it. I just watched in the background, waiting for him to finish.
I watched two other candidates go through their routine. I suddenly felt cold when I looked at the taller of the two. His eyes were intense and focused, and he was muscular. I could see his veins almost bulging through his muscles. This man was a monster. His eyes were as intense as Brock Lesnar's and Bill Goldberg's, but the arms belonged to Scott Steiner. I knew immediately knew that he was going to be my rival all the way through this competition if he and I were selected.
I heard him introduce himself. His voice was calm and almost electric, sending shivers down my spine. He sounded like Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars. He said his last name first and his first name last. "Scott," he said, before looking at my direction. "Eddard Scott." He had displayed the same intensity I showed, and when he noticed me looking at him, I almost felt I was going to turn to stone. His gaze made me freeze. It was a cold, calculating smile that meant cool-headedness and patience.
Eddard was intense. He was doing military push-ups, and he was displaying his powerful body by doing them one handed. I gulped down another sip of bottled water and watched him, surprised. Then he did some sort of pose down, sorta like the thing Hollywood Hulk Hogan did when he wanted to pump up the crowd. This dude was scaring me. He reminded me of my adversary at the martial arts tournament. That guy was scary.
But Eddard was scarier. He could squash my head like a lemon if I was not careful. I turned away before watching him do anything more. His intensity was making me senile. I heard loud cheers and applause as he finally finished doing his routine. I turned back to face him and nodded once. Then I left without offering any congratulations. He just scoffed when he saw me and went back to the crowd.
Even more participants, about fifty more, men and women alike, were trying out in front of the judges. But all of us know: out of thirty-six hundred of us, there were going to be three thousand five hundred eighty-seven people going to get some unhappy news when they got home. If I survived this first cut, then I'd show Al, Dean, Lita, and Steve what I can do.
That is, if, and I do mean if, I survived this first cut.