Is Daniel Puder Tough Enough (WWE)?

By Rob King Oct 25, 2004
There's no doubt that mixed martial arts fighters are extremely tough, from the physical aspects to the mental. However, one fighter is taking the term 'tough' and going down a very different road. Daniel Puder is an American Kickboxing Academy member who has put together an MMA record of 4-0. This 6-foot-3, 235-pound man is heading off to Connecticut this weekend to start training in World Wrestling Entertainment’s Tough Enough 4 competition. This is a competition where the winner will be rewarded with a WWE contract.

'I started off training with Frank Shamrock when I was 17,' said Puder, a 23-year-old product of Cupertino, California. 'I also did some training with Brian Johnston and then Bob Cook. Bob Cook manages me today.'

He became interested in MMA at the age of 17 and jumped right in. Today, he trains out of the American Kickboxing Academy, which has produced UFC veterans Josh Thomson, Bob Cook, and Dave Velasquez. Daniel picked up his biggest win in the X-1 show in Japan a year ago September. His other wins have been in smaller shows here in the United States.

Puder has been a pro wrestling fan all of his life and he is now hoping to make a career out of it through the 'Tough Enough' Competition.

'I tried out for 'Tough Enough' 3 but I didn’t make,' he said. 'So now I’m trying again.' The Californian is off to a great start in this competition as he has made the final cuts and has made the final group of eight. 'I fly out to Connecticut where we will be training on Friday and my training starts over the weekend.'

Three thousand people auditioned to be in the wrestling competition. This past weekend Daniel and 49 other contestants took part in the final cuts, consisting of an obstacle course, strength tests, 40-yard dashes, and personality interviews. This group also included UFC veteran Wes Sims, who was not as fortunate as Puder, although Daniel said that Wes was a pretty cool guy.

Puder says he owes a big part of his obstacle course success to his MMA training. 'In MMA you train five-minute rounds. This obstacle course that I ran I completed with the fastest time out of anyone. I finished it in a time of 2:40. My MMA training was an obvious factor in my stamina. Bodybuilders and football players were saying this obstacle course was one of the hardest things that had done. Personally, I found it the easiest.'

How can fans help Daniel achieve his goal of becoming a WWE superstar?

'The most important thing is for you people to vote for me,' said Puder. 'Out training will be shown on Smackdown (Thursday’s on UPN in the United States and on The Score up in Canada. Check for the time in your area) and then the fans will decide who to keep and who will be eliminated. I need people to vote for me. During the segment phone numbers will be shown and you phone in and vote for who you want to stay.' Fans can also find voting information at Puder's website: More information about the competition and the voting process can be fought at

The competition will take place over eight weeks and the winner of the competition will be rewarded with a World Wrestling Entertainment contract. The winner will be sent down to Ohio Valley Wrestling for more training before appearing on WWE television in the future. Past winners of Tough Enough include current WWE main streamers Maven, Nidia, and Jackie Gayda.

Puder also wants to mention a great cause he is involved with: 'I run a non-profit strength training program for youths. Over the past two years I have trained over 125 kids. We focus on speed training mostly. For more information on this program you can visit'

We at wish Daniel the best of luck in the competition. Hopefully he will be 'Tough Enough' to make it in the world of professional wrestling.
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