Sources at the USA Network indicate that officials in the network believe pro wrestling’s popularity is cycling downward, which is indicated by the recent decline in ratings.
USA Network reportedly feels that the format of Tough Enough being taped and live isn’t working because it doesn’t give the judges enough time to make fair decisions, and fans are only given a few minutes instead of a full day or full week to vote. They apparently feel this turns off the audience and leads to a poor word-of-mouth buzz.
Additionally, USA officials felt Steve Austin was a dynamic presence with charisma that carried the previous Tough Enough season, while Chris Jericho comes off as a game show host. They aren’t blaming Jericho for anything as much as they are blaming the format of the show. They feel Tough Enough comes off like a game show instead of a reality TV competition.
USA is also concerned with the fact that the last two Tough Enough winners — Daniel Puder and Andy Leavine — were released by WWE before ever amounting to anything in the promotion. The feeling is that winning the show means nothing, which is another reason why fans don’t seem to care about it.
(Credit: Wrestling Observer Newsletter)