When WWE brought back Tough Enough for a sixth season, we all knew we were getting a reality show and not a legitimate competition, but that fact has been driven home week after week.
After Patrick was eliminated, it became apparent that nobody was safe, and after a controversial call by The Miz to save Amanda because she's "hot," Mada was sent home.
This came as a shock to many as the Egyptian powerhouse had started to set himself apart from the rest of the competition, but that's what happens when voting is done on social media instead of by industry professionals.
I recently had the chance to speak with Mada about his time on the show, teaming with Patrick, training Jason Momoa for the big screen and his plans for the future.
Bleacher Report: What inspired you to try out for Tough Enough?
Mada Abdelhamid: My whole life, I always wanted to be in WWE but never knew how. I grew up watching all the greats. I enjoyed playing basketball, but it was always in the back of my head, and when the opportunity came up for Tough Enough, it was meant to be. It was the perfect situation for me to get my name out there and try out for WWE.
B/R: What got you interested in pro wrestling to begin with?
MA: I was about 12 years old, and I loved guys like Batista and The Rock. Batista was one of the first guys I watched that made me want to start lifting weights because his body was incredible. I saw a lot of myself in them. I have a lot of intensity and it felt like I was made for it.
B/R: Who is your favorite wrestler of all time and favorite right now?
MA: I would definitely have to say The Rock. I love his charisma and personality. He is very inspiring, and if I ever got the chance to be in the ring with him, it would be a dream come true. Right now, I love Brock Lesnar. That dude is a beast. It's suplex city all day. I am a fan of John Cena, especially after watching him break his nose the other day and continue the match.
B/R: Describe your experience on the show. Did you enjoy your time in the barracks?
MA: It was an amazing, life-changing experience. I loved everything about it. Living at the barracks was tough. It was more military style because it was in a big warehouse and there weren't any windows. It got you in the zone and kept you more focused. And being around all these greats and coaches like Lita, Booker T and Billy Gunn was a surreal experience.
Those were my childhood heroes, and being around them motivated me to a higher level. The whole show was a lot more mental than it was physical. You can always push yourself physically, but mentally, it gets grueling after a while because you're away from everybody.
B/R: Your elimination came as a shock to many because you were doing well. Based on how your elimination went down, do you think this is a legitimate competition or more of a reality show?
MA: Being eliminated was a shock to me, as well as many others. Coming into that show, I never would have guessed that I would have been in the bottom three. I was starting to pick up speed and win challenges, and the controversial way The Miz saved Amanda because she is "hot" was a big shock to everybody. At the end of the day, yeah, there's a popularity vote, but that's what the WWE Universe wants.
I gave it my all, and some things just aren't in your hands. I was very disappointed, but the main thing for me is to keep my head held high because my main goal is to get back to the Performance Center and join NXT. When I saw Patrick get eliminated the previous week, I knew anything could happen. I thought Patrick was a strong competitor, and to be honest, I thought it was going to be me and him in the finals.
B/R: Do you plan on continuing to pursue a career in WWE, and how do you plan on doing it?
MA: My main goal is to get back to Orlando and be in the Performance Center. Right now, I am training a lot with Patrick, and when I go home to Los Angeles next week, I am going to look up some of the wrestling schools. They've got some good ones out there.
B/R: Why do you think people keep voting to keep ZZ on the show?
MA: There are a couple reasons. I think a lot of people see themselves in ZZ because he's an average guy. He's out of shape, and he's going up against these guys who are in shape, and he's doing his best. Nobody wants to vote for Goliath. Everyone wants to vote for David. And it's a little bit of sympathy.
I hate to say it, but they feel bad for him. He's this young kid who is going up against me and Josh who are ex-pro athletes, so it's kind of like an underdog story. It's sad because I don't think he wants this for himself. I think he is there just for the reality show and the exposure.
B/R: You had said that ZZ told you he didn't care about being a WWE Superstar. Can you elaborate on that conversation?
MA: I was kind of like ZZ's big brother on the show. He always came to me for guidance before shows because he knew he was going to be in the bottom three. The night after Patrick was eliminated, he felt guilty because he knew how much Patrick wanted this.
He told me that for him it's not about WWE because he can just find another reality show after this. He doesn't really care about being a WWE Superstar. I still love ZZ, he's a great guy, but he's doing it for all the wrong reasons. He actually asked one of the producers how long he had to wait to be on another reality show after this.
B/R: Seeing as you got to deal with him for several weeks, what is your opinion on the Hulk Hogan situation happening right now?
MA: I'm definitely disappointed about everything that happened. It's tough. I don't like to judge too much, but I stand by WWE and whatever its decision is because at the end of the day, WWE is all about diversity and promoting people with different backgrounds.
B/R: People might be surprised to learn you teamed up with Patrick for a recent match. How would you describe your relationship with him now?
MA: As soon as I got home, I told Patrick that I wanted to get some training in, and we had a match in MCW (Maryland Championship Wrestling). It was great. They were very welcoming and have a great bunch of guys there. Even though me and Patrick had a little rivalry going on during the show, it was for competition. We are good friends, but when you are competing, you forget about that because you're there to win.
B/R: How did you get into playing basketball and becoming a personal trainer?
MA: I got started around nine years old and played in New Zealand, Australia and all over the Middle East. That was kind of like my first love. I wasn't very good when I started. I was always that tall kid that was terrible at basketball, but I wanted to play in college and pro. I am a gym rat, so when I want to be better at something, I work hard and don't stop until I get there.
Now I am a personal trainer, and I try to help others who need it. I am the personal trainer for Jason Momoa, and we just got done filming a movie together called The Bad Batch with Jim Carrey and Keanu Reeves that will be out next year. I will also be on set for his Aquaman and Justice League movies. He likes to work out with me because we push each other.
B/R: Which male and female do you think deserves to win out of the remaining contestants?
MA: I think Josh for the guys. He brings the best overall package. For the girls, I think Giorgia. She's definitely a great athlete. She sweet, but she does have that switch where she can turn it on and be feisty. I would say those two are the top two right now.
B/R: Use one or two words to describe each contestant:
MA: Hank: Genuine.
Alex: Freak. That one's easy.
Tanner: He's weird.
Patrick: Patriscope. I always call him that because he was always on Periscope. We used to share the WWE iPad, and he would hide it from us so he could use it.
Amanda: I want to say hot just because of what Miz said.
Dianna: Cry Baby.
Chelsea: Drama Queen.
B/R: Is there anything you would like to say to all the people who supported you through your Tough Enough experience?
MA: I just want to thank everyone that supported me from day one. It's been an incredible journey, and I couldn't do it without them. The reason I do it is for them, so I just want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart.