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The Women of the Year 2011: The Women of Tough Enough (#25)

A la TIME’s Person of the Year list, Diva Dirt has compiled a countdown of the women we feel have best embodied the zeitgeist of the year in women’s wrestling. To compile this list, the Diva Dirt team have tracked the headlines here at Diva Dirt over the past 12 months, followed the lively fan debate on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, considered the impact that the women have made within the industry, and taken into account personal achievements as well. More information on the Women of the Year list here.

Ariane Andrew, Christina Crawford, Ivelisse Velez, Michelle Deighton and Rima Fakih

Wrestling with Reality
In 2011, Tough Enough returned and another batch of wannabes were taken to task by trainers Bill DeMott, Booker T and Trish Stratus, as well as host Stone Cold Steve Austin.

For 10 weeks, we watched, we laughed at and we empathized with the five contestants — Ariane Andrew, Christina Crawford, Ivelisse Velez, Michelle Deighton and Rima Fakih — as they battled it out to win a WWE contract.

Who can forget the infamous moment when Ariane told Stone Cold that her favorite match was Alicia Fox vs Melina? Who can forget Michelle being dubbed Miss 11 Years? Yes, from the very first episode, Tough Enough had us hooked.

Tough Enough, while not a perfect formula by any means, had the elements of great reality television: there were characters we loved — and characters we loved to hate, there was plenty of drama (remember Christina vs Ivelisse?), and a lot of laugh-out-loud moments.

However, beyond all of that, there were still characters to be appreciated. Rima Fakih impressed as she tried to shake off the prissy Miss USA tag, while Ivelisse showed a never-say-die passion for wrestling, struggling through an injury. We even felt empathetic towards Michelle Deighton for being a quitter. (She just wanted to be with her daughter. Aw!)

Though none of the female contestants won the show, three have since signed with WWE which is a pretty good success rate. Whatever the future holds for them — and the series itself (please renew it!) — remains to be seen, but we’ll always have those 10 weeks!

Exclusive: Miss USA Rima Fakih Speaks on Tough Enough Elimination, Reveals Rib Injury & More
Exclusive: Ivelisse Velez Speaks on Tough Enough Exit, Injury, Tension with Christina and More!
Exclusive: Christina Crawford Talks Tough Enough, Giving Up WWE Contract for TE, Her Sister Alicia Fox & More

Click here for the full Women of the Year countdown

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