Tampa, Florida. Andy Leavine’s Hometown. The location of WWE’s developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling where the superstars of tomorrow are trained by WWE Hall of Famer Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, former WCW wrestler Norman Smiley, and former WWE superstars Joey Mercury and Tom Prichard. FCW has churned out a majority of WWE’s current roster including Alberto Del Rio (f.k.a. Dos Caras, Jr.), Dolph Ziggler, Wade Barrett, and Sheamus. It should come as no surprise that “Silent Rage” Andy Leavine lives in Tampa.
Andy was under a developmental contract with WWE in early 2010, wrestling in FCW under the ring name “Kevin Hackman.” Having wrestled only a handful of matches, Leavine was released from his developmental contract so as to participate on WWE’s revival of Tough Enough. There, he ran the risk of competing for a WWE contract among thirteen other contestants striving for the same goal.
When it comes to determining who is “Tough Enough,” Andy has a lot of a redeeming qualities. For one, he’s 6-foot-5, making him a natural for the “larger than life” aspect of being a WWE Superstar. Secondly, he’s straight edge, so there won’t be a drug or alcohol related issues in terms of WWE’s Wellness Policy. And lastly, he’s a family man, which could go either way. “It seems like I have a lot on my plate right now: I got a one-year old daughter, and got a son on the way, [while] trying to win a WWE contract,” Andy said, “Being in this business will give me a perfect opportunity to provide for my family.”
Though, in order to provide, Andy had to leave his pregnant wife, and daughter to pursue the prospect of becoming a WWE Superstar. By doing so, Andy believes it will ultimately be for the well-being of his family. Yet, throughout the course of this season of Tough Enough, fellow contestant Jeremiah Riggs, second-to-last to be eliminated, underwent his first divorce. Stone Cold Steve Austin, the host of TE, stated that he’d been divorced three times throughout his wrestling career. So who’s to say that the sacrifices made to obtain and maintain said desired WWE contract won’t cause a separation between Andy and his family?
Since being on the show, Andy has already missed out on some milestones. “I missed my daughter’s first steps, but those are the sacrifices you have to make if you want to be in this business.” His daughter’s first steps won’t be the only thing that he’ll miss: birthdays, births, first words, games, recitals, etc. But luckily for Andy, his wife Lauren has been extremely understanding, “I am very supportive of Andy’s dream to be a WWE Superstar. As long as I’ve known him that’s what he’s wanted to do.”
Lauren, having a degree in exercise science and physiology, and being very knowledgeable in the field of sports science, has overseen the majority of Andy’s training. Whether it’s jump rope, running in place with knees at chest level, pushing their red Ford Explorer Sport Trac XLT in neutral down a street, or flipping tractor tires, Andy has followed his wife’s rigid training regime.
While under his training, a week before the season finale, Ricky Steamboat weighed in on what he thought of Andy. “Andy’s got a good size. And watching him in the ring, he’s got pretty good cardio for a big kid. On the other hand, he’s blowing by things.” Steamboat is referring to Andy’s “reckless abandonment” when he rushes through the move-set. This, as proven with both Christina Crawford and Ivelisse Velez, could lead to serious injuries. Steamboat’s suggestion is to slow down.
Luke Robinson, the other finalist and self-professed rock star, considered Andy’s chances of winning TE. “I think Andy is prepared for this match, but at the same time I feel he lacks my cockiness, and that’s going to be my advantage over Bill [DeMott].” The season finale’s final Skills challenge was for Andy and Luke to compete in singles matches against TE trainer Bill DeMott, in front of a live FCW crowd.
DeMott, being the hard ass out of the trainers of TE, stated at the start of the season that to get to the WWE contract, they would have to go through him. Prior to his match, Andy took the time to explain his ‘Silent Rage’ moniker. “About to have my match with Bill DeMott, you can hear that crowd, you can feel it like little razor blades running through your veins. Right before you walk through that curtain, it comes up and up until it breaks free,” Andy illustrates this with his hands charging invisible energy, “That’s the Silent Rage, baby.”
“My whole life has been building to this moment. This “Tough Enough” title is mine! I’m gunna own it. I’m coming at [Bill DeMott’s] ass full speed, I aint just gunna lay down for him, he’s going to have to beat my ass.”
Though the Season Finale aired a montage version of both Andy and Luke’s matches with DeMott, the winner was announced live on WWE’s Monday Night Raw, since Tough Enough runs in conjunction with WWE’s flagship show.
The anticipation and importance of announcing the Tough Enough winner was elevated ten-fold when WWE’s Chairman Mr. Vince McMahon pulled up in his stretch limousine to meet with the two finalists.
Standing in the center of the ring with Mr. McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin, the man responsible for making the decision of who wins the contract, Andy and Luke waited in angst as Austin called for a drum roll.
The drums rolled on and on and on for 55 fervent seconds. “And the winner of Tough Enough…” drums rolled on, “‘Cause I said so…” even more drums, “Big Andy.”
Andy’s body shook in convulsions as all the nervous energy rose from deep inside his veins until — as the fans cheered, and the full revelation of his life long dream came to fruition — it broke free. And that, as Andy said, is Silent Rage.