The fourth Tough Enough competition was conducted as part of WWE's SmackDown brand between October and December 2004 in response to Raw holding the first annual "Raw Diva Search" contest. The prize was a $1,000,000 professional wrestling contract split evenly over four years with only the first year guaranteed. The winner of the fourth series, announced on December 14, 2004 and televised on December 16, 2004, was Daniel Puder, an American professional mixed martial artist. Puder competed in his second WWE pay-per-view event on January 30, 2005, being the third entrant in the 2005 Royal Rumble match. Soon after, he was sent to OVW before eventually being released in September 2005.
The most notable incident from this competition came on the November 4, 2004, episode of SmackDown, during an unscripted segment of Tough Enough, Kurt Angle, a former American amateur wrestler and 1996 Olympic gold medalist, challenged the finalists through a squat thrust competition. The winner was Chris Nawrocki, and the prize Nawrocki won was a match against Angle. After Angle defeated Nawrocki, Puder challenged Angle. During the match, Angle and Puder wrestled for position before Angle took Puder down; in the process, Puder locked Angle in a real submission hold, a kimura lock. With Puder on his back, one of two referees in the ring, Jim Korderas, quickly counted three to end the bout, but some observed that during the pin, Puder's shoulders were not on the mat. Puder later claimed he would have snapped Angle's arm, thus making Angle tap out on national television, if Korderas had not ended the match. On December 14, 2004 (televised on December 16), Puder was announced as the winner of Tough Enough. Following the incident, Dave Meltzer and Dave Scherer gave these comments;
Marty Wright, who lied about his age during the auditions and was disqualified, later signed with WWE and competed as The Boogeyman.
A DVD of this fourth competition was released in 2005.
Other finalists were:
- Nick Mitchell (later joined WWE, most notably as Mitch was released in May 2007 and was then training in MMA)
- Mike "The Miz" Mizanin (later joined WWE)
- Chris Nawrocki (later signed a developmental contract but was released in 2005)
- Justice Smith (later a Gladiator on American Gladiators)
- Ryan Reeves (later joined WWE but was released in January 2007. Signed another contract in Fall 2008 and went on to wrestle as Ryback)
- Daniel Rodimer (later signed to a development contract but was released in August 2007 to return to real estate)
- World Wrestling Entertainment
- Tough Enough
- Tough Enough I
- Tough Enough II
- Tough Enough III
- Tough Enough V
- Tough Enough VI