War of the Worlds: Sleepers and Busts
Leading up to every professional sports season, real-life and fantasy magazines/sites alike load readers up on the sleepers & busts for the upcoming year. Sleepers are players flying under the radar —an up-and-comer or a good situation could lead to this; a bust is exactly what it sounds like — a normally productive player or someone with high hopes that has reasons to potentially be untrustworthy or unproductive.
We are heading into a season where half of the cast are rookies that have never been on the Challenge. There are still reasons to be optimistic or to question them on whether they can physically and mentally hang with the nutcases we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. As for vets, well, there’s plenty to talk about and speculate. Let’s dive in:
This may contradict my ranking for Theo and Cara on my first Power Rankings List. That said, it was a very early look at some of these competitors, and I had little backstory. Theo is 6’5” and a former British track star. Being tall doesn’t always present advantages in the Challenge, but being tall and fast means that Theo is likely an athletic man, who has been paired with a Challenge icon in Cara Maria. I’ve gone on record saying I think Cara is overrated as a competitor, however you can’t take experience (13 straight Challenges) and hardware (two Challenge wins) away from her. If Theo is even in the top 1/3 of male competitors this season, they will be hard to beat.
PREDICTION: Fall short of final.
Bust: Paulie & Kyle
Let me be clear: Paulie is my #1 ranked male on the show when it comes to the competition aspect. However, the new three-minute trailer shows Paulie calling out Kyle multiple times, as well as asking TJ to enter what appears to be an elimination against him. Same goes for Kyle —if these guys play too much with emotion and revenge, it could lead to early exits, either by elim or DQ. Here’s to hoping these guys can leave it all out on the Killing Floor. I still have Paulie in the final, but anything short of a win might be considered busting.
Paulie makes and wins final (the term “bust” would be applicable if he acts stupid and gets DQ’d)
Kyle eliminated just before final
I believe Amanda gets a bad wrap. Is she a pain in the ass? Hell yes. But she’s hung around and competed well in past seasons —we watched her all but hand her finals spot to Ashley Mitchell during Invasion, then partnered with Zach to practically run Final Reckoning until they each stood their ground so hard the dirt beneath their feet swallowed them whole. One major concern: her partner Alan is a telenovela star (though massive Challenge fan), and against the beastly men headed into this season, I wonder if it won’t be too much for team Double-A.
PREDICTION: Eliminated after mid-season
Bust: Ashley M
Another one I need to explain: Ashley and her partner Chase are number 3 on my Power Rankings, and I stand by that. Chase may be boring, people have said he is “soft” — though I’m unsure how you get that from watching the Bachelorette— but he is a former hockey player and hopefully he surprises the haters. That said, Ashley has nowhere to go but down. Take away her quitting on Dirty 30 just minutes after arriving, she made it to the episode before the final of her first Challenge and won the next two she actually participated in. Some call her lucky, I call her a 2x Champ. But she’s got a million dollar target on her back, and friends seem to be dwindling.
PREDICTION: Finals, or just short
This might be less controversial. Turbo looks like the real fucking deal. He competed on two seasons of Survivor: Turkey and won them both. He looks like a freak physical athlete in incredible shape, and I couldn’t be more excited. Here’s my concern: Nany isn’t exactly fresh and fine-tuned. She’s coming off an extended break and, sorry Nany-lovers, she was never really all that. I would say she looks like a bottom two or three female this season, vet or not. Unfortunately for Turbo, I think Nany is tough, just not good enough.
PREDICTION: Out with approx 10 teams left.
It would be hard to find a lot of Challenge fans that don’t love Jenna. From her time on Real World with douche boyfriend Jay to Bloodlines with her cousin and her relationship with Zach, we’ve always been cheering for the sweetheart from Jersey. She is nicknamed “Barbie Beast” though I’m gonna say she is more Barbie. Jenna has rarely been tested in her Challenge career and is one of the more uncoordinated players we’ve seen. She may find some protection from Zach, but that will only last so long. Sad to say, but Jenna will get swallowed up by these tough ladies.
PREDICTION: One of the first five teams out.