This will sound weird, but I feel like CT hasn’t been on the Challenge since Dirty 30. Which is wild to say, considering he picked up a win on War of the Worlds 2. Yet, I can’t shake the fact that it’s felt like a CT imposter has been on the last few seasons. It feels as though the only time we ever see a classic CT is when the game doesn’t go his way, and he throws a bit of a hissy fit. Yes, he’s matured a bit, but sometimes it feels as though it’s not even maturity; it’s more a lack of energy. I will say that I am interested in his Double Agents’ potential as it looks as though he’s trimmed a good twenty pounds at least since Total Madness. I’m not holding my breath waiting on old CT; just hoping that we at least get a better Grandpa CT.
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Introducing CT: CT’s enemy, Adam King, and his ex showmance, Shauvon Torres, are not on this season, so he shouldn’t have much to worry about this season. It feels a bit weird trying to introduce CT when we all know who he is; I mean, the guy won the Ringer’s Most Iconic Reality TV character tourney this past Summer. Back in 2018, when interviewing CT after Champs vs. Stars, he said if he won another season, he’d retire and set off into the sunset. He won War of the Worlds 2 and came back the very next season, so I guess that was a fucking lie. In all honesty, I don’t blame him. Nothing is funnier to me than fans wondering when CT is going to retire. The guy has a young child and a wife. Why would he ever leave the Challenge? He gets maybe high five to low six figures to appear on the show, and then potentially can win between 250k-1 million dollars when playing. What’s he going to do instead that’s as high-paying for the amount of time he has to commit? Do you think he’s going to get a job at Lowe’s Home and Garden instead?
Chris Tamburello: 40 Years Old, 6'1, 230–250 lbs, 17 Seasons, 5–5 Elimination Record, 3x Champion (Rivals 2, Invasion, War of the Worlds 2), 8x Finalist
Skills and Physical Strength: He is a five-tool player. CT can swim, run, get physical, eat gross foods, and solve puzzles. The “weaknesses” in CT’s game would be considered strengths for other players. Even when CT was pushing 275 lbs, he was never struggling in a final like Paulie did during War of the Worlds 2. He does have issues in cold weather environments, but most of the Challenge’s larger male players do. CT isn’t an elite swimmer anymore and can’t keep the same running pace that he used to do; regardless, he is still fully capable of winning underwater challenges and obstacle courses.
The way to beat CT would be an endurance game similar to those they have on Survivor. Think of the elimination that Bananas and Natalie faced off in on Final Reckoning. Jay proved CT was not unbeatable last season, and other people could probably take him out if they excel at the particular challenge/elimination. It still doesn’t mean it’s likely to happen. CT has only been to 10 eliminations over 17 seasons because people are terrified of him. Of those 10 eliminations, CT has only been voted into elimination a total of 5 times.
SSMP (Social, Strategic, Mental, and Political) Game: His social and political game is a simple strategy. The strategy is he is CT and assumes nobody will take a shot at him since he is CT. It generally works pretty well for him. You could argue that CT should try to get rid of Darrell because Darrell can likely outrun CT in a final. Then again, Darrell is one of CT’s best friends on these shows. Other allies CT has are Wes, Leroy, and Kam. In terms of the mental game, CT has done well with puzzles over the years, especially tangrams.
Eliminations & Winning Potential: After over a decade on the Challenge, we have not gotten CT in a Hall Brawl or Balls In, and the only type of Pole Wrestle that he’s competed in, he had two men teaming up against him. MTV giving us a CT Hall Brawl in 2021 would be like putting LeBron in the Dunk Contest after all these years. Like yeah, it’s something I’ve wanted forever, but why did it take this goddamn long for it to happen? There aren’t any eliminations that I could see CT not winning in. That’s not to say that I can’t see CT losing an elimination either, because if the game is a bit luck-based like the game Bananas/Wes or Ashley/Dee played last season, then anyone can win. Likewise, a young Fessy or Nam could test an older CT’s strength in a physical elimination. I also think there’s a tiny bit of Darrell who would want CT in a headbanger after losing to him in Knot So Fast on Invasion.
Can CT win? Yeah. He has to be one of the favorites, alongside the other legends. CT has all the tools to succeed, has a solid shot of making it to the final, and if he did lose 20–30 lbs, then his chances of winning are even higher than past recent seasons. If he makes another final, he will tie Cara and Bananas for most career finals (9), and another would tie him with Darrell for second-most wins (4).
CT’s Overall Rating: 93/100 (+2 from Total Madness)
Invasion Rating: 92/100
Dirty 30 Rating: 95/100
Final Reckoning Rating: 95/100
Total Madness Rating: 91/100