Challenge Double Agents Player Preview: Cory Wharton
After years of making fun of Cory in my articles and on Twitter, he shocked me by actually learning from his past mistakes, showing maturity, and physically killing a final! Players becoming self-aware and learning from their issues and then applying their knowledge to be better players is a concept that doesn’t occur much. Usually, they get better at the challenges themselves or get more fit, but Cory drastically changed the way he played, how he operates, and his performances across the board to reflect a different person.
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For years, he had gotten presented as a top player, and he was more of a pretender in actuality. The new Cory Wharton is a legitimate contender, and while he isn’t a favorite to win this season, the way I view him after Total Madness is a massive shift. At the same time, I must note, this version is Cory is probably the least entertaining version. Cory’s poor choices, random hookups, and lack of self-awareness made the writing experience easier for me. That era seems to be over, and I’m proud of him as a human but disappointed as a commentator of this beautiful trainwreck of a franchise.
Introducing Cory: His original reality show was the Real World Ex-Plosion. On this show, Cory made a splash by hooking up with a ton of girls on the show. He had a drunken session with Ashley Mitchell, then a showmance with Jenny Delich. However, once the exes moved into the house, Cory and Jenny switched back to their exes, and he hooked up with his ex, Lauren. Unfortunately, she got pregnant, and the baby was not his. After the show, he hooked up with Jenna (confirmed by a fellow castmate). He essentially hooked up with 4 out of 6 potential mates on the show. Throughout his Challenge career, Cory additionally hooked up with Aneesa, Kailah, Camila, Alicia, and of course, the mother of his first child, Cheyenne Floyd. For the last couple of years, he’s been in a relationship with the mother of his second child, Are You The One’s, Taylor Selfridge. Cory also appears on Teen Mom alongside Cheyenne and his daughter, Ryder.
When it comes to the competitive element, Cory debuted on Battle of the Bloodlines, where he set the record for most consecutive daily challenge wins. He and his Cousin Mitch went to the final and finished in second place. Cory was looking like a future star. His next performance on Rivals 3 looked like a good chance for him to make it to a second final until he lost an embarrassing elimination to Nate and Christina. He then showed up for Invasion, Dirty 30, and Vendettas, all seasons where MTV was certainly pushing him as one of the franchises’ new faces, counter positioned against Johnny Bananas. Cory made it to Invasion’s final but had one of the worst finals performances ever, taking every single one of his partners down with him. Dirty 30 was a lot of ups and downs. He won the opening purge that allowed him to send Darrell to Redemption and then won the first elimination of the season. Ultimately, he got taken out twice by his ally Hunter, once in the main game and another time in Redemption. Vendettas was even worse as he lost to his best-friend Nelson in the first elimination.
Cory came late into Final Reckoning as a mercenary with Devin. They won their eliminations against Zach/Amanda and Jozea/Da’Vonne to enter the game. Their game ended after Cory chose to bodyslamming Tony into the concrete. Honestly, I don’t blame Cory; Tony threw Cory’s food out the window, then drunkenly got into Cory’s personal space, putting his arm over Cory’s head with his 230 lb and 6'3 frame. That’s utter disrespect. Violence is never the answer, but the way Tony played the victim after very much instigating, was unfair to Cory, especially considering everything going on in the world.
After a couple of seasons off, Cory returned for Total Madness and proved to be a more mature player. Cory made it into the second-most tribunals, had a clean elimination win against Swaggy C, and had an outstanding performance in the final. He easily won Day 1 of the final by a significant margin that became only a 1-minute head start on Bananas and a 2-minute head start on the others. Cory then had trouble with the one puzzle and came in third place overall because of it. Had the final been cumulative, he had the best overall performance; unfortunately, that’s not how it played out. However, I gained a lot of respect for Cory, especially after his first two finals performances being less than stellar.
Cory Wharton: 29 Years Old, 5'11, 185 lbs, 7 Seasons, 3x Finalist, 6–3 Elimination Record, Highest Finish: 2nd Place Battle of the Bloodlines
Skills and Physical Strength: He is one of the best anaerobic athletes in Challenge history. When it comes to quick-sprint and high athleticism events, Cory shines. It’s why he has an impressive career record in daily challenges. Think of the inner-tube challenge from Invasion, the purge from Dirty 30 where he eliminated Darrell, or the car jumping final challenge from Bloodlines. The difference a half-second makes when it comes to how fast someone can run the 40-yard dash is monumental in some challenges. In a marathon/final, it means less because there’s a longer total distance and more room to catch up. Some of these daily challenges and eliminations don’t give you any wiggle room.
Cory has been above-average in most heights challenges, and his cardio has dramatically improved from a few years ago. His swimming is quietly bad, and what’s always helped is the fact Nelson and Leroy have been worse swimmers.
SSMP (Social, Strategic, Mental, and Political) Game: Cory has many allies in this game on the male side. Nelson and Fessy are Day 1 allies. Darrell needs Cory almost more than Cory needs Darrell, which is fucking crazy to think about. He and Wes seem to work together silently every season; add-in that Devin and Wes are close, and Devin was Cory’s Final Reckoning partner. On the female side of things, he’s been friends with Aneesa for a long time, and aligned with Nicole on Invasion.
From the strategic side of the game, I don’t think Cory needs to work that hard to make the final because he is likable and won’t be making waves. However, to win this game, waves need to be made, and he should gun for the guys that have won before because if they aren’t there, then Cory has a real shot of winning this season. Cory doesn’t want to join Leroy and Jenn Grijalva as the people to make 4 finals and never win (technically, pre-Rivals 2 CT as well). For the mental game, Cory has a long history of inability when it comes to puzzles. Most guys are bottom tier, making the ones who are decently competent look like geniuses.
Eliminations & Winning Potential: His elimination record is a bit inflated since he racked up two wins at once on Final Reckoning in a weird elimination. Another one of those wins was the elimination that Theo quit. At the same time, they’ve never given Cory a Hall Brawl or a Balls In, and he’s a fantastic physical athlete. They always give him these weird carnival games. Cory was an outstanding football player with a scholarship offer; he played defensive-back (the players who have to be fast enough to defend wide-receivers and put out hits of their own). I think he’d kick some ass in a headbanger.
Could Cory win? I never thought it was possible, and then last season, he put up the best cumulative effort. In the end, it came down to his puzzle inability and Bananas having the experience over him. His endurance in the cardio-based daily challenges last season was impressive. Going into this season, Cory’s chances of winning go up exponentially if the top contenders get knocked out of the game. Also, him potentially running the final with a female who is good with puzzles raises his chances as well. Hit-List Cory may need to come out for him to be able to win this game.
Cory’s Overall Rating: 85/100 (+8 from Total Madness)
Total Madness Rating: 77/100
Vendettas Rating: 78/100
Dirty 30 Rating: 77/100
Invasion Rating: 82/100