Challenge Double Agents Player Preview: Josh Martinez
It is a bit difficult to pin down a concrete analysis of Josh during his time on the Challenge. Once you overlook his elimination record, his stats are pretty decent. Likewise, the guy literally won Big Brother, so regardless of what he achieves on the Challenge, he still has the Big Brother feather in his cap that he can always fall back on. He has also been on four seasons of the Challenge despite the ire of many Challenge fans and social media haters. Regardless of what we think, MTV likes Josh.
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Many assumed Josh would have been filming Big Brother 22 this Summer, similar to Kaycee. People who entered the house even thought he was going to be there. While Josh may have declined, the prevailing rumor was that he and Kaycee partying in Florida (a massive COVID hotspot) before the sequester period led to them being COVID risks. It was not fair for people to make fun of them and say they had COVID when it could be blatantly untrue. At the same time, you shouldn’t be partying during the middle of a pandemic in a COVID hotspot.
Introducing Josh: His original show was Big Brother 19. Big Brother 19 gets regarded as one of the worst Big Brother seasons, where a majority of players fell into a big pack/cult mentality, Josh included. Josh had a loyal ally in Christmas Abbott, who had his back throughout the game. They were a support system for each other. The fact that he was a bit of a loudmouth who got into fights with multiple people got him far as the perception was that he was a floater who got on the bad side of numerous jurors. In the end, even though he was on the bad side of multiple jurors, Paul Abrahamian (the runner-up) had gotten on the worse side of them, and Josh got rewarded. He made a couple of savvy moves like reveal Paul’s true intentions to jury members in his goodbye messages and won a couple of competitions. His win is probably one of the lowest-ranked Big Brother wins, but I think his overall experience was that of growth and improvement. Josh lost a ton of weight and got into better shape during filming. He learned how to handle his anxiety a bit better, and by the end, was a decent player.
Likewise, his experience on the Challenge has been similar. In his first season, Josh was the lay-up competitor. He got purged in the opening challenge and was only allowed to continue competing due to Alan Valdez getting injured. Josh struggled with a majority of the daily challenges and was kept along as a lay-up mostly. In his next two seasons, Josh began improving in the daily challenges. He proved to be a strong swimmer, and his size was an advantage at times. As a whole, though, Josh was able to stay so long on War of the Worlds 2 because Team USA was utterly stacked, and you could still make the argument that Josh was the worst male player on the team (in his defense, it was an All-Star level team). For Total Madness, he went far, but also, that was because of the Red Skull twist where he refused to go in until the very last minute, and even then, he got torched by Kyle in a Knot So Fast variation.
Josh has skills and strengths. The problem is, other people have the same strengths and are sometimes better than him at what he excels in. He also has debilitating weaknesses that could make certain eliminations and purges impossible for him. In the modern Challenge era (debuted after Rivals 1), Dario Medrano and Tony Raines are the only male casts not to make a final after their first four appearances. Josh doesn’t want to join that list.
Josh Martinez: 26 years old, 6'2, 180–200 lbs, 3 Seasons, 0–3 Elimination Record, Highest Finish: 7th Place Total Madness
Skills and Physical Strength: Everyone on Team USA for War of the Worlds 2 has an incredibly inflated daily challenge record. Nonetheless, Josh was able to make a few tribunals last season on Total Madness. His cardio is underrated, and he’s naturally a big guy. Josh is someone who can carry a lot of weight. However, his pace isn’t as fast as the elite players. Josh is a strong swimmer, and this cast does not consist of many strong swimmers, aside from Wes, who Josh is about a tier and a half below. His biggest weakness in daily challenges is the fact that Josh has a terrible sense of balance. Many heights challenges require players to have sound footing and grip, and he consistently does not have those traits. The good thing for him is you don’t see that type of stuff in finals, but it does show up in purge challenges, and Josh could be susceptible.
Most of Josh’s problems are on the mental side of the game. He could probably keep up with Kyle in their Knot So Fast elimination. The problem is, he gets anxious, and once anxiety takes over, it’s much more challenging to figure out your strategy on how you will take on the less intuitive stuff the Challenge throws at you. Understanding how to attack particular challenges does come with experience, and Josh is gaining that.
SSMP (Social, Strategic, Mental, and Political) Game: Josh’s social game is solid in theory. He is good friends with Fessy, Nany, Tori, Kyle, and Kaycee. Those are good strong allies. The problem is, as much as people like Josh, they’re never his first choice in terms of who they look out for. Aneesa has had this exact problem for two decades, and Nany has fallen into the trap as well. It’s the type of gameplay that gets you the mid-way point, and then your heart gets crushed because eventually there is no middle ground to play, and you get forced into elimination. Josh’s political game focus should be to go into an elimination early and take on one of the smallest men. He has proven to struggle thinking on his feet; thus, he needs a purely physical elimination where he can use his size to his advantage. Winning that elimination would establish his spot in the game, and from there, maybe he could coast socially. That’s his best shot to make it to the end.
In terms of the mental game, it’s easy to instigate something with Josh as he usually doesn’t want people disrespecting him. The fact Josh is willing to argue/fight with CT is very respectable, and at the same time, he punches above his weight class a little too much. His overall relationship with Wes is hilarious. Thus far, Josh has been the absolute bottom tier puzzle person. He hasn’t completed any mental competitions at all, and a puzzle was why he got purged from War of the Worlds 1. Even Nelson and Kyle have solved a puzzle before. Hopefully, Josh was playing some puzzle apps during quarantine.
Eliminations & Winning Potential: In the last ten seasons, the only player to lose their first four career eliminations is Natalie Negrotti (and she lost 3 in one season). Josh does not want to make history and join the Danny Jamieson’s and Tyrie Ballard’s of the Challenge. He is a better player than them, but to go 0–4 would be embarrassing. As I mentioned above, Josh needs a physical size-based game. I don’t think he could compete with CT, Nam, Kyle, Cory, Darrell, Fessy, Leroy, or Nelson in a headbanger, but the rest of the cast, he stacks up well against. He has a fair amount of weight on Wes, Jay, and Lio. If it’s a puzzle or a mental game, I’m afraid his anxiety will get the best of him.
Can Josh win? No. He’s not mentally ready for what a final throws at you, and the puzzles issue is a real problem. Do I think he can make the final? Yeah, I legitimately do. If he is going to make it, it should be this season. Josh has the right allies, not a ton of enemies, and if he wins an elimination, he could sneak in there. It’s now or never for Josh.