Challenge Final Reckoning Team Preview: Amanda Garcia & Zach Nichols

Why is this duo even a team? Essentially, MTV looked at Amanda and searched the depths of the Earth in order to find her a possible partner. Camila? Banned. Nicole Z? Declined (also, they are friends now). Jenna? Jemmye’s partner. Kailah? Kayleigh’s partner. Tony? MIA. Dario? Still sleeping somewhere in South America. Eventually, they landed on Zach and realized they had given his potential partner (Brad) to Kyle. This is somewhat problematic considering these two have never once had an on-screen conversation before in the history of the show. We are also unsure if they ever talked during the five days they spent together on Invasion before Zach was eliminated. However, this team with no inherent rivalry might actually have the most tension out of any team as their personalities do not mesh well at all.

If you watched Battle of the Exes 2 or any season where Zach has a partner, he needs to be in control and he demands his partner to be at his level. On Exes 2 specifically, he treated Jonna horribly. She was far from the worst possible partner he could have had, but if you only heard Zach talk, you would think she was more helpless than a tiny dog trying to make it down a staircase. He would blame her as the reason for why they lost and made it a point to make her feel dumb and dislike herself. By the end of their season together, Jonna was visibly shaken up and had issues with competing because of the verbal battery coming from Zach’s direction.

This season is going to be Jonna’s revenge in the form of Amanda. Jonna was a sweet girl who sometimes depended on others too much. Amanda is a firecracker who has supported her family, got an education, and fought for all the successes in her life. You do not yell at Amanda without the expectation of getting an earful back. Amanda is the only girl in Challenge history to get into a full-on fight with Laurel and not end up in tears after. The forgotten history of the fight is Laurel gets so upset because she cannot get in the head of Amanda that she gets Camila so they can both go at her. Amanda was like 5'3 and 115 lbs yet she showed no fear with two of the most intimidating girls in Challenge history in her face. Zach, if you talk shit on her, be ready to get your whole life torn up by words.

Introducing the Rivalry: On Invasion of the Champions, Amanda stirred up the rumor started by Nelson that Bruno had finger b*****d Jenna on the airplane to Thailand. Now, Jenna did hookup with Bruno, though the extent is unknown. Amanda spread the rumor even more to nettle Jenna and get her off her A-game as Zach was in the house and she still had feelings for Zach. This drama took up an entire episode on Invasion of the Champions as they had to milk it because Zach was only on Invasion for 2 challenges. He is dating Jenna for the third time now. Zach is on Final Reckoning to continue the story-line and to be Amanda’s partner.

Player Vitals:

Amanda Garcia: 25 years old, 5'3, 3 seasons, 0 finals, Highest Finish: 5th Place Invasion of the Champions (3rd Underdog), 1–2 elimination record

Zach Nichols: 30 years old, 6'3, 6 seasons, 3 finals, 1x Champion: Battle of the Seasons (2012), 1 spinoff, 3–3 elimination record

Team Skills & Physical Strength: When Amanda began her Challenge career, she did not hit the gym very much and came on the show trying to win by only using her brain. There were many moments where she surprised people physically throughout Invasion. During the Underdog Physical Bloodbath, Amanda was the smallest girl by a good margin and continued to push forward every single time Nicole pulled her back in. Nicole was likely always going to win in a fair round, but Amanda dug herself into the ground so well that she was able to keep crawling forward despite the pain. On Dirty 30, Amanda was able to go toe to toe with someone twice her size (Jenna) in a physical competition where they wrestled for a spot back in the game for over forty minutes. While she does not dominate physically, Amanda can more than hold her own. Especially now considering she has put in a massive amount of work to be in the best shape of her life.

Plus she is from Denver where the altitude is higher, so expect her to destroy a final in the mountains.

Zach is a monster of a man. His performance on Vendettas reminded people he is a dominant force to be reckoned with. While Zach has trimmed quite a bit of weight since his Battle of the Seasons — Free Agents time period, his frame and size still has him as one of the biggest guys on the show. The difference is Zach is probably top 3 at least within the male group for cardio, top 3 in speed, top 3 in strength, and at the top when it comes to freak athleticism. His swimming has improved over the years, he can do heights challenges, and he can even carry the weight of others. Amanda is the perfect partner for Zach because she can take care of the mental side of the game while he focuses on being an athlete. Problems will arise if Zach wants to control Amanda too much.

SSMP (Social, Strategic, Mental, and Political) Game: The social game of this duo will be fine as long as they limit the amount they fight with one another. Amanda is bound to get into a fight with a person she believes to be fake because that is what she does. Their political standing is they are well-connected when you consider Zach has Jenna and Kailah’s teams who will not say their name, and Amanda has the Lavender Lady teams who will not say her team’s name. A third of the cast will not say their name and Zach evaded ever being nominated for the Inquisition on Vendettas. Power is intimidating — nobody wants to face Zach in anything physical, and nobody wants to face Amanda in anything mental.

These are two strong and stubborn people who can only beat themselves. They need to know their roles.

Eliminations & Winning Potential: Amanda’s elimination losses have been really weird. Her loss against KellyAnne on Rivals 3 occurred due to the crowd telling KellyAnne to use the same strategy Amanda was using in the puzzle. When she lost on Invasion, her foot was a centimeter away from exiting the ring before Nicole, instead, hitting the rope and giving Nicole the point that would be crucial to her 2–1 win. Likewise, Zach has lost an elimination he actually won because he cheated (Rivals 2) and lost in a sledgehammering contest to a one-handed man. This team on paper should be strong in eliminations, yet they have this bad juju surrounding them.

Can this team win? Yes. Zach can push the pace for them as long as Amanda can keep up. She can do the puzzles, they can struggle through gross food together, and they can 100% win this season. All the other teams this season have major inherent flaws. The only flaw this team has is their potential bad chemistry.

Zach’s Score: 94/100
Amanda’s Score: 84/100

Team Rating: 91/100

25 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.